Microsoft Surface Pro shows off its inner ultrabook

Surface Pro benchmarks show it to be just as fast as any ultrabook out there.

Microsoft's Surface tablet with Windows 8 Pro comes with a fast solid-state drive -- some are sourced from Micron Technology.
Microsoft's Surface tablet with Windows 8 Pro comes with a fast solid-state drive -- some are sourced from Micron Technology. Best Buy

Is the Surface Pro a tablet or a laptop? Well, let's put it this way: benchmarks put it squarely in the laptop category, leaving Apple and Android tablets in the dust.

Chip review site Anandtech ran benchmarks on the solid-state drive in Microsoft's new Surface Pro tablet, underscoring the performance gap with the flash drive in Apple's iPad 4.

It's a "full blown" SSD, wrote Anand Shimpi of Anandtech, referring to Micron Technology's C400 solid-state drive in the Surface that Anandtech tested.

The Micron SSD posted speeds of 400 megabytes-per-second when reading data and just under 200MB/s in writes.

"The fastest sequential transfer rates I've managed on the 4th generation iPad are typically on the 20-30MB/s range," he wrote, adding that the