Microsoft Surface Pro Hands-On: This Is What It Should Have Been All Along

Surface RT was a bit of a letdown -- not because it was bad, but because it could have been so, so good. But Microsoft brought the Pro version to Vegas and let us play -- and I couldn't be happier.

To be blunt, Surface Pro makes RT look like a mistake. Surface RT was a mistake -- but fortunately for Microsoft (and more importantly, for us), Pro makes up for almost every deficiency of its smaller, cheaper sibling. It has the internal power and the physical flexibility to, for real this time, perhaps carve out a whole new category of computer. It could be the device you put in your bag and on your desk above all others. Almost every conceivable facet is superior this time around.

Where the Surface RT's screen was OK but certainly not in the same league as its high-density rivals, the Pro version shines oh so very bright: a luscious 1080p display pops to life each time you wake the thing, and it's as perfectly responsive as any other touch computer you're used to. It's beautiful to look at and rub.

Where the Surface RT's software was embarrassingly spare, well, that's just a non-issue. Pro runs real Windows 8 -- the same thing you'd install on a desktop -- so you aren't confined to Microsoft's anemic, strip mall app store. You can install Photoshop, Civilisation, WinZip, whatever the hell you want. If it's made for Windows and it's somewhat recent, it'll probably run on the Surface Pro -- even some brief time playing Bulletstorm yielded totally acceptable performance, given that the thing is smaller than any laptop. It's not going to be your go-to gaming toy, but graphically, it's wholly decent, and older titles should be butter.

The software importance can't be stated enough. Let's overstate it: this is a real computer, and Surface RT was not. If you don't like a native Windows 8 app, you can kick it over a cliff and download one of the bazillion alternatives available for x86 Windows systems. Almost all of the things you need for work and unwinding. Tons of choice. Tons of flexibility. The Pro model is powerful enough to drive a big, luxurious external monitor. Add in a Bluetooth keyboard and mouse, and you've got yourself a new desktop. Or stop mirroring, lay the Pro down flat, and use the entire thing as one big wonderful trackpad, with ample room for your fingers or a pen for Wacom-style artistry. The addition of a USB 3.0 port makes the prospect of desktop replacement even more real, and slurping over a batch of JPEG + RAW photo files straight off a DSLR and then viewing them on the big external screen was a joy.

But there must be some tradeoffs, right? Right. But not many. Battery life won't be as good due to power-hungrier components. The Pro requires a (quiet) fan. But the biggest worry was size, and I can assure you that Surface Pro is entirely comfortable. I was afraid it'd be a tank, but it's significantly thinner than my MacBook Air, and at just over 900 grams, slightly lighter, too. It'll never be as comfortable to cozy up with as a Kindle, but it's hand and arm friendly enough to use as a tablet, and given the horsepower inside, fantastically skinny as a laptop rival. So, yes, it's bigger, but not enough to lose points.

What are you left with? The same lovely design as the RT version, without the most glaring shortcomings. I only had about an hour to spend with the Pro, which is nowhere near enough for anything resembling a verdict, but know this: where RT offered heartbreak, Pro offers hope. I just wish it'd been like this from the start.

Stay tuned for our full review shortly.



    How long before Surface RT goes the way of HP Touchpad. I'd certainly buy one for $99.00 :-)


    It is heavy. In desktop mode, everything is tiny. For a laptop, the screen is small.

      I carry a heavy-ass laptop back and forth from home to work every day, and to clients. Yet when I get to work, all I do is plug it into a monitor and keyboard on my desk. At clients, all I do is take notes. With a Surface Pro I can still do that (DisplayPort connecting to my monitor) and ALSO use it as a tablet.

      Sounds pretty damned good to me.

        And it just gets better when you use OneNote!

        I've been using tablet PCs for 6 years. During that time the software has taken leaps ahead. I tried the Galaxy Note and it works well, but the software is amateurish at best and there is nothing out there - paid or not - that can make it any better.

