New Microsoft tablet tops on design and hardware
Microsoft Surface Pro
THE first Microsoft tablet, the Surface RT, was a disappointment. It worked exclusively with apps from the Microsoft Store, which effectively shuts out the multitude of applications out there.
The Surface Pro, however, also runs applications from a Windows 7 desktop, which means that the door to the whole software world has been re-opened. No longer are users restricted to the Microsoft universe and this definitely makes for a much more useful machine.
Operating-system preferences aside, the Surface tablets - both RT and Pro - are great designs with muscular hardware which beats the hell out of most Android tablets.
The Pro improves on the RT in a number of ways - screen resolution is 1920x1080 vs 1366x768 on the RT, and 10-point multitouch instead of five-point.
And the Pro has pen input, with pen included. Using the OneNote app, users can jot down notes easily. Applying pressure thickens the line in apps that support pen pressure. A pen button gives quick access to the right-click menu. It also functions as an eraser.
The CPU of the Pro is a third-generation Intel Core i5, an improvement on the RT's NVIDIA Tegra 3. The memory has been bumped up to 4GB, from 2GB.
The only drawback is that while Surface RT comes installed with Microsoft Office, Surface Pro comes without the useful Office software.
The enhancements have certainly made the Surface Pro a more palatable machine, worth considering. The hardware is as good - if not better - as that of any iPad. Now if only Microsoft can further improve on Windows 8, it might just catch up with Apple.
How much: Surface Pro 64GB ($1,198), 128GB ($1,328), Touch Cover (black, white, cyan, magenta, red) $168; Type Cover (black) $183. Surface RT 32GB ($668), 64GB ($798)