Posts with tag surface pro
But will it work?
As was evident during the Surface Pro 3 launch event, Microsoft really wants you to ditch your Macbook Air for a Surface Pro 3. A new promotion has popped up for Air owners: If you want a Surface Pro 3, Microsoft will give you up to $650 towards the purchase of a Surface Pro 3.
As you’d expect, the trade-in is only good if your Air is in decent working condition with no water damage or a cracked screen. There’s no mention as to which models are eligible for the promotion so it may be that old, first-generation Air from 2007 is just as eligible as a mid-2013 Air – just don’t expect to get a lot for it.
Now the question is, is this just an early promotion or are they already despairing?
Microsoft keeps swinging, but keeps missing
For a brief while, I owned a Surface tablet.
I got a really good deal on one, almost a year or so back now. My Surface was an original, 32GB Surface RT tablet, the one that Microsoft is still happy to sell you for a now-outrageous $299. The original Surface has always been something of a mixed bag – too heavy and unwieldy to use to be a particularly good tablet, with no real desktop application support and a slow processor holding it back from being a good laptop replacement.
Barely six months after purchasing my original Surface tablet, I sold it. I found that, for my use case, the Surface just wasn’t good enough at doing the things I wanted to do with the tablet form factor. It was awkwardly shaped, so I didn’t really enjoy holding it to watch movies, or reading books; it was slow, so it was frustrating to browse the web with – and it didn’t work at all on my lap, so there goes my using Microsoft Office with.
I sold that Surface, and instead I bought – after a couple of weeks of deciding on what my replacement would be – an iPad mini with Retina Display. I had owned an iPad mini before, an original generation, that I used mostly to read books on. While using my Surface I often longed for the convenience of the iPad mini’s form factor; the small, light frame that was a perfect companion to Netflix and the Kindle application. And while the original iPad mini was no speed demon, it was definitely faster than my Surface RT.
And ever since, I’ve been extremely happy with my new iPad mini. While I do sometimes long for the ability to plug in a keyboard and get access to a real trackpad – even a bad one – the benefits of the iPad mini’s form factor far, far outweighs the negatives. That’s why I was so excited this month when Microsoft issued invitations to the media to attend a “small” gathering, one that we all – myself included – took to be the introduction of the elusiveelusive 7-to-8″ Surface tablet. Such a device, I thought, could be my ideal Surface tablet – one small and light enough to read comfortably on, yet powerful enough to do actual work on with that keyboard attachment. It could have easily replaced the original, aging Surface RT in Microsoft’s lineup as a $299 device actually worthy of the price tag if given beefier internals.
But that device never came. Instead, we got the Surface Pro 3 – a device that, again, aims to be more of a laptop replacement than an actual tablet. That’s fine, of course. There’s nothing wrong with such a tablet, and though I haven’t gotten my hands on a Surface Pro 3 just yet, I would be interested to give it a try and see for myself how it does. But I know that, based on my experience with my original Surface, that it’s not the tablet I’m looking for. It’ll still be too heavy for me to read a book on, too inconvenient for me to hold as a book in bed – though that 3:2 aspect ratio is a blessing, and an aspect that I would love to see trickle down to other Surface models, including that elusive Surface Mini if it ever comes.
And boy, do I hope it comes. I feel strongly as though that could be the perfect tablet for me, and I would absolutely spend $300 of my hard earned money to pay for it. But until Microsoft realizes that they’re ignoring – either intentionally or unintentionally – such a huge segment of the market, I don’t think I would go out of my to buy a Surface product ever again. I gave them a shot, and it didn’t work out. Are you willing to go the extra mile, Microsoft?
Surface Pro 3
About two weeks ago, Microsoft sent out invitations to a “small” Surface event in New York City. We at Haverzine were unfortunately unable to be there in person but Microsoft has provided us with a live webcast of the event so we’ve been able to watch everything as it happened.
So, what goodies has Microsoft given to us this year? It turns out that the “small” hint in this year’s invite was nothing more than a red herring as no Surface Mini was unveiled today. There was also no mention of any upcoming Windows RT devices which hopefully means that Windows RT is on the way out. What we did see today was the unveiling of a brand-new Surface Pro, known as Surface Pro 3.
Surface Pro 3 is, as you’d expect, an x86 machine – this time, the Surface comes in Core i3, Core i5 and Core i7 variants. The device has been made much thinner; it no longer appears to be the thick, heavy slab the previous generations were but seems to be a very thin and light device much like its underpowered cousin, the Surface RT. It’s only 0.36 inches thick and weighs only 1.76 pounds which is much lighter than a Macbook Air. Battery life has also been slightly improved, coming in at up to 9 hours without the Power Cover.
