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Microsoft Surface Pro review

7.5/10 AVG.
RATING



7.5/10
Informr score
The Microsoft Surface Pro currently has an Informr score of 7.5 out of 10. This score is based on our evaluation of 26 sources including reviews from users and the web's most trusted critics.

Microsoft Windows-based tablets have been tried dozens of times before. Tried and failed, as a matter of fact. Now, with Windows 8, Microsoft is trying to “reimagine” the whole concept of the desktop operating system, and in doing so has come up with a new generation of tablets that can do more in ultra-thin, and ultra-light form factors. The clearest representation of this effort: the Microsoft Surface 8 Pro. It’s the future. Or is it?

Unlike today’s most popular tablet computer models, this one doesn’t run on a low-power mobile computing chip to try and reduce heat or prolong battery life. Instead, it comes with an Intel Core i5 Ivy Bridge processor with Intel HD Graphics 4000 for maximum performance. It’s essentially a full-blown mobile computer that uses the tablet form factor. It looks every bit as good as the first-generation Windows 8 RT tablets but offers far more power and functionality.

Speaking of functionality, the Surface 8 Pro will let users run all of their favorite legacy apps a.k.a. Windows desktop programs natively. This makes it functionally better than all of its ARM-based counterparts, though whether or not users will actually care for such a feature still remains to be seen.

Windows 8 is shaping up to be either Microsoft’s latest fault or its saving grace. Either way, the Surface 8 Pro tablet is a sight to behold. It has all the right hardware features, including a built-in kickstand and support for an external keyboard dock. Plus, the software allows running both modern and classic Windows programs. It’s a great way to experience the future of the desktop, but only if you’re willing to pay the price.

Need to Know: Microsoft Surface 8 Pro

1. Boasts a 1920x1080 Full HD 10.6-inch touchscreen display with pen input. (The Good)

2. Default software allows the use of “legacy apps” or native Windows 7 programs. (The Good)

3. Costs over double the price of the Microsoft Surface RT tablet. (The Bad)

4. Some features require the use of an external keyboard dock. (The Bad)


Operating system
Windows
Processor
1.7 GHz
Screen Size
10.6"
Camera
1+ MP


What the Critics Are Saying...


TechRadar

Expectations are the real issue with the Microsoft Surface Pro. If you were hoping for something with the power of a Core i5 laptop but the weight and battery life of Surface RT then you need to take another look at the laws of physics and the current capabilities of Intel processors. It's a li...

- Mary Branscombe and Dan Grabham, TechRadar
ShortList

The Surface Pro won’t make sense for everyone. Starting at £719 without a keyboard, it’s a powerful little mover, offering a lightning fast tablet experience and super portable laptop option. If you’re looking for a hybrid device, the Surface Pro could be just your thing.

- ShortList, ShortList
Expert Reviews

The Microsoft Surface Pro is the best Windows 8 tablet, but its battery life is slightly disappointing and it's annoying that there's no cover included for this price, which will set you back at least another £100. If you want the convenience of a tablet and the power of Windows, this is the m...

- Katharine Byrne, Expert Reviews
TrustedReviews

The Surface Pro hints at genius but implodes under the weight of its own ambition. But the potential is plain to see. It’s a welcome and compelling alternative to an Apple and Google dominated future. Make it lighter and last longer, however, and Microsoft could have a winner on its hands in f...

- Andy Vandervell, TrustedReviews
The Inquirer

As a tablet, Microsoft's Surface Pro exceeded our expections, as its full Windows 8 OS will not only install any Windows PC application but is powerful enough to run everything you'd find on an ultrabook. However, its high price tag means that it's not only much more expensive compared to Apple's iP...

- Lee Bell, The Inquirer


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Quick view

Screen Size
10.6"

The Microsoft Surface Pro's screen size is 10.6 inches with 1080 x 1920 pixels resolution.

Processor
1.7 GHz

There is a Core i5 1.7 GHz processor (CPU).

