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  • RobertJP - Monday, August 05, 2013 - link

    I never managed to get 5 to 6 hours out of my Surface Pro more like 3.5 to 4 with average use. It would be a lot less annoying had it got 6 hours. My new Air gets 8 to 10, less than 12 they claim but definitely in the "use it a ton and don't worry about it" range like a tablet. I'm quite happy with it and I imagine if the next Pro gets anywhere near that much it will be quite tempting. Reply
  • bountygiver - Monday, August 05, 2013 - link

    I can get from 4 hours of battery to 6 hours with just a display brightness change.... Reply
  • jjj - Monday, August 05, 2013 - link

    They need to hit 400$ with the cover included and since they can't do that ,they might as well not bother.
    If they would go Kabini or Atom and make an effort to hit that price point,the thing would at least be relevant (ofc i still think regulators should now allow M$ to sell x86 PCs).
    Reply
  • menting - Monday, August 05, 2013 - link

    $400 for an ultrabook with these specs? Not likely for a while. That's like saying the Macbook AIR needs to be $500. I probably don't need to remind you that this is NOT on the same level of performance of a ARM equivalent tablet. This is basically an ultrabook. Reply
  • B3an - Monday, August 05, 2013 - link

    Exactly. I always laugh at comments that say it should be priced around $400... i mean seriously? LOL wut?? It's an Ultrobook in a tablet form factor (or a Ultrabook that transforms). How the hell would it cost just $400? These people completely miss the WHOLE point of the device.

    I often wonder if these people were dropped on their heads as babies, or if they were just born that stupid.
    Reply
  • Impulses - Monday, August 05, 2013 - link

    They just don't need a Surface Pro, but they like the form factor and capabilities... This is where a non-RT Surface RT would really help Microsoft's mobile strategy, but I think we all realize Windows RT had to happen in order for Intel to wake up (and stop sandbagging Atom).

    I actually think Surface Pro is decently priced (tho the covers should be included or half their current price), Surface RT is hobbled and not worth the money even at $350, and any ARM tablet running a mobile OS at or over $500 is grossly overpriced...
    Reply
  • nathanddrews - Tuesday, August 06, 2013 - link

    Maybe once we get Haswell Celerons and Pentiums, we'll see Windows (non-RT) tablets with good battery life, better performance than Atom, and low prices... (and crappy TN panels) Reply
  • DanNeely - Tuesday, August 06, 2013 - link

    I don't think we're going to be getting Haswell Celerons and Pentiums. Intel's intending to sell atom 2.0 based processors under those brands; having new Haswell chips under them as well would be too confusing IMO. Reply
  • MrSpadge - Tuesday, August 06, 2013 - link

    > having new Haswell chips under them as well would be too confusing

    Not that Intel cared about that. But they do care if the same performance of Haswell Celerons or Pentiums at a bit over 1 GHz can be reached or beaten by Atom 2 with probalby a significantly smaller die (=cost for them), and maybe even lower power consumption.
    Reply
  • name99 - Tuesday, August 06, 2013 - link

    The issue is not that the hardware "justifies" a price of $1000.
    The issue is: is there REAL demand for hardware of this type?

    The theory of the Surface Pro is that there is substantial demand for a tablet that, while it costs twice as much as a "normal" tablet, also has a very powerful CPU and can run Windows apps unaltered. I'm not seeing that demand.
    MOST of the use cases for a tablet are what we already know --- media consumption, web browsing, light email. There are interesting enterprise cases like sales terminals, medical terminals, or document archives. None of these require a hefty CPU, and most of them are not helped by being able to run Windows.

    Yes, you can always find the one guy for whom Surface Pro is perfect. But you can't build a sustainable business around that one guy. The best MS could hope for is the appearance of some new use case for tablets which simply doesn't work in the absence of a powerful (and preferably x86) CPU. But such a use case has not arisen on the iPad side, and has not arisen during the year or so that we've known about Surface Pro.
    Reply
  • Impulses - Tuesday, August 06, 2013 - link

    I think you're overlooking some very common usage cases, although I agree the Surface Pro form factor is never gonna have mass market appeal... But the Surface Pro seems perfect for a lot of students and mobile professionals who DO need a laptop and could use a tablet and who may very well prefer only ever carrying one device. They don't need gobs of power, but they certainly need more than what an ARM/Atom can provide. You can dock the Pro to a desktop display/USB hub and have a perfectly serviceable workstation for a lot of lighter usage cases. Reply
  • InsGadget - Wednesday, August 07, 2013 - link