The Surface Pro 3 also packs in a better screen than the past two generations – it features a 3:2 aspect ratio display running at 2160×1440. To fit this new display, the device had to be enlarged. Instead of the more sane 10.8″ of the previous Surface Pro or the 9.5″ of the iPad, the Pro 3 is a monster 12″. Perhaps that won’t be an issue as the device has been made thinner and lighter, but the only way to test that for sure is to get one and use it (hint hint).
Of course, the ever popular (or perhaps more accurately, infamous) kickstand is still present. Where Surface Pro 2 had two movements, the Pro 3 has 150 degrees of movement and can be moved into any angle you want; the only hard limitation is 150 degrees as seen above. The above placement is also known as “canvas” mode and is aimed at people who use Photoshop often.
Type Cover has been improved with a larger and more responsive trackpad and a new form factor to fit the large 12″ size of the Surface Pro 3. To help add rigidity to the device when using it on the lap, there’s an extra set of magnets to get rid of that slight shifting the previous generation Type Covers had. And in case black or purple wasn’t the color you wanted, there’s three new colors for Type Cover: Dark blue, light blue and red.
Pen improvements also make their presence. Working to make the pen feel more like a real pen on real paper, they’ve enhanced the detail where you can write exactly where you want to. Not only that, but the pen even feels like a real pen – clicking the top of the pen like your average ballpoint pen will turn on the Surface and automatically open OneNote. Double-clicking the pen will send the device into an “acid wash” mode, which essentially lets you either quickly take a photo or screenshot, import it to OneNote and write notes on it.
Other interesting tidbits include: The speakers have been improved with a supposed 40% volume increase over Pro 2 and now are front-facing. A docking station is also available if you need that sort of thing and can drive a 4k display. The USB 3.0 port, mini-DisplayPort and microSD card slot are all still present.
Interested parties can pre-order a Surface Pro 3 and prices will start at $799 for a Surface with 64GB of storage, 4GB of RAM and a Core i3 processor. It’s also possible to order a device with 512GB of storage, 8GB of RAM and a Core i7 but that’ll run you $2,000.
Not bad for a tablet-ultrabook-thing
It’s no big secret at this point that the original line of Surface devices – that is to say, today’s Surface RT and Surface Pro available at stores, haven’t exactly been resounding successes. We’ve been hearing over and over again that upgraded Surface models are on their way, and Microsoft has been doing everything they can to shuffle as many Surface RT’s out the door to clear up inventory before the big upgrade, first offering them for practically nothing to educational institutions and then lowering their price to just $399. Now Microsoft is employing a similar tactic on their bigger, beefier, more laptop-like Surface Pro model, cutting the price by $100 to $799 – suddenly making this a purchase worth considering.
Unlike the Surface RT, the Surface Pro is a full powered, fully functional, metal-to-the-pedal laptop replacement that can run those fancy new Windows 8 applications while also running all of your old favorite Win32 “classic” programs. It’s got a powerful Core i5 processor, a gorgeous high-DPI display, and is easily one of the most portable laptops on the market today; it was also a little on the pricier side considering its limited storage and untraditional configuration at $899. But at $799, this suddenly becomes a deal that’s hard to pass up.
Keep in mind however that this base price won’t get you a free keyboard case – you’ll need to throw in an additional $119 for that privilege. Also worth mentioning that the Surface Pro is due for a Haswell upgrade any day now, which will improve performance while also vastly improving battery life, one of the Surface Pro’s core weak spots at the moment. But if you’re willing to make those trade-offs, you’ll have yourself a good tabletop (get it? Tablet and laptop together) for a good price.
But only in Japan
Want a Surface Pro with lots of storage? Until recently, you’ve been limited to the 128GB model. However, starting June 8th, customers will be able to purchase a Surface Pro with up to 256GB of storage. People who buy the 256GB Surface Pro will also get a couple of bonuses: Microsoft will include a free pen and a copy of Office 2013 preloaded.
The new Surface Pro goes on sale at $1,175, but you probably won’t be able to buy one. The 256GB Surface Pro is, for the time being, exclusive to Japan. If you want one, you’ll have to get one imported somehow.
Seems way too soon
Here’s an interesting one – we’ve long expected a 7″ Microsoft Surface running Windows 8.1 to be making its way sometime this summer, but now DigiTimes, who has had a decent track record in the past, is claiming that Microsoft will be announcing both a 7″ Surface and second-generation Surface (both RT and Pro) tablets as soon as this June. The report indicates that Microsoft is planning on making this one of the major announcements at the company’s annual BUILD developer conference, which would make sense.
