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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  • MykeM - Friday, August 9, 2013 - link

    According to NPD's report for first half of 2013, MacBook Air owns 56% of the ultrabook market:

    It's not quite a lock-in but it's pretty close. And I'm pretty sure the number precludes the latest Haswell MBA which was released less than a month before the report came out.
  • Impulses - Friday, August 9, 2013 - link

    That's pretty sad considering how far behind the Air displays and SKU costs for RAM/SSD have been falling... At some point ultrabooks are just getting beat down by nothing but marketing.
  • madmilk - Tuesday, August 6, 2013 - link

    $800 is actually a pretty decent price. That $130 cover on the other hand...
  • Houdani - Monday, August 5, 2013 - link

    They need to drop the 64GB model altogether, and just offer 128, 256, 512 GB versions, starting at $800 and INCLUDE the Type Cover. If they market it as an ultrabook (and treat the removable keyboard as just another feature) they could make a compelling argument.

    They can still make money on keyboards, too, by offering alternatives that add an extended battery and/or a hinge for variable screen tilt.

    The first gen Surface Pro didn't miss the mark by much; they just priced it poorly and advertised it as a tablet rather than an ultrabook. If they keep the price reasonable, I would seriously consider buying a Haswell powered unit.

    I don't think I'll ever need or want the RT variant, though. Maybe they should drop that and scale the Windows Phone OS to 8" screens instead. Unify the Metro apps to work on both platforms with a buy once, install anywhere philosophy and they might taste success.
  • GTRagnarok - Monday, August 5, 2013 - link

    I've always said since day one that the type cover needs to be included. That is half of what makes Surface Pro a compelling device. To ask an extra $100+ for it is a big mistake. If Surface Pro 2 can double the battery life, includes the type cover, and come at 128GB and 256GB capacities at the same price, then I think they'll have a winner, and I might even take a bite.
  • Voldenuit - Monday, August 5, 2013 - link

    4 GB of soldered-on RAM is a deal killer. Needs at least 8 GB RAM standard, with option for higher-specced SKUs.
  • dalestrauss - Monday, August 5, 2013 - link

    I am so tired of ridiculous comments about the "overpriced" Surface Pro - or that it should be UNDER $500. This thing is a full power ultrabook in a tablet format. It would be nice if they could lower the keyboard price (under $100) but who are all you Apple fanboys trying to fool? A 128gb iPad will set you back $799 (Wi-Fi only) and at LEAST $100 for a Logitech Ultrathin keyboard with NO BATTERY. So, for the additional price of the $129 Type Cover, your Surface Pro delivers USB 3, Wacom active digitizer, micro-SDXC (for up to 64gb additional storage), display port WQHD built in, AND FULL WINDOWS 8 OS - not a watered down smartphone OS. Sure, you get 2x battery life on your iPad, so you can play 2x more Angry Birds. This has gotten to be pure lunacy on the part of the tech press for not taking these idiots to task for mis-characterizing the Surface Pro. AND NO, I have never worked for Microsoft, nor do I own stock in the company.
  • skiboysteve - Tuesday, August 6, 2013 - link

  • chizow - Tuesday, August 6, 2013 - link

    Why bother comparing it to iPad? Just compare it to Ultrabooks. It has low-end Ultrabook guts but wants high-end Ultrabook prices. And who buys high-end Ultrabooks anyways? No one. Same market for Surface Pro. That's why it's "overpriced", the market has overwhelmingly spoken and agreed (see latest Microsoft earnings report re: $1bn write down on Surface inventory).
  • flyingpants1 - Tuesday, August 6, 2013 - link

    No, that is all stupid. The Asus Vivobook X202E laptop is $439 on Amazon right now and it has a Core i3 3217U, 11.6" 768p touchscreen, 500GB HDD, and a full keyboard. Why on earth would anyone pay $500 more for a convertible version of the basically same hardware.

    There is no point in making something with high build quality if nobody buys it. Microsoft could have made a hit mainstream device, but they made an expensive niche piece of junk. They should do a slightly cut-down version.

    The 64GB version should be $600, 128GB $700, and a REAL keyboard that holds the device up properly for $100. In other words, it should not cost more than $800, about the price of a 128GB Samsung ultrabook (significantly less than a 128GB Air).

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