        Surface Pro gives me everything I love about a tablet PC and fits it into an 11" tablet. It just hit my sweet spot and should kill any other tablet for office / study / meeting uses (i.e. any arena that is semi-professional or more).

        The only thing needed to call it a perfect fit for use is extending the battery life out to 10 hours. Battery cover Microsoft? I'd buy 2 battery covers if one had a keyboard.

    The RT was a decent answer to the iPad, but people kept their expectations for it to be a full x86 OS, which it was never supposed to be. As for the Pro - not buying into it, my expectations from a tablet is long battery life. The Atom tablets look more appealing in that regard, especially since I don't plan to run Photoshop or do video encoding on a tablet.

      I have been using my Surface RT non-stop and now I keep having to fight my girlfriend for it. The biggest problem it has is that it IS more than an iPad but not as much as a PC. The extra windowsy bits seem to make people expect more... and to be fair, Microsoft hasn't exactly been eager to disabuse people of such notions. Essentially, it is an App Store based tablet, just like the iPad, and they need to improve the available library. There are good apps creeping in, but there is a hell of a lot more cheap and nasty stuff flooding in to hide the gems. The single most important factor is the available apps. That is the make or break here IMO.

        "but there is a hell of a lot more cheap and nasty stuff flooding in to hide the gems"

        Just like in the iPad store.. Just like on Google play..

        Every platform has good apps that are outnumbered 10 to 1 by crap ones.

      Soldant! Oldschool GA repping!

        Always wondered if it was the same Hinee from GA all those years ago.

          let's make it a party!

            MSPHO is the new SLOW?

          Consider me as tele-fragd checking in.
          I've missed Soldant's retorts in the ol' GA ISP forum.

          I haven't visited GA in years.

      Yep, and that's the whole Windows 8 problem in a nutshell. Both versions look exactly the same but run very differently, but they are different enough from the old version of windows that it takes a lot of effort to learn the new way. People don't really want metro on computers. some people just hate it, and even the microsoft fans say "i see my desktop 99% of the time anyway" or "i just use it as a start menu and it's hidden most of the time". The drive for the new flat user interface has seemingly resulted in something that people just want to get out of the way. By removing all the chrome they have inadvertently created a whole interface of chrome.

    This seems to position itself somewhere between the elbow and the armpit, too heavy to be a comfortable tablet and not beefy enough to replace a laptop, but I haven't used one so could be wrong.

      Who said it was too heavy? It's 900g; the hard-cover novel I'm currently reading weighs more than that (it maxes out my 1kg kitchen scales). It is also easily beefy enough to replace a laptop, given that most laptops have weaker specs. This is Core i5, 1080p HD screen and a super-fast SSD. Those are specs to rival high-end laptops. Compare it to a base model MacBook Air and it blows it out of the water. Even the top-of-the-line Air can't match that screen.

        I agree with you on most points, but "most laptops have weaker specs"? An i5, 4GB RAM, 128GB HD and Intel integrated graphics are slightly sub-par to your usual mid-range laptop. It betters maybe a third of the current market, though at a premium in comparison.

        Also, aside from the screen, it's almost exactly on par with the Air, so I wouldn't say it "blows it out of the water". Given that it is also a tablet replacement, however, it leaves the iPad for dead. If you factor in it does the work of both an iPad and an Air, it starts looking like a real bargain. I'll be waiting until I can play with one to decide for sure, but I'm very likely to replace my iPad 2 with a Surface Pro at this point.

          Go into any Harvey Norman or JB Hi-Fi store and see how many laptops they have on display sport better specs than this. Most of them are using either cheap AMD CPUs or Core i3. Yes, Core i5 is Intel's mid-range CPU but that is not the same as average. Very few customers actually see any need for more than a Core i3, so a Core i5 Surface Pro will exceed most customer's needs.

          The 11.6" Air's screen is 1366x768, which is on par with the Surface RT. Even the larger 13.3" Air only manages 1440x900, nowhere near 1920x1080. OK, upon checking it seems Apple are no longer doing a Core i3 Air, so on that front they are similar now.

