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What's the point of the Surface Pro?

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  • User profile image
    wastingtime​withforums

    If you want x86, why would you buy at a premium a device with a 10 inch display, when you could just buy an Ultrabook for less with far more power and a bigger screen? Look what you get for $850:

    http://www.amazon.com/Acer-S3-391-9499-13-3-Inch-Ultrabook-Champagne/dp/B009JXJXAC/ref=sr_1_1?ie=UTF8&qid=1357398557&sr=8-1&keywords=Acer+Aspire+S3+i7&tag=hardfocom-20

    http://www.itproportal.com/2013/01/03/acer-aspire-s3-ultrabook-with-intel-core-i7-processor-and-240gb-ssd-down-to-just-570-/

    An i7 device with 6.5-hour battery life, 128GB (240?) SSD and 13" screen. Why the heck is a Surface Pro needed when you can get one of these for far less? The Surface Pro will cost $900 for the 64GB disk version WITHOUT keyboard! If you want to reach the specs of these babies you need to get the 128GB SSD version of the Surface - that's $999. Then you need the TypeCover - $129. That's $1130 for way less power, less mobility for productivity actually (you can't really write on your lap with the kickstand), and less screen.

    I am not exactly a big fan of the RT version, but given the competition, the Pro is even more redundant.

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    dentaku

    It IS a niche market but if someone wants a very light touchscreen ultrabook that can also be a tablet, Surface Pro will probably be quite nice. The digitizer is also something that makes it different.

    I'm quite tempted to get one. I've never owned a laptop/notebook/netbook/ultrabook/tablet or even a touchscreen device so it would be nice to get something like the Surface Pro that can be used is various ways. It's a shame it's so expensive. Maybe another manufacturer (like Lenovo) will come out with something more tempting at the same time but cheaper, who knows.

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    Sven Groot

    For me, the Surface Pro would be a laptop replacement that can also be a tablet. I don't own a tablet, because 99% of the time, I don't know what I'd do with one. I have a nice, powerful, light-weight laptop that I use as my primary work computer (attached to an external display and keyboard/mouse) and when I'm e.g. at a conference. I have a smart phone for when I need to read mail or use maps or find stuff on the web when I'm on the go. And I have an e-Ink reader for reading books.

    The only time I feel I would like having a tablet is when I'm traveling; in an airplane, or sometimes even at a conference depending on their seating arrangements, a tablet would be more useful. But I'm not going to buy a separate, expensive device for just those scenarios.

    The Surface Pro or something similar would be the workhorse laptop that can run Visual Studio and do all the things I need to do at work and can be attached to an external display and just function like a regular PC. Yet at the same time, it would also become a tablet for those situations where that is more convenient without having to own and carry around an extra device.

    That is why I look at the iPad or a Windows RT tablet and see a toy that's kind of neat but that I, personally, just don't have a need to own. But when I look at the Surface Pro I see something that, next time I need to replace my laptop, I can get instead to fill both roles at once.

    Of course, it remains to be seen whether the Surface Pro can actually work that way. It could be too heavy for a tablet, or too underpowered as a serious laptop replacement. But if not the Surface Pro itself, the idea of a device that can be both really appeals to me and I think that's a niche that Windows 8 can fill that iPads or Android tablets definitely can't.

  • User profile image
    dentaku

    , Sven Groot wrote

     But if not the Surface Pro itself, the idea of a device that can be both really appeals to me and I think that's a niche that Windows 8 can fill that iPads or Android tablets definitely can't.



    That's true. It's a niche that hasn't really been filled yet and if it works just as well as any ultrabook it should be a good replacement for that small segment of the market too. although a slightly more expensive one

  • User profile image
    cheong

    Btw, I think the "Air Hockey" game is only playable on screen of that size to me. WinPhone screen is too small for 2 players, and a vertical touchscreen is not good for these type of game.

