First Impressions: Microsoft Surface Pro
We are heavy adopters and integrators of Microsoft SharePoint and OneNote, so while the Surface RT model was sleek, I knew I needed to wait for the Surface Pro.
Yesterday, I broke down and bought one.
Here are my first impressions:
I get many, many devices coming across my desk for evaluation, several of them in tablet format. Most end up in the "Nice, but not quite there" pile. The MS Surface Pro survived the first cut.
The packaging is a work of art, and the device itself feel like driving a fine automobile given the excellent engineering and build. It shows that the design of the product was given attention even in the smallest details. I do have to admit I was looking for a sheet of stickers... like the one you get when you buy the other tablet.
The screen is bright and crisp... even for (let's just say "mature") eyes like mine.
I bought the Touch keyboard. It is easy to adapt to, and works well for touch typing. I didn't find any issues with the integrated trackpad... The buttons take a bit of getting used to but otherwise it's very useable.
I did pair a Bluetooth mouse up and found myself alternating between the mouse, the keyboard, and touching the screen.
It's fast... and takes on Adobe Lightroom 4 with no effort (a task which strains several of my other computers).
It DOES work on my lap, as both a tablet and with the keyboard.
I'm sure I will find more, but there are two things that would make this device exceptional:
1. Lower the price. I know it's a REAL computer, but once the accessories are added (including the 2nd power supply - a must have) it's in the price range of a higher end laptop. Using my automobile metaphor - maybe the designers were thinking of a Porsche -- smaller, more expensive, but with better performance. It should be noted that there is currently no educational discount for the Surface in Canada...
2. Give me a desktop docking station that connects to a monitor, Ethernet (I work with larger files and images and the 1Gb connection speed is appreciated), keyboard and extra USB 3.0 ports. The quick connector of the keyboard cover would be perfect to grab the tablet portion to go to a meeting.
After several hours I was no longer comparing the MS Surface to the iPad... I was comparing it to my other computers... which certainly support Microsoft's marketing for the device.
Overall, I feel I've bought a well engineered, but expensive personal computer. In my very short exposure to the Surface Pro, the phrase "You get what you pay for" comes to mind. This device will do well for people who appreciate this, but in the price sensitive consumer and educational market, it may be an uphill climb for Microsoft.