1,409 of 1,459 people found the following review helpful
, February 15, 2013
This review is from: Microsoft Surface Pro Tablet 128 GB Hard Drive, 4 GB RAM, Windows 8 Pro - ENGLISH (Personal Computers)
Before the Surface Pro, I owned a MacBook Pro for almost 7 years. Before that I had an HP desktop for about 6 years. So it was time to get something new, and I spent roughly 4 months researching every new computer until I settled on the Surface.
I do not understand the constant comparison of the Surface Pro to the iPad and MacBook Air. Why not compare it to a PS3, or a Toyota Prius. They are not in the same category, and someone who is in the market for an iPad is not in the market for the Surface. I would not even consider buying an iPad, thus I am in the Surface's demographic. Honestly, though, I feel like the Acer Iconia W700 is a better all-around deal, but I simply could not find one in a three month long search after its release. They are both excellent and remarkably similar devices, the Acer is just cheaper and you get more included in the box. But since I could not get my hands on one, here I am with a shiny new Surface Pro, and I am perfectly content with it.
The Surface looks great. It is definitely a well-made device, and you can tell a lot of thought went into every detail. It may be heavy compared to a Kindle, but to me it feels like a computer should. If this is too heavy for you, then you probably need to go to the gym more. In landscape mode, the Surface is short and fat, which works well for some programs, and not so much for others. In portrait mode, it's long and narrow. Again, sometimes this is good, and sometimes not. The material feels smooth and high quality. However, when you are holding up a $1000 tablet, that smoothness is a bit unnerving. I'd recommend a case if you're going to be carrying it around a lot.
This is what you buy a PC for. I immediately loaded MATLAB, started my Office 365 trial, set up all my email accounts, and got to work. I've pushed this thing pretty hard; having simultaneous programs running doesn't even make it flinch. I've had multiple downloads going, Netflix streaming HD movies, and MATLAB and Excel running all at once, and I didn't notice any significant lag. Working on the small screen takes some getting used to, especially for coding or spreadsheets, but the fact that it's even possible on a tablet is impressive. The Surface won't be replacing your 32 GB RAM desktop power-horse work station, but it can generally get the job done.
This is not a gaming PC. They make gaming PC's, specifically for that purpose. There are even standalone consoles that do nothing but play high end games. All that said, right after Office I loaded up Steam and did some gaming. No, the Surface is not a portable Xbox replacement, but you definitely can play some decent mid-core level games on it. Here is a list of what I've played so far:
Dead Space 2
Super Meat Boy
Far Cry 2
I've even heard games like Skyrim will run just fine, though I haven't tried yet. I'll update this list as I test out more games, but you can probably get a good idea of what this machine is capable of already.
It is small. The resolution is very high. As others have mentioned, this makes things on the desktop very small, and navigating at a 100% viewing level is challenging, to say the least. It's a gorgeous screen, extremely bright, and beautiful to look at. But working in the traditional Windows desktop mode is difficult. You can work around this in most programs by increasing the view, but not everything has been optimized for the Surface yet, and sometimes you have to choose between either a tiny screen or blurry text.
The touch functions of Windows 8 work great. I love all of the swipe gestures, and coming from a Windows Phone, they are not too hard to learn. The pen is fun and remarkably useful. It makes an excellent alternative to the track pad, and is good enough to even recognize my sloppy cursive hand writing. Not sure it's going to replace hand writing in a notebook, but it's a fun option. If you need to include complicated equations in word documents, the pen sure beats typing them out. Once more programs are optimized for touch, it will only get better.
BATTERY LIFE / FAN / STORAGE / APPS
These are the big negatives I've read about most. I haven't timed the battery life yet, but I've used it a bunch of times while unplugged and have not found myself running to a power outlet because the battery drained out. I've been working this thing pretty hard, and the battery has not seemed at all unreasonable, though like with anything, it could probably be better.
Like I've said, I haven't been easy on the Surface, and I have yet to get the fans running. It does get warm, and you can feel a slight breeze of hot air coming from the side vents, but I still haven't triggered the fans. Not sure what I have to do to get them going, I'm hoping they aren't broken.
I had 89.4 GB of free space right out of the box. I have yet to uninstall anything, or remove the recovery partition, but I'd estimate that once I do I'll have an extra 12 or so GB's of space, plus 64 from an SD card, and pretty much an infinite amount from USB drives. For my purposes I don't think I will ever need more than the original 90-ish GB.
I don't even understand the app argument. Maybe for Windows Phones, or the Surface RT, but with the Pro you have access to literally the entire software world. I don't need a 99 cent photo editing app, I have Adobe Photoshop. I don't need some Angry Birds type of game, I have Skyrim and Black Ops. Not sure how apps even got into the argument against Surface.
Though the type cover isn't technically part of the Surface, I feel it is worth mentioning. The Surface isn't exactly "bricked" without a keyboard, but I find it hard to imagine getting any real work done without one. The smaller size and form factor take some getting used to, but I have had no problems typing with it, and all the old Windows shortcuts work fine on it. It is a bit flimsy, probably because it's so thin, and it feels kind of cheap. It works great, I just wanted a little more for over a hundred dollars. The track pad, however, is awful. Mac definitely has the market on track pads, and this one does not live up to that standard. Even with the help of the touch screen and pen, sometimes you just need the traditional point-and-click of a mouse. For that reason, I'd highly recommend getting a separate Bluetooth mouse to go along with the type cover. And don't forget, this is a full-blown Windows PC with Bluetooth and USB, so you can get any keyboard you want to work with your Surface, not just Microsoft's.
My one big problem with the Surface is the lack of ports. I would love to have just one more USB 3.0 port. The cameras on here are awful, as they are with any tablet, and I would have gladly taken the option to not have any if it meant getting another port.
Microsoft knows how to make good hardware, and how to inject themselves into a crowded market, as we have all seen with the Xbox. I'm a little bit nervous of a "red ring of death" scenario, but so far the tablet is everything I was looking for. There are still some compatibility issues, such as Kindle not working with text books, but that is a Windows 8/Amazon problem.
All in all, I'm very happy with the Surface Pro. Hope this was helpful, please ask if there's anything else you'd like to know.
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