The Surface Pro will reportedly be getting a spec bump with Intel’s latest and greatest chips, Haswell, which has already been shown to perform very admirably when compared with the current generation Intel chips shoved inside today’s Surface Pro. The second generation Surface RT and upcoming 7″ Surface could easily use an updated mobile ARM SoC, as the Tegra 3 that the current Surface RT uses is quite old at this point; the most straightforward and expected update would probably be NVidia’s new Tegra 4.
Plenty of Surfaces to go around
Microsoft has today announced via their Microsoft Surface blog that both the Microsoft Surface Pro and the Surface RT will soon be shipping to four new countries – namely, Malaysia, Mexico, South Korea, and Thailand. Malaysia will be the first to have their Surface orders shipped on April 25th, while the other three will have to wait just a bit longer until the end of May to early June.
The Surface Pro will also be shipping to an additional nineteen (yes, nineteen) countries by the end of May. These are all countries that have been up to their knees in Surface RT goodness but have yet until now been able to receive the Surface Pro. Microsoft has also confirmed that they’re working to keep the Surface Pro, clearly the more popular of the two brothers, “constantly in stock” as demand continues to ebb and flow.
400,000 Surface Pros mixed in
We’ve long seen indications that Microsoft’s Surface line of tablets wasn’t exactly selling well, but now we’ve got some solid numbers to judge – Bloomberg has reported that Microsoft has sold roughly 1.5 million Surface tablets since they went on sale on October 26th. 400,000 of those have reportedly been Surface Pro’s running Windows 8.
Bloomberg indicates that these numbers are decently well below Microsoft’s internal expectations, however Microsoft will continue to put significant energy (and cash) into making sure the Surface brand picks up steam going forward – we’re far from seeing any sort of “Microsoft Kin” meltdown here.
Interestingly, since the Microsoft Surface Pro has already seen 400,000 tablets sold and has only just been released on February 9th, the Surface Pro must therefor be considerably outselling the Surface RT – perhaps there is a market for a powerful computer in a tablet form factor. I dare to imagine how many Microsoft could sell if they could release a lower priced model.
But no real product description
At a Surface Pro special event in Las Vegas last weekend Microsoft premiered their first Surface Pro ad, and their second major advertisement in the Surface product family. Featuring a group of suit and tie types dancing around in sheer excitement over the Surface Pro, this is obviously an advertisement in the same vein as the “infamous” original Surface advertisement that came with the launch of the original Microsoft Surface.
The advertisement made its television premiere at the Grammys last night, and you can find it embedded above. However I feel inclined to tell you: there is a substantial amount of awkward beat boxing in this commercial.
Best Buy still plans to sell them
Why would Microsoft cancel the launch event for the Surface Pro? And what do flights have to do with anything? The answer is simple: the weather. To be more specific, there is a blizzard coming which is expected to hit that part of New York on February 9th, thus the Surface team canceled the launch and everyone’s flights back home were also canceled.
It’s not all bad news though. If you can make it through the snowstorm, the Best Buy in that area is still going to be open and selling Surface Pros at the appointed time.
Surface team fields questions via Reddit
Microsoft’s Surface team hit Reddit once before, following the release of the original Microsoft Surface RT, and they’ve just done the same leading up to this Friday’s big release of the Microsoft Surface Pro – the tablet that tries to perfectly meld full blown PC computing with the portability and ease of use of a tablet.
Here are just a few of the more interesting answers given by the Surface team:
Q: For the Surface Pro….is the boot loader unlocked? Can I do what I want with my (potential) property? Or am I locked in to Windows 8?
A:Like other Windows 8 machines, you can access BIOS settings and turn off secure boot, enabling you to load other OSes.
Q: Why no docking station?? You’re so close to full desktop replacement here!
A: Hey, this is Andrew Hill, I lead the Mechanical team. The docking connection is a great question; I have been using my pre-production unit as my main machine for a while now. When I am at my desk I plug in a Mini Displayport and a USB cable and go to work. Others among us take advantage of docking station solutions that are available to drive displays over USB3.
Checkout more questions and answers by the Surface team after the break.
And we mean that literally
While Microsoft’s latest and greatest tablet, the Surface Pro, doesn’t actually launch until Friday, Microsoft Stores around the country have just received demo units of the company’s new tablet that are now up for you to try and abuse. Though you won’t actually be able to purchase one just yet, the bad boys are reportedly set up right next to their Surface RT brothers as demo units, giving you full and complete access to try one out before you make the decision as to whether or not you should take one home later this week.
Some reports have suggested that Best Buys and Staples have also received and are putting out some demo units, but we’ve been unable to confirm that thus far – so if anybody has seen any in the while, please let us know in the comments!