Microsoft finally announced its Microsoft Surface Pro last week. But for whatever reason, Microsoft chose not to release some key details about its flagship Windows 8 tablet. So far, we know that the Microsoft Surface Pro will cost $900 for the 64GB version and $1000 for the 128GB version. It will also include an Ivy Bridge i5 CPU and include 4GB of RAM, full HD resolution, Windows 8 Pro, as well as rear and front-facing cameras.
That might seem like all the details we need to know, but Microsoft appears to be hiding something about its newest homegrown hardware device. Here are a few critical things that we don’t yet know about the Microsoft Surface Pro (and may not know until the tablet ships).
You may be thinking – hey, I already know how much storage space I’ll get on the Microsoft Surface Pro. I’ll get 64GB for $900 and 128GB for $1000, right? Wrong! Microsoft’s operating system takes up a lot of room. In fact, it takes up so much room that Microsoft even displays a warning on its website which basically says that Surface Pro users should prepare for disappointment:
Microsoft’s tech support site claims that Windows 8 Pro requires 16GB of storage space. On tablets, that amount might be more, but it almost certainly won’t be less. After all, the biggest advantage of using the Surface Pro tablet is that it uses the full version of Windows 8. So your 128GB Surface Pro could end up being more like a 100GB Surface.
There is some good news: the Surface Pro will come with a microSD card slot (unlike similar tablets like the iPad), which means that users will have no trouble upgrading their storage space if needed. They just have to be ready to pay for it.
This is another area where Microsoft appears to be preparing its fans for disappointment. According to a recent tweet by the @Surface team on Twitter, the Surface Pro will have about half the battery life of the Surface RT. The Surface RT has a battery life of approximately eight to ten hours. So if you punch those numbers into a calculator, you’ll discover that the Surface Pro has about 4 to 5 hours of battery life.
That battery life isn’t necessarily bad, especially considering the fact that the Surface Pro is basically a complete PC inside of a tablet’s miniature case. But we’re worried about the “approx.” part of that tweet. “Approx.” could mean more than 4 to 5 hours of battery life, but it most likely means less. Until the Surface Pro enters the hands of consumers, it’ll be difficult to say.
One of Apple’s well-known marketing tricks is to advertise its product’s processors as being top-of-the-line Intel Ivy Bridge processors while really including the first-generation Ivy Bridge processors. Although the CPUs might look the same, they actually perform quite differently, since they have been released several years apart. They also cost Apple substantially less than the latest Ivy Bridge processors. Will Microsoft try the same shenanigans with the Surface Pro? Or will it actually include a decent i5 Ivy Bridge CPU? The way Microsoft is handling this announcement makes us worried.
Say what you will about Apple’s product announcements, but they always reveal the exact release date for whatever new hardware device they’re announcing. Usually the release date isn’t more than a week or so away.
Microsoft chose a different approach. The Surface Pro was first announced way back in April 2012. Microsoft didn’t say anything about its release date or really give any useful specifications about the tablet. Finally, Microsoft announced last week that the Surface Pro would go on sale in January 2013. Not January 1 2013. Not January 31 2013. No – just January 2013.
This question is different from the one we just mentioned above. The Surface Pro will probably be available for sale on Microsoft’s website in January of 2013, but that doesn’t mean consumers will get their hands on it sometime in January 2013. Since Microsoft wants to sell most Surface tablets through its website as opposed to retail locations, consumers could be left waiting a long time – or maybe not, if Microsoft starts shipping right away.