Microsoft Surface Pro

Verge Review

I've been waiting to review the Microsoft Surface Pro for a long time. When I decided to make the switch to Windows 8, I did a pretty thorough survey of the computing landscape, and Microsoft's second Surface seemed like it might be the one for me. Microsoft has proven it can build a nice-looking tablet with the Surface RT. Unfortunately, though, that was one of the only things the RT had going for it, and the brutal performance problems outweighed the aesthetic niceties. The Surface Pro was...

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Basic Specs

Thickness 0.53 inches
Weight 1.99 pounds
Screen size (diagonal) 10.6 inches
Operating system Windows 8
CPU brand Intel
CPU family Ivy Bridge
RAM size 4 GB

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Tech Specs

Hardware

Height 6.81 inches
Width 10.81 inches
Thickness 0.53 inches
Weight 1.99 pounds
Color Black
Speakers Stereo

Display

Screen size (diagonal) 10.6 inches
Technology LCD
Resolution (X) 1920 px
Resolution (Y) 1080 px
PPI 207.82
Touchscreen type Dual-digitizer
Multitouch Yes

Software

Operating system Windows 8

Processor

CPU brand Intel
CPU family Ivy Bridge
CPU model Core i5-3317U
Clock speed 1.7 GHz
Cores 2

GPU

Brand Intel
Model HD Graphics 4000

Memory

RAM size 4 GB

Storage

Internal size 64 GB, 128 GB
External storage Yes
External storage support microSD

Connectivity

Wi-Fi Yes
Wi-Fi support 802.11n, 802.11g, 802.11b, 802.11a
Bluetooth Yes
Bluetooth version 4.0

Front Camera

Video resolution 720p

Rear Camera

Video resolution 720p

Ports

Video out Yes
Headphone 3.5mm
Data connections USB 3.0, Mini DisplayPort

Sensors

Sensors Ambient Light, Gyroscope, Compass / Magnetometer, Accelerometer

Battery

Capacity 42 Wh

Recent News

No recent news about Microsoft Surface Pro.

8.8

Average User Review

of 17 total reviews
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  • Design 10
  • Display 10
  • Camera(s) 7
  • Speakers 8
  • Performance 10
  • Software 9
  • Battery life 7
  • Ecosystem 9
  • Dock 9

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  • 9.0
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    Reviewed by talreyami (Currently owns)

    It has exceeded my expectation with his design, display, performance and the interaction with the touch interface. It is the best of its form factor piece of hardware.
    <p>
    I hope the Intel Haswell Chip will waive the batterly life issue. Also I hope the PC games developers are going to push the required updates to make our favourite PC games compatible with Win 8 which i heard that EA is working to solve these issues (special Surface Pro).

    The Breakdown

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    • Display 10
    • Camera(s) 8
    • Speakers 8
    • Performance 10
    • Software 10
    • Battery life 8
    • Ecosystem 10
    • Dock 9
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  • 9.0
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    Reviewed by mikeheel (Currently owns)

    I have 128 GB Surface Pro with a Type Cover and Wedge Mouse. So far, I love it. It has been a great replacement for old laptop and my Android tablet. My lowest day of real-world use was a shade below 6 hours. Most days, I'm getting 7 hours out of it. The screen is amazing. I was concerned about the size, but the easy scaling by touch makes it wonderfully easy to use. My only gripe here is the snap feature (or whatever MS calls it when you can run to two programs side-by-side on the start screen). I love the feature and used it when I gave a presentation last week (had my personal notes up on one side and the presentation paper up on the other so I could keep my speech synchronized with the paper). But I wish you were not limited to a fixed ratio. The kickstand is great. I can easily use this as a laptop on my lap while sitting on the couch, and it is stable enough to use the touchscreen interface. One other benefit is that since the keyboard is the only part on your lap, you don't get a bunch of heat on your lap. Speed and response is impressive. No lag on anything. The pen works well for free-hand notes (particularly when used with OneNote), but it is not perfect. I wish it had a slot for the pen, but I just put in my pen pouch in my briefcase or backpack.. The Wedge Mouse was a nice addition. The touch interface is very smooth. Apps are better than expected, but there are still plenty of holes in the lineup. Installing "legacy apps" (aka, real programs) was perfectly smooth. When I first opened it, I immediately thought it was too heavy. But that feeling went away after about 5 minutes of use. The kickstand helps mitigate the weight in that you can often prop it up with the kickstand rather than support all the weight all the time. Switching from start screen to desktop is not quite the jarring experience it has been portrayed as in some reviews. However, I do miss pinch to zoom and that sort of scalable touch function when running desktop programs. The Type Cover is very good. I also haven't had any issues with the Wedge Mouse. As a productivity tool, I love that it cold boots in 8 seconds (about 2-3 seconds from standby) and shuts down in about 2-3 seconds. I can just pick it up, turn it on, and dive in. It handles everything I've thrown at it smoothly. The touchscreen is addictive. I wish it were just little thinner and lighter, had maybe 25% more battery life, and you could use the full touch interface for desktop programs.

