Surface Pro tablet early adopters offer mixed reviews, report issues

The new Surface Pro tablet for business has some issues out of the box that Microsoft needs to address quickly.

Windows users have shown interest in Microsoft's recently released Surface Pro tablet, but early adopters offer mixed reviews and have reported a number of bugs that may slow widespread adoption.

Some Surface Pro tablet users complained of wireless connectivity issues. On a Microsoft Surface user forum, one early adopter reported problems with a wireless bug that caused connectivity to be "limited."

They moved way too fast with this design to deal with all the bugs.

Tim Bajarin,
principal analyst, Creative Strategies

The user attempted to fix the problem by deselecting the box that allowed the wireless chip to sleep on battery mode and then downloaded 16 Microsoft updates. This process then affected the power button, causing the user to have to hard reset the device. Even with a refresh of the Surface Pro, the user continued to experience wireless issues.

"If widespread connectivity disruption is found to be a problem associated exclusively with the device, then the Surface Pro gets taken off the table as a viable corporate mobile option," said Heinan Landa, CEO and founder of Optimal Networks Inc., a computer and network support and technology consulting firm based in Rockville, MD. "Usually, however, Microsoft fixes these types of issues and glitches."

Other early adopters have posted complaints about the battery life of Surface Pros, and, more recently, an auto brightness bug in which the Surface Pro will randomly become bright and then dim even if the auto brightness selection is turned off.

Fellow Surface Pro forum readers have posted some temporary workarounds to the complaints to help users enjoy a better experience while waiting for patches from Microsoft.

Microsoft has acknowledged the various bugs and offered an earlier patch for the wireless issue that affected Surface RT, which works on Surface Pro as well. However, another fix is reportedly in the works that will further resolve the wireless issue, which may be offered in Microsoft's next Patch Tuesday release.

Microsoft declined to comment on the specific contents of the forthcoming Patch Tuesday release, but a spokesperson said that updates are published monthly to ensure Surface is delivering the best possible experience.

Surface Pro tablet bugs explained

"Microsoft had to bring a Windows 8 version of Surface [quickly] to market that was compatible to Windows software," said Tim Bajarin, principal analyst with Creative Strategies, a consultancy based in San Jose, Calif. "They moved way too fast with this design to deal with all the bugs."

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Indeed, enterprises have a budget for 2013 with plans to purchase hardware, and Microsoft needed to make sure the Surface Pro was available, said Chris Hazelton, research director of mobile and wireless at 451 Research in Boston.

"The performance of wireless is key to [Surface Pro's success] … even more than laptops," Hazelton said.

"[Surface Pro] is a full laptop and tablet, and it has to be seamless with wireless connectivity."

The wireless connectivity issue surrounding Surface Pro is just another reason companies will be slow to migrate to it, said Gyutae Park, co-owner and head of IT at Money Crashers Personal Finance, based in Piscataway, N.J.

Others say the bugs and annoyances that early Surface Pro adopters have experienced reflect the growing pains from any first generation device and environments in which a new device has to work with existing equipment and software.

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