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June 7th 2014 4:43 pm

My issues with the Surface Pro and W8

I tried the SP2 for a brief time, but there were a couple things that bugged me that I just couldn't get over. First is the fact the on-screen keyboard doesn't automatically pop up (when the physical keyboard isn't docked) when selecting a text entry field. The second is that when docking the on-screen keyboard to make the desktop resize so everything is visible and nothing is hidden by the keyboard, the sizes and positions of the windows aren't remembered, so when undocking it and returning the desktop to fullscreen mode, all your windows are now really narrow (and IIRC, also in the top half of the screen). These are things that should never have made it past testing, and it's unbelievable MS released W8/8.1 like that, not to mention they don't seem to have any interest in fixing it. These issues, and the lack of support, are what primarily drove me to return the computer.

As for cost, if it worked well (i.e. if issues like those above didn't exist), for the hardware and the multiple-use capabilities, I don't think it's too expensive, and it's getting old how often people complain about it. However, one issue I do have with the pricing is with the SSD upgrades. I understand upgrades have always been expensive for mobile computing devices, but a $300 premium to go from a 128GB to a 256GB SSD and a $400 premium to go from 256 to 512 ($650 if you consider the only way to get a 512GB SSD is to get the i7 version) is ridiculous, especially considering a 256GB mSATA SSD costs ~$170 and a 512GB one costs ~$325. So the upgrades from the base configuration cost roughly twice what the actual part costs, again not counting the fact you HAVE to get the i7 (and therefore pay for it) to get the 512GB SSD. In this case, you're not paying for quality or features or performance, you're just paying a huge markup simply because they can make you pay it if you need the storage space. The 256 and 512 versions do come with 8GB RAM vs 4GB, however, that's a very small part of that price premium. This is why MS needs more competition in the hardware space, but unfortunately it's not looking like that's going to happen anytime soon, if at all.

Regarding not including a keyboard, it makes perfect sense. There are at least three different keyboard options (more if you count the fact some can be used across generations). The only way it would be done is by increasing the price, in which case now consumers are buying a keyboard they may not even want. I realize people saying the keyboard should be included mean for the same price, but you need to be realistic, because that's not going to happen. If MS could/would do that, they may as well just reduce the price of the Surface without the keyboard. Of course, then people would still complain that it's too expensive and/or the keyboard should be included. They set their price where they did for a reason.

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