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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  • maximumGPU - Tuesday, August 6, 2013 - link

    Surface has better CPU, (much!) better screen, and better storage (SSD vs HDD), not to mention all other extras you get. So how is it basically the same hardware?
  • chizow - Tuesday, August 6, 2013 - link

    SSD isn't a consideration because on most Ultrabooks you could just replace the mechanical HDD with a 120GB SSD. High-end 120GB SSDs from Samsung and Kingston were selling for $60-70 late last year (I bought 3 of them), so like most OEMs, Microsoft is trying to charge over 100% premium on SSD storage. No thanks, another big complaint about Surface, the inability to add RAM, swap storage, etc.

    Also, why do people keep saying the Surface has a much better CPU? The i5-3317U is a mid-range CPU at best that is found on any low-end Ultrabooks starting at $400. It's not some amazing technological wonder just because it's an i5, sorry.
  • Impulses - Tuesday, August 6, 2013 - link

    That's kind of a strawman argument IMO... Your facts are mostly right, but a ton of ultrabooks have either sealed in or custom form factor SSDs, and prices for something like the 120GB M500 or 840 are back up to $100+ (I bought a second 120GB 830 for $70 too btw, my 4th SSD). Nevermind the fact that swapping drives and migrating and OS install is not something the vast majority of the market would attempt.

    Everyone overcharges for storage anyway, even Google at the very low end with the N7 will milk you for $50 if you want $10 of extra flash (and most people seen blissfully unaware of USB OTG). It's only slightly more egregious on a Surface Pro because of the class of device, but it's pretty much an industry norm now. Apple's laptops aren't any more upgradeable...
  • chizow - Tuesday, August 6, 2013 - link

    No a strawman would be trying to make a perceived weakness of a product (expensive, fixed storage) a strength and selling point relative to the competing options when the competing options allow you to cheaply and easily swap out storage for your own storage.

    Yes some ultrabooks and tablets are difficult to open, but none so much as the hot-glued Surface Pro that all but guarantees destruction if you try to replace internal components. Just a quick search showed most all of the competing low-end options from Lenovo, HP, Dell, Asus show they are easily opened with either screwdrivers or spudgers and use full-sized 2.5" SSDs, mSATA at the worst.

    And no, not everyone is going to do this, but it the fact it is an option makes it easy to reject Microsoft's proposition of expensive storage in a fixed format container for those who are willing and capable to make such simple adjustments.

    But Apple does it, so that makes it OK? And we want to talk about strawman arguments? ;)
  • Impulses - Friday, August 9, 2013 - link

    Fair enough, the point is that the lack of expandable RAM/storage is hardly one of the main factors holding back sales. It might lose them a small percentage of enlightened enthusiasts but that's about it. (English isn't my first language btw, sorry for the expression misuse)
  • chizow - Friday, August 9, 2013 - link

    It's np, you do have some salient points on the topic, but I do think you are overestimating the market demand for the key features of the Surface that are often used to justify it's premium. My point is that while many might not replace a low-end Ultrabook with an SSD, many more will not find a 64GB or 128GB SSD to be a deciding factor going into a much higher price point.

    The biggest problem however, imo, is that Microsoft created this device with the MacBook Air in sight and priced it similarly without realizing those consumers are not so quick to give up their MBAs.
  • flyingpants1 - Tuesday, August 6, 2013 - link

    The point is the COMPONENT COST. Compare the Surface specs to the X202E.

    A 500GB HDD is $60 on Newegg. A 64GB SSD is $65 on Newegg. Ohhhhhh myyyyyy goddddddddd! The Surface is SO MUCH MORE better and expensive, oh my god!!

    ...So yeah. The difference on Amazon between an X202E with i3 and i5 is about $100, so I'll even give you that one. The i5 model is $530.

    The price difference between a 768p and 1080p panel is small. If it was really so huge, they should have made it 900p or left it as an option. No excuse there.

    Asus could make a $500 Surface Pro today if they wanted. You can't charge $1000+ for something with 4GB soldered RAM and expect it to sell.
  • kyuu - Tuesday, August 6, 2013 - link

    Other OEMs have made Surface Pro analogues. They are not anywhere near $500. So the idea the Microsoft is overcharging is bunk.
  • flyingpants1 - Tuesday, August 6, 2013 - link

    They are all overcharging too. For the last time, the components are not expensive.
  • Kulli - Tuesday, August 6, 2013 - link

    I think the biggest problem in Price here is Intel.
    They charge to much for there CPU/Chipsets.

    And Ultrabooks is nothing else like a smaller lighter Laptop.
    In my opinion these so called "Ultrabooks" are just improved Laptops, they cant get always get faster. So its just evolution to get smaller and lighter in mind that flashdrives are dropping in price the need of a drive gets loss.

    As as already some one qouted out, high end Ultrabooks dont sell well. So Intel should maybe rethink their price behavior on their mobilechips at least they have something like a monopol for x86 chips if we consider that AMD is not an equal player on the market today.

    At the Suface, i think it is really nice device. Sure it have some weaks like i.e. not including the type/touch cover, the not perfect Windows 8 (8.1 maybe improve it), batterylife could be better, and the price but what i think is driven by Intel's "so called Ultrabook blaaaaa advertising CPU/Chipsets no one cares about"

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