        I find those little 12 inch screens to small for a lappy let alone a 10 inch screen, so IN MY OPINION it's not big enough to replace a laptop, I understand what you're saying about books being heavier (I use a kindle so doesn't matter) but books are more ergonomic to hold when laying on a couch etc, so the extra weight is okay, I already find an iPad a little awkward to hold at 600g when laying back (and plenty of others report the same) so add an extra 50% to that and it's not going to replace a magazine anytime soon. So too answer your question "who said it was too heavy?" I did, for me, to be a tablet. I'll take my kindle/laptop combo over one of these any day. But that's just one guys opinion, you're may vary drastically and I hope it does.

          The thing I didn't like about my 11.6" Zenbook was the resolution more than the actual screen size. That said, I can't see a 10" screen running at 1920x1080 being terribly useful either, but you'll be able to hook it up to a monitor for more serious work. I reckon it would be an awesome thing to have on stage and the HD res would work OK for me in that scenario.

    I'm not sure that battery life will be such an issue. Surface Pro will be packing the new Ivy Bridge CPUs, the ones Intel reckon use less than half the power of the current Ivy Bridge equivalents. They are saying power consumption is down from 17W to as little as 7W. If that's true, then these things should last more than well enough. After all, who physically uses their tablet for 10 hours a day without any opportunity to plug it in somewhere? You might use it for 5 or 6 hours over a 10 hours period but even my laptop can handle that.

      Early reports were suggesting 3 hour battery life, wether that turns out to be absolutely true, who knows, I'm expecting around 5. I was holding out for a pro, given I'm heading to university, being able to use Office on it would be awesome, however, with 5 hours life? The RT comes with Office and offers around 9 - 11 hours, which is far superior in terms of not shutting down half way during the school day :\

        Nobody knows, it is all speculation and I think those estimates were based on the current range of i5 CPUs. If that's the case then you can divide 3 hours by 7 and multiply by 17, which will give you more than 7 hours, which I reckon is perfectly acceptable.

        Why would you have your tablet on the whole day at uni? You'd turn it off to move from one class to the next, or at least let it go to sleep, and for at least part of the time it would be sitting there idle when it is on. If you think about it, you'd probably only actually use it 3 or 4 hours in a normal day and the rest of the time it would be drawing very little power, if any at all.

          Battery life estimates were taken from a tweet on the official Surface twitter which suggested it'd have half the battery life of the Surface RT... which gives it about 4 hours. 7 hours is awfully optimistic. And yes there are people who are away from power points for extended periods - I could be away from power in a remote area for 12 hours at a time.

            So could I but I don't see why I'd have my computer running for that entire time. And again, the 7 hour battery life of the SurfaceRT is based on run-down tests, not on real world usage. In an article titled "My 60 Days With The Surface RT" on ZDnet, Ed Bott says " in all the scenarios I use the Surface RT for, it lasts for several days of off-and-on usage, and it can recharge 50% in an hour or top off completely in about two hours." (Apparently iPads take much, much longer to recharge.) Battery run-down tests give you a comparison against other tablets, they don't really tell you much about how long it will actually last in normal usage.

    Big question for me is price. I really need to see how much it costs and what you get for that. After all Ferraris are very nice cars, I would love one, but there's no way in hell I could afford one.

      $999 was the starting price thrown around I've heard.

        I saw $899 on the US website. God knows how much that'll translate to here.

        Anything approaching $1000 is too expensive IMO. For that price I could get a nice-ish laptop AND an iPad.

          I think your idea of "nice-ish" laptop isn't really the pinnacle of quality if you can afford that and an iPad for $1000. An Ultrabook wont save you much money for similar specs, definitely doesn't leave change for an iPad.

          Yeah, get real Cameron. An iPad costs more than half of your $1000 budget, so that will leave you $300-$400 for a laptop, which is not going to buy you a Core i5.

            Not sure where you are shopping.

            A few i3 ultrabooks to choose from at $716 on the JB Website

            A base model iPad mini is $359 at Target

            By my calculations that is $1075 for a nice-ish laptop (Cameron never said one with the same specs as the Surface Pro) and an iPad.