    Recent Achievement unlocked: Code Avenger Tier 4/6: You see dead program. A lot!
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    warren

    , wastingtime​withforums wrote

    If you want x86, why would you buy at a premium a device with a 10 inch display, when you could just buy an Ultrabook for less with far more power and a bigger screen? Look what you get for $850:

    http://www.amazon.com/Acer-S3-391-9499-13-3-Inch-Ultrabook-Champagne/dp/B009JXJXAC/ref=sr_1_1?ie=UTF8&qid=1357398557&sr=8-1&keywords=Acer+Aspire+S3+i7&tag=hardfocom-20

    The Acer S3 has a 1366x768 display and weighs 3 lbs.  The Surface Pro has 1920x1280 and weighs less than 2 lbs.  Also, the S3 is being criticised for not having a particularly good screen, whereas the Surface RT has been widely lauded for having an excellent display, so the Surface Pro is bound to be very good as well.

    Those are pretty significant differences, and for some people can justify spending the extra money.  I know for myself I'd refuse to buy a tablet with 1366x768 resolution -- that's less vertical resolution than I had on my Windows 95 desktop in 1996 (!!)  ..... and let's not forget that the iPad offers 2048x1536 resolution. 

  • User profile image
    wkempf

    First, just arguing prices is how the PC industry got into trouble (commoditization), and how Apple became so huge. Customers are obviously willing to pay for premium devices, allowing for actual profit to be made. The Ultra books you linked to can't begin to be compared to the Surface quality wise.

    Second, ignoring quality, those devices are lacking features. Better screen resolution and viewing angles, touch screen support, sensors, etc.

    The Surface Pro provides tablet functionality (not found in your Ultrabooks), pen input (not found in your Ultrabooks), quasi-laptop functionality (your Ultrabooks will do better here), and full desktop functionality via docking (works for both). None of this may be compelling for you, but if you can't see why it might be compelling for someone else...

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    Lizard​Rumsfeld

     Customers are obviously willing to pay for premium devices, allowing for actual profit to be made.

    From Apple.  There's no indication they're willing to that the Windows notebooks, for various reasons.  Certainly not in this economy, along with their disposable income being pulled in many directions from tech with smartphones and tablets.

    I too am wondering what problem the Surface Pro is trying to solve.  Again, albeit obviously less since it can run x86 apps, like the Surface RT it's the inherent problem with trying to make a device to showcase an OS with dual personalities.  It's a slew of compromises.

    As a tablet?  Yes - one of the heaviest and thickest out there with half the battery life of the competition.  Still very poor selection of apps.  Priced extremely high.  No 3G.  Better resolution than Surface, still less than the latest Android/Apple tablets.

    As a laptop?  Fixed hinge and keyboard make it poorly suited to be used on anything other than a flat surface when working.  Even the "best" Type Keyboard option still has a ridiculous small trackpad relative to most laptops, and increases the thickness/weight so that we're close to Ultrabook territory in those two aspects as well.  Integrated graphics only.  Small storage. Small screen.  Priced high.

    Does it have a niche?  Yes, probably.  Just a very, very small one.

     

     

  • User profile image
    MikeInOhio

    For me, it will be an upgrade to my Le1600.

    It will be about 1 lb less, have more ram, a better processor, faster disk, better resolution

    Apps? meh... This has applications

    3G? I can tether to 4G... or 5G, or even Bieber 6G

    Why not Apple/Android: The Surface fits into "my" ecosystem - those others do not

    As a laptop... "when working" it will be great.

  • User profile image
    ScottWelker

    Ha! We are having this discussion right now at my work... How timely Smiley

    ... the leading PRO argument is that our Silverlight apps will work with it. I favor moving away from SL but that's another story.

  • User profile image
    evildictait​or

    , NitzWalsh wrote

    *snip*

    From Apple.  There's no indication they're willing to that the Windows notebooks, for various reasons.  Certainly not in this economy, along with their disposable income being pulled in many directions from tech with smartphones and tablets.

    The problem is that the Windows brand is reliable in the same way that Walmart is reliable. Everyone has a Windows machine, but few people "love" it.

    This is the thing I never really got about Microsoft rebranding all of their core technologies to be "Microsoft" or "Windows" branded. They fell into the (disappointingly common) trap of saying "We have two brands. One is great - one is ok, but we all identify more with the OK brand. Let's fold the great brand into the OK one and people then we will get the kudos that was previously going to the great brand".