    You really are wrong, people just may not realize what is possible here. Honestly, if I could just have on tablet-sized device that can also be a full computer, that would be a panacea. Now, I'm a PC gamer, so I'm not holding my breath on this any time soon, but one day when I can just take my tablet out into the world for work/play, then bring it home that night and dock it to full keyboard/mouse/monitor, with perhaps a discrete graphics card included in the dock, that would be very awesome. Just because you lack the imagination, doesn't make this dream any less cool. I promise once that becomes reality, more people will want it. Reply
  • Capt Mikey - Saturday, August 24, 2013 - link

    I have Windows PCs, and I use an iPad regularly at home for consumption of news, e-mail, books and surfing. I am often frustrated by getting to a point where the stupid Apple constraints prevent me from completing a task (like opening an encrypted Excel spreadsheet). I have to stop and go upstairs to use a "real computer" to finish. If I had a Surface Pro, I could do it all wherever I am, and plug it in to my large monitor and full-size keyboard in my office. I am just waiting for Surface Pro 2.0 and I will jump. For that functionality $1000 is about right. Reply
  • vision33r - Tuesday, August 06, 2013 - link

    I always laugh at these comments justifying the Surface Pro's high price. There are ultrabooks with the same specs for just $499.

    There's nothing special about the Surface Pro except it has more memory and Intel's higher price CPU.

    The Surface Pro needs to come down to $699 for the 128GB, the only reason it can't because it will wipe the competition and suddenly every ultrabook looks overpriced.
    Reply
  • JarredWalton - Tuesday, August 06, 2013 - link

    No, there are not...not anywhere near it. Refurbished ASUS UX31A with 128GB SSD are going for $799 -- so a used Ultrabook with similar specs but no stylus or tablet mode. The Ultrabooks that sell for $499 are first generation devices that are being clearanced, or they're models with HDD and a small SSD cache, and none of them have 1080p IPS displays. Reply
  • InsGadget - Wednesday, August 07, 2013 - link

    As Jarred says, you are wrong. He covers the reasons. Reply
  • Da W - Tuesday, August 06, 2013 - link

    Lol. Googlers got addicted to cheap stuff. Intel sells its chips 300$.
    A Kabini surface is in the plans. There will be RT (probably tegra 4), Kabini, Haswell. The Haswell one will still be around 1000$. You can expect the kabini one to be around 500$ and have a decent display.
    Reply
  • piroroadkill - Tuesday, August 06, 2013 - link

    $400? Haha, what are you even talking about? Reply
  • MrSpadge - Tuesday, August 06, 2013 - link

    > i still think regulators should now allow M$ to sell x86 PCs

    Surprise, surprise: MS is actually allowed to sell these things! Who would've thought that..
    Reply
  • Daniel Egger - Monday, August 05, 2013 - link

    $799 or $899 are still a ridiculous amount of money for something as stupid as the Surface Pro. $599 for the 128MB version including the keyboard cover would be in the "just-so-okay" range. You really need to be crazy about the touchscreen and the x86 CPU in order to spring for that amount of money; I'm certainly not. OTOH the Surface RT is slowly reaching an acceptable price tag... Reply
  • Death666Angel - Monday, August 05, 2013 - link

    They should really pay you to own one, don't you think? Reply
  • Zeratul56 - Monday, August 05, 2013 - link

    lol Death Angel. I think people fail to realize the processor alone in the surface pro is several hundred dollars. This is not a tablet were almost all of the components are less than 30 dollars. Reply
  • chizow - Tuesday, August 06, 2013 - link

    Sorry guys, that fallacy was debunked months ago when the Surface released. The i5-3317u was available in numerous Ultrabooks in the $500-600 range when Pro released, and those same Ultrabooks can be had even cheaper now with 2 in 1s replacing them in the $500-600 slot. Microsoft just seems to think they can charge a $300-400 premium for injected magnesium body and crappy battery life.

    I guess they have to pay for all those "dancing on tables" Surface ads somehow, because it's pretty clear the market has spoken: These tablets are nice, but they ain't worth the premium Microsoft is asking.
    Reply
  • kyuu - Tuesday, August 06, 2013 - link

    I hope you're not referring to ultrabooks with 768p TN screens and crap build quality. I'm sure Microsoft could've gotten the Surface down to $600 if they were willing to release a shoddy product. That would've defeated the point, though. Reply
  • chizow - Tuesday, August 06, 2013 - link

    Yep that's what MS was competing with (and losing). They did have a shoddy 768p version though, it was the useless Surface RT and they only wanted $500 for it, yet no one wanted it either. Reply
  • kyuu - Tuesday, August 06, 2013 - link

