The Anandtech review is very thorough and yes the numerous benchmarks shows Pro to be the most powerful tablet available while supporting the world's largest software ecosystem. There are some valid criticisms. While some aren't too pleased about the extra half pound weight it carries versus the iPad, most of the criticism centers around thickness and battery life. Interestingly both of these issues could be improved with low power Ivy Bridge processors Intel already has but were not used for this product.
There is another feature which makes Pro unique among tablets. The user has full access to the BIOS and Microsoft's Secure Boot (which is of debatable value anyway) can be disabled and this device will boot any OS the user wants to run. This answers one of the open questions some had about users being able to boot multiple OSes and the answer is YES - and no hacking is required to do it. This also gives superior security options than is available for Android or iPad.
As the very first full powered tablet on the market there is a lot to like, and some features not so likeable, but what is exciting is that processors Intel already ships, and will be shipping before the holidays, have the ability to improve this product quickly. Pro will still compete with convertibles coming on the market but its very encouraging to see a tablet-first product in this performance class.
To me, the following is going to be a crucial factor in deciding between detachables and convertibles (swivel or flip screen).
Microsoft integrated 4GB of DDR3-1600 memory (dual-channel, soldered on-board) and a full 64GB or 128GB SATA based SSD into Surface Pro.
Detachables and Tablets are going to have soldered on-board DRAM. I am pretty sure this means that the DRAM cannot be increased or upgraded.
Convertibles will probably win hands-down for users who need such upgrades. Yes, we might have to carry some extra weight around even when you use the device as a Tablet, but that beats being locked-in to a specific set of hardware with no upgrade potential.
Unless, of course, some OEMs come up with a detachable device that has 2 processors - one on the detachable screen (low-end Atom) to use as a Tablet - and another one under the keyboard (Core i3 to i7) to use as a laptop.
Surface Pro is about as well executed as Microsoft could have made it given the currently available hardware. Its performance is outstanding for a tablet - it’s truly in a class of its own. If I sit down and use Surface Pro as I would an iPad or Android tablet, it delivers an appreciably quicker user experience. Apple does get fairly close in some cases on far slower hardware, which should concern Microsoft quite a bit should Apple ever choose to go ahead and build a tablet/notebook convergence device of its own. But overall, there’s just not a faster tablet on the market. It’s really the combination of a very fast CPU and very fast storage that enable such great performance out of Surface Pro.
The beauty of Surface was in its flexibility. The ability to quickly switch between tablet and notebook usage modes, between content consumption and production. Surface Pro really takes that to the next level. It can quickly switch between operating modes just like its predecessor, but it can also double as a full blown notebook or desktop PC. There’s tremendous potential in what Microsoft is trying to do here with Surface Pro.
The inclusion of a Wacom powered digital pen is interesting for the creative professionals out there. My only complaint there is the lack of mouse tracking for the pen, it can only be used in pen mode, but if that’s something you’re ok with then I can see the pen being a good solution to consolidating tablet, notebook and Wacom tablet into a single device for use on the road.