posted earlier today that there's currently a $100 rebate from Microsoft on the Surface Pro. That brings the price of the 64GB SSD model to $799 and the 128GB model to $899, though still without a Type Cover sadly (add another $129 for that). The rebate is set to run through August 29, or "until supplies last", but it seems more like a way to clear inventory in preparation for the launch of a Haswell based Surface Pro 2.

In our review of the Surface Pro six months ago, we concluded that it was one of the best executed tablet/laptop (taptablet, Ultra-tablet, etc.--feel free to make up your own name for this class of device) computers we had seen. The inclusion of an active stylus also opens the door for other use cases--Penny Arcade's Mike Krahulik for instance loves his Surface Pro and it appears he has switched to using that for many of his comics. The two primary concerns with the original still remain, however: you don't get the Type Cover as part of the core package (and $129 is an awful lot for a cover that doesn't include any additional battery life), and more importantly the battery life is pretty poor for a tablet--five or six hours in our testing, compared to 10-13 on many higher quality tablets.

Now that the Haswell launch is behind us, we have a better idea of what to expect from the 4th Generation Intel processors, and most of what we expect is minor to moderate improvements in performance with dramatically improved battery life. So far, we've seen 6-13 hours out of the new MacBook Air 13, over eight hours on the updated Acer S7--nearly twice what the original S7 managed!--and even a mainstream laptop with a quad-core i7-4702MQ (and a larger battery) posted times of 4-9 hours with the MSI GE40. In fact, I've got an updated MSI GT70 with i7-4930XM and GTX 780M that's getting 4-6 hours in our battery life tests. When we look at power use of the Haswell ULT processors and consider what can be done with a 4.5W Haswell, the next Surface Pro could be a serious improvement over the original, at least as far as mobility goes.

I'd still like to see Microsoft include a Type Cover in the package, as otherwise you're getting an already expensive tablet and paying a hefty sum to add laptop functionality. Improving the battery life and getting the prices closer to the current "rebate pricing" would seal the deal I think. We'll have to wait to see what Microsoft actually releases, but in the meantime, if you're in a hurry to help clear out the Ivy Bridge inventory, feel free to take advantage of the current offer. Just don't be surprised to see a newer, better Surface Pro in the near future.

Source: Tech Report

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  • Impulses - Friday, August 9, 2013 - link

    That's a perfect usage case for the Surface Pro (like I said many times:students and highly mobile professionals)... But it's still kind of a niche IMO, any student below the college level doesn't need that degree of versatility and many college students would still need to add a better keyboard and a larger display to make it usable as a primary workstation for long hours of work (not that 13-15" displays and scissor switch keyboards are ideal, but they're at least usable).
  • UpSpin - Tuesday, August 6, 2013 - link

    People here say the Surface Pro doesn't sell because of the high price. Well, the price is high, and should be lower. Still, I doubt it would sell at a lower price either.

    The issue is Windows. Windows is not as usable on a tablet as Android or iOS is. The Office Suite is unusable on a tablet and so all the other standard Windows programs, including the OS.
    Specialists had a use for such a tablet PC, as long as they use Photoshop.Sketchbook or other specialized note taking software. But to make it tablet friendly for the masses they had to include Metro, which is far from finished and Metro Apps are lacking, too.

    So people who want a tablet buy an iPad or Android tablet, which is passivly cooled, lighter, cheaper, and better to use as a tablet thanks to a tablet optimized OS and touch optimized apps. There are even Android tablets with WACOM pens, too.
    People who want Windows buy an Ultrabook because it's more powerful, and has a keyboard and touchpad, which both are a requirement for 99% of Windows programs.

    In my opinion MS has to further improve Windows for touch. They have to ditch Windows RT and combine it with the normal Windows 8. They have to add ARM support to Windows 8 to remain competive in the hardware section. They have to finally make Office touch friendly.
    But I doubt that MS is able to do this. Too many incompatible programs, drivers, ... Too much work left.
    In constrast, Android is much more flexible right now. (runs on anything, you can do with it whatever you want), so I doubt that Windows will be able to remain competive over the next few years.
  • Ytterbium - Tuesday, August 6, 2013 - link

    WindowsRT is Windows8 compiled for ARM, so they did that already? I'm not sure what you want, x86 that would apps compiled for ARM or ARM with x86 compatibility, I guess this? All the store apps are multiplatform so it's abstracted what hardware you run ala flexible.

    MS already announced and demo'ed alpha version of office for Modern Interface, so the office for touch is in the pipeline, maybe next year?
  • kyuu - Tuesday, August 6, 2013 - link

    With a stylus, most of the usability concerns of desktop applications is negated. Nobody with any brains is expecting their legacy x86 apps to have a UI suited to tablet in the first place. That doesn't mean having the ability to run them isn't desirable.

    Also, there is already a large library of Metro apps in the Windows 8 marketplace. Metro Office is in the pipe, but MS really has to nail the new UI in the first try or people are going to scream bloody murder, so you can't expect them to rush that out.

    And if you're expecting Android or ChromeOS to replace Windows in any serious way, you're delusional. They (and iOS) will certainly encroach on the laptop market as some consumers switch to tablets and cheap-o Chromebooks for their basic usage patterns, but they aren't going to make a dent in the desktop market (which isn't going to go away anytime soon).
  • Alexvrb - Tuesday, August 6, 2013 - link

    Don't let the facts get in the way of a good flame post, Mr. Walton!

    Anyway the Surface Pro is a well built, high quality device. Too expensive for my needs, though. I'd be happy with a cheap Temash unit by one of the other manufacturers.
  • mgilbert - Wednesday, August 7, 2013 - link

    Still obscenely overpriced...
  • piiman - Saturday, August 10, 2013 - link

    Oh B3an if only everyone was as smart as you. NOT
    You do realize not everyone in the world knows computer hardware? In fact I would say 99% don't have a clue and all they want is something that looks cool and doesn't cost more than their morgages. So how is that knot on your head where your mother dropped you?

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