            For a lot of people an i3 ultrabook is going to be more than enough. I know I could do everything I needed to do with one.

            I like the Surface Pro, but if it is $1300 with a keyboard cover then some users may be better off not going with the tablet form factor.

              iPad Mini is NOT a 10" tablet, so I don't see why you would mention it. But if we're going that way, why not ditch the tablet completely, in favour of your smartphone, and spend the whole grand on a laptop?

              I doubt it will be $1300. Maybe that will be the initial RRP but $1300 is all I paid for my 15" Samsung Series 9 with Core i7 and 8Gb RAM, depsite it's $1900 list price. JB regularly have 20% and 30% off sales on MS hardware, hopefully that will extend to Surface. Only Applytes pay retail prices.

                Anything approaching $1000 is too expensive IMO. For that price I could get a nice-ish laptop AND an iPad.

                Yeah, get real Cameron

                Cameron never stated 10" tablet. He said he could get a nice-ish tablet and an iPad for around $1000. I proved that he could get an ultrabook and an iPad for around $1000.

                I didn't say the Pro would be $1300, just stating an opinion on what would happen if they priced it that high.

                Also, JB quite regularly has sales on Apple hardware.

                  So you're suggesting that any old tablet is going to be good enough? Sorry, it may suit your argument but it makes no sense. You'd be better served suggesting he buy an iPad 2, assuming they still sell them. Whatever, though, you'd end up with two inferior devices because neither would match the Surface Pro's specs. If he'd said "laptop AND a Nexus 7", he might have been in with a shot but he chose iPAd and that doesn't add up.

            I don't need a Core i5 in a laptop. Hell, I barely need it in my desktop. WAY to overpowered (and overpriced).

              But seriously, if you don't want or need an i5 then your argument is invalid.
              The surface will be an equivalent of a powerful laptop. You don't need the power, then you don't really need a Surface Pro. Compare the Surface Pro to the Samsung Slates, that is their equivalent. The 7 series slate RRP's for about $1500.

              Then why bother with a Surface Pro at all. Buy an iPad and leave us more Surface's. You obviously don't care about full Windows integration, so it shouldn't be an issue.

              Frankly, seven if I pay $1200, as long as I can get 8GB Ram, I'm happy with it. You can't get a decent Ultrabook for less than $1000. Certainly not one with an SSD and HD screen.

                I'm pretty sure it comes with 4Gb RAM, which is plenty for pretty much everything. With a superfast SSD you won't even notice when/if it starts swapping.

                  True. But I don't like the idea of 4GB of RAM. 4GB of RAM is 2 years ago standard. 8 is standard now and 12-16 is the "futureproofing" most people choose. I mean, come on, 16GB of desktop RAM (yes, I know SoDIMM is more expensive) is $168...from Kingston!!

                  I feel 8GB would make this perfect. 4GB is ok, as you say, with an SSD (it's still 10 times faster than even the best SSD at about 600Mbps (for SSD) and 6Gbps for RAM). But 8GB and I'd be pretty much "Shutup and take my money" no questions asked.

                  Last edited 11/01/13 1:26 pm

                  So you're more interested in current standards than what is actually workable? I have a meter that monitors the size of my page file and since going from 4Gb to 8Gb I have not noticed any serious change in the use or size of it, which indicates to me that I am getting no value whatsoever from the extra 4gb. I think the change in standard has far more to do with the cost of RAM than with what is a useful amount to have.

                I paid $999 for the Samsung Series 9 13" ultra (i5, 4gb, 128 ssd, 1600x900) for the girlfriend. You saying thats not decent? haha. That screen is amazing, if the Surface Pro is of the same quality it'll be an amazinly little unit.

                  Lol, actually, that's true, I'd forgotten the 9 series :P

                  I'll amend that to "very few Ultrabooks below $1000" for you :D

                  And it's not touchscreen :P

                I do care. But, again, the price has to be right. More than $1,000 for a tablet is not appropriate for me. You may be happy to spend that much but I'm not.

