Tuesday, February 12, 2013

Microsoft Surface Pro

One of the most highly anticipated product by Microsoft has finally been released into the market. The Microsoft Surface, known for its sophisticated VaporMg liquid metal magnesium design is the first attempt by Microsoft to compete in the tablet world. The latest variant of the tablet, Surface Pro, is a more powerful version of the first Surface tablet released six months ago. It is loaded with the latest 3rd gen Intel Core i5 processor, 4GB RAM and a bigger 64GB/128GB storage space. The 128GB Microsoft Surface Pro has been sold out within hours of its release in the Microsoft online store.

You'd be forgiven for taking a casual glance at the Surface Pro and thinking that Microsoft designers basically phoned it in here; that they took the dark, angular, visually distinctive look of the Surface RT, made it a fraction of an inch thicker to make room for a 1.7GHz Intel Core i5-3317U processor (plus requisite active cooling) and called it a day. Look closer -- or, better yet, hold them at the same time -- and you'll see this is more than a processor transplant.

Indeed, the biggest change is in the dimensions: 10.81 x 6.81 x 0.53 inches (27.45 x 17.3 x 1.35cm) vs. 10.81 x 6.77 x 0.37 (22.45 x 17.2 x 0.94cm). (At just under two pounds, it's about 25 percent heavier, too.) But rather than just being a thicker version of the same, the Surface Pro looks as if it had an additional plate grafted on the back. The flat kickstand mounted on the rear returns, but here it's set a few millimeters away from the edges of the chassis. This forms a line that is continued around the entire device, a slight and curious gap between the back and the sides.

The Surface Pro resolution is added by stepping up to 1,920 x 1,080 makes things a little more complicated. Here we have a 10.6-inch display that looks great, offering very nice contrast and brightness, plus viewing angles that maintain that contrast from just about wherever you can see the display. (Helpful, that, because the non-adjustable kickstand means you'll quite often be looking at this thing from a less-than-optimal perspective.) It's optically bonded, like on the RT, which reduces glare when compared to a traditional glossy panel.

It's that higher resolution that we occasionally struggled with when running desktop apps. By default, the tablet is set to scale text to 150 percent its original size, making most (but not all) menus and buttons huge and reasonably finger-friendly. That's great when you're actually using your fingers, but it results in a lot of wasted space on the display when you're using a mouse. More troublingly, it made the text and icons in many apps appear rather blurry.

Overall performance of the Intel Core i5 Surface Pro more than met our expectations. A cold boot is completed in eight seconds or less, which is quite impressive indeed, and apps launched snappily and reacted well. Performance here is definitely adequate to get some serious work done, impressions that were backed by our benchmarks. The Surface Pro attained a 4,673 average score in PCMark 7 and 3,811 in 3DMark06, marks that favorably compare to the similarly specced Acer Iconia W700.

The Microsoft Surface Pro is a full-featured tablet that can be transformed into a notebook with its detachable colorful touch or type cover keyboard. It makes a very good replacement for your old netbook, with a more powerful processor, bigger RAM, bigger storage space and Windows 8 Pro. Best thing is it can handle all your apps with ease including Windows 7 desktop apps. However, being a high performance tablet notebook that has desktop capabilities, the Microsoft Surface Pro has a pretty bad battery life despite having a bigger 42.5Wh battery.

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