A tough choice – over the top or underperformance.
Microsoft Surface Pro chatter and debate is seriously gathering momentum as the somewhat scrutinized tablet’s release date looms just a few weeks away. And to say the world’s consumers and critics were divided right down the middle would be an understatement – one side expects the Surface Pro to make up for the apparent misfire than was the Surface RT tablet, while others have already panned the Pro’s price-tag to spec-sheet ratio.
In the case of the latter, the argument is that Microsoft may have gone over the top in loading up the Surface Pro with top-end specs it really doesn’t need, making the near $1,000 both unnecessary and unacceptable.
Microsoft promised the world that the Surface Pro would be “priced competitively” some time ago – competitive in comparison with what, exactly?
The Surface Pro is about as far from a media consumption device as it gets, which is what the overwhelming majority of tablet PCs are, representing almost the entirety of the consumer tablet market. Instead, the Pro is more of a full-fat laptop PC with a different form factor, designed with top-tier performance and productivity in mind.
Storage options up to 128GB are to be offered, the touchscreen comes in the form of a 10.6-inch HD panel delivering 1,920 by 1,080 and power under the hood is delivered by Intel Ivy Bridge Core i5 processors backed by 4GB of RAM. Needless to say, all of this adds up to biblical power for a tablet in no uncertain terms, but sadly also an equally biblical drain on the battery (4 hour life expectancy) and bumps up that all-important price-tag.
It’s difficult not to wonder exactly why Microsoft seems to have gone to extremes at both ends of the market with the Surface Tablet, rather than achieving a happy medium somewhere in the middle. Once the Surface Pro lands, our choices will be either a largely limited and stripped-back Surface RT running a diet version of Windows 8, or the steroid-loaded Pro version that rockets right through the mid-ranges and offers the most power in a tablet PC seen to date…at an eye-watering price.
Does the Surface Pro have a market? Has Microsoft missed the point entirely? Overlooked the price-point “sweet spot” phenomenon? Or are they just trying to show off with the Pro?
All questions that will be answered soon enough, but on paper at least it is difficult to predict a great year ahead for either version of the Surface Tablet.