    Surface RT actually has a very nice screen, resolution aside. Reply
  • brianladmano - Wednesday, August 07, 2013 - link

    Microsoft should have released Surface (Atom) instead of Surface RT along with Surface Pro. Those that don't need the power but want long battery life could go for Surface Atom while those that need for muscle could go for the Surface Pro. Why did MS even bother with the Surface RT? Reply
  • chizow - Thursday, August 08, 2013 - link

    I definitely agree with this, but I also see why MS released Surface RT. They wanted to hedge their bets on x86 and not get left out of the "ARM" race. Problem is Windows RT is just so limited in functionality, there's basically no developer support and even less incentive to do so now that the RT has flopped. Reply
  • Impulses - Friday, August 09, 2013 - link

    That's an easy one, because they could and because as chizow said, it covers their bases. They left Atom to other OEMs... But MS wanted to simultaneously pressure Intel (who basically held Atom in place since it's inception years ago) and also have a fallback strategy in case Intel doesn't come thru with a desirable Atom replacement. Reply
  • InsGadget - Wednesday, August 07, 2013 - link

    So these cheap ultrabooks you mention have SSDs, 1080p, and excellent stylus support? Reply
  • chizow - Thursday, August 08, 2013 - link

    I can add an SSD, the screen and stylus support aren't worth $500 ($620 with TypePad) to me. Reply
  • Visual - Wednesday, August 07, 2013 - link

    You really have to try using an active digitizer before you declare someone "crazy" you know...

    There have been tablet convertibles since before iPhones were even an idea, and until a year ago they were successfully getting sold at over 2k USD. Granted, not in huge mass-market volumes, but for some people they were worth it.

    Having that at around 1-1.2k now is a great price point, and even a lot of people that thought they didn't need "the touchscreen and the x86 CPU" would be converted if they could try it for a week... Just play some Eve Online or Civ 5 on it and see...
    Reply
  • chizow - Thursday, August 08, 2013 - link

    But you can surely see the usage demographic that would find that feature useful and worth the premium might overestimate market demand, right? Reply
  • ITMedCEO - Tuesday, August 20, 2013 - link

    $599??? Come on now the Haswell chip by itself is $300. I think you are trying to make the Surface Pro to be a tablet. It is not a tablet only it is also a full PC. So, what would you pay for 2 separate devices??? If Microsoft meets us somewhere in the middle of adding the cost for both - we win!!! Reply
  • chizow - Monday, August 05, 2013 - link

    Tiger Direct has the 800 & 900 price with no rebate.

    Still I'd like to see still cheaper versions starting at 600 with Haswell and Typepad and I'd get one for sure.
    Reply
  • Impulses - Monday, August 05, 2013 - link

    I really don't understand the people that think the Surface Pro (with the Type Cover) should be priced lower than a high end ultrabook... It's effectively capable of doing everything an ultrabook/Air could, while being more versatile (at the cost of some battery life in it's current incarnation).

    I also realize the Surface Pro isn't for everyone tho, it certainly isn't for me... For the time being I'd rather just have an ultrabook and a cheaper/smaller Android tablet, but for certain people the Surface Pro can effectively replace both of those devices and I can definitely see the value in that.

    I don't think the Surface Pro form factor is ever gonna be the norm, but there's a ton of interesting dorm factors emerging right now. If anything, Surface RT is far worse of a value proposition IMO, even at reduced prices. Win RT was a stopgap, a way to pressure Intel.

    On the other hand, a next generation Atom/Kabini in the Surface RT form factor (with an x86 copy of Windows) at a <$500 price point would really shake things up and round out Microsoft's mobile strategy IMO. I don't see how the larger or high end ARM tablets could compete with that...

    This coming from someone who just bought a 2013 Nexus 7 and who's used an OG Transformer for two years now btw (which I only bought because I got it for $300 thanks to a $100 Staples discount, otherwise the first N7 would've probably been my 1st tablet).
    Reply
  • chizow - Tuesday, August 06, 2013 - link

    Well I think that is part of the problem. No wants an Ultrabook if it's going to cost them $1000 of their own money. Anyone who is willing to spend that kind of money is buying whatever flavor of MacBook suits them.

    The Surface Pro on the other hand is stuck in an awkward position. It's a lot like a tablet but clearly more powerful than the Android offerings and even the iPad offerings out there. But it's also getting pulled down toward those low-end Ultrabooks and 2-in-1s in that $500-600 range.

    Sit it somewhere in the middle, and I think you have a winner. But you still need to iterate and improve. Standardize the Typepad and include it, improve the battery life and thickness by replacing IVB with Haswell (can even be the same speed), make the base model 128GB SSD, and drop price to $800 and I think you have a real winner.

