The market has provided its fair share of reviews and scoring of the Microsoft Surface Pro tablet. Although the feedback has been overwhelmingly negative, I didn’t think I should immediately rule it out before getting my hands on it. I also think that the needs for education and nonprofit organizations can be different, so it is worth taking a look at any technology from that lens.
I can summarize my review in one word: disappointment. I have to start with the price tag: In education specifically, I have difficulty accepting the notion that a school should spend $500 or $600 for a tablet. At a starting price of $899, the Surface Pro does not offer enough to justify the expense. Some positives are that it is a nice design, from the feel of the device to the sensitivity of the screen. I also like the built-in kickstand; a definite plus.
When running Windows 8, I can see how well it works in the tablet format vs. running Windows 8 on a traditional computer. But honestly, even as a business owner, I’m not going to fork over that kind of money for a device that bridges a full functioning laptop with a $400 tablet (via Apple, Samsung, Google, and others). And with the recent introduction of Microsoft Office for Android mobile devices (GREAT move Microsoft), I think there is limited need for this device.
Even if Surface Pro is a complete bomb, and it is, we are seeing how quickly Microsoft can move to fix a problem. Should they abandon tablets? I don’t think so. Give me a 7″ tablet running Windows 8, that includes Office 365 and Skydrive, add micro HDMI, make the battery life mind blowing, and package the entire thing up for around $250, and I believe you’ll have a winner.