    Xbox was more of a luxury brand when it didn't have Microsoft's logo splattered all over it. Lionhead studios is a better brand than Microsoft games, and "Windows Live Hotmail" was a vastly inferior brand to "hotmail".

    I think perhaps some executives at Microsoft should go on a little two day "brand awareness" course to understand what consumers actually feel about brands, and how they can be exploited.

    If they wanted Microsoft Surface running Windows RT to have sold better, they should have just differentiated the brand by calling it "Surface", and dropped the whole "Microsoft" and "Windows" branding from it.

    Much as I hate to say it - Apple has already learnt this lesson. "Apple" is not a cool label. The "i" prefix is. That's why they don't call their product "Apple Phone RT with User Accessibility Compatibility Extensions XP 2004 Customer-Orientated Edition"

  • User profile image
    ScottWelker

    @evildictaitor:

    *snip*

    "Apple Phone RT with User Accessibility Compatibility Extensions XP 2004 Customer-Orientated Edition"

    Ha! Love it Tongue Out

  • User profile image
    DeathBy​VisualStudio

    @evildictaitor: +1 Billion!

    As for me I've been using my Build tablet for over a year now as my laptop replacement. It works pretty well for development despite the small screen size & resolution. I certainly would prefer the resolution on the Surface Pro however.

    I use the tablet mainly as a third screen (mail, web, OneNote) on the desktop using mouse & keyboard most of the time. On weekends and on the road it becomes my laptop but again I use it mainly on the desktop with mouse & keyboard.

    Now that I have a Galaxy Note II as a phone I seldom use the tablet as a tablet. IMO this is another example of Microsoft being late to market and not anticipating where it's going. My next laptop replacement might just be a laptop if I can get more power, memory, bigger display, etc. now that my tablet needs are fulfilled.

  • User profile image
    magicalclick

    Everytime I use my laptop, I just wish it is lighter. Not really into Surface Pro. I really want to get Surface RT instead, except it doesn't run VS.

    Leaving WM on 5/2018 if no apps, no dedicated billboards where I drive, no Store name.
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  • User profile image
    Harlequin

    Surface Pro is on my radar. I've had my Tablet PC since January 2006 and it's served me VERY well...through XP Tablet Edition, Vista, and now Windows 7.

    If I get a Surface Pro, put on Office(including the very necessary OneNote), and a few other programs...I'm set.

    It's bonus for sure is the digitizer. It's a laptop on your desk, snap off the keyboard to go to a meeting, now it's a tablet PC with pen input. WIN!

  • User profile image
    MasterPi

    I want one to replace my laptop when I travel (or just go to Starbucks). My laptop is quite powerful, but it's also rather large, so it's become more of my desktop replacement. Why the Surface Pro? I'm interested in the build quality...I'm sick of cheap plastic devices. I can also see myself using the pen alot for brainstorming, etc.

    Though, I'm considering just giving the first round a pass and making a decision on the next iteration of Surface (if one does exist). A little unsure of buying something first gen when it's possible that the second gen will be vastly superior (esp. in terms of fixing any nasty issues).

  • User profile image
    brian.​shapiro

    @wastingtimewithforums:

    Part of the whole idea about building an OS that can handle full screen tablet-capable apps and also traditional desktop apps is that you might want something to carry around with you during the day, able to write on with a pen, etc., and then when you come home, sit it on your desk and use it like a desktop computer.

    I would be interested, but I just got through paying for fixes to my laptop so I'm going to wait a while.

    The HDD space isn't that important to me since I always use an external drive for my files, typically I just use the internal HDD for apps, although I have enough space on my external drive to handle that too if I need it. Getting a computer with high disk space = unimportant.

  • User profile image
    warren

    Though, I'm considering just giving the first round a pass and making a decision on the next iteration of Surface (if one does exist). A little unsure of buying something first gen when it's possible that the second gen will be vastly superior (esp. in terms of fixing any nasty issues).

    That's my plan, too.  It sounds like Intel has made some great progress lately in super low-power x86 chips recently so by the end of 2013 I'd expect to see a second-generation Surface Pro that uses a lot less power.  Plus the Windows App Store will be a lot more filled out by then.

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