    Sure MS makes less per unit sold, but hey at least they will actually be selling units. And I am sure it is better than the current situation they face, writing off $1bn in Surface inventory, only to be forced to cut prices by $100 on dated tech at this point. Saw this coming months ago anyways, it's going to be hard to sell those IVB Pros even at $100 off at this point, and it's going to be hard to raise prices again when they are eventually forced to drop these to $600-700 to clear them out. Probably another big write down coming unless they already accounted for it in the $1bn.
    Reply
  • pSupaNova - Tuesday, August 06, 2013 - link

    Haswell based Surface Pro's are going to be a hard sell to consumers, because IOS and Android already fulfill most of the computing needs of modern day consumers while being very easy to use and needing very little maintenance.

    Microsoft should be pushing 7-8inch RT Tablets and using it excellent Gaming IP.

    ARM is Microsoft future in the tablet sector not x86.
    Reply
  • name99 - Tuesday, August 06, 2013 - link

    MS has made three big mistakes in this arena. They have so far admitted (kinda, begrudgingly) to two - that no-one wants RT as it currently exists, and that no-one wants Win8 on tablets.

    The remaining admission they have yet to make is that, gee, it turns out Apple was right and touch screens ARE a bad idea on the desktop because it hurts your arm to constantly be raising it. (People experimenting with the LEAP motion controller have already made this point very publicly, but I've yet to see a Win8 supporter concede it.)

    MS being what they are, and unwilling to ever throw away a bad idea even if it was last useful in 1997, I expect the way this will play out is a scramble to release a Windows 9 which will retain (till the end of time!) the option for touch on the desktop, but with no-one ever actually using it. (And internally the Office team will gloat about how they were right, and sensible not to waste time supporting it --- so much for "One Microsoft".)
    Less clear what the future of Metro on the desktop is. My guess is it will be relegated to the same sort of role as Silverlight and .Net --- you can click on Metro apps and they'll run, but once again MS won't be making a big deal about it as the future of Windows. (To give a non-MS analogy, like Dashboard on OSX, which I actually find pretty useful, but which Apple seems to have abandoned as a failed experiment.)

    The interesting part of Win 9, of course, will be what they decide to do for tablets.
    I have no idea how that will play out. Double down on Win RT? Or give up there and accept that the only person who will buy a Windows tablet is someone who wants to run specific x86 Windows software on it? Both these options suffer from the fact that they result in tremendous overhead (on storage, in RAM, in energy) compared to iOS and Android, which are both willing to cut out whatever is less than appropriate on a tablet (like paging). MS seems to be hoping it can just power through, that they keep things going until the costs (in storage and RAM) no longer matter, and we've hit a point where paging is a sensible tradeoff on these devices. Maybe they'll make it?

    Their third option is to accept that both these choices suck and really copy Apple --- move Win Phone 8 up to the tablet. THAT is the interesting possibility. WIll they have the guts to admit so much of a failure (and tacitly admit that Windows 8 is too bloated)?
    IMHO this is the sensible solution. It allows Win8 to go back to what it was adequate at --- sitting on the desktops of Fortune 500 companies, filled with APIs that connect to various servers and databases, filled with hooks to allow for rapidly written in-house software. Simultaneously it gives Win Phone8 a larger base and thus software authors slightly more of a target. It's not a great solution --- because MS has wasted five years, first in denial about the iPhone, then in denial about the iPad, then in denial about what people actually want from both their tablets and their desktops --- but it's the best plan I see going forward.
    Reply
  • Impulses - Tuesday, August 06, 2013 - link

    I'd buy a Zenbook over an Air right now, I think certain ultrabook models are perfectly competitive... I don't think Apple has a lock on the $1,000+ laptop price point. Reply
  • MykeM - Friday, August 09, 2013 - link

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

    http://news.cnet.com/8301-13579_3-57591652-37/macb...

