Review: Microsoft Surface Pro

By Mike Wheeler

Microsoft’s says its Surface Pro is the company’s shot at the tablet market, and aimed specifically at the business sector. While the latter may be true, we think that this device is more of a PC squeezed into a tablet with an under-$1000 price tag.

By Mike Wheeler

Microsoft’s says its Surface Pro is the company’s shot at the tablet market, and aimed specifically at the business sector. While the latter may be true, we think that this device is more of a PC squeezed into a tablet with an under-$1000 price tag.

Out of the box, the first thing you’ll notice is that it has a heavy build compared to other tablets – or ultrabooks for that matter – and that it has a built-in stand at the back so you can look at the screen horizontally (you can even do so vertically, but don’t recommend that due to stability issues). This is why it feels more like a mini PC as opposed to a tablet. The up side for being heavy, also means it is pretty tough. While we wouldn’t throw it down the stairs to test its mettle, it can certainly handle the knocks so would be ideal for industry.

It utilises Windows Pro 8, and is touchscreen enabled, but you can also buy a keyboard that attaches via a magnet so you can have the best of both worlds. Microsoft says that it has all the facets of Windows 8 (and it does), plus an array of business-related features including the Encrypting File System, Hyper-V and BitLocker and more.

Being Windows 8 Pro you get a choice of whether to navigate via tiles or desktop icons. I prefer the tiles myself, and as you would expect, they make navigating a breeze – not that the desktop doesn’t; it all comes down to personal preference.

You also get a digitising pen, which is kind of strange in that most of these types of pens you use for drawing and handwriting – which is what it is designed for here too – but not something you would necessarily see with a tool designed for business.

Spec-wise it comes with Windows Defender security software which asks to run on occasion, and having Bitlocker to encrypt data helps too. It has a handy 4GB of memory, and we must admit we were a little disappointed in the maximum 128GB of storage you get, but it isn’t designed to be your primary PC so this slight is forgivable.

And battery life? Microsoft has hedged its bets by saying you’ll get five hours out of it, but I found with just general mucking around with apps and surfing the web it lasted almost six. However, we’re pretty sure if we were playing some graphic-intensive online games, or watching a tonne of YouTube videos, then it wouldn’t last as long.

Overall, we think Microsoft might have got their marketing strategy a bit wrong on this one. Sure, there are plenty of ‘business’ extras in the feature and apps department, but as mentioned at the top of this review, this is more like a PC wrapped up in a tablet form factor, which leads us to believe the Surface Pro will find uses outside the area for which it was designed.

Pros: Sturdy; plenty of functionality; good price
Cons: Could do with more storage; undersold by manufacturer

4 Shacks Out Of 5

Surface Pro @ Harvey Norman

Surface Pro Homepage

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