Microsoft Surface Pro reviews: Device is good, not great, critics say

Five reviews say the device falls short in both usage scenarios, but it has its high points and may be a good choice for some people

By Ian Paul, PC World |  Mobile & Wireless, laptops, Microsoft

Most critics took offense with the Surface Pro's paltry amount of real storage, similar to problems with the RT. If you pick up a 128GB Surface Pro, you can look forward to about 83GB of real storage; the rest of the space is reserved for the system.

You can free more space up by slapping your 8GB recovery partition onto a USB key, which makes you wonder why Microsoft didn't include a recovery USB key instead. The good news is you can swap out SD cards up to 64GB in size for extra storage.


The Surface Pro comes with one accessory, a stylus, and most reviewers tried out the Surface Pro with Microsoft's slim Type Cover, a tablet screen cover with raised, tactile keyboard keys.

Most reviewers felt the Type Cover was awkward to use and the accessory's built-in trackpad was not great. Phillips called the Type Cover's keyboard an "odd-duck layout that I've never really gotten used to." And Steven said the Type Cover's "dinky, unresponsive trackpad gave us chilling flashbacks to the netbooks of yore."

Phillips had the biggest problems with the stylus, calling the pen's build quality "cheap and plasticky." PCWorld's editor also found the pen was a little bit laggy in terms of responsiveness.

The Pro's stylus also clips on to the outside of the device instead of having a slot inside the tablet's chassis. That may be problematic if your pen gets bumped during daily outings, especially when throwing the Surface Pro in a bag, Phillips noted.

Ihnatko, however, enjoyed the stylus. "Sketching with the Surface Pro was such a pleasure that it quickly stopped being a test of the precision and responsiveness of the system and became simple playtime," he said.

Summary of summaries

Overall, the Pro got good marks as a device that will appeal to frequent travelers looking to use a single device on road trips and don't want to lug both a tablet and PC around. But the Pro is decidedly a work in progress as Microsoft and the rest of the PC industry try to create the perfect tablet-PC hybrid.

Phillips: "So, so close to that sublime, perfect marriage of tablet and PC. Surface Pro isn't the answer--but it comes close."

Ihnatko: "It's good in its first incarnation and leaves me eager to see how much it'll improve in future iterations."

Stevens:"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 ... The Surface Pro comes about as close as we've yet experienced, but it's still compromised at both angles of attack."

Originally published on PC World |  Click here to read the original story.
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