    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.
    Reply
  • Impulses - Friday, August 09, 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. Reply
  • madmilk - Tuesday, August 06, 2013 - link

    $800 is actually a pretty decent price. That $130 cover on the other hand... Reply
  • Houdani - Monday, August 05, 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.
    Reply
  • GTRagnarok - Monday, August 05, 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. Reply
  • Voldenuit - Monday, August 05, 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. Reply
  • dalestrauss - Monday, August 05, 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. Reply
  • skiboysteve - Tuesday, August 06, 2013 - link

    This Reply
  • chizow - Tuesday, August 06, 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). Reply
  • flyingpants1 - Tuesday, August 06, 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).
    Reply
  • jimbo2779 - Tuesday, August 06, 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.
    Reply
  • madmilk - Tuesday, August 06, 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. Reply
  • flyingpants1 - Tuesday, August 06, 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.
    Reply
  • InsGadget - Wednesday, August 07, 2013 - link

    You really don't know what you're talking about. Reply
  • phillyry - Wednesday, August 07, 2013 - link

    +1 (what he said) Reply
  • phillyry - Wednesday, August 07, 2013 - link

    jimbo2779 that is Reply
  • phillyry - Wednesday, August 07, 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). Reply
  • InsGadget - Wednesday, August 07, 2013 - link

    Right on. I do appreciate intellects. Reply
  • seapeople - Wednesday, August 07, 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. Reply
  • kyuu - Tuesday, August 06, 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. Reply
  • JarredWalton - Tuesday, August 06, 2013 - link

    Why do they need Kabini? The only reason would be to get the price $100 lower, but it would also deliver half the performance. Kabini is only somewhat faster than the current Atom offerings (not even 2x faster in most cases), and Silvermont will basically beat out Kabini when it launches. But both of those are really going up against high-end ARM offerings, whereas the Haswell ULT parts are 2-3 times faster and can easily handle full Windows apps. Kabini could be okay in a new Surface RT type device (only with full Windows, not RT), but it wouldn't be a good fit for the Pro -- "Here's the new Surface Pro, with less performance than the original Surface Pro but a $100 lower price!" Reply
  • JPForums - Tuesday, August 06, 2013 - link

    For a minute there, I thought I disagreed with you, but then you said "it wouldn't be a good fit for the Pro". I totally agree that Kabini is a bad fit for the Surface Pro. I always thought a Kabini or Silvermont based Surface x86 would be nice. I'm pretty sure the price difference between the Pro and x86 versions would be more than $100. Atoms are somewhat price competitive with ARM offerings and I rarely see AMD in a position of charging a premium over Intel. Granted they would use a higher end Silvermont or Kabini, but that shouldn't change the overall cost very much. They may have to sacrifice some extras like (unfortunately) the Wacom digitizer, but I see no reason why they couldn't use a nicer display than the RT. I could see the price stratum falling into place at $350-$400 for Surface RT, around $600 for the x86, and say $900 for the Pro. I do think they would be in a better position if they at least offered keyboards with additional batteries and/or port expanders. The current offerings could still be sold at a lower price point. Given the price of android keyboards with touchpad, batteries, and sometimes extra ports, I don't see any reason why this can't be done. That said, I'll still pay extra if the quality justifies it. Reply
  • mrdude - Tuesday, August 06, 2013 - link

    People are suggesting cheaper chips because of the biggest issue with Microsoft's Surface lineup: price. There's little doubt that Intel takes the largest share of the BoM in the Surface tablet.

    I think Microsoft needs to address a plethora of other factors before they can get to the hardware aspect. For example, they're OS is still far too bloated and requires a higher capacity drive for storage. Microsoft isn't giving you 64GB because they want you to have the extra space, but because that's pretty much the bare minimum for one of these things once you install just a few applications. Likewise, the performance/processor issue is the same. Win8/Metro was often too heavy for the Tegra 3 and the legacy landscape requires a costly Intel processor in order to be viable as a laptop and/or tablet.

    The whole "it's an Ultrabook" argument only holds water if Ultrabooks themselves were selling well. But if I recall correctly, Intel has had to slash its sales figures every year since they've introduced the platform, and laptop sales are still being cannibalized by tablets.

    People want cheap small tablets and they don't give a damn about x86 and Win32/legacy support on said cheap tablets. Microsoft, and consequently Intel, need to seriously rethink their approach here.
    Reply
  • kyuu - Tuesday, August 06, 2013 - link

    I'm not saying they should have Kabini *instead* of Haswell, but in addition. Kabini's performance is more than good enough for most people's usage, and I'm quite sure it'll shave more than $100 off the price. Intel isn't selling Haswell for cheap. Reply
  • kyuu - Tuesday, August 06, 2013 - link

    Basically, I'm thinking three tiers of Surface: Surface RT with whatever ARM flavor, Surface "Lite" with Kabini (or possibly even Temash, depending on how MS wants to prioritize battery/performance) in the $500-600 range for people who want full Windows but don't need expensive Intel silicon, and Surface Pro with Haswell. Reply
  • Impulses - Tuesday, August 06, 2013 - link

    That'd be great, if their two existing tiers were even selling to begin with. I think RT just goes away eventually to be replaced by Kabini/new Atom variants... Has the RT Surface sold any better than the Pro despite the lower price and larger discounts?

