Surface Pro $100 Price Drop - A Prelude of Things to Come?by Jarred Walton on August 5, 2013 5:40 PM EST
Techreport.com posted earlier today that there's currently a $100 rebate from Microsoft on the Surface Pro. That brings the price of the 64GB SSD model to $799 and the 128GB model to $899, though still without a Type Cover sadly (add another $129 for that). The rebate is set to run through August 29, or "until supplies last", but it seems more like a way to clear inventory in preparation for the launch of a Haswell based Surface Pro 2.
In our review of the Surface Pro six months ago, we concluded that it was one of the best executed tablet/laptop (taptablet, Ultra-tablet, etc.--feel free to make up your own name for this class of device) computers we had seen. The inclusion of an active stylus also opens the door for other use cases--Penny Arcade's Mike Krahulik for instance loves his Surface Pro and it appears he has switched to using that for many of his comics. The two primary concerns with the original still remain, however: you don't get the Type Cover as part of the core package (and $129 is an awful lot for a cover that doesn't include any additional battery life), and more importantly the battery life is pretty poor for a tablet--five or six hours in our testing, compared to 10-13 on many higher quality tablets.
Now that the Haswell launch is behind us, we have a better idea of what to expect from the 4th Generation Intel processors, and most of what we expect is minor to moderate improvements in performance with dramatically improved battery life. So far, we've seen 6-13 hours out of the new MacBook Air 13, over eight hours on the updated Acer S7--nearly twice what the original S7 managed!--and even a mainstream laptop with a quad-core i7-4702MQ (and a larger battery) posted times of 4-9 hours with the MSI GE40. In fact, I've got an updated MSI GT70 with i7-4930XM and GTX 780M that's getting 4-6 hours in our battery life tests. When we look at power use of the Haswell ULT processors and consider what can be done with a 4.5W Haswell, the next Surface Pro could be a serious improvement over the original, at least as far as mobility goes.
I'd still like to see Microsoft include a Type Cover in the package, as otherwise you're getting an already expensive tablet and paying a hefty sum to add laptop functionality. Improving the battery life and getting the prices closer to the current "rebate pricing" would seal the deal I think. We'll have to wait to see what Microsoft actually releases, but in the meantime, if you're in a hurry to help clear out the Ivy Bridge inventory, feel free to take advantage of the current offer. Just don't be surprised to see a newer, better Surface Pro in the near future.
Source: Tech Report
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RobertJP - Monday, August 5, 2013 - linkI 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.
bountygiver - Monday, August 5, 2013 - linkI can get from 4 hours of battery to 6 hours with just a display brightness change....
jjj - Monday, August 5, 2013 - linkThey 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).
menting - Monday, August 5, 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.
B3an - Monday, August 5, 2013 - linkExactly. 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.
Impulses - Monday, August 5, 2013 - linkThey 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...
nathanddrews - Tuesday, August 6, 2013 - linkMaybe 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)
DanNeely - Tuesday, August 6, 2013 - linkI 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.
MrSpadge - Tuesday, August 6, 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.
name99 - Tuesday, August 6, 2013 - linkThe 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.