Microsoft Surface Pro

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Reviewed by Mark LaCroix (Currently owns)


I am a video editor and motion graphics designer. I have a powerful workstation in my home office, so my secondary laptop/tablet needs have never been more than netbook-level. For a while, I was looking to replace my EeePC 1101HA with a similarly compact device that can browse the web, triage email, and run scriptwriting software.

However, inspired by the insane variety of Windows 8 devices, I decided that in addition to my normal laptop use-cases, I wanted something with a Wacom digitizer to run Photoshop, and at least a mid-range Intel processor to run my video and graphics software for out-of-the-office scenarios, which have become more frequent in the last year.

As a designer, I've always appreciated efficiently sculpted objects (It's partially why I prefer Sony TVs), but in the end, I am usually swayed more by specs than svelte. However, the Surface Pro's design language and aesthetics are so strong, and innovative (which is why I'm done with Samsung devices), that I decided that I would be more willing to overlook things like a middling battery life and a single-USB3 port.

I looked at the VIAO Duo 11 and particularly the upcoming ThinkPad Helix for similar form-factor and performance combos, but those are some seriously uggo chrome. The Helix may outclass the Surface, and it potentially be everything I ever wanted in a device like this, but frankly, I don't even want to look at it.

I'm very happy with the Surface Pro, and all the hallabaloo about the "flaptop" design is silly. A rigid hinge would be interesting, but the reason so many tech blogs are complaining about this is because tech bloggers are among the few people in the world who regularly use laptops on their laps (liveblogs, convention show floors, etc.). If you're looking to use this on your lap, it may not be for you (although it does work), but then again, you already knew that. In my opinion it shouldn't have any effect on the review score, just like you don't knock points off a pickup truck for not seating 12 people, or a compact hybrid for not having 2 tons of towing capacity,

The Breakdown

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  • 10
  • Design 10
  • Display 10
  • Camera(s) 6
  • Speakers 8
  • Performance 9
  • Software 9
  • Battery life 7
  • Ecosystem 10
  • Dock 8
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