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Review: Microsoft Surface Pro

01 Jul 2013

If you have considered getting a tablet to replace your laptop but are not sure if it will be powerful enough for long periods of use, the Microsoft Surface Pro may be the answer.

Launched at the end of May this year, coming shortly after the launch of the Surface RT in March, so what is the difference in devices you might ask?

The main one is the Surface Pro has an Intel i5 Processor which means it is one of the most powerful tablets on the market to date.

Backing up the touch-centric OS that is Windows 8, the presence of the Intel i5 Processor is evident just in the launch of scrolling of the Start Menu.

The Surface Pen comes with the device and is responsive in all forms of use whether it is use like a mouse or creative work.

Additional accessories such as the Touch and Type covers are a must if you find it particularly hard to type on a touch screen or simply prefer a proper keyboard.

The Touch cover is also spill proof and both covers attach strongly by magnet like clamps, meaning they won’t come off easily (even if you dangle it the Surface Pro from the cover itself), they are also intuitive and realise when the cover is on the back of the device as it will self disable.

Made of a Magnesium alloy means it is lightweight and durable, while the kick-stand allows you to use it more like a laptop screen and is set at the perfect angle for filming using the rear view camera.


  • Intel i5 Processor – has all the power of a laptop but is tablet sized, the specially designed groove around the edging provides air to the fans when required – even then the fans are very quiet.
  • 10.6”1920×1080 pixels set in a 16:9 widescreen HD display, with ClearType Full HD means it is awesome to use together with Windows Display, especially with having multiple windows open. Corning Gorilla Glass makes it the screen strong as well.
  • Weighs less than 1kg, yet feels durable and having a Solid State Drive (SSD) is an added bonus in case it takes a few knocks.
  • Touch and Type covers add the functionality of a laptop keyboard but also serves as a handy screen cover. Both feature standard sized laptop buttons and are also intuitive meaning it will disable when the cover is flipped all the way around. Covers are also held on strongly by magnet clamp technology.
  • Additional ports like a full sized USB 3.0 and microSDXC card slots means you can access files and photos without having to download or save them remotely. Also serves as an extendable memory if required.
  • MiniDisplay Port (adaptor required) allows you to connect to a projector or external display easily and provides a responsive connection.
  • Microsoft BitLocker encrypts the hard drive, keeping the information safe.
  • Pre-installed applications ranging from Windows Mail, SkyDrive, Trial Games as well as news applications e.g. NZ Herald, NY Times, Stuff NZ
  • Battery life is not as impressive as the RT, however it does charge up quickly.
  • Kickstand is handy but only set at one angle, great for when seating but not so much if viewing when standing up.
  • Type cover is sold separately – personal preference between the two as it more like a laptop keyboard and gives more control when typing.
  • Just like any touch screen, eventually it becomes a bit grubby and that can be annoying having to constantly clean the screen.
  • Use of certain programs may mean the screen ratio may not be what you’re used to – using Chrome at 100% provided very small font screen which could only be viewable after enlarging to at least 125%, even more if using dual programs.

If you’re considering a tablet for mobility but are not sure about hardware performance, the Surface Pro is the best option for you.

It may also even change your mind how good Windows 8 as an OS is as well, as the i5 Processor makes a big difference, the specially designed grooves are a well thought out device feature.

Weighing in at less than a kilogram means it has the similar weight to an Ultrabook in a tablet format.

Score: 3.5/5