OS

The tablet runs on the Windows 8 Pro operating system (OS).

Camera
1+ MP
You can take photos with the phone's onboard 1+ megapixel camera. There is also a secondary front facing camera with 1+ megapixels resolution.
Storage
64/128 GB

Internal memory is 64/128 GB. An external, MicroSD, MicroSDHC (up to 64 GB) expansion slot is available for increased storage capacity.

Battery
42WHr

The tablet is powered by a Lithium-Ion (Li-Ion), 42 WHr battery. Microsoft's performance ratings are 6 hours Wi-Fi surfing.

Surface Pro Specs

Overview
Release date February 9, 2013
Regions available USA, Canada
Networks
No cellular data
SIM card No
Dual SIM No
Operating System Windows 8 Pro

Compare Windows Tablets

Secondary OS No
Processor Core i5 1.7 GHz
Internal Storage 64/128 GB
RAM 4 GB
ROM No
Digital compass Yes
Flightmode No
Hearing Aid Compatible No
TTY/TDD No
SAR Unknown
Languages English
Manufacturer Warranty 1 Year
Accessories Included AC Charger, Manual
Power & battery
Type Lithium-Ion (Li-Ion)
Battery Capacity 42 WHr
Removable Battery No
Wireless Charging No
Fast Charging No
Battery Charge Time 4 hours
Video Playback Time Up to: 5 hours
Internet Use (Wi-Fi) Up to: 6 hours
Internet Use (Celluar) Unknown
Reading Time No
Standby Time Up to: 2.4 days
Physical Characteristics
Material Magnesium alloy
Colors Dark Titanium
Dimensions [H x W x D] 27.5 x 17.3 x 1.3 cm (10.8 x 6.8 x 0.5 in)
Weight 907 grams
Water Resistant / Waterproof Unknown
Rugged design No
IP Rating No
Display / Screen
Type Color
Technology LCD
Colors 16.7 million
Resolution 1080 x 1920 pixels
Pixel density 208 pixels
Size 10.6 inches
3D No
Sensors Ambient Light, Motion / Accelerometer, Gyroscope
Graphics Yes
Themes Yes
Backlit Illumination Yes
Zoom / Magnification Yes
Screen Orientation Lock Yes
Multi-Touch Yes
Fingerprint-Resistant Coating No
Additional Display Features Capacitive touch screen
Input / Navigation
Touchscreen Yes
Sleep / Wake Key No
Home Key Yes
Mute Key No
Predictive Text Entry No
Physical keyboard No
Text-to-Speech No
Screen Reader No
Keypad/Screen Lock Yes
External Volume Control Yes
Fingerprint Sensor No
Call Management
Wi-Fi Calling Unknown
Voice over LTE (VoLTE) Unknown
Contact List Capacity Unknown
Multiple Numbers Per Contact Unknown
Contact Groups No
Web / Email / Messaging
Web Browser Yes
Email Client Yes
Email Protocols POP3, IMAP, SMTP, Microsoft Exchange
Additional Email Features -
Messaging No
Connectivity
USB Yes
USB OTG Support No
Infrared No
Bluetooth 4.0
Bluetooth Profiles A2DP, AVRCP, OPP/FTP, HFP, HSP
Bluetooth Audio Codecs SBC
WiFi 802.11 a/b/g/n
WiFi Encryption No
Mobile Hotspot No
WiMAX No
Memory Expansion Slot Yes
Expansion Slot Info MicroSD, MicroSDHC
PC Synchronization Yes
TV Out Yes
DLNA Support No
NFC No
Camera
Main Camera
Aperture
Unknown
Resolution
1+ megapixels
Dual lens
No
Zoom
Flash
No
Additional Main Camera Info
No
Video Recording Formats
3GP / 3GPP, H.264 / AVC, MPEG-4
Video Recording Parameters
HD (1280 x 720 pixels)
Front Camera
Resolution
1+ megapixels
Zoom
Additional Front Camera Info
No
Video Recording Parameters
HD (1280 x 720 pixels)
Audio / Video
Audio Playback Yes
Audio Formats AAC, AAC+, eAAC+, MIDI, MP3, MP4, WAV
Radio No
Video Playback Yes
Video Playback Formats 3GP / 3GPP, H.264 / AVC, MPEG-4
Mobile TV No
Streaming Video Yes
External Speakers Stereo
Headset Jack Yes
Custom Ringtones No
Vibration Alert Yes
Apps
To-Do / Task List No
Calendar Yes
World Clock No
Alarm No
Stop Watch No
Timer No
Calculator Yes
Currency Converter No
Document Viewer Yes
Viewable document types XLS, PPT, PPTX, DOC, DOCX
Weather No
Stocks No
Maps No
NotePad Yes
Voice Memos / Recorder Yes
Games Downloadable
Apps Downloadable
Included Software / Apps -
More
Additional comments Other Names (AKA): Microsoft Surface 8 Pro

