Microsoft Hopes to Merge Laptop and Tablet with Surface Pro

“It’s a compelling proposition: all the power and application compatibility of a laptop running a proper desktop operating system, all the portability and convenience of a tablet, all mixed together in one package,” writes Engadget in its in-depth review of the Microsoft Surface Pro. But there were some drawbacks with the previous Surface for Windows RT. Chief among them: app selection. Will the Surface Pro be different?

According to Engadget, the Surface Pro promises “all the niceties of the Surface RT — compelling design, build quality, performance — with full support for x86 Windows applications. (That is: every single Windows app released before the end of last year.) And, adding a 1080p display to the mix doesn’t hurt.”

But it does come up short in some areas, with “the biggest problems being the single USB port and, in our eye, the lack of a full-sized SD card reader for ingesting photos.”

“We spent quite a bit of time with the Surface Pro, sampling a variety of day-to-day scenarios to see how it fared versus the tablets and laptops it will be competing against,” writes Engadget. “To test its productivity chops we opted to go for the more tactile Type Cover than the Touch Cover we focused on in the Surface RT review, making this feel more like a laptop.”

“It offers a passably good typing experience, much easier to get up to speed on than the Touch. Still, the cramped layout and short throw of the keys, plus the dinky, unresponsive trackpad, gave us chilling flashbacks to the netbooks of yore.”

“Still, every app we threw at the tablet ran like a charm, which is a nice change from the RT,” notes the review. “The Surface Pro ran [them] all with no troubles, and after 30 minutes of downloading and double-clicking on a bunch of setup files, we were getting some actual, honest-to-gosh work done.”

But overall, the Engadget reviewers could not get “comfortable” with the tablet as a whole and found the battery life disappointing.

“We’re still completely enraptured by the idea of a full-featured device that can properly straddle the disparate domains of lean-forward productivity and lean-back idleness,” concludes the review. “Sadly, we’re still searching for the perfect device and OS combo that not only manages both tasks, but excels at them. The Surface Pro comes about as close as we’ve yet experienced, but it’s still compromised at both angles of attack.”

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