When talking about any form of investment, price is a very big deal. It can flat out alienate a potentially interested buyer group simply by being too high, but at the same time make people think it’s cheap in a figurative sense if the asking price is too low.
Comparatively speaking, the Microsoft Surface Pro lineup has been generally regarded as high-priced compared to similarly specced devices… but; as every tech savvy pro can tell you, no two Core i5 devices are created equal.
There’s a lot of factors that people either ignore, or simply don’t know to pay attention to here when considering what really matters, but I’ll take pleasure in getting you up to speed if you seriously think any old $549 laptop with an i5 compares. For this instance, I’ve chosen the Acer Aspire E1-572P-6403 for comparison – a machine that’s so remarkably solid that I’ve almost completely forgiven Acer for the Aspire One legacy.
When looking at your everyday laptop, the average consumer doesn’t even consider that there can be something more meaningful than the processor, so they’re led to believe that the only difference between an Acer laptop at $549 and the Microsoft Surface Pro 3 at $999 is the brand name.
One couldn’t be more misled, but we’ll dissect that point-by-point:
- Storage Medium
A very big aspect people ignore is that there’s drastically difference storage types in play. The noted Acer, as well as the majority of laptops use a highly mechanical SATA hard drive with lots of moving parts as their medium. While they aren’t particularly IDE-age bad, they get loud, they have relatively short life expectancy and sub-par speed compared to the blazing fast solid state mSATA used in the Surface Pro series. For those whose eye caught on to the concept of “life expectancy,” knowing that the Surface Pro’s mSATA also has P.O.S.T. error checking is also extremely important.
- Build Material
You can put a brushed aluminum design on plastic, but plastic is still plastic… and while it’s not the worst for heat dissipation, it is undeniably cheap… and save for a couple machines by Lenovo, Sony and ASUS, dealing with cheap plastic is typically the trade-off when you go cheap. The Surface Pro lineup has brought attention to VaporMg in a way that’s pairs quality with durability (as we can see from Panoy dropping the Surface with no worry it will break). I’d be lying if I didn’t say there were just the slightest bit of pleasure in taking it off the charger to find that my Surface Pro is cool to the touch.
- Cooling Technology
There’s nothing more off-putting than noticing you’re twenty minutes into a session, and your laptop has become a high-powered furnace… and that those huge fans found in the typical laptop failed to keep it cool. The 1st Generation Surface Pro had it’s fair share of fans getting loud, but from then on we’ve been golden. The cooling technology in the Surface Pro is record-breaking thin, meaning we get tablet form factors paired with desktop-class processors.
- Dynamic Input
This would have to be the biggest deal for me. On campus, or at a business meet… typed input simply isn’t dynamic enough to cut it. When it’s just text, things are gravy… but then a chart, a graph or a diagram appears and you find yourself hunting for a way to import a chart that matches what your director, CEO or professor is free-handing… but only on a traditional laptop. Touch screen laptops do give you that added method of interactivity, but with the grand majority of them being non-digitizer capacitive screens, counting on precision and accuracy isn’t ideal. Surface Pro’s detachable keyboard and stylus give it an under-five-second transformation between being a prime note-taking device and a prime free-handing device.
- Display Type/Screen Resolution
Find your nearest laptop dealer and take a look at what they offer (don’t worry, we’ll be here when you get back). Count the seconds you take to angle the laptop to a manner in which it’s colorization becomes natural… or better yet, take two steps to the left or right of the laptop and try to put a percentage measure on how discolored it becomes. Also notice just how few of them actually go beyond 1366×768/1600×900 resolutions. Surface Pro 1st and 2nd gen both feature 1080p ClearType displays with flawless viewing angles, and the Surface Pro 3 – a 2160×1440 display… also ClearType, also containing flawless viewing angles… and the Surface Pro 3’s screen has even less distance between input and action with it’s N-Trig stylus while keeping enough accuracy to satisfy artists.
- Form Factor
With a laptop, you’ve got about two options – one which is it’s native (a laptop) and the much less graceful latter option where it’s paired with a docking station to essentially become a desktop. Charging and wiring conditions can be okay, but never quite reach the level of versatility a Surface Pro has. Detach the keyboard and it goes from mobile laptop workstation profile to a tablet for leisure and media consumption. While one could use the same tricks used for docking a laptop with the Surface Pro, it’s got a far more graceful method of doing things to become your desktop PC. Skip the need to find compatible charge as well as having to sift through docking stations to see which one will work with the hardware setup; the Surface Pro has it’s own docking station… and there’s nothing to it but a simple clamp to get into your external monitor, KBM, external hard drive and whatever else you may want to connect.
…so when trying to compare the Surface Pro lineup to any old laptop with a similar processor, consider that Surface Pro provides specialized hardware bonuses that your everyday laptop simply can’t provide.