Posted by: Onuora Amobi
Saturday is the big day for the Microsoft Surface Windows 8 Pro (awfully long name isn’t it?) in the United States and Canada. With the day coming closer, the first official hardware reviews have now hit, giving us a better idea of what to expect with the Surface.
So what’s the good word? Depending on who you ask, the Surface Pro is either a failed attempt at innovation or the greatest thing since sliced bread. On the average though, the reviews seem to paint a pretty clear picture:
The Surface Pro is a passable tablet. A passable laptop/home PC. But it isn’t anything special.
If this was just another run-of-the-mill computing device from the many Windows PC vendors out there, I would say that’s not a big deal. After all, it will appeal to some. Instead, this is a FLAGSHIP device meant to represent the best of the Windows 8 world.
So let’s take a look at just a few of the reviews that out there:
All Things D:
According to Walt Mossberg the Surface Pro is too expensive, hefty, and power-hungry when compared to the iPad. He also says it was too difficult to use in your lap as an ultrabook.
Other criticisms included battery life (at around 4 hours) and ultimately states that like many products that try to be two things at one time, it ends up doing neither that well.
In his own words:
“Just as the Pro is compromised as a tablet, it’s compromised as a laptop… Some users may not mind the price or bulk of the Surface Pro if it frees them from carrying a tablet for some uses and a laptop for others. But like many products that try to be two things at once, the new Surface Windows 8 Pro does neither as well as those designed for one function.”
According to Dan Ackerman, this might be one of the best hybrids of the tablet and laptop, by some standards. Unforunately, Ackerman also pointed out the pricing and other issues. Basically CNET felt that it was an okay first attempt, but they noted they were holding out for the next generation.
Summing it up, here’s a bit from that interview:
Maybe you don’t need Windows at all. If your tablet is mostly for video streaming, casual gaming, e-book reading, and other consumption tasks, one of the current breed of larger-screen, high-capacity tablets might be right for you. Apple’s recent upgrade of the iPad to 128GB of storage puts it in the same category as most ultrabooks when it comes to capacity. But, the inflated price may make a Windows 8 product more attractive. For significantly less, you can try a 10-inch Android tablet, such as the new Google Nexus 10; however, its SSD options are limited.
Larry Magid seemed to feel that it wasn’t quite perfect as a laptop replacement, and too expensive to be just a tablet. Summing up his feelings:
As a tablet, it works well, although at 2 pounds without a physical keyboard, it’s heavier than the 1.44 pound iPad with Retina display. I like Microsoft’s onscreen keyboard and agree that the Windows 8 tiles interface works well for a touchscreen tablet.
The Verdict Seems to Be In: What Does that Mean?
There are MANY more reviews out there. Some are ultra positive – like Paul Thurrott’s review – some are cautiously optimistic, some are negative and some say it is the worst thing ever.
Things don’t look great, but before we get too negative here, let’s remember that many of these reviews seem to be looking at the device through everyday consumer eyes. This is a business device after all. It doesn’t do everything right, but it could certainly find niche appeal among some users.
That’s probably the biggest problem though. It is becoming a niche item, not a great representation of what Windows 8 is capable of. That would be fine if the Surface RT was a runaway success for Microsoft, something it isn’t just yet.
Microsoft is far from down and out, and anything can happen if they play their cards right. For now, it’s hard to say what the future holds for Microsoft and its Surface brand. What do you think, are you excited for the Surface Pro or not?