                Would I like a full version of Windows running on a tablet? Sure.

                  It's not a tablet. Its a slate. Surface RT was a tablet and everyone THOUGHT it's be a slate which is why everyone was disappointed- they compared it to the wrong things. Remember slates? Full boar Windows touchscreens?

                  A tablet is designed primarily for entertainment and light work. Add a bluetooth keyboard and mouse to the Surface Pro however and it becomes a full boar touchscreen laptop, able to to EVERYTHING an Ultrabook or laptop can do. (for a start it'll output 2 workable desktops. A tablet won't do that)

                  Hell, it can do more than my 4 year old desktop and is 1/10th the size AND works on battery AND has a touchscreen. If that isn't worth $1000 for you....well, each to their own, but I'd prefer spending $1000 on this to $750 on a mid-range iPad that can do only 50-70% of what this can do for me.

                  Last edited 12/01/13 8:26 am

                  Well if you compare the American pricing of the RT to the Australian pricing its roughly an extra $100 so with the cover you're looking at $1100 which is tones better than an iPad and better than getting an ultrabook as they can't be used as tablets, only two drawbacks are screen size and battery life.

                  I would definitely go for it for uni beats my heavy 15" core i7 lenovo considering I won't need the full power of an i7 there

    I actually managed to get my hands on the RT recently and the thing is tiny and those screen dimensions are just weird, the pro is the same size or very close. Now granted, I found it very solid and the build quality is great but it's just too small!

      Yeah, it looks really tiny sitting out on display in a shop. But I was just reading a review that said as soon as you hook it up to a monitor it becmes a proper desktop PC and the device itself can be used like a Cintiq tablet. That's when I started to think I may have jumped the gun with my new Series 9. Oh well, decide in haste, repent at leisure.

      maybe it's because I use an iPad and don't have a laptop anymore, but I tried the RT in a shop recently and it seemed big. Matter of perspective?

    I don't understand why the hate for the RT.

    IT'S A TABLET. Meant to compete with the iPad, Galaxy Tab/Note and Nexus.

    At being a tablet, it beats them all, AND comes with a 2 year hardware warranty no less.

    Hmmm... the age-old balance of power and portability. If it's similar to Surface RT the look, fit and finish will be great. For me, I don't need a kickstand or FHD 10" display. Happy to trade those for something that can easily handle StarCraft II.

    So there's the Razer Edge - if we had more details I'd know which I want. If the Edge has an ordinary video out (some HDMI or DisplayPort variant), microSD card slot, USB3.0 (I know it has USB but not what kind) and Bluetooth, I'm sold on that instead!

    I have had my surface now for 2 months, and I could not be happier! I have had an IPad 2 before, then I had the godzilla of the Google tablets, Asus transformer Prime, and now the Surface, and out of all of them, I find the Surface my favourite.

    I have the type cover keyboard, and I have to say, since I bought the Surface, I have not had to use my laptop, unless I had to process my photos, the rest of it my Surface makes light work of. It is quick, snappy and very user friendly. I love the fact that you do not get confused with the apps, compared to google, where you have this hybrid phone app looking crappy on the tablet, the whole environment is very user friendly, and a pleasure to use. Sure the windows store is still a bit light on applications, but they are coming in quickly, it is not a dessert any more. The only apps I still miss is facebook, a spotify or mog app , since I have subscriptions to them, but the rest is all there.

    Did I mention how much I love the fact that I can whip out a USB flash drive, pop it in the side and use the documents! Awesome!

    With the Ipad and transformer I had a few glares on the train, but with the surface, I have a crowd staring! Love it!

    All I say is that I have heard the complaints about the Surface RT, and I can say that it is not that bad. I did not look to replace my desktop machine, I wanted an alternative to ipad or a google tablet, and I got it, and a fantastic one too! I will not look back, that I can tell ya!

    Sure the Surface Pro will be awesome, and better, but that is a matter of what you compare it to. You cannot compare the RT version to a desktop running windows and then shoot it down for not being able to run sql server and visual studio etc. It is a tablet competing with IPad and Google.

