Tom Warren of The Verge got an early look at Microsoft’s Surface Pro. His immediate reaction:
Like the Surface RT before it, the Surface Pro isn’t the perfect notebook or the perfect tablet. It’s still difficult to use this device on your lap and the screen angle isn’t adjustable. It’s also a 16:9 tablet so using this device in portrait is comical. You could say these are obvious flaws in the product, but if you’re willing to forgive both of them for a portable power house with beautifully engineered hardware then the Surface Pro isn’t going to disappoint. The question of battery life remains, and it’s an important one, but Microsoft has set up Windows 8 with some great hardware here. All that remains is more touch-friendly apps to take advantage of the focus on a new UI in Windows 8.
The regular Surface was a big fail for a number of reasons — and it was hardly just a lack of apps. It sounds like the Pro version is significantly faster, but that means a huge hit in battery life, a not-insignificant increase in thickness, and more weight. Oh, and let’s not forget, this thing is also going to cost a whole hell of a lot more.
So remind me again by this will be a success where the regular Surface wasn’t? Because the kickstand improves the viewing angle by four degrees? Because it has a stylus? I mean, it actually comes with a stylus!
Warren’s conclusion seems close. This isn’t a tablet. It’s much more of a notebook, but it’s an expensive one (by PC standards) that you can’t actually use in your lap. So what is it? I don’t think anyone knows. Including people inside Microsoft. And ultimately, most importantly, consumers.
This is for people who need a notebook that runs Windows, but also want a tablet and don’t want to haul around a separate device. This appears to be a good solution for people who don’t need to use it as a PC in their actual laps, but there are convertible tablets from other vendors that can be used in the lap. The main selling point: this is absolutely the best tablet you can buy on the market that is also a full-fledged Windows PC.