Panos Panay, Corporate Vice President at Microsoft, and the Surface development team answered many user’s submitted questions in an Ask Me Anything chat in Reddit regarding the upcoming release of Surface Pro, as they did back in October with the release of Surface RT.
This time around they talked about very important points such as battery life of the tablet, controversial available hard drive space right out-of-the-box and if it is possible to upgrade the internal Surface Pro drive. Also about the new Pen and if there will be a trade-in program to exchange the current Surface RT for the Pro version.
Here are some of the most interesting answers:
With respect to battery life the SurfaceTeam answered: “The product was designed to take full advantage of Windows 8 coupled with the Ivy Bridge core processor from Intel. We created a product that did not compromise speed, performance in any way. With that, we wanted to be the best notebook/laptop product in its class, but still deliver you the tablet form factor. This product is optimized in every way to take advantage of the full third generation core i5 it runs, yet give the best battery life. If you compare it to say a MacBook Air, you will quickly see that pound for pound in battery size vs battery life, you will find optimizations that puts Surface best in its class.
That said we picked a smaller battery to be sure we were able to give you the same performance and to keep it thin. This kept the weight under 2lbs, and still kept it thin enough to take advantage of our great Windows work for inking and give you a great inking experience (like pressure sensitive inking, ability to do kanji, great sketching). While these tradeoffs are challenges as much as they are opportunities, we think given the performance and experience you will be getting, it is an exciting product.”
With respect to storage capacity and upgrades the SurfaceTeam answered: “We designed Surface Pro (and the allocation of disk space on our systems) to have the power of full Windows 8, the ability to have a simplified and fast upgrade to full Office and the confidence of a recovery image already available on your device. Beyond the flexibility and confidence this provides, we also include an ability to extend your storage via microSD, USB 3.0 and SkyDrive (including 7GB of free storage). Windows does provide tools that allow you to free space by easily removing applications you are not using as well as move the recovery image to a USB thumbdrive.”
“The internal solid state drive built into Surface is not accessible for upgrade. However, the recessed micro SD memory card slot gives you unlimited memory expandability. The SDXC slot supports the highest performance SDXC memory cards.”
“Available disk space is a design choice and a tough one to make as an engineering team. It is a clear set of tradeoffs to provide the customer more space while providing them the tools out of the box. We created a simple disk image with only a few critical applications out of the box installed to provide choice.
There has also been questions about why including the recovery image by default. Ideally, you will never need your recovery image, however this is a choice we would prefer the customer to make vs. having the customer need the recovery image not realizing they needed to create one themselves.”
With respect to the stylus the SurfaceTeam answered: “We designed the Surface Pro pen like a normal pen. We wanted the user experience to be close to a regular note book. It has a clip and it can be carried clipped to the cover or carried with your other pens. We also made the button of the pen magnetic so you can clip it onto the side of your Surface, into the power dock. This way it stores easily without making the device bigger.”
In regard to recent reports hinting that the company was going to offer an trade-in program for Surface RT owners, Microsoft’s answer to this question is: “No, there is no hardware trade-in or upgrade program at this time. We are confident people will love the devices they purchase but if there are any issues that arise we have a 14 day in-store return policy and a 30 day online store return policy.”