Like the ARM-based Surface RT, the bulkier, heavier and more powerful x86-based Surface Pro is very much a version 1.0 product. As with the RT model, build quality is generally excellent, although we have a few gripes, including the non-adjustable kickstand, the fiddly magnetic power connector and the lack of a slot to house the stylus. Because it's more of an ultrabook with tablet capabilities, there are a few missing features that would really make a difference if addressed, including a desktop dock with extra ports (USB and Ethernet in particular), a keyboard cover containing a second battery and support for lower-power processors than the 17W third-generation Core i5 currently used. Also, if you're going to work with a large external monitor, be prepared for some fiddling around with desktop scaling settings.
As ever, fans of all things Microsoft, and early adopters generally, will embrace the Surface Pro warmly — particularly the 128GB version. It's certainly an intriguing bit of kit that should give other makers of hybrid tablet/ultrabook hardware plenty to think about. But it's not perfect yet — especially when it comes to battery life. We look forward to the next iterations of Surface with interest.
Surface Pro opinions from around ZDNet & Tech Republic
"Surface Pro flirts with greatness, but its caveats could become show-stoppers for a lot of users."
"The product brilliantly weaves mouse and keyboard and pen computing in ways that feel very effective and useful."
"The problem with Surface Pro is that it's trying to bridge the gap between two products, a laptop and tablet, and it doesn't quite stand out enough at either function."
"The ideal buyer of this device, I suspect, is someone who works in a large office and is continually bouncing between meeting rooms, with ready access to Wi-Fi and power outlets. The Surface Pro absolutely shines in that scenario, and it works for occasional trips outside the office as well: an hour or two in a coffee shop, a short flight to a customer meeting, a few hours on the couch in the evening with one eye on the big screen and the other on Twitter."
"It helps, too, if the person using this device is well connected to Microsoft products and cloud services and is already familiar with Windows 8 and eager to switch to a touchscreen device."
"In the end, for me, the Surface Pro is just OK. I am waiting/expecting Microsoft to do better, in terms of delivering a Windows 8 PC. Microsoft may consider itself among those attempting to reinvent a computing device category by delivery a PC/tablet hybrid. But the Surface Pro isn't the best on either front. I am hoping for another Microsoft Surface-branded device that might be my next Windows PC. The Surface Pro is not this machine."
"What Microsoft is delivering with Surface Pro is a laptop that's also a tablet (in a similar way, the Surface RT is a tablet that's also a laptop). It's shaping up to be the Tablet PC done right, with a mix of hardware and software that should make it attractive to many users — and at an ultrabook price point."
|Dimensions (W x H x D)||27.46 x 1.35 x 17.3 cm|
|Case form factor||tablet|
|OS & software|
|Operating system||Windows 8 Pro|
|Software included||Office 365 Home Premium (30-day trial)|
|Chipset & memory|
|RAM installed||4096 MB|
|RAM capacity||4 GB|
|GPU||Intel HD Graphics 4000|
|Display technology||ClearType Full HD 10-point touchscreen|
|Display size||10.6 in|
|Native resolution||1920x1080 pixels|
|USB||1 x USB 3.0|
|Wi-Fi||802.11a, 802.11b, 802.11g, 802.11n|
|Pointing devices||trackpad (on Touch/Type covers), stylus|
|Keyboard||Touch Cover, Type Cover (optional)|
|2nd camera resolution||1 megapixels|
|Main camera resolution||1 megapixels|
|Audio connectors||audio out|
|Accessories||48W AC adapter|
|Number of batteries supplied||1|
|Number of batteries supported||1|
|Processor & memory|
|Clock speed||1.7 GHz|
|Processor model||Core i5-3317U|