    Ultimately they may just come to the realization that not a lot of people want a 10" converge device... Just like the ultrabook market is sorta nichey. A 10" hybrid device (specially the beefier Pro) ends up being too cramped for serious work and too large/heavy for light media consumption.

    The number of people that are really better off with a laptop and a tablet in one device is just not that large IMO. Specially as prices for low end ARM tablets continue to fall and people continue to be willing to compromise with low res laptops with poor build quality (good laptops in and of itself aren't a mass market game).
    Reply
  • ddriver - Thursday, August 08, 2013 - link

    According to the benchmark here on anand, Kabini is about twice as fast as a current gen atom in single threaded Cinebench, THREE times faster multithreaded, a little below 2 times faster in 7ZIP benchmark, over twice as fast on Kraken, OVER TEN times faster in 3D Mark Physics, about NINE times faster in Graphics, WHOOPING SIXTEEN times faster in GL/DXBenchmark.

    Obviosly, Kabini offers a considerable performance improvement over current atoms, even Bay Trail will only match about the same performance as Kabini, while GPU will likely be worse.

    So all in all, a Kabini based surface is a good idea, considering AMD chips have much lower profit margins, they are still better than atoms and comparable to cheapest i3 processors while being even cheaper.
    Reply
  • Krysto - Tuesday, August 06, 2013 - link

    Unlikely. Haswell is at least $100 more expensive than IVB, so there's that. At best they'll manage to maintain the $900 price. Reply
  • JarredWalton - Tuesday, August 06, 2013 - link

    Haswell can basically target the same prices as Ivy Bridge. It's just the OEMs taking more profit that would increase the price, but since MS can put Windows on the Surface for free it's not as much of a problem to lower the price. I'm okay with the original price points, though, as long as the Haswell variant either: includes the keyboard, doubles the SSD size (so the 64GB model becomes 128GB and the 128GB becomes 256GB), or find some other way to make the new model more compelling other than Haswell improving battery life. Reply
  • chizow - Tuesday, August 06, 2013 - link

    $100 more expensive based on what data? Intel almost always slots in the new successor chips in the same performance bracket at the same price points. There's a lot of fat (or Mg) that needs to be trimmed on Surface, those visions of 50-60% margins need to come back down to reality. Reply
  • maximumGPU - Tuesday, August 06, 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? Reply
  • chizow - Tuesday, August 06, 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.
    Reply
  • Impulses - Tuesday, August 06, 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...
    Reply
  • chizow - Tuesday, August 06, 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? ;)
    Reply
  • Impulses - Friday, August 09, 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) Reply
  • chizow - Friday, August 09, 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.
    Reply
  • flyingpants1 - Tuesday, August 06, 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.
    Reply
  • kyuu - Tuesday, August 06, 2013 - link

    Other OEMs have made Surface Pro analogues. They are not anywhere near $500. So the idea the Microsoft is overcharging is bunk. Reply
  • flyingpants1 - Tuesday, August 06, 2013 - link

    They are all overcharging too. For the last time, the components are not expensive. Reply
  • Kulli - Tuesday, August 06, 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"
    Reply
  • PNN - Tuesday, August 06, 2013 - link

    Are ultrabooks supposed to be "improved laptops"? They don't even feature full voltage CPU's! How could they be faster than standard laptops with i5/i7/qc-i7 CPU's?

    I think of ultrabooks as lightweight, thin, small (<14) laptops. One step ahead of tablets (my 2012 MBA is the perfect tablet-replacement), but one step behind laptops.
    Reply
  • Impulses - Tuesday, August 06, 2013 - link

    They're more laptop (more powerful) than most people need tho, OTOH most people don't appreciate a decent keyboard or build and are happy to spend $600 on a mediocre screen they'll probably live with for 2-3 years... Complacency is a big part of the reason for slow ultrabook sales. Apple can make a fancy ad where they pull a MBA out of an envelope tho and suddenly they make it sexy and worth having... Reply
  • cjs150 - Tuesday, August 06, 2013 - link

    As someone who has just come back from holiday where I took both a tablet (rooted Nook HD+) and an ultrabook I believe MS have misunderstood the market completely.

    My tablet is 9" (I also have an old 10.1" notebook). It is fine for gaming, movies, ebooks, email and short documents. But it is not something I can do serious work on. If I need to amend up a document of more than a few pages (or a spreadsheet of more than a few columns) I fire up the ultrabook.

