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Should You Buy A Microsoft Surface Pro Tablet?


tablet discussion 2Until recently, Microsoft devotees have had to sit idly by and watch as iPad led the rise of the tablet. Apple's iPad essentially created a new class of device -- and the market for it. Sure, iPad wasn't the first tablet, but many would argue that it was the first one that mattered.

But then in late 2012 came the Microsoft Surface RT. For a comparison of the RT and the iPad, check out out one of our posts on the topic. 

And now, just a few months later, comes the Microsoft Surface Pro tablet, which is scheduled to be released on February 9th. So how does the Surface Pro stack up? Is it worth the cost? Will it be able to fill the needs of those looking to make their tablet their primary computing device? That's a lot of questions. And in true Socratic fashion, your Atlanta tech support team will answer them with…more questions.

What Do You Need?

If you're looking for a tablet that behaves less like an iPad and more like a replacement for a laptop -- or possibly even a desktop -- then the Surface Pro tablet may be for you. I say "may" because there's not a consensus as to how effectively the Surface does this. The majority of the reviews I have seen seem to say the same thing: It just tries to be too many things to too many people. And if you want it to be everything it can be, it's going to cost you. The 64GB version is $899.99, but to get the kind of power you really want from the machine, you'll probably want to spring for the 128GB model ($999.99). That's not even counting a keyboard cover, which you're going to want if you desire a laptop/desktop replacement. The touch cover is $119.99 and the type cover is $129.99. And if you want Microsoft Office, guess what? Yep, you're going to have to pay for that, too. That's kind of a bummer, especially since a free version came with the Surface RT.

What Can It Do Better Than the iPad?

Sure, there are other tablets -- and therefore other competitors -- than the iPad, but the iPad is at the top of the heap, so that's what we're going to compare it to in our tablet discussion.

Whereas the iPad doesn't even pretend to be designed to replace a laptop or desktop, the Surface Pro gets full Windows 8 functionality and seems designed to be a workhorse machine. Ed Bott with ZD NET perhaps said it best:

"The ideal buyer of this device, I suspect, is someone who works in a large office and is continually bouncing between meeting rooms, with ready access to Wi-Fi and power outlets. The Surface Pro absolutely shines in that scenario…"

How Patient Are You?

It seems that Microsoft threw the kitchen sink at its first attempt at the Surface Pro, and there are bound to be features that are added, modified, and eliminated in its next iteration as it finds its identity. If you are willing to wait for it to decide what it wants to be (or for it to become better at being a jack-of-all-trades), it may be worth it. The tablet market is constantly evolving, so you just have to decide how many compromises you're willing to make in your quest to have a tablet that acts like more than a tablet.

In conclusion: If you're committed to having a machine that has the ability to be versatile -- and you're willing to shell out the bucks for that versatility -- maybe the Surface Pro is for you. If you're an early-adopting Microsoft enthusiast or someone who works in a Microsoft-centric environment, maybe it's for you. If, however, you're looking for a more traditional tablet without all the extra functionality (and the price tag that comes with it), it may be better to look elsewhere. For more detailed info to help you make your decision, read this breakdown of recent reviews on the Microsoft Surface Pro tablet. 

Are you thinking about purchasing the Surface Pro? What are your criteria in your decision-making process? Add to our tablet discussion in the comments!

Image credit: Dell Inc.


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