    I cannot wait to get my hands on the Surface Pro, who knows, I might even get rid of my laptop too then!

      you´re welcome ;)

    Hurry up and announce a date! I'll be ordering this as soon as available. 128gb please! I could happily use this as a consumption device, a mobile work device, and then plug it into a monitor and use a bluetooth keyboard/mouse to replace a desktop. It's not going to be the most powerful device out there, but it'll be just as good as any i5 ultrabook.

    I'm using a Samsung ativ pro with pretty much identical specs to the Surface pro only its thinner and 11.6". Love it! I can only imagine the surface would be the same experience. My battery life is 4-5 hours browsing and standard usage or 2-3 playing skyrim with a 360 gamepad. Not sure what the battery in the surface is rated at but there you go.

      Same here, I have the 700T. It plays my Dota 2 replays at a very acceptable framerate, though I haven't actually tried to play a game on it so far. Speed is off the charts. 5 second boot times, great battery life. My only gripe is that I had to reinstall windows 8 and all the shiny drivers to get rid of the Samsung shitware.

      Amazing little piece of kit. If the Surface Pro can rival its performance it will do well.

    I still want to know if a company is doing a docking station for it where two external monitors can be connected to the docking station??? I'm hoping the specs can or will allow for it

      I can't see the Intel 4000HD graphics being able to do much with dual monitors, unless they are 1024 x 768 or something.

        With nearly all businesses on or moving to two monitors for Laptops and Desktops, if a Win8 Tablet can do that...It will replace all the laptops in the business here

          What businesses? The only dual monitor set-ups where I work are the edit and graphics suites. Everyone else gets by just fine with one.

            Two monitors where I work for all desktop and laptops (two external screens), it helps and increases work, aids the business in saving money on paper as they can use the second screen to view the printout (so to speak). Many businesses use two monitors as it does all this and more. So if the Surface or another Win8 Pro Tablet can allow two external monitors (say 19inch and higher) to be used then there will be at least 20 purchased here.

            Two monitors aren't just for graphic editor. Hell I have two monitors at home and hoping to move to three soon (gaming mainly)

              Again, nowhere that I've worked in recent years. Not at Autodesk, not at Channel 7 nor at Channel 9. If I had two monitors at home, I would still only hook one up. I see absolutely zero advantage to them and the degradation in graphics performance is unacceptable. I can't look at both of them at once, so all I'm doing is swapping a mouse movement for a head movement. I leave Outlook open on my second monitor at work, just so it looks like I'm using it, but I do all my work on the other one.

                we all have dual monitors as standard, first implemented with our CAD, GIS and survey groups. Most local and state government departments have also moved to dual screen environments in an effort to reduce the amount of paper copies. Sounds to me that you use dual screens quite efficiently, o for mail, one for work :P

                  How does a second monitor reduce paper? You can open as many windows on a monitor as you like, it's not like you reach a limit and have to move to a second one.

            surprising amount of contact centre departments (there's one in my org) use dual monitors. And an increasing number of non-'creative' departments.

              no, no they dont, it cant be true cause motormouth doesn't know of it. They cant be saving paper or being more efficient, it just cant be possible

    can not wait for this.
    my ONLY concern is battery life. but im hoping that turning screen brightness down and maybe even clocking the cpu down may help.

    i will only need more than 5 hours on things like flights, otherwise i will always have power sometime during my day.

    also 900g is quite light.

    very excited. i think this will help me quite a lot for work

    I need to see the battery life. Other reviews are saying the Surface RT doesn't have battery life commensurate with its class. If the Surface Pro has even less than that, then it's probably not a device get me through a full day of meetings out of the office.

      I've read that, yet in some of those same reviews, they show a chart that puts it about in the middle.

    They should've released this first, then the RT.

      Except they've been waiting for these new Ivy Bridge CPUs, so it would have meant missing the Xmas buying season.

    I've been waiting for this one and will snap this up instantly. For someone who works in construction (in the field) and travels a lot like myself this is perfect. After 2 years of persevering with an iPad I've come to the conclusion it's a media consumer and web browser....that's it. I need something that I can WORK with.