    Maybe because I am getting old and my eyesight is not as good as in years gone by (or too much red wine on holiday) but I just cannot do serious work on a screen of less than 13" (Mac is wonderful).

    So the surface pro is a dud for me. Powerful enough to be useful for work but too small a screen to be functional for serious work. Yet overpriced and with too poor a battery life to be useful as a general entertainment device with light work abilities
    Reply
  • Impulses - Tuesday, August 06, 2013 - link

    I think a ton of people would share that view, specially amongst enthusiasts and professionals who would pay $1K for an ultrabook or convertible (the rest of the market isn't even willing to pay that much for either anyway).

    I know Anand was pretty bullish about devices like the Pro potentially replacing both a tablet and a laptop, but he's IN that very niche market that would actually WANT that (very mobile users, students, etc).

    I think a lot of people would opt for the increased ergonomics of separate dedicated devices. Not like a Nexus 7 + a decent ultrabook/MBA would cost significantly more.
    Reply
  • andrewaggb - Tuesday, August 06, 2013 - link

    Yeah I kinda agree. My hope for surface-like devices involves a docking station to meet my use cases. If you are always on the go with nowhere to dock then I don't think a 10" screen will ever cut it for document editing/creation. Reply
  • flyingpants1 - Tuesday, August 06, 2013 - link

    I agree. I think there are 4 main categories of device: phone (5"), tablet (7-10"), laptop (13-15"), PC (19-27"+). Trying to cross categories and do everything... just means you end up getting more things wrong. Changing screen size while still trying to maintain usability. And terrible battery life..

    OTOH, Intel is targetting $400 Convertibles with Silvermont.
    Reply
  • kyuu - Tuesday, August 06, 2013 - link

    Can't disagree more. I have no desire to constantly switch between a tablet and laptop when it's perfectly feasible to have a convergence device. Reply
  • flyingpants1 - Tuesday, August 06, 2013 - link

    But not feasible for all, because a 10" screen does not suit everyone as an everyday machine or even a main laptop. And that's why the Surface is a niche product.

    Meanwhile you can easily get a cheap 14" ultrabook with the same CPU in the Surface, and a real keyboard, AND 7" tablet for less than $670 on Amazon right now. You can just take the tablet when you want to mess around or on long train rides and leave the giant laptop at home. No sense in paying $1029 for one device, unless you have money to burn. Did I mention niche product?
    Reply
  • chizow - Friday, August 09, 2013 - link

    I think a lot of people would agree with this also, but they also aren't willing to pay $1000+ for the privilege. I think Intel is getting the idea though as there are a ton of 2-in-1 convergence devices slated to launch for ~$600 later this year. Maybe then Microsoft will realize Surface Pro isn't going to gain any traction at $1000+120. Reply
  • gillisr - Tuesday, August 06, 2013 - link

    As others have mentioned, your use profile determines if the Pro is worth the cost...to you. Here is a profile where it is perfect.

    --55 year old PhD student, constantly shuttling between home, school, library, classrooms, meetings.
    --lots and lots of professional reading--pdf's, e-books, electronic textbooks, etc.
    --need to run high end statistical package in class and in meetings (SPSS, for those of you who know what it is)
    --create and edit documents, spreadsheets, presentations
    --make presentations
    --run full-blown Adobe Creative Suite
    --kids need gaming machine at night and on weekends
    --and so on

    I was a high school teacher and watched students struggle with electronic documents/books. They did not like switching windows back and forth, either on a desktop or on a laptop. Sure, they could do it, but they didn't like it.

    Enter the Surface Pro. Download the teacher's powerpoint presentation, take notes right on the slides with the stylus. Organize every lecture in a One-Note file. Take pictures of demonstrations with the built in camera, then add them to One-Note. Pick up and move on to the next class.

    The key for me was realizing that this device is built for a second screen. At home I use an old 17" monitor, at school I use a GeChic OnLap monitor. You do not realize how much more productive you can be with the statistics program open on one monitor and the document you are preparing open on the Surface Pro. Others in my classes are amazed at how such a seemingly simple change makes a huge difference in productivity. And, the Surface Pro charging brick has a USB port, so the monitor draws power from the brick, not the battery, and I have a DisplayPort to HDMI connect to the monitor without having to worry about USB drivers.

    Could someone do all these things with a laptop? Sure. Can they fit the laptop and a second monitor in their backpacks? My friends with MacBooks don't have the extra room in their packs, and my load is much lighter. Could someone do the same things with iOS or Android tablets. No. I tried using a good Android tablet with a Bluetooth keyboard to take notes in class. It just wasn't the same. Could someone else adapt to the limited functionality of Office-like suites on a tablet? I guess so. But I do not need to transfer files from the tablet to my laptop or desktop, and the program environment is the same wherever I go. I found that to be very important after a semester or two. And no, Google Docs does not work well enough across platforms for me and my group members.

