tablets

Microsoft Surface Pro Review

The Surface Pro is a powerhouse of processing power, but it would be better suited as a laptop.

April 01, 2013
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Science Introduction

Even with it's serious guts, by the numbers the performance for the Surface Pro leaves something to be desired. It's very clear this was meant to be more "ultrabook in tablet form" rather than just a tablet.

Screen Performance

By cramming in 1920 x 1080 pixels into a 9.25" x 5.25" display, the has a pixel density of 207 pixels per inch. Sure, it's not as flashy a number as that of its Apple competitor, but that goes with the territory of having a larger screen. With a passable pixel density, the Surface Pro has fairly legible text, but it's no retina display. Honestly, this doesn't matter as much unless you're a stickler for absolute perfection, but it does annoy some people. At this stage of the game, tablets seem to be trying to one-up each other for diminishing returns in the PPI department.

legibility

With a fairly low black level of 0.45cd/m2 and a fairly high peak brightness of 384.68cd/m2, the Surface Pro has a fairly well-performing screen–for a tablet. It still won't be a good replacement for a TV screen for watching movies, but it will work in a pinch, as it has a passable contrast ratio of 855:1. The wider the contrast ratio, the larger number of values along the greyscale the screen can reproduce, meaning you'll be able to pick our more detail in your movies.

Like many tablets, the Surface Pro has–frankly— a terrible color gamut. While it's not enough to bother people who are just casually browsing the internet or playing games, it is distracting when looking at hi-res photos and the blues are off, and every color is a bit undersaturated.

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Battery Life

To the surprise of few, the Surface Pro has a very lackluster battery life. It's not terribly surprising, as the tablet itself packs in a lot of performance parts, but bad battery life is the cost. Microsoft seems to think that this will fill a more laptop-esque role, but if you're an avid tablet user, this may be one to skip if you value portability.

battery.jpg

If you're looking for a portable option that can play media content back for long periods of time, I have bad news: the Surface Pro is one of the worst tablets we've ever tested in this regard. Considering the extremely high performance ceiling, it shouldn't surprise anyone, but that Core i5 is a power-hungry processor, and it'll gobble up juice like it was designed to do solely that in only 4 hours, 16 minutes.

Much like the other battery tests, this one was abysmal too. Lasting a mere 4 hours and 57 minutes, the Surface Pro is ill-suited for book-reading, especially for the long-haul. However, because the test results were collected with the tablet at max brightness and no wireless enabled, your results may vary depending upon your preferred settings.

Our editors review and recommend products to help you buy the stuff you need. If you make a purchase by clicking one of our links, we may earn a small share of the revenue. Our picks and opinions are independent from any business incentives.
Our editors review and recommend products to help you buy the stuff you need. If you make a purchase by clicking one of our links, we may earn a small share of the revenue. Our picks and opinions are independent from any business incentives.
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Our editors review and recommend products to help you buy the stuff you need. If you make a purchase by clicking one of our links, we may earn a small share of the revenue. Our picks and opinions are independent from any business incentives.

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