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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  • jimbo2779 - Tuesday, August 6, 2013 - link

    Basically the same hardware? Are you for real?

    A low end i3 is not the same as an i5, a cheap as possible 768p TN panel is not close to the high quality 1080p screen in the surface, an HDD does not compare in any way to an SSD.

    What you are looking at is a laptop built to be as cheap as possible and comparing it to a tablet with mid to high end components and a very high build quality with lots of features that aren't even in the laptop.

    Your comparison is ignorant and holds no water.
  • madmilk - Tuesday, August 6, 2013 - link

    Intel is screwing themselves with the Turbo Boost branding. The i3-3217 has a higher labeled clock speed, but in the vast majority of applications will only be 2/3 as fast as the i5-3317.
  • flyingpants1 - Tuesday, August 6, 2013 - link

    Oh boy.. I'm not denying the Surface is more expensive. It's just not worth anywhere near $500 more. Or do you upgrading the SSD, CPU, panel and chassis cost over $100 each? More like $30-50 each.

    Looking at component cost alone, A 64GB SSD is not much more expensive to include than a 500GB HDD.

    Most of those low voltage i3s are actually identical to the i5, just without turbo. Even then, it is not a huge performance drop like going from i5 to Atom is.

    The 1080p screen should have been an option.

    Then there's the build quality. The Asus Vivobook is also not built "as cheaply as possible" either as it is made of aluminum. As for the superfluous features, they shouldn't make it in if they pump up the price too high. Again, there is no point in creating a premium device if NOBODY BUYS IT.

    Like I said, they should have made it cheaper, or failing that, made a slightly cut-down version. As it is, they are selling an Ultrabook with 4GB RAM and no keyboard for $900. I think $800 including keyboard is reasonable, and drop the retarded 64GB model which should not exist.
  • InsGadget - Wednesday, August 7, 2013 - link

    You really don't know what you're talking about.
  • phillyry - Wednesday, August 7, 2013 - link

    +1 (what he said)
  • phillyry - Wednesday, August 7, 2013 - link

    jimbo2779 that is
  • phillyry - Wednesday, August 7, 2013 - link

    The Asus Vivobook X202E laptop you just described is absolute garbage (based on specs alone) and should not be included in this conversation. Netbooks are cheap too but that's the point: they're cheap. This is meant to be a premium device. Lets not compare netbooks and MacBook Airs here. The Surface Pro is clearly competing with the latter (and 64/128GB iPads).
  • InsGadget - Wednesday, August 7, 2013 - link

    Right on. I do appreciate intellects.
  • seapeople - Wednesday, August 7, 2013 - link

    So it's your opinion that there is no need for double the battery life (from 5 to 10 hours) in a small, portable, mobile device? Not much reason to read the rest of your post.
  • kyuu - Tuesday, August 6, 2013 - link

    Personally I'm hoping they release a variant with Kabini. Including the keyboard cover would be nice, but honestly not totally necessary as you can just use a cheaper Bluetooth keyboard that'll give a better typing experience anyway.

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