    So, there you go. The Surface Pro meets my use profile perfectly. I am more productive than other students with laptops or tablets. I don't struggle with document/program compatibility. And my kids love it for Netflix.

    Oh, and I haven't run into a situation yet where I did not have access to an outlet for a period greater than 4 hours. I don't know what kinds of jobs people have, but every meeting room, classroom, library room, and study area that I visit has somewhere to plug in.

    I wish the price would come down, but after 6 months of use I feel I am getting value for my money.

    Your opinion may vary.
    Reply
  • Impulses - Friday, August 09, 2013 - link

    That's a perfect usage case for the Surface Pro (like I said many times:students and highly mobile professionals)... But it's still kind of a niche IMO, any student below the college level doesn't need that degree of versatility and many college students would still need to add a better keyboard and a larger display to make it usable as a primary workstation for long hours of work (not that 13-15" displays and scissor switch keyboards are ideal, but they're at least usable). Reply
  • UpSpin - Tuesday, August 06, 2013 - link

    People here say the Surface Pro doesn't sell because of the high price. Well, the price is high, and should be lower. Still, I doubt it would sell at a lower price either.

    The issue is Windows. Windows is not as usable on a tablet as Android or iOS is. The Office Suite is unusable on a tablet and so all the other standard Windows programs, including the OS.
    Specialists had a use for such a tablet PC, as long as they use Photoshop.Sketchbook or other specialized note taking software. But to make it tablet friendly for the masses they had to include Metro, which is far from finished and Metro Apps are lacking, too.

    So people who want a tablet buy an iPad or Android tablet, which is passivly cooled, lighter, cheaper, and better to use as a tablet thanks to a tablet optimized OS and touch optimized apps. There are even Android tablets with WACOM pens, too.
    People who want Windows buy an Ultrabook because it's more powerful, and has a keyboard and touchpad, which both are a requirement for 99% of Windows programs.

    In my opinion MS has to further improve Windows for touch. They have to ditch Windows RT and combine it with the normal Windows 8. They have to add ARM support to Windows 8 to remain competive in the hardware section. They have to finally make Office touch friendly.
    But I doubt that MS is able to do this. Too many incompatible programs, drivers, ... Too much work left.
    In constrast, Android is much more flexible right now. (runs on anything, you can do with it whatever you want), so I doubt that Windows will be able to remain competive over the next few years.
    Reply
  • Ytterbium - Tuesday, August 06, 2013 - link

    WindowsRT is Windows8 compiled for ARM, so they did that already? I'm not sure what you want, x86 that would apps compiled for ARM or ARM with x86 compatibility, I guess this? All the store apps are multiplatform so it's abstracted what hardware you run ala flexible.

    MS already announced and demo'ed alpha version of office for Modern Interface, so the office for touch is in the pipeline, maybe next year?
    Reply
  • kyuu - Tuesday, August 06, 2013 - link

    With a stylus, most of the usability concerns of desktop applications is negated. Nobody with any brains is expecting their legacy x86 apps to have a UI suited to tablet in the first place. That doesn't mean having the ability to run them isn't desirable.

    Also, there is already a large library of Metro apps in the Windows 8 marketplace. Metro Office is in the pipe, but MS really has to nail the new UI in the first try or people are going to scream bloody murder, so you can't expect them to rush that out.

    And if you're expecting Android or ChromeOS to replace Windows in any serious way, you're delusional. They (and iOS) will certainly encroach on the laptop market as some consumers switch to tablets and cheap-o Chromebooks for their basic usage patterns, but they aren't going to make a dent in the desktop market (which isn't going to go away anytime soon).
    Reply
  • Alexvrb - Tuesday, August 06, 2013 - link

    Don't let the facts get in the way of a good flame post, Mr. Walton!

    Anyway the Surface Pro is a well built, high quality device. Too expensive for my needs, though. I'd be happy with a cheap Temash unit by one of the other manufacturers.
    Reply
  • mgilbert - Wednesday, August 07, 2013 - link

    Still obscenely overpriced... Reply
  • piiman - Saturday, August 10, 2013 - link

    Oh B3an if only everyone was as smart as you. NOT
    You do realize not everyone in the world knows computer hardware? In fact I would say 99% don't have a clue and all they want is something that looks cool and doesn't cost more than their morgages. So how is that knot on your head where your mother dropped you?
    Reply

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