What does it mean to go pro?
Microsoft is answering that question with the Surface Pro. A sequel to last year’s Surface RT, think of this tablet like the big brother to Microsoft’s tablet. It’s a bit more grown up, a bit larger and heavier, and it is capable of getting more work done.
With the Surface Pro, Microsoft is trying to offer the best of both worlds. The portability of a tablet and the power of a laptop. The result is a well-rounded and flexible piece of hardware. The Surface Pro has a solid build with a kick stand to prop it up on a table. It’s a lot thicker than most tablets at more than half an inch. But it needs that extra room to pack in an Intel i5 processor and 4GB of memory. It’s a bit heavier than the Surface RT, but still comes in at under two pounds.
The Surface Pro works best when paired with a keyboard cover. It works with Microsoft’s touch cover, a thinner keyboard with flat keys. Or the type keyboard, which is a bit thicker with more tactile key. I found the type cover more comfortable for rapid fire writing. It’s also really securely connected to the tablet. You don’t need to worry about it falling off, but it’s not a problem to detach when you want too.
This tablet can work in many different situations. I can put it on my lap while riding the subway. It’s a bit top-heavy, but it proves sturdy and doesn’t fall over. I could even use it when standing on the subway by folding the keyboard behind the tablet and relying on the touch screen keyboard. The tablet knows when to turn off the keys so you’re not typing with them at the wrong time.
It’s also great to use at my work desk. I used the display mini port to hook up an external monitor and the USB 3.0 port to connect a mouse and keyboard. When it’s time to go to a meeting, I just fold the Suface up and carry it with me.
The Surface Pro runs legacy Windows software in addition to Windows 8 apps. I find this creates a dilemma. What version of an app should you install, the touch version or the desktop version? I found the desktop mode won out for many of my go-to apps. The Windows 8 version of Evernote and Dropbox don’t sync files to your local device for example, so I installed the desktop version to know I could access my documents when I’m offline.
The tablet also runs at a higher resolution of 1920 by 1080. But I recommend tuning that down so you’re not squinting to see what’s on your screen in desktop mode. Try 1600 by 900 on this 10.6-inch screen.
The Surface Pro starts at a price of $899 for a 64 GB version. The 128 GB version is $999. You’ll get the stylus included, but the touch and type covers are extra.