    The Breakdown

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    • Design 9
    • Display 10
    • Camera(s) 6
    • Speakers 7
    • Performance 10
    • Software 10
    • Battery life 7
    • Ecosystem 9
    • Dock 10
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  • 8.0
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    Reviewed by kingraven24 (Currently owns)

    The Surface Pro is quite the device. It shows Microsoft really do have something incredible to offer the technology world, and they're getting it done before Google and Apple. My true overall rating of this device is an 8.5/10. It offers nearly everything I could ask for in a device this size. My only hopes is that in a second generation device, they slim it down just a little, find ways to further improve heat dissipation, bump up battery life a bit, and perhaps move toward something like an AMD APU chip internally. The HD 4000 integrated graphics are adequate, but for those that might want to run a few displays or play a few games, a stronger GPU would be fantastic, and AMD are getting it done the best in that department while still offering powerful-enough CPUs for an environment like Windows 8. Those are all my gripes, but nearly everything about this tablet satisfies me. What a great first generation product. I can only assume that a second generation tablet will be the crown jewel of mobile computing when they get around to it. Apple and Google wish they did it this well their first time out.

    The Breakdown

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    • Design 8
    • Display 9
    • Camera(s) 7
    • Speakers 7
    • Performance 10
    • Software 9
    • Battery life 7
    • Ecosystem 8
    • Dock 9
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  • 9.0
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    Reviewed by lee.dawson.9803 (Currently owns)

    Dear Verge,
    Let me first say that I read your review and watched the video review. Its unfortunate that the Verge was such a downer on this device. I am SOOOOOOO glad I DIDN'T take your advice or your review(s) that serious. See, I am a business professional, and like others that have bought this device. I know that there was more to the story. I could see the possibilities of this device having already owned a Ipad.. Microsoft should be given credit for not just developing a great device, but also for not being part of the "me too" crowd.

    Think about it, here we are walking around with a full fledged pc in our hands that is not only well built, but fast a heck. Something is very wrong when your users rate a product well above your reviewer.
    You can say this is not true, but one would think that you hope to see Microsoft fail. I say this based on the style of writing and the commentary in the video review.

    In the end, the market will decide, but it seems the Surface Pro has hit a sweet spot if the demand reports are true.

    The Breakdown

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    • Camera(s) 8
    • Speakers 8
    • Performance 9
    • Software 9
    • Battery life 8
    • Ecosystem 9
    • Dock 9
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  • 9.0
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    Reviewed by EGHDK (Currently owns)

    Windows 8 is solid, and when you take into account that this is a full computer, and not just tablet hardware, you are impressed and not disappointed by it's battery life. An impressive feat for a software company. The Surface Pro is a must for anyone that uses their computer on their desk, but wants the ability of a tablet from time to time. The portability of this little thing is it's biggest pro.

    The Breakdown

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    • Design 10
    • Display 10
    • Camera(s) 6
    • Speakers 6
    • Performance 9
    • Software 10
    • Battery life 8
    • Ecosystem 10
    • Dock 8
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  • 9.0
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    Reviewed by Mark LaCroix (Currently owns)

    ACTUAL SCORE: 8.5.

    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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    • Camera(s) 6
    • Speakers 8
    • Performance 9
    • Software 9
    • Battery life 7
    • Ecosystem 10
    • Dock 8
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  • 8.0
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    Reviewed by andromeduck (Currently owns)

    Windows 8 still lacks polish in it's new metro ui styled applications. The biult in reader, while totally awsome, is buggy at times and corrupts pen data if screen is rotated.

    There are no good apps on the app market. Most games/popular apps are android 2.3 ports and cost significantly more compared to iOS and android. Angry birds cost $4.99...

    The type cover could have really used a trackpoint as found on thinkpads and select sony ultraportables

    The pen becomes incredibly inaccurate towards the corners, especially the top right.

    No WINTAB driver support so you can forget using the stylus as anything more than a glorifiyed pointer until micrososoft resolves this issue with walcom.

    The display angle too vertical for comftorable lap use, theres no autobrightness...

