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2/11/2013
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Microsoft Surface Pro: 7 Questions To Ask

Is Surface Pro right for you? Consider these points as you decide whether a laptop-tablet hybrid makes sense.

4. How Will You Use The Display?

At 208 ppi, the Surface Pro's 1080 x 1920-pixel HD screen is vibrant and beautiful. No, the resolution isn't quite as dense as the iPad's 264 ppi Retina offering, but few users will perceive a difference at normal viewing distances. It's also much better than the Surface RT's 1366 x 768-pixel offering.

In its tablet role, Surface Pro will no doubt make good use of this screen, which should be great for Web surfing, viewing photos, watching movies, reading reports and other consumption-oriented activities. Tradeoffs emerge when the device is in its laptop mode, however; the 10.6-inch screen is certainly big enough for document creation, spreadsheets and the like, but users accustomed to 15-inch and even 13-inch laptops might find the display real estate a little cramped. Relying on the screen for intense applications such as video editing, meanwhile, is probably going to be tough for all but the most eagle-eyed of users.

Even so, the device can output to a bigger monitor at up to 2550 x 1440-pixel resolution. The capability exemplifies the workarounds Panay described to his Reddit audience, and for many the solution will be perfectly acceptable. Others, though, might see the fix as basically stripping a mobile device of its mobility.

Gaming is another consideration. The device will run most video games without trouble, but if you're a fan of demanding titles that tax graphics cards, Surface Pro might disappoint you.

5. What Are Your Ergonomic And Size Preferences?

Like Surface RT, the Surface Pro includes a kickstand to prop up the screen. To some, this feature enhances media viewing and makes it simple to convert the tablet to its laptop configuration. For others, it's an aggravating design choice that doesn't allow the screen to be tilted. Even worse, the Pro is difficult to balance on one's lap, making it impractical to type on anything but a flat surface.

To connoisseurs of all things svelte, the Pro's dimensions might also be a deterrent, though fans of robust build quality will probably have the opposite reaction. At 13.5-mm thick and two pounds in weight, it's ultraportable but still noticeably thicker and heavier than either an iPad or Surface RT.

6. Are You Prone to Tech Envy?

Surface Pro might claim best-in-class status at the moment, but it will soon have to contend with a slew of new Windows 8 devices. Indeed, Tami Reller, CFO of Microsoft's Windows division, has been actively promoting them, even hinting that additional Surface models might materialize. If you're on the fence about Pro and can afford to delay a purchase, forthcoming models might be a better fit for your needs.

Buyer's remorse is always a risk with technology, of course, but with Intel's Haswell chips due later this year, would-be Surface-owners might have additional incentive to wait. The new processers are expected to offer better performance while consuming less energy, improvements that should encourage OEMs to pursue even thinner and more innovative designs. With this flexibility, the compromises that Panay said were necessary today might be easily avoided in six or eight months.

7. Will You Have Wi-Fi Access When You Need It?

Surface Pro can only connect to Wi-Fi networks. For laptop users, this limitation is par for the course. To tablet power users with 4G data plans, however, such shackles are anathema. That Microsoft is encouraging cloud usage only complicates this question, as a mobile user who can't find a trustworthy network won't be able to access his or her SkyDrive repository. If you're going to use Surface Pro primarily in your home or office, Wi-Fi access probably won't dictate your experience. If you like to set up shop wherever you roam, you might need to take your tablet search elsewhere.

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moarsauce123
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moarsauce123,
User Rank: Ninja
2/11/2013 | 9:24:00 PM
re: Microsoft Surface Pro: 7 Questions To Ask
You also have to buy Office for the desktop in order to use Office for RT. So there is no difference.
AustinIT
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AustinIT,
User Rank: Apprentice
2/11/2013 | 8:24:25 PM
re: Microsoft Surface Pro: 7 Questions To Ask
Surface / Win8 has a builtin procedure to move the Recovery partition and/or Delete it. I posted earlier but the site monitors flagged it for review (due to being a URL). Here it is again,

microsoft.com/Surface/en-US/su...
WinWorm
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WinWorm,
User Rank: Apprentice
2/11/2013 | 7:14:23 PM
re: Microsoft Surface Pro: 7 Questions To Ask

Remember, it was designed to have the recovery files there for a reason. To make a recovery easy.
If the recovery files are some where else, there is a risk those files could get lost or not work.
Even though, I don't own Win 8 Pro Surface, yet, I am sure they use a similar approach to other Win op. sys.
It would probably be something like this.
Either the recovery folder is in plain view, like "WindowsImageBackup" or it is on a hidden partition.
If Hidden, you can verify by viewing the drive, by using windows "Disk Management "utility.
Assign a drive letter to hidden drive, so you can access it normally, in the regular Windows explorer.
There may be a couple of hidden partitions, but the largest one will have the recovery partition.
You could copy this over to external drive, and delete folder or the now unhidden partition.

