Microsoft’s Surface Pro: Sorry, H.P.
The machine that Microsoft showed off on Monday in Los Angeles was the consumer version of Surface. There is an enterprise version as well, which is far more muscular, and also a lot bigger. This enterprise machine can be connected to both a keyboard cover and a cover that reads writing with a pen.
Microsoft posted a fun, if not very enlightening video of the new machine, stressing its magnetic properties. On its Web site it has a full rundown of specifications and features like the two cameras, optimized for Skype calls. Microsoft owns Skype.
Do note that the Web site features rendered images, not real photos of the computer. Some other footnotes at the bottom, like the fact that this will run apps only from the Microsoft Store, are worth noting too.
The enterprise version, called Pro, appears comparable to both Apple’s iPad and the thinnest laptop computers. The version of Surface running Windows RT would be the one aimed at the mass market. The one running Windows 8 Pro is meant for business users.
Here is a quick rundown of the two machines, plus similar specs in Apple’s iPad:
Surface, Windows RT: 676 grams
Surface, Windows 8 Pro: 903 grams
iPad: 652 grams
The RT is about one ounce heavier than the iPad. The Pro machine is more than a half-pound heavier, clocking in at close to 2 pounds. A Sony Vaio, the standard for lightweight laptops, weighs as little as 2.5 pounds. Hewlett-Packard’s Folio ultrabook, a more modestly priced lightweight laptop, weighs 3.3 pounds.
Surface, RT: 9.3 mm
Surface, Pro: 13.5 mm
iPad: 9.4 mm
RT and iPad are almost the same. The Pro is about 40 percent thicker, though still less than a half-inch. That is getting toward the width of the Folio, but is up to a third the thickness of a Vaio.
Surface, RT: 10.6”
Surface, Pro: 10.6”
Surface is clearly larger. Screens on laptops are usually 13 inches or larger.
Surface, RT: There are 32-gigabyte and 64-gigabyte versions
Surface, Pro: 64 and 128 gigabyte.
iPad: 16, 32, and 64 gigabyte.
Clearly, Microsoft is staking out the memory turf with its enterprise tablet. The high end of its memory is the same as a lightweight laptop.
Surface, RT: 31.5 watt-hours
Surface, Pro: 42 watt-hours
iPad: 42.5 watt-hours
Another reminder how closely Apple looks at power consumption: It managed to get a little more battery into a machine smaller than the Pro. Apple says the iPad can run for 10 hours with that battery. Different apps consume different levels of power, so it is hard to say whether the Pro can do the same, worse or better. All the tablets should keep a charge longer than a laptop, though.
Price: Unknown for the Surface. The iPad is $499 to $829, depending on things like memory and wireless connections. The Folio is $900 and the Vaio is $1,700.
Relationships with Microsoft’s allies: also unknown.
Microsoft may have made an enterprise-grade machine to take on the iPad, but along the way it has built something with an Intel chip, a keyboard, a trackpad, touch, and a full suite of Microsoft software. That starts to look a lot like a laptop.
- On Microsoft Surface launch day, Apple airs new iPad commercial focusing on Retina display (thenextweb.com)