    That said, I'm more than a little interested in how well the stylus works, and whether hand writing recognition is native in programs such as office. That functionality alone would see this device devoured by any corporate business with a lot of travel. Please Gizmodo look into the stylus functionality in your full review.

    Seriously, I share the excitement of this author, the Surface Pro could be a real game changer.

    This would be great in the corporate arena... if only it came with Windows XP like a lot of big co's are still on haha.

    But seriously, I can see this being a highly capable workplace solution, especially if they make a dock that hooks up a monitor, keyboard and mouse to it. Would probably be a perfect size to have email running on whilst keeping an external monitor for primary tasks.

    Personally, I'll wait until they bring out an i7, 8gb+ RAM and graphics processing to match. When that happens I might genuinely consider using one as my one and only fully-fledged PC. Hopefully Miracast or something is implemented by then too.

    Will we see this in stores? Or do we have to take your word that it's good and order through the web site?

      Following the Surface RT I'd say you'll be able to get it from stores about 2 months after online orders open.

    Wish I could afford it. Maybe the Surface 2 :(

    My iPad is probably one of the best buys I've made in recent years, but a Surface Pro I'd prefer.

    Sam Biddle continues to miss the point that the Surface RT was aimed at people for whom an iPad was not enough but a $1000 laptop is too much- the point was to bring a touch screen tablet which was also perfectly acceptable for word processing, blogging and other things which an iPad is not comfortable for, at an iPad-like price. And it succeeded.

    I can't see the Surface Pro doing very well for the simple reason that if you needed a full-powered Windows laptop and had $1000 to spend, you were already spoiled for choice. Whereas the Surface RT actually filled a market niche which wasn't occupied... the problem the RT had is lack of apps and (originally) lack of availability in stores for people to try before they buy. Sure, the Surface RT wasn't powerful enough for Sam's requirements, but it's a pretty lousy reviewer who can only judge a product by whether they need it themselves.

      The problem is having access to the desktop on Windows RT confuses consumers and makes them expect more. I don't see any reason for desktop mode to be there at all except for the fact Microsoft ran out of time to "Metro" Office 2013.

        But I can understand why it's there. Just being able to press WIN+E and get an Explorer window open puts it head and shoulders above iOS and Android tablets.

          Yeah just the other day my mother waved her iPad in my face yelling "where is the goddamn Explorer window"

            Just the other day my mother waved her surface saying "I'm confused by this desktop in Windows RT!"

            No, wait, that's something only said by Apple fans trying to dissuade people from even trying out a Surface RT.

        Where are all these confused customers that people keep predicting? You'd think we'd have heard something by now. No apocalypse. No angry mob with pitchforks. No irate soccer mums. Where are these sub intelligent zombie hordes you speak of?

          How about Sam Biddle here? He clearly expects more out of the RT than what it is designed for. Why do you think he expects so much more from the RT and is dissapointed when comparing it to the iPad? It seems to be the general attitude of all these blogs. They aren't comparing the RT to an iPad, they're complaining about how it can't do as much as a PC like it's some kind of tragic flaw.

            He seems completely aware of the advantages and capabilities of each of the devices. It just seems that the Pro version is more suited to him, and he's figured that out just fine.

            Sam Biddle writes for Gizmodo US. We were talking about normal people here. :P

    Everyone is full of opinions, so I thought I would add mine ! I have a Surface RT, I also have an iPad and an iPhone. Does the surface replace the iPad .... no .... is it better than the iPad ... no ... is it different ... YES ! It does everything for me that the iPad cannot do from a business perspective (ie. native office). The RT is excellent, I think the Pro will be excellent, and the iPad is excellent, but they are not going to be replacements for each other, it all comes down to what you need it for ... for work, business travel and the like, the RT rocks. For home entertainment integration, photos, kids with a little bit of work, the iPad rocks. I bet that the pro will not rock in both of those, cause it is just a small PC and everyone will expect it to do everything, that it will not be able to do ... that is why we have tablets !
    Just my thoughts.

