Skip to navigation

Microsoft Surface Pro review

Verdict

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

Review Date: 24 May 2013

Reviewed By: Sasha Muller

Price when reviewed: £666 (£799 inc VAT)

Buy it now for: £454
(see more store prices)

Overall Rating
5 stars out of 6

Features & Design
5 stars out of 6

Value for Money
5 stars out of 6

Performance
4 stars out of 6

PCPRO Recommended

In everyday use, though, the Surface Pro’s powerful components make for a slick, responsive experience. Applications spring into life in a blink of an eye, and whether we were scribbling in OneNote or doodling in FreshPaint, the stylus and Wacom digitiser worked impeccably.

Windows 8’s excellent handwriting recognition does an amazing job of recognising the most malformed of squiggles, and, in compatible applications, the Wacom digitiser’s pressure sensitivity works well, too. And neatly, when it’s not in use, the stylus snaps onto the Surface Pro’s right-hand edge, clipping into the magnetic power socket – it’s a lovely little touch.

Microsoft Surface Pro

Splash out on the optional £109 Type Cover (which works with both the Surface RT and Pro models) and the Surface Pro also does a passable impression of a laptop. We’re still not huge fans of the Type cover’s tiny touchpad, but given the excellent stylus and responsive touchscreen, it’s a frustration we can live with. And more importantly, as a keyboard it’s actually very usable. The wide, square keys are easy to get used to, and there’s just enough travel to each keystroke to make for comfortable touch typing.

In fact, the only downside comes when you want to use the Surface on a lap: just like the Surface RT, the combination of the narrow kickstand, heavy tablet and lightweight keyboard make for a rather top-heavy combination. It’s manageable but far from ideal, and we also found ourselves wishing that we could tilt the kickstand back and forth to adjust the angle of the screen.

Peer around the Surface Pro’s edges, and there’s a basic amount of connectivity. There’s a single USB 3 port, a MicroSD slot, a 3.5mm headset jack and a Mini-DisplayPort output. There’s no Ethernet socket, but Microsoft has attempted to make amends by squeezing in dual-band 802.11n Wi-Fi and Bluetooth 4.

We're a little underwhelmed by the front- and rear-facing cameras, however – the meagre 1mp sensors are simply incapable of dredging up the detail of higher-specified rival devices.

Microsoft Surface Pro

None of this comes particularly cheap. While the 64GB model weighs in at £719 inc VAT, the 128GB model costs £799 inc VAT – as much as a fully-fledged Ultrabook. And as Microsoft hasn’t bundled the Surface Pro with either of the optional Type or Touch covers, you’ll need to shell out at least an extra £100 for one of those, too – unless, of course, you already own a Surface RT, in which case you’ll be glad that the covers are interchangeable.

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.

Author: Sasha Muller

1 2

Best Prices

Price comparison powered by Reevoo

£454
Subscribe to PC Pro magazine. We'll give you 3 issues for £1 plus a free gift - click here
User comments

Tell us about the bloatware

But how much rubbish comes preinstalled? I bought a Dell laptop a few years ago. Unbelievable amount of junk on it

By jeremyiwhite on 16 May 2013

Tell us about the bloatware

But how much rubbish comes preinstalled? I bought a Dell laptop a few years ago. Unbelievable amount of junk on it

By jeremyiwhite on 16 May 2013

Probably very little, if any. Microsoft tend to not fill their devices with bloat.

By turnma on 16 May 2013

The only "bloat" it comes with is a trial for office 365, which disappears if you already have have an account to log into or Office 2013 to install. Price compares reasonably favourably to the US price too, I paid $1206 for a 128GB Pro with type cover, when you factor in the difference in exchange rates and local taxes the prices are almost identical.

By Shuflie on 16 May 2013

Being a bit of weakling and tending to use my tablet on the sofa or in bed and hand holding it this is too heavy for me at almost 1kg.

I found using the iPad v3 at 650g approx quite heavy to hand hold for extended time. Which is why I swapped to the Nexus 7 at 350g approx.

Just pre-ordered the 10inch but super light Sony Xperia Z tablet - 495g

I'm sure the weight isn't a problem for the muscle bound PC Pro team.

By cyberindie on 16 May 2013

Microsoft SIGNATURE PC

All PC's sold at Microsoft.com or at a Microsoft Store have no bloatware. These PCs are called Microsoft Signature PCs. Google it.

By BobK212 on 16 May 2013

Coming soon.

Still "Coming soon." on the MS site?

By RobFullerSpirx on 16 May 2013

Coming soon.

Still "Coming soon." on the MS site?

By RobFullerSpirx on 16 May 2013

No...

Short and sweet no...
To big/heavy for a tablet.
Extra keyboard turns it into a poor laptop.
Costs £900 !
Supplied free with poor battery life and the ability to get warm.
Worth the wait then.......

By davidk1962 on 16 May 2013

NO Bloatware

@ jeremyiwhite As this is made by Microsoft - if you get it via the Microsoft Online store, you will not have any bloatware apps installed.

By henry20012 on 16 May 2013

Realistic battery life

I noticed you said it lasted just over 5 hours turning everything off but using it normally with wifi on, how long does it last? You said it dwindled but can it even make three hours?

By TimoGunt on 16 May 2013

Wait for Haswell....

