Full disclaimer, I didn’t have any real intention of purchasing one. But while I was attending TechEd EMEA I found out that while the Pro retails at €979, on offer at TechEd (even as an exhibitor) I was able to purchase one for just €349. It seemed too good to be true! Given the relatively poor uptake of Surface devices so far, I can see how it makes sense from Microsoft’s point of view. I’m also guessing that there is new release in the works that will address a lot of these flaws.
So starting with the good points, it’s really quiet, the graphics are great and because it runs a full Windows OS it’s going to be really useful to help with studying for my MCSA. Even the initial delivery of the device only took a weekend, and the packaging for the device was top quality. But unfortunately that’s about a good as it gets.
This device good easily have been so much better,it’s almost like there was no real-world testing done. With the Surface Pro you need to make a lot of use of the stylus, but that’s’ problem The stylus gets lost! same thing when I want to hook it up to the TV: the stylus covers the mini-HDMI port. gin, useless! Another bug-bear: the surface RT comes with a “touch” keyboard/cover, but in order to use the Pro in any meaningful manner you will need a “type” keyboard (cost approx €120).But even that is pretty terrible. It doesn’t “hold” the angle for the screen, so unless you have the Pro on a desk, using the built-in kickstand, it’s almost impossible to use. even typing this, on my lap, is an ordeal. Something simple like right-clicking on a word using the stylus or even the trackpad in the type-cover? Forget about it!
There is also another issue. Te graphics are great, but for some reason full-screen apps (like some live sports apps etc), are displayed behind the taskbar and not over it. So if i want to edit some thing like the in application volume or screen size settings i either have to switch the taskbar to “auto-hide” (which I don’t want to do) and just close that instance. Again, very annoying It may just be a Windows 8 thing, but if it is I can’t find it, and these issues are replication on my work Win 8 machine. And the final gripe: why only 1 USB port? I use a small Logitech keyboard with trackpad when I hook up the Surface to the TV, so the dongle is plugged in always. But now I can’t use that port for anything else.
Overall the Pro is OK, and if using it on a desk as a netbook it’s fine. But the iPad is a far superior tablet, and if I hadn’t been able to pick this one up at such a discount I would definitely have opted for an Ultrabook. Hopefully there will be some new accessories on the market pretty soon, and (hopefully someone at Microsoft reads this!) they run the next design by someone workinng in Dyson or Apple.