Related Links Quick Start Guide (PDF)
Manual (PDF)
Microsoft Surface Pro Reviews
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Critic Reviews


TechRadar

You're getting a great machine at a reasonable price

from TechRadar

Expectations are the real issue with the Microsoft Surface Pro. If you were hoping for something with the power of a Core i5 laptop but the weight and battery life of Surface RT then you need to take another look at the laws of physics and the current capabilities of Intel processors. 
...More

Expectations are the real issue with the Microsoft Surface Pro. If you were hoping for something with the power of a Core i5 laptop but the weight and battery life of Surface RT then you need to take another look at the laws of physics and the current capabilities of Intel processors. 

It's a lightweight Windows 8 PC that runs all your applications and any browser you want, that you can use as a tablet with touchscreen controls and a fantastic pen, or as a notebook, by snapping on a keyboard.

Read full review

Less

ShortList

It’s a powerful little mover, offering a lightning fast tablet experience and super portable laptop option

from ShortList

The Surface Pro won’t make sense for everyone. Starting at £719 without a keyboard, it’s a powerful little mover, offering a lightning fast tablet experience and super portable laptop option. If you’re looking for a hybrid device, the Surface Pro could be just your thing.

Read full review

The Surface Pro won’t make sense for everyone. Starting at £719 without a keyboard, it’s a powerful little mover, offering a lightning fast tablet experience and super portable laptop option. If you’re looking for a hybrid device, the Surface Pro could be just your thing.

Read full review

Less

Expert Reviews

The best Windows 8 tablet, but battery life isn't great

from Expert Reviews

The Microsoft Surface Pro is the best Windows 8 tablet, but its battery life is slightly disappointing and it's annoying that there's no cover included for this price, which will set you back at least another £100. If you want the convenience of a tablet and the power of Windows, this is th...More

The Microsoft Surface Pro is the best Windows 8 tablet, but its battery life is slightly disappointing and it's annoying that there's no cover included for this price, which will set you back at least another £100. If you want the convenience of a tablet and the power of Windows, this is the model for you, but a fully-fledged Ultrabook is likely to be a better bet for most people.

Read full review

Less

TrustedReviews

It’s neither a great tablet nor a great laptop replacement

from TrustedReviews

The Surface Pro hints at genius but implodes under the weight of its own ambition. But the potential is plain to see. It’s a welcome and compelling alternative to an Apple and Google dominated future. Make it lighter and last longer, however, and Microsoft could have a winner on its hands in future.

Read full review

The Surface Pro hints at genius but implodes under the weight of its own ambition. But the potential is plain to see. It’s a welcome and compelling alternative to an Apple and Google dominated future. Make it lighter and last longer, however, and Microsoft could have a winner on its hands in future.

