Last night as the embargo time passed on Microsoft Surface Pro reviews from the tech community I collected them together into one post – The Embargo Has Lifted and Here Comes the Microsoft Surface Pro Reviews.  The post lists 18 reviews and I have since added 10 more in the comments.

To say there is a bounty of information and opinion about Surface Pro is an understatement and those are just from the official reviewers who got the device to try out. Since last night I have been reading through all of those reviews and looking for common themes and unique perspectives and I wanted to share my thoughts with you.

Let me lead off by saying I have not touched nor seen a Surface Pro in real life – yet. What I know about the device is what is out there on the web and what has been said by the various reviewers of the hardware. I do own a Surface RT which I am happy with because it is a great companion device to my Windows 8 desktop. I do not have any plans to get a Surface Pro – at least for right now anyway!

So my lead in to this commentary is – the Surface devices, both RT and Pro – are transitional 1.0 hardware.

This may sound familiar because I have also labeled Windows 8 as a transitional version of Windows in the past. Windows 8 is bridging the gap between our customary mouse and keyboard driven Windows world and that which includes a significant touch interface and touch enhanced apps. That means we not only have what is really a 1.0 version of a touch enabled Windows OS but with the new Surface hardware also being 1.0 there are going to be pros and cons to it and associated growing pains.

I think the overwhelming lean of the reviews posted for Surface Pro are much more positive then those posted for the Surface RT when it came out last October. However, there are also a couple of reviews that are on the extreme opposite ends of the pro and con scale and that is to be expected. I think the majority are hovering around the middle and to me that seems to be the right area for Surface Pro.

The areas that got the biggest critiques were:

  • battery life
  • using it in laptop mode with keyboard attached and kickstand out on non-flat surfaces like a lap
  • apps – they always seem to get mentioned don’t they?
  • limited user storage space availability out of the box
  • screen resolution and scaling issues
  • cost

On the Pros side of the review coin:

  • compatibility with existing Windows software
  • build quality of the hardware
  • external storage card slot
  • portability considering it holds a full blown PC inside
  • fast
  • screen resolution

Of course there are the mixed views of the Type and Touch keyboard covers and the tendency to compare this device with an iPad or other brand tablet.  Many reviews even compared the Surface Pro to the Surface RT which I guess is OK but they are two different types of devices despite their similar appearances. I saw it mentioned more than once that the combination of mouse, keyboard, and touch screen really enhanced the functionality of Surface Pro. This is the future of how he will compute at our desktops and it will enhance our productivity.  I always find myself reaching for the screen on non-touch devices now.

All in all the reviews of Surface Pro confirmed what I have thought since Windows 8 started being developed – this is an OS and company in transition.  There will be quirks and compromises along the way but those things will begin to work out as the product continues down the development line.

The Surface journey has only just started. Are you ready for the ride?