      That is why you have tablets but I have a phone for that stuff.

        you missed the point motormouth ... it is all about fusion tech, the ipad does it well with an entertainment focus, the surface rt does it well with a workflow focus ... phones (and I don't care what the make) all can do it, but they never get close in implementation because they are primarily a phone ...

          I don't see that at all. I use my Playbook for exactly the same things I use my phone and PC for and I don't find it better at anything. In my experience it is the worst of both worlds - none of the power of my PC and nothing like the convenience of my phone.

            then you clearly have different needs from a workflow perspective, good luck !

              Are you embarassed to explain your situation or something? All I'm after isa little understanding of your position, is that really so hard ot provide?

                no not hard at all, quite simple.

                - iPhone 4S is what I currently use for a phone, but tempted to go to Samsung / HTC / nokia next time around as I think iOS is ageing and falling behind the others, but interested to see what develops in 2013.
                - iPad 3 - my second iPad, used it significantly for work when travelling and entertainment when at home as well as the usual mail stuff etc ... excellent for entertainment and mail, but terrible for anything that requires serious use of word or excel. Now stays at home.
                - MS Surface RT - new purchase, specifically for work, and it is in a separate class to the iPad completely, I am not saying it is better, it just does the work stuff better (ie word, excel).
                - work notebook, window machine, basic but that is all that is needed, it stays in the office because the surface replaces everything I need the notebook for out of the office. The iPad could not do that.

    Apple: Faster, thinner, lighter, same battery life
    Microsoft: Faster, fatter, heavier, half the battery life

      How do you work that out? Are you comparing the iPad to the new Surface Pro? Surface RT is meant to compete with iPads and the Surface Pro is meant to compete with other Laptops, of course it's going to be a bigger drain on any battery because it's using an Intel chip instead of ARM (Win8RT) which uses a lot less power.

        Well, it doesn't matter, apple NEVER half the battery life, dramatically increase the weight and size, just to make a product more powerful. Whether that be MacBooks, iPhones or iPads. That's all I'm saying.

        And the surface pro is not a laptop, first off it has a 10" display, the max storage capabilities are 128 GB, it can only get 4gb of ram. At best, it is a device where Microsoft couldn't decide whether to make a tablet or a laptop, and settled for a weird compromise.

          Why is that not a laptop? It will run 3DS Max, After Effects, Premiere Pro, Cubase, SoundForge and anything else a laptop will run. I mentioned it before but if you look at all the laptops on display at any shop, the vast majority of them would have worse specs than Surface Pro. So if Surface Pro isn't a laptop, then I suppose most of the laptops on sale aren't laptops, either.

      most comments: opinionated, speculative, relevant
      deylan's comments: opinionated, speculative, half the relevance

        How on earth is that opinionated or speculative, the specs are on the Surface website, they're based on facts, including the half battery life which is based on a statement from Microsoft.

        Whether it's relevant, I'll leave that to your opinion!

          The MacBook Air (incidentally roughly the same specification as the surface pro) gets less than half the battery life of the iPad. The surface pro and the iPad are not equivalent products, so don't treat them as such.

      Apple: beautiful design, fast, convenient, good battery life, great for entertainment, average for doing any real work.
      Microsoft: beautiful design, not as fast but good enough, convenient, battery life seems pretty good to me, average for entertainment, excellent for workflow

      Guess it means that Microsoft is targeting a different market ... one they already own ?
      Seems pretty smart to me ... I wonder what apple's response will be ?

    Gizmodo, when you do a full review can you test something that no one else will.
    Can you see how long the battery lasts when only in the start screen. I will mainly be in that screen when on battery, so shouldn't have the desktop draining it and i guess it should last longer.

    unfortunatly, while waiting, i eyed off a top of the range laptop for use...

    might still get the surface pro, will give it to my sister, who is starting up a new business and will need to see customers, plugging in her camera, and viewing the pics in lightroom with some quick simple edits would be fantastic for her.

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