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Microsoft Surface Pro with Windows 8 review

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Microsoft's Surface Pro tablet overall view

A decent business tablet that can run everything you'd find on an ultrabook, but high price tag compared to iPad and Android models, and lacks built-in Office of RT model.

Pros:

Bright touchscreen, full Windows 8 compatibility, good performance

Cons:

Bulky and heavy, shorter battery life than the Surface RT, Office isn't built in, expensive for a tablet

Overall Rating:

3 Star Rating: Recommended

Price: £719 64GB; £799 128GB

Manufacturer: Microsoft

Microsoft's Surface Pro tablet has been a long time coming to the UK. Released in the US back in February, the Redmond firm claimed it sold out in hours.

The Surface RT tablet didn't sell too well in the UK when it launched late last year. But, with a much more powerful system running the full version of Windows 8, the Surface Pro is bound to attract much more attention from business users.

Microsoft's UK Surface Pro homepage still states "coming soon", but the device is set to release in the UK on 23 May.

Microsfot's Surface Pro tablet overall view

Design and build
Removing the Surface Pro from its understated packaging, we were impressed by its high-quality form. Microsoft has done a good job in producing a device that not only has a stylish edge with its "dark titanium" brushed-metal chassis, but also feels very strong, possessing a robust build quality and giving the impression that it will withstand a knock or two.

For example, grabbing each end of the tablet and twisting in opposite directions, there was no give in the chassis, with the Surface Pro remaining exceptionally rigid throughout. As a result, the Surface Pro would provide a brilliant device for portability and travelling.

In terms of size, the Surface Pro is a little bulky, especially considering its predecessor, the Surface RT, which measures 9.3mm thick. Its most recent rival, the Lenovo ThinkPad Tablet 2 measures 9.8mm thick, compared with the Surface Pro's rather cumbersome 13mm.

Microsfot's Surface Pro tablet thickness view

It's also rather heavy for a tablet, weighing in at 907g compared with the RT's 676g and the ThinkPad 2's 600g. Nevertheless, its thickness adds to its overall sturdiness and its weight isn't the heaviest we've witnessed in a tablet of this size. A slimmer design would have been better for portability.

Thanks to the heavy marketing and promotion Microsoft pumped into the Surface RT last year, one of its most recognised features is perhaps the kickstand. Though this feature works well and is easy to flip out when needed, we found using it on a flat surface means viewing angles are just too steep. Its non-variable angles make it a real pain, especially for taller people whose line of vision is higher and thus results in a steeper incline when reading the screen at a desk.

Next: Display

Processor: 1.7GHz Intel Core i5
Memory: 4GB Ram
Storage: 64GB or 128GB flash SSD
Display: 10.6in touchscreen, 1920x1080 pixels
Camera: 720p HD front and rear cameras
Connectivity: 802.11a/b/g/n WiFi, Bluetooth 4.0
Ports: USB 3.0, HDMI/VGA output, microSD slot, headset jack
Operating system: Windows 8 Pro
Dimensions: 275x173x13mm
Battery: 42Wh
Weight: 907g

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Lee Bell
About

Lee joined as a reporter on The INQUIRER in April 2012.

Prior to working at The INQUIRER, Lee was sponsored by the NCTJ to do a multimedia journalism course in London. After completing placements at local magazines and newspapers in both print and online he wrote for an online gaming news website, and it was here where his love for technology grew.

Lee's main coverage areas include processors, internet security, PCs, laptops and tablet news and reviews.

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