The first batch of reviews for Microsoft’s Surface with Windows 8 Pro are hitting online and the results are not good. While the reviews of Surface RT was certainly mixed, many had higher hopes for this new Pro tablet, but almost every reviewer has been disappointed on several points. The Surface Pro is thicker, heavier, more expensive, includes an audible fan (yes a tablet with a fan), has poor battery life and the operating system chews up a large chunk of the included storage according to reviews. It’s not all bad news, as they note that the screen is gorgeous, the build quality is first rate and the unit runs Windows 8 software nice and fast.
But there are many issues discussed including the fact that battery life clocks in at under 4 hours quite often, not acceptable in the era of 10 hour iPad with Retina workhorses. Also problematic is the fact that Windows is built for large screen monitors, so Microsoft has to scale up the interface to be touch friendly in Windows 8 on a tablet, causing the elements to become blurry. Almost all the reviews state that as a tablet its too large and heavy, and as a laptop it is too hard to use on your lap. The unit also comes with a stylus just to add one more element to the mix.
I’ve spent quite a bit of time with the Surface RT tablet, and I have Windows 8 Pro running on two different iMacs for testing in content creation. I actually like the Metro interface from a design standpoint, at some point I will write up a review here on it. There is a steeper learner curve but there is potential. Unfortunately the nice Metro interface clashes with the old Windows desktop all too often, making Windows 8 a really confusing mix as far as usability.
But when it comes to tablets it seems Microsoft is throwing everything into it (stylus, touch screen, new OS, old OS, laptop, etc) trying to be everything and making no one happy. Apple started from scratch and left OS X to build iOS, a dedicated operating system refined and optimized for mobile. It won big obviously with this strategy. Microsoft should also start from scratch (although it’s probably too late) and focus on creating a top notch tablet OS and experience while also advancing separately its laptop/desktop OS. Trying to be everything to everyone, and dragging along the Windows baggage, is seemingly turning off potential new fans. And that is exactly where Microsoft needs to win people over.
Take a look at the reviews, all very interesting. I am curious to see where Microsoft goes from here.
– by Franklin McMahon / Franklin McMahon Studio