Surface Pro review roundup: A powerful, speedy Windows 8 tablet, dinged for weight and battery life issues

February 6, 2013

“I like the original Surface and see it as a tablet with the extra benefit of some Microsoft Office programs,” says Walt Mossberg for All Things Digital.

“However, I am less enamored with the Surface Pro. It's too hefty and costly and power-hungry to best the leading tablet, Apple's full-size iPad. It is also too difficult to use in your lap. It's something of a tweener—a compromised tablet and a compromised laptop.”

“We physically couldn't get comfortable with the tablet. When laying it flat on a lap it's fine, but we could never find a good way to hold it in a more upright position,” adds Engadget editor Tim Stevens.

“At about two pounds, it's definitely on the heavy side, which is one major strike against and that, combined with the angular edges that dig into fleshy parts of hands, means this is not a tablet you'll want to hold for long.”

“At the time of my review of Surface RT I indicated that I'd consider it more of a hotshot if it could run older Windows software,” writes Ed Baig for USA Today.

“Well, Surface Pro obviously can do that, so I'll stick to my word and call it a hotshot. It's blistering fast. The screen is beautiful. It's a solid hybrid between tablet and laptop. But you still have to take to the radically different Windows 8 operating system. And I wish it were cheaper, had more available apps and storage and longer battery life."

“The Surface Pro does a nice job running lots of apps simultaneously. Powered by a Core i5 processor, 4GB of RAM and the 64GB solid-state drive, the Pro is just as capable and fast as most laptops,” says ABC News’ technology editor Joanna Stern.

“Programs load quickly and, in contrast to the Surface RT, there's none of that lag or stuttering when switching apps or swiping them in from the left. It also resumes from sleep in seconds and boots in under 10 seconds."

“In general, it runs remarkably smoothly. I consistently switch around between a dozen different apps, some streaming music or movies, and the Surface Pro never stumbled once in normal use,” observes David Pierce for The Verge.

“Where the Surface RT took forever to load anything, and stumbled its way through any kind of intensive task, the Pro simply flies."

“If only the Surface Pro had excellent battery life,” laments CNET writer Scott Stein.

“It doesn't. In our video-playback battery drain test, the Surface Pro lasted 4 hours and 31 minutes, regardless of whether the Type Cover was connected or not. That's not far off from some other high-powered 11- and 10-inch ultraportables, but it's a big step down the 6-hour mark on many Ultrabooks.”

“Whatever Microsoft calls the Surface Pro, it is, for all intents and purposes, a PC/ultrabook,” stresses ZDNet’s Mary-Jo Foley.

“I keep scratching my head over who Microsoft expects to buy the Surface Pro. It's not as good of a tablet, in terms of weight/battery life, as the Surface RT is. But it's also not as good of a Windows 8 PC as other OEM-produced devices, coming in at lower price points with better battery life and other specs.


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