November 30, 2012
As you may know, I am monitoring the release of the Microsoft Surface Pro tablet, due out in January. That’s mainly because it can run a full client copy of Outlook, which is key to the MYN/1MTD productivity solution. Keeping your task list at hand and well linked to your e-mail is core to the MYN/1MTD systems, so anything that makes that easier—like a new lightweight tablet with Outlook—is important.
The latest news on that is the pricing. Pricing was just announced at $899 with 64GB and $999 with 128GB. As expected by many, it is about the same price as a low-end Ultrabook.
Price Too High?
Some people are howling about that price, saying it’s way too high. But I disagree—we are used to paying more for mobile power, and that’s what you get here: a full power laptop about the size and weight of a tablet. With the Type keyboard attached as a cover, this will be the lightest Ultrabook by far, allowing you to keep a full copy of Outlook with all its power closer at hand than ever before. So I think it makes sense.
However, one other factoid became apparent in this same announcement. Battery life is expected to be about half that of the Surface RT, so only about 4 or 5 hours—much too short for a tablet. That life is low because it is using the same chipset used in all other recent Ultrabooks: an Ivy Bridge Core i5, but with a small 42 W-h battery. I think that short battery life is unfortunate and it may argue for waiting for the next iteration of the Surface Pro (nothing announced), which surely will use the fourth-generation Core Haswell chips that are reportedly much more power efficient. Or consider one of the Atom-based Windows 8 Pro tablets I wrote about here—and they are available now. Or, as I also discussed in that article, get a Surface RT for tablet activities, and carry a true Ultrabook for most “real” work.
All that said, the tiny size of the Surface Pro makes it a compelling choice as a full-power Ultrabook.