Surface Pro to bridge laptop gap in January

By Alan Ng - Nov 5, 2012

The Microsoft Surface RT tablet is finally available to buy, giving consumers an alternative to the Nexus 7 and iPad 4 with a brand new Metro UI to enjoy. Not everyone is entirely happy with the device though, with some already thinking of picking up the Surface Pro version instead next year.

If you are not already aware, Microsoft announced two versions of the Surface Pro – the RT version with a tablet version of Windows 8 and the Surface Pro, which comes with Windows 8 Pro and support for actual PC applications. The app compatibility issue is becoming a problem for some users, as they’ve realized that none of their favorite applications work with Surface RT.

Then again, Microsoft made it perfectly clear that the Surface RT was a tablet that was designed in a way to offer the same core experiences that other tablets offer on the market – browsing, using Skype, checking emails and so on. But because its a Windows device, some naturally assume it can run every PC application under the sun and if that is the position you’re in – you’ll need to get the Pro in January.

Microsoft has said it will be available around three months after the RT, but has so far declined to offer a solid release date – just in case of any production problems that may arise we expect. The Pro is going to be equipped with a dual-core Core i5 processor instead ( RT ships with an ARM-based chip) and double the RAM (4GB), than what the Surface RT currently offers.

More importantly though, the Pro version will give you the full Windows 8 compatibility that you need and it should give you a better transition for those that want to use the Surface Pro as a replacement for a current Windows laptop. If the RT model costs $499 to buy though, how much more expensive is the Pro model going to cost?

We’ve seen whispers of a price tag close to $1000 emerging, but obviously a lot of consumers are going to feel that this is simply too much to pay for a device that needs to be competitively priced to take on all tablet newcomers in 2013.

As a launch buyer of the Surface RT, how are you getting on with your device so far? Do you regret purchasing the tablet due to incompatibility issues, or are you happy just using the device for general purposes?

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Also See: 24-inch Surface All-in-one iMac competitor, not in 2016

  • Ben Meakin

    I am writing this now on my new Surface RT with type cover. I am extremely impressed with the product. I own a 1st gen iPad and an Asus Transformer and I’ve been looking for a device that I can carry around like a book that doesn’t require any extra pieces in order to be productive. The Surface form factor is perfect for me. It offers the best Office and the best Web browsing experience of any mobile device I have ever used, and it’s portability and battery life make it a better option than any ultrabook on the market.

    I expect that the Surface RT would satisfy the needs of most people. There aren’t tons of apps, but all the essential ones are there. And the web-browser is desktop class. So most of the missing apps are irrelevant because the browser renders websites like facebook perfectly.

  • It’s funny. I have an iPad 2 with a keyboard attachment next to a Microsoft Surface with a Type Cover right now. In some respects, they are very similar. I’m doing copious amounts of Facebook political posts with both right now, with a decent amount of efficiency. And my iPad 2 is still a damn good tablet.

    But I have to say, the Surface’s swipe gestures are amazing. Apps on the Surface feel bigger, because none of the on-screen toolbars or in-app search interfaces that are typical of iOS apps are necessary. In Internet Explorer, the swipe interfaces give me 10% more screen space. And switching apps is as simple as a swipe from the side. Beyond that, using a USB scroll-wheel mouse with the surface is a real joy. Strange, I know, but clicking with mouse motion while using the scroll wheel to move through the screens horizontally is surprisingly efficient.
    That said, the Microsoft Surface I’m using right now is a device being passed around at work. It would be tough to justify $600.00 for a personal one right now. If it were my own money, I’d probably hold out for the Surface Pro. At least then, it would be a complete PC replacement. Although, if I had a grade-school kid, I’d seriously considering getting him or her the Surface RT.

  • osagehighlander

    I too bought it sight unseen, and with “Type” keyboard- it is a game changer. There is nothing I do in two jobs and home I can’t do with this when on the road or at word given office inclusion. They keyboard is just right, and better than my desktop board.

    My files on SkyDrive, there’s an unused 64gb microSD in the slot under the kickstand, and I don’t even plug in my mouse into the full-sized USB given touch. Now that I have seen it- I will never again willingly be without touch.

    I was considering waiting for the Pro, but jumped anyway. By the time it comes out- I am certain that I won’t need that extra functionality. Switching over to Win 8 phone from Blackberry, and experiencing first hand with a couple of PlayBooks that a 7″ tablet is just plain too small for work- this is my sweet spot. If what MS needed is for folks to go “all in with Windows- Phone, my Surface, and Win 8 at home and away- then they have got two converts- my wife and I both.

    I appreciate reviewers have a job to do- but quibble with what habit and time will fix with app support has left some of you out of the loop with the product- and you just don’t know what you are missing. If there isn’t 1 more app on this device in the next two years- it will do what I need it to do. The ability to recompile the same code into two different apps will more than likely take care of the app question.

