By Dexter Duncan
Surface Pro is Microsoft’s enterprise tablet and notebook and some would say is more comparable to an Ultrabook, except with a tablet style touchscreen. We are reasonably bullish on Surface Pro (and similar devices) for Enterprises as we feel they fill a technology gap, especially with sales, service, maintenance and other people who are often out of the office. Being able to tap directly and securely into your corporate network gives you access to the sales, management, HR, finance and other processes or workflows, while having the small form factor of a tablet. Alternatively, you can work out of the office and use the Surface with a second monitor. This means one device with multiple functions. This is productivity with security.
The main reason to choose the Surface over an Ultrabook is – it is both desktop device and a Tablet.
There are two flavors of Surface Pro.
64 GB Solid State Drive (SSD), $AUD 999.00
128 GB Solid State Drive, $1099.00
You can purchase a keyboard cover for an additional $150.00, which is highly recommended. Surface Pro has been available in USA for a few months for about $100 less, which I believe can be explained with GST. In Australia, there are three places you can buy online – Harvey Norman, JB HiFi and Microsoft Store.
Our advice is to only order the 128 GB version or wait for 256 GB version for corporate use. With “type cover” keyboard, this will set you back $AUD1,250.00. We think the 64 GB SSD will not have sufficient space for enterprise and will likely be discontinued. (Update: the 256GB Surface Pro was announced in Japan in June.)
Having a quick look at comparable Windows 8 machines, the Surface seems to be fairly priced based on the 1920 x 1080 multi-touch screen, Intel Core i5, 128 GB SSD and Windows 8 Pro. Other devices are available (such as HP Envy, MacBook Air, Samsung slate, Sony Vaio or Slate, and Toshiba), but all have trade-offs. They may be lower or similarly priced, but will often have either lower screen resolution and no touch screen, or lower specification on Intel, Graphics, RAM, etc. For example, Sony has an Ultrabook at similar price with a larger screen and 128 GB SSD, but the screen is lower quality and not touch based. The most similar device I could find was the Sony 11” Slate Touch Ultrabook at a discounted price of $1394.00 from JB HiFi.
In short, the Microsoft Surface Pro helps to define a new technology space within the enterprise market for touch based Ultrabooks (and/or Windows PC based Tablets) with the benefit of providing a secure portable device that can raise productivity within the workplace.
About the author: Dexter Duncan is a Manager at Empower IT Solutions. Contact Dexter at dd@EmpowerIT.com.au