    The Breakdown

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    • Camera(s) 7
    • Speakers 10
    • Performance 9
    • Software 6
    • Battery life 9
    • Ecosystem 4
    • Dock 9
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  • 9.0
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    Reviewed by smartass1379 (Currently owns)

    Calling this a tablet would not do it justice. It's a new product on its own and in this mindset I think Microsoft has tried to jump ahead of the curve. Although I would love to say this Portable Desktop? Ultra portable laptop? (Obviously I do not know what to call this) is perfect it is not. Battery life is important to people, but in the grand scheme of things many professionals already carry a charging cable for their laptops everywhere they go, why not for a Dablet (Desktop Tablet)? Other than the issue of battery life, this device doesn't have much drawbacks. Yeah the cameras aren't amazing but I'm not the type to take out my Surface Pro to take pictures at Disneyland, which I find extremely bizarre! I also don't things the Windows 8 Metro Marketplace is where it should be, but I do believe it will get there. I love running Adobe Premiere from this thing and I think younger technology adapters as myself will truly find this product revolutionary and easy to integrate into their lives. I have noticed that my older colleagues don't get it. That's why they are the ones who still carry iPhones.

    The writing experience with the type cover has been amazing. I have used this to write many reports make dozens of power points and watched many episodes of Nashville and my device hasn't skipped a beat. I have read people like Paul Thurrott complaining that typing on the Surface Pro is difficult or cumbersome, but I have had nothing but the best experience. Here again, I reference the older generation. No offense Paul!

    The Screen on the Surface Pro is beautiful. When I held it up to my mothers RT device there was no denying that there was a huge difference and although you don't notice with streaming services like Netflix and Hulu but when streaming native HD content the screen shines! Text is clear as day and when using the included pen hand written messages are beautiful and crisp, I couldn't write better in real life.

    So take this device for what it is. The first of its breed, a true powerhouse for the student, business executive, Web site developer, Etc. By no means is this for someone who just want's to watch Netflix or Youtube because that user will seriously hate the battery life and they would definitely expect the battery of an iPad or even the Surface RT.

    The Breakdown

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    • Design 10
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    • Camera(s) 6
    • Speakers 7
    • Performance 10
    • Software 8
    • Battery life 6
    • Ecosystem 8
    • Dock 10
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  • 9.0
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    Reviewed by abc84211 (Currently owns)

    I got the 128GB Surface Pro. This machine is everything I thought it would be: Great. A solid 9.

    Design: The tablet feels solid and the perimeter venting is a genius. The fans are whisper quiet and are only really audible when playing games. My only main annoyance is the connection to the power supply. It's not as easy to align as the magsafe. Often I had to look in order to connect the power instead of it just clicking into place when I got it close. My screen also has one small point at the top that wasn't fully glued in, so it creaks a bit when I press on it. I give Microsoft the benefit of the doubt on this, since this is probably an isolated issue.

    Display: Gorgeous even when I lowered the resolution down to 1366*768. Due to the high pixel density, small screen, and cleartype technology, it is hard to notice that the machine is not running at native resolution. The viewing angles is one of the best I've seen for a display.

    Battery Life: If you are just doing basic word processing, you can get 5+ hours of batter life. With wifi turned off, you might get a bit more. With more regular based usage of working + surfing, you get around 3.5-4 ish hours. If you are running a game (pokemon emulation in my case), you get around 2 hours of batter life. Bluetooth was always off in all these tests.

    Keyboard: I got the type cover and it is great to type on. Obviously it is not as comfortable as a full sized keyboard, but I can type at maximum speed. The trackpad is at best average, but you can always touch the screen or use the pen instead. Otherwise a portable mouse can't hurt. It's possible to type on your lap but you have to sit straight. However, keystrokes sometimes do not register since the keyboard moves up and down slightly with each keypress (rare).

    Performance: Compared to tablets running on arm based architecture, it is a no brainer and is way faster. However, compared to regular i5 and i7 cores, there are times when slight performance hiccups are noticeable. For example, things slowed down slightly when I was running Firefox, Notepad++, Eclipse, and a screen sharing session through Skype (CPU and RAM both got pegged a bit)

    Pen: Great addition and one of the main reason why I got the Surface Pro. It works really well in One Note, which is all I use now for note taking. It still needs drivers updates since not all programs have been updated to take advantage of it. For example, the eraser doesn't work in paint. The only issue is that the dot isn't as accurate when the pen is held at a 45 degree angle. A shorter nib or software update should fix this.

    Overall: Great for university students and people in IT.

    The Breakdown

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    • Camera(s) 7
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    • Performance 9
    • Software 9
    • Battery life 6
    • Ecosystem 10
    • Dock 9
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  • 8.0
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    Reviewed by Digeratti (Currently owns)

    Biggest disappointment is battery life - but that's because we ALL want the battery life of an ARM tablet with the power of a full computer.

    It could use more metro apps but because its a full PC - this doesn't bother me all that much.

    Other than that this device is now my primary PC. When at home at my desk it drives my 27" monitor flawlessly with the nice bonus of the Surface acting as a smaller second screen. When out and about it gives me about 5 hours of work time in an awesome mobile package. Very nicely done!

    The Breakdown

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    • Camera(s) 6
    • Speakers 5
    • Performance 9
    • Software 9
    • Battery life 7
    • Ecosystem 9
    • Dock 6
    Show the rest of this review and the breakdown
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