All the issues are pretty well-known. Nice idea, shame about the execution.

Theoretically (great word that!) Intel's latest, greatest x86 CPUs will solve most of the issues: Lighter, faster (a bit) , longer battery life, cures spots etc....

Time will tell.

By wittgenfrog on 17 May 2013

@ jeremyiwhite Re: Bloatware

Dell is the first name in bloatware and I wouldn't touch it with a bargepole.

The RT despite its critics is good enough for me.

NO BLOATWARE

By 5735guy on 18 May 2013

Deja-vu..

Didn't Samsung release this about 18 months ago, been using my series 7 slate since then and yet all I hear are people eagerly awaiting the release of this rip off...

By pboughton on 19 May 2013

Very Cool Device

I can't say that this was worth the wait - I couldn't wait and had a friend ship it to me from US - so I have had it a few months now. I went from an iPad to a Surface RT and the improvement in functionality was huge, but the Pro is even better. It is a fast laptop which is also a tablet. Plugged in to a docking station you would never know you were not using a desktop PC. It does everything an iPad or Android does but also so much more. The only negative thing I have to say is that the battery only lasts about 5.5 hours - roll on Haswell....

By Inadorel on 20 May 2013

Full windows 8 tablet

Thanks for the advice guys. I definitely need the full windows experience as I've got a couple of must use programmes that won run on RT. and I can stand the crapware/bloat ware

By jeremyiwhite on 20 May 2013

Out of Date

So late in arriving it is out of date with haswell being released in a few weeks (OEM have haswell already).

Should have been updated for UK,shame.

By pcrook2 on 23 May 2013

Fantastic, but I am now used to waiting

This is fantastic I want one, I've been waiting for a tablet that uses a pen and a full version of Windows but I am now used to waiting so I will wait for a version with Haswell, GSP and a SIM slot. A better camera would be nice too.

By frrichardcurtis on 23 May 2013

Late and limited

When the RT was advertised this range looked razor sharp, cutting edge, but in all honesty the Pro should be at the price of the RT and they delayed it way too long. (Volume supply issues I guess?)

Limiting it to 4Gb RAM seems shoddy at the price, and charging extra for the keyboard puts a nail in the coffin to this under achiever.

I am far happier with the second hand Lenovo X300 I bought for around €150 which is far more flexible going forward, and teams up nicely with an iPad mini for reading books etc and all for less than this.

By Gindylow on 23 May 2013

Sony!

Don't buy the Sony tablet - poor all round. Googles 10 much better

By Digital_Agency_Guru on 23 May 2013

Thanks for the Video review

I listened to the Podcast and was sufficiently interested to come to the PCPro web site:-)
I appreciated the video review, good to see the PCPro staff in the flesh and real hands on.
Keep it up.

By MikeRobins on 23 May 2013

My Pros and Cons

My Pros:
Hi-Res screen is great for some apps (but see below for negative points);
Beefy system specs, 3x faster compared to an Atom tablet;
USB3 port;
Docking for the digitiser-pen;

My Cons:
Too heavy (typical Atom tablet is 600g, versus 900g for the Surface Pro);
Terrible battery life;
Windows Desktop is really not designed for poking with a finger, and a 1080p 10.6" screen only makes matters worse; you can adjust some desktop settings, but then Title Bars become huge and look stupid.
A tablet which requires cooling fans, no matter how quiet, is missing the point of a tablet; the noise, the vents, the heat generated, are irritations you don't expect with a tablet.
Very Pricey.

In summary, I think you have to make too many compromises to force an Ultrabook Laptop into a tablet chasis. I really wish it could work.

By TinTin6 on 23 May 2013

Funny

http://www.examiner.com/article/if-the-surface-pro
-had-been-built-by-apple

By rhythm on 16 Jan 2014

Leave a comment

You need to Login or Register to comment.

(optional)

Latest Category Reviews
Microsoft Surface Pro 3 review

Microsoft Surface Pro 3

Category: Laptops
Rating: 4 out of 6
Price: £959
Asus ROG G750JZ review

Asus ROG G750JZ

Category: Laptops
Rating: 4 out of 6
Price: £1,758
Vodafone Smart Tab 4 review

Vodafone Smart Tab 4

Category: Tablets
Rating: 4 out of 6
Price: £125
Lenovo Miix 2 8 review

Lenovo Miix 2 8

Category: Tablets
Rating: 3 out of 6
Price: £330
Samsung Galaxy Tab S 10.5 review

Samsung Galaxy Tab S 10.5

Category: Tablets
Rating: 5 out of 6
Price: £395
Compare reviews: Laptops

advertisement

Most Commented Reviews
Latest News Stories Subscribe to our RSS Feeds
Latest Blog Posts Subscribe to our RSS Feeds
Latest Features
Latest Real World Computing

advertisement

Sponsored Links
 

 
SEARCH
Loading
WEB ID
SIGN UP

Your email:

Your password:

remember me

advertisement


Hitwise Top 10 Website 2010
 
 

PCPro-Computing in the Real World Printed from www.pcpro.co.uk

Register to receive our regular email newsletter at http://www.pcpro.co.uk/registration.

The newsletter contains links to our latest PC news, product reviews, features and how-to guides, plus special offers and competitions.