Read full review

Less

The Inquirer

Offers the full blown version of Windows 8 but lacks in other ways

from The Inquirer

As a tablet, Microsoft's Surface Pro exceeded our expections, as its full Windows 8 OS will not only install any Windows PC application but is powerful enough to run everything you'd find on an ultrabook. However, its high price tag means that it's not only much more expensive compared to Apple's...More

As a tablet, Microsoft's Surface Pro exceeded our expections, as its full Windows 8 OS will not only install any Windows PC application but is powerful enough to run everything you'd find on an ultrabook. However, its high price tag means that it's not only much more expensive compared to Apple's iPad and Android tablets, but with an additional keyboard it will cost about the same as an ultrabook, starting at £819 while lacking some of the features of a good laptop, such as a high quality keyboard, large screen and additional connectivity.

Read full review

Less

Android Central

Offers true power computing on the move

from Android Central

The Surface Pro is the best Windows tablet we've used. It also makes a pretty good laptop. But as a tablet it's not match for the best iOS or Android devices, and as a Windows laptop it can't compete with Ultrabooks. It's portability and performance will be perfect for a few, and okay for most. S...More

The Surface Pro is the best Windows tablet we've used. It also makes a pretty good laptop. But as a tablet it's not match for the best iOS or Android devices, and as a Windows laptop it can't compete with Ultrabooks. It's portability and performance will be perfect for a few, and okay for most. So that makes it a good but not perfect device, which feels about right as a verdict.

Read full review

Less

The Telegraph

There is no better all-rounder on the PC market than the supremely versatile Surface Pro

from The Telegraph

All in all, there is no better all-rounder on the PC market than the supremely versatile Surface Pro. It could comfortably serve as my only computer. But the fact that a conspicuous compromise is the best PC around is a testament not to its brilliance, but to our changing technological times.

Read full review

All in all, there is no better all-rounder on the PC market than the supremely versatile Surface Pro. It could comfortably serve as my only computer. But the fact that a conspicuous compromise is the best PC around is a testament not to its brilliance, but to our changing technological times.

Read full review

Less

PC Pro

Microsoft conjures up a stylish, powerful Windows 8 tablet that remains desirable despite its flaws

from PC Pro

Stop to consider what you’re getting, however, and the Surface Pro really isn’t bad value for money at all. The hardware is impeccably well constructed, the performance good, and the Wacom digitiser, stylus and Full HD display make for a great combination. The ergonomic irritations in...More

Stop to consider what you’re getting, however, and the Surface Pro really isn’t bad value for money at all. The hardware is impeccably well constructed, the performance good, and the Wacom digitiser, stylus and Full HD display make for a great combination. The ergonomic irritations in laptop mode, together with modest battery life, mean that it won’t suit everyone, but the Surface Pro is a great choice for those who want power and full Windows compatibility in such a tiny device.

Read full review

Less

Pocketnow

It will handle just about any high-end program you normally use at work

from Pocketnow

The reason it’s called the Surface Pro is because it’s for Professionals (or people who would like to be professionals someday), but it’s also great for amateurs. The price reflects that, the processor power reflects that, the operating system reflects that and the build quality reflects th...More

The reason it’s called the Surface Pro is because it’s for Professionals (or people who would like to be professionals someday), but it’s also great for amateurs. The price reflects that, the processor power reflects that, the operating system reflects that and the build quality reflects that. This is not the type of tablet that you sit on the couch with and play Angry Birds, Words with Friends, and Draw Something for 10 hours per day. This is the type of tablet you take to meetings or take along on short trips in order to get some real work done quickly.

Read full review

Less

TabletPCReview

A unique device in a category of it's own

from TabletPCReview

There is definitely a lot of room for improvement such as the issue with the display in desktop mode and the short battery life but make no mistake, the Surface Pro is a force to be reckoned with and is a bold move by Microsoft in trying to take things to the next level. Based on how the Surface...More

There is definitely a lot of room for improvement such as the issue with the display in desktop mode and the short battery life but make no mistake, the Surface Pro is a force to be reckoned with and is a bold move by Microsoft in trying to take things to the next level. Based on how the Surface Pro is in its current state, I am excited to see what's in store for the next revision.

Read full review

Less



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