    I am not an early adopter for anything- and always buy on value/performance- and have no reservations on this buy. My laptop hasn’t been out of the house since Oct 26th- and my twin screen desktop hasn’t even been turned on since then.

    I never needed a tablet- but I always needed what this little baby can do- and again- whoa- what a keyboard. Don’t even bother with the “touch” keyboard- it can’t be better or more convenient than with the “type.”

  • bg0808

    I got the Surface RT on the day it shipped, and think that many of the reviewers are missing the boat on it. While it MAY not be as good as competitors’ products for the things that people historically bought tablets to do, it seems to me to be quite good at those things, and to add functionality that is incredibly useful and unavailable on those products. So perhaps the Surface RT won’t be appealing to previous tablet buyers, but I think it will be extremely appealing to a new group of buyers (like myself) who were previous tablet hold-outs.

    I specifically hadn’t bought a tablet previously because, while I did want to use it for data consumption (i.e. web browsing, accessing board meeting materials rather than bringing large stacks of printouts to those meetings, etc.), I also felt that it would not be very useful to me if it didn’t support creation and editing of MS Office documents. So I held out, waiting for the MS offering. While it does fall short of perfection, I think it is extremely polished and useful right now. The touch type cover is absolutely ingenious – far superior to the detachable keyboards I’ve seen on other tablets, and a significant contributor to the ease with which you can transition from document consumption to document production mode. It really does contribute meaningfully to the possibility of this device becoming a laptop replacement for many. MS would have a home-run, I think, if it offered the addition of a docking/charging station to offer desktop functionality – a large, high-resolution, touch-enabled external monitor; keyboard; and mouse.

    It is not hard for me to imagine that the current shortcomings on my gripe-list will be remedied. My list primarily consists of features that are missing from the MS-supplied productivity apps – for example, the glaring omission of the ability to search the calendar. I’m happy to provide more details on what I don’t like about it, but didn’t want to clutter my remarks with those unless it would be helpful.

    I’ve read some positive reviews that I think get it right, and I honestly wonder if the negative reviews that I’ve read are written by people who don’t grasp (or don’t value) the incredible utility of the new capabilities it overs that no others currently can match (to my knowledge – though I’ve used but never owned iPads or Android tablets). If you’ve considered buying a Surface, but are deterred by some of the negative reviews – do yourself a favor and try it for yourself. Return it for a refund if you don’t like it! I’m happy enough with mine that I really hope others will try it and encourage further development of this already excellent platform.

    • Dale Basham

      I first purchased an Asus Tablet with the Win 8 RT, the unit itself was beautiful and very well constructed but within hours I realized this system was not for me so I returned it to Staples and purchased the 11.6 inch screen Samsung 500T Slate with standard Win 8. I have been using it now for three days and am Very Satisfied with it. I have found the larger 11.6 screen is much more suitable for me. The latch Keyboard Dock is still not in yet but that will make it the Best of Two Worlds (laptop vs tablet).

      After using my IPad II for six months and a full month with only it on a trip I found it to be totally inadequate, I sold it on Craigslist. I found the best feature of the IPad was its popularity and therefore easy to sell to the status seeker suckers, am so glad it is gone. This new Win 8 Tablet does everything the IPad didn’t do. Following are some key things Win 8 Tab will do that the IPad wouldn’t do.

      1. SD Card Slot for mem expansion.

      2. USB for adding: Thumb Drive, I tried that with my previous G TAB and never could get it to work. I have plugged a 1 TB external HD that worked perfect and of course I can plug into the USB a number of different Printers. Try that with a worthless IPad. Also, I like to use Blue Tooth GPS but only two units will work with the IPAD and they were way over priced like everything else from Apple. I have connected my old Blue Tooth GPS from five years ago and it hooked right up with the Win 8 Samsung Tablet.

      I would like to have given the Win 8 RT more time but I was afraid of getting stuck with a system that there was not many programs and I don’t think there will be a lot of new programs for it. Look back at those poor suckers that got stuck with no support programs for the HP Tablet and the big failure Blackberry Tablet. I’m not implying that those tablets themselves were no good but the Lack of Support and Programs for the operating system.

  • Jon Rouston

    The surface Pro will be competing with Ultrabooks, not tablets, so a price tag of $1000 wouldn’t be obscene. However, as soon as people see it as a tablet – they’ll baulk at that price.

  • Steve Roberts

    I’m waiting to see 🙁 what 2013 brings ……. I’d like to see something like the ASUS EP/B 121 with 8gb ram, 256gb SSD and maybe a tad smaller with better build quality. Impossible? I’d happily pay in the $1,500 price range.

  • Austin

    First tablet to target the professionals used to run windows on a PC.

  • nope. gonna pass on this whole kit & kaboodle, including Windows 8. the whole thing has been badly executed. reviewers in the tech sphere confirming my opinions too. buying recommended? NOPE!