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The First Reviews for Microsoft's Surface Pro Are Pretty Optimistic


Microsoft's flagship tablet is getting some good press after its appearance at CES.

Despite the company's statement that it would not attend CES this year,, Microsoft (NASDAQ:MSFT) apparently just couldn't stay away from the Las Vegas convention. In addition to Steve Ballmer's onstage appearance, the company also brought along units of its anticipated Surface Pro tablets for tech experts to play with for a limited time at an offsite meeting room. The roughly 45 minutes reviewers spent with the tablet seemingly left them both impressed and intrigued with Microsoft's answer to the iPad (NASDAQ:AAPL) and Nexus (NASDAQ:GOOG). While Microsoft has yet to announce an official release date for the Surface Pro, and full reviews are pending, the first looks at the Surface Pro have revealed much about key features.

According to ZDNet, compared to the Surface RT, Surface Pro is slightly larger, at .53 inches/1.35 cm, and heavier weighing in at 2 pounds. The system sports a third generation i5 processor and Windows 8 Pro as its OS, meaning that users can run desktop software, and even add a second monitor with a Mini DisplayPort adapter. The new tablet is also reported to have a higher capacity battery, at 42 Wh, though thorough tests on its battery have yet to be made. The device also comes with built in Bluetooth, a single USB 3.0 connector, and a repositioned MicroSD slot to make storage much easier.

The website Gearburn seemed smitten with the Surface Pro's active pen. Included with every unit, the pen is as precise as a mouse and enables users to draw or write smoothly on the surface of the screen. Not only is the pen an appropriate size and easy to fit in one's hand, but there is a larger button on the side for when users need to right click. When in use, finger touch is blocked to prevent your hands from interfering with your activities; when it is not needed, users can store the pen in a magnetic clip that holds it securely in place. The pen also comes with an eraser at its bottom, making fixing mistakes easy and natural.

However, tech-heads seemed most interested in the Surface Pro's new peripheral venting system. Instead of simply pushing out of the device with a single fan, Microsoft utilized a ventilation strip that runs around the edge of the entire tablet. This new method evenly ejects heat, and prevents hotspots from building up, even when demanding programs are running. Better still, the design allows its fan to run silently and makes the tablet seem thinner than it really is. The team from ZDNet is interested in fully testing this feature later; if it can handle an exceptionally heavy CPU load, it's possible that this innovation will be utilized in future tablets to come.

As promised, the Surface Pro seems to be bigger step forward in bridging the gap between laptops and tablets, in terms of functionality. The device seems capable of strong performance and a wide degree of capabilities, even on-the-go, but there are some question regarding whether it has fully made the laptop redundant. One ongoing criticism seems to be its lack of an Ethernet port, which would have greatly facilitated downloads for consumers without access to a strong wireless connection. Hopefully, concerns like these will be addressed in the full reviews after Microsoft releases the tablet later this month.
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