Surface Pro review roundup: fast/fat, cool/compromised

The Microsoft Surface with Windows 8 Pro: What a mouthful. Microsoft (NASDAQ:MSFT) is finally ready to release the thing on Saturday, but what do the reviewers think? The embargo's up, so it must be time for one of Richi's roundups...

Surface Pro review

In IT Blogwatch, bloggers weigh up the good, the bad, and the execrable.

Your humble blogwatcher curated these bloggy bits for your entertainment. Not to mention: Litterplugs: You’re not littering if it ain’t touchin’ the ground!...

He's Walt Mossberg (shutup!):

[It] has some of the attributes of a laptop. But unlike the first, [it's] capable of running full-featured Windows 8. ... The original Surface, launched in October, uses a limited version of Windows 8 called RT.

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Microsoft views the Pro as a new kind of PC, a sort of hybrid of a tablet and a laptop. ... It ran all the software I threw at it — both the new type and the old desktop type — speedily and well. ... [It] has a much higher screen resolution. ... It comes with a handy pen. ... And it has corporate-friendly security features not found on the RT.

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[But it's] too hefty and costly and power-hungry to best...Apple’s full-size iPad [it's] light for a laptop but anvil-like for a tablet. ...just as the Pro is compromised as a tablet, it’s compromised as a laptop. ...like many products that try to be two things at once, [it] does neither as well as those designed for one function.  MORE

Iain Thomson has mixed feelings:

...on February 9 the first units will go on sale. But we got one early. ... [It's] aimed at the executive who wants an exceptionally mobile laptop along with Windows and all its applications. ... Microsoft has no doubt seen how corporate types using iPads have insinuated Apple into the heart of...Windows territory, and Redmond is hoping [this] will bring management back to its core software stack.

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Surface Pro is certainly good enough to act as a system that can be plugged into a home or office setup and used as a primary computer. ...you'll need a keyboard to use the Surface Pro to use it as a laptop...[but] it's an unwieldy solution, particularly if you're swiping across the screen a lot.

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On the face of it, the Surface Pro has limited prospects [but] the company is gearing up for [more] Surface Pro devices, and Microsoft's move to buy into Dell could prove very handy. ... Would I buy this if it were my money? ... No. The tablet is lovely...but it's not stable enough for safe knee-top use. ... If Windows is your thing and you're not often working on the go, it's worth taking a look at.  MORE

Tim Greene can't make up his mind, so tries two bites of the cherry:

It supports the full version of Windows 8. ... It can join business network domains, which is a BYOD plus. ... 720p front- and rear-facing cameras. ... USB 3.0. ... 2560 x 1440 external displays. ... 1920 x 1080 screen. ...relatively light at 2 pounds. ...power-supply USB port.  MORE

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The battery life is poor. ... You get significantly less storage than advertised. ...no 3G or 4G option. ...no Ethernet. ... There's no place to stow the stylus.  MORE

And Anand Lal Shimpi really likes it (with reservations):

Surface Pro is about as well executed as Microsoft could have made it. ... Its performance is outstanding for a tablet...in a class of its own. ... There’s tremendous potential in what Microsoft is trying to do here.

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If you’re shopping for an Ultrabook today and want that tablet experience as well, Surface Pro really is the best and only choice...but it’s not perfect.  MORE

So... release the Harry McCracken!

How do you reinvent the PC for the tablet era? ...you could hook it up to a keyboard, mouse and external display...and generally forget that you’re sitting in front of anything but a...PC. Of course, if that’s all you intended to do, you’d be better off [with] a conventional PC.

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Microsoft likes to use the phrase “no compromises”...but in fact, Surface Pro — like all computing devices — is a study in compromises. ... If I were shopping for an Ultrabook and my budget allowed, I’d consider it. But [it] doesn’t prove that one computing device can do everything well. ...there’s no such thing as no-compromise computing.  MORE

Predicably, MG Siegler ROTFLs hard:

What’s hilarious...is that nearly every single review goes on and on about how [it's] full of frustrating compromises.

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This device will simply add to the ****show that is Windows 8 thus far.  MORE

Meanwhile, Jack Thompson vents his frustrations:

...a mobile product that is not mobile. ...slim laptops and the AirMac are more mobile than the Surface. ... I mean what was MS thinking?  MORE

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