Microsoft Surface Pro gets tough early reviews

Wed Feb 6, 2013 2:17am EST
 

By Bill Rigby

SEATTLE (Reuters) - U.S. tech writers have given Microsoft Corp's new Surface tablet-laptop hybrid largely negative reviews, casting a shadow over the software group's hopes to take a bite out of sales of Apple Inc's iPad and MacBook Air.

The latest Surface runs on an Intel Corp chip and features the full Windows 8 Pro operating system, which Microsoft hopes will make the device attractive to people who want to produce as well as consume material.

It also hopes to appeal to businesses who want to give employees lightweight, mobile machines that fit easily into their technology and security infrastructure.

The "Surface with Windows 8 Pro", as it is officially called, is available from Saturday. Windows co-chief Tami Reller said earlier this week it is a key part of revving up interest in Windows 8, launched last October but which has not gripped consumers' imaginations.

The Surface Pro is thicker, heavier and several hundred dollars more expensive than the first Surface RT, which runs on an ARM Holdings Plc-designed chip and is not compatible with old Microsoft programs.

Available in 64 and 128 gigabyte versions, both with wifi-only connectivity, the Surface Pro starts at $899, excluding a $120-plus keyboard. That is $200 more expensive than a comparable iPad and closer in price to the 64 GB MacBook Air laptop at $999.

Microsoft has said the device is the first to bring a full operating system to the tablet format without compromising quality. But reviewers found the device uncomfortably stranded between a tablet and a PC, with many compromises.

"It ran all the software I threw at it - both the new type and the old desktop type - speedily and well," wrote Walt Mossberg on the All Things D tech blog.   Continued...

 
A variety of logos hover above the Microsoft booth on the opening day of the International Consumer Electronics Show (CES) in Las Vegas January 10, 2012. REUTERS/Rick Wilking