Another way is make a brand new recovery image file, and then delete original.
The other included program in Win 7 and 8 is called "Windows 7 File Recovery"
This utility can make a system image of the operating system/programs/personal files at a particular time date.
You should be able to put the recovery image files in a usb mem stick or external hard drive.
By the way, I use "Windows 7 File Recovery" once a month on my Win 8 Pro PC- works like a charm!
AustinIT
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AustinIT,
User Rank: Apprentice
2/11/2013 | 7:13:01 PM
re: Microsoft Surface Pro: 7 Questions To Ask
And..... that's the point. One cannot logically compare Surface Apples to Apples (so to speak) directly against either a laptop or a tablet. It provides capabilities that neither of the pure forms possess. Compromises notwithstanding.
AustinIT
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AustinIT,
User Rank: Apprentice
2/11/2013 | 7:08:48 PM
re: Microsoft Surface Pro: 7 Questions To Ask
The whole storage thing is completely overblown. At least Surface has more options for storage than other devices in its class. USB, SDXC, SkyDrive, whatever. There are many options.

Lack of 3G/4G cellular access is fast becoming a moot point as well since you can tether to a mobile phone - under the right plan.

Tech envy is a valid concern... and in this case may give one pause due to the cost. Haswell chip and other improvements sure to be forthcoming.

For instance, the device has an option slot (aka docking) that will soon become usable.
AustinIT
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AustinIT,
User Rank: Apprentice
2/11/2013 | 7:02:15 PM
re: Microsoft Surface Pro: 7 Questions To Ask
Use the built-in tool in Win8 to do it. Here's a link to the official Microsoft doc.

"http://www.microsoft.com/Surfa..."
Michael Endler
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Michael Endler,
User Rank: Author
2/11/2013 | 6:54:19 PM
re: Microsoft Surface Pro: 7 Questions To Ask
Don108, thanks for your message. You bring up good points about the kickstand and the use cases it does or doesn't support. I think the article's second item addresses the battery issue: "not great if you're used to tablets that run all day," etc. As for the shifting comparisons between the Macbook Air and iPad, they're not intended to "make the Surface look better" so much as to emphasize that the Surface Pro occupies a nebulous space between existing market segments. That is, if you come from a tablet mindset, Surface Pro will have certain compromises, and if you come from a laptop mindset, Surface Pro will have another, different set of compromises. The question is whether the device's unique features and capabilities adequately compensate for these shortcomings.

Michael Endler, InformationWeek Associate Editor
Don108
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Don108,
User Rank: Apprentice
2/11/2013 | 6:22:13 PM
re: Microsoft Surface Pro: 7 Questions To Ask
Your comparison with Apple products is inconsistent at best and deceptive at worst. You compare the Surface Pro to either the iPad or Macbook Air, depending upon what you think will make the Surface look better. You say that nobody is complaining about the Air's storage limitations. However the Air has never been marketed as a replacement, only an addition to a user's other hardware.

You describe the kickstand, but don't bother to mention that the kickstand only works in landscape mode, making working in portrait mode challenging at best. One of the benefits of working with a tablet is being able to switch orientation, and the Surface makes this impractical.

You don't mention that other tablets have twice the battery life of the Surface Pro. You talk about the units "laptop mode" and don't mention that when using Office, the screen is so small that the ribbon will swallow up an unacceptably large amount of available visual space.

Everything about the Surface Pro indicates that it's going to be JAZ: Just Another Zune.
kburrows
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kburrows,
User Rank: Apprentice
2/11/2013 | 3:31:59 PM
re: Microsoft Surface Pro: 7 Questions To Ask
So, how do you backup the recovery partition to a USB drive without having to buy a partitioning program?
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