Linked by Thom Holwerda on Wed 6th Feb 2013 11:23 UTC
Windows And there we are - the Surface Pro reviews are in. Reading through them all, there's clearly a common theme, and it's not particularly positive. We're a few months in now, so I think we can finally call it: Windows 8 and Surface are the wrong way to go.
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Surface Pro
by Nelson on Wed 6th Feb 2013 13:13 UTC
Nelson
Member since:
2005-11-29

The Surface Pro is hard to love. The premise of the idea is sound. A no compromise device that can scale to handle all of your work flow from the simplest to the most complex.

I think the Surface Pro has crucial misses which will make it DOA in the market except for a small niche:

- Too expensive.
While I don't think they should go down to $199 or whatever, they are still to expensive. I don't know who they're aiming for, but they've specced and priced theirselves out of any market.

- Form factor needs a solution for laps
I think the Surface desperately needs to be more usable from your lap. This is a key scenario.

- Compromise more on specs:
Toss the ARM processor in RT, toss the Core i5 and throw in a low power Intel processor.

Most people want a tablet that's a good netbook. $399-499 is the sweet spot. Not an Ultrabook class wannabe Tablet with abysmal battery life.

A lot of this can only be attributed to Microsoft's lack of optimization. The W700 is specced similarly but gets way better battery life. Surface Pro getting a THIRD of Surface RT's battery life is unacceptable. Someone dropped the ball.

- Weight
You MUST have the weight of a tablet and the strength of an ultrabook if that's what theyre trying to pull off. Having the weight of an Ultrabook and masquerading as a tablet is never going to work.

This all could've been avoided if Microsoft had aborted the Surface RT and Surface Pro and released just a "Surface" with midrange Intel processor, modest specs, exceptional battery life, and respectable performance.

I think in their quest to not compromise, they made the wrong compromises.

Reply Score: 6

RE: Surface Pro
by jared_wilkes on Wed 6th Feb 2013 16:13 in reply to "Surface Pro"
jared_wilkes Member since:
2011-04-25

All of your criticisms scream: the premise is unsound.

Reply Parent Score: 2

RE[2]: Surface Pro
by Nelson on Wed 6th Feb 2013 16:42 in reply to "RE: Surface Pro"
Nelson Member since:
2005-11-29

The implementation in this particular case is not where it should be. The overall idea is a good one in my opinion. Devices are converging.

Reply Parent Score: 2

RE: Surface Pro
by galvanash on Wed 6th Feb 2013 16:47 in reply to "Surface Pro"
galvanash Member since:
2006-01-25

Form factor needs a solution for laps


This one I 100% agree with. I think this ends up being the platforms achilles heel.

toss the Core i5 and throw in a low power Intel processor.


The problem is there are no such processors (at least not yet). The i5 they used is the 17W variety. That is as low as any Intel ULV processors get currently (not counting Core 2 Solos from 2008, which don't have GPUs, or Atoms which categorically suck).

A handful of 13W models were just released last month - too late for Surface Pro. There is a 10W Pentium too - but it has 1st generation GPU which is absolutely awful and would cripple such a machine.

This all could've been avoided if Microsoft had aborted the Surface RT and Surface Pro and released just a "Surface" with midrange Intel processor, modest specs, exceptional battery life, and respectable performance.


I think they should have waited for Haswell and worked to figure out how to put a bigger battery in it, but it would have set the product back almost a year... That only addresses the battery life issue though. I don't know how to fix the kickstand-on-your-lap problem. Maybe someone could design an aftermarket "shell" with a hinge to hold the screen at a comfortable viewing angle, but the problem is you need to counterweight the screen - that means the base of the thing would need to weigh at least 2lbs.

I _really_ want to like it. I can live with the battery life and the price as is. But the kickstand thing has put me seriously on the fence - if it is uncomfortable to use in laptop scenarios Im afraid Im going to hate the thing...

Reply Parent Score: 2

RE[2]: Surface Pro
by WereCatf on Wed 6th Feb 2013 16:52 in reply to "RE: Surface Pro"
WereCatf Member since:
2006-02-15

The problem is there are no such processors (at least not yet). The i5 they used is the 17W variety. That is as low as any Intel ULV processors get currently (not counting Core 2 Solos from 2008, which don't have GPUs, or Atoms which categorically suck).


The new 7W Ivy Bridge - CPUs from Intel ( http://arstechnica.com/gadgets/2013/01/power-saving-through-marketi... ) should make things a lot easier for manufacturers and a lot more interesting for end-users once they arrive properly in the mass-market. I would love being able to run x86/x64 software on a tablet without terrible compromises in speeds or loud fans keeping the thing from scorching my fingers.

Reply Parent Score: 2

RE[2]: Surface Pro
by Nelson on Wed 6th Feb 2013 19:05 in reply to "RE: Surface Pro"
Nelson Member since:
2005-11-29

I think Atom would be adequate for most tablet uses. Just not heavy duty Photoshop or whatever. Its doable, but not perfect. I think THAT could've waited a year. A Surface Pro running haswell would make sense a year from now.

But given that the Atom in Clovertrail out muscles what they put in the Surface RT, with comparable battery usage, it would make sense to put one in a normal Surface.

As for the lap issue, I'm not sure how they'd fix it, but I'm not worried. They're smart people. If they want to fix it they can figure out a solution. I'd be surprised if they weren't receiving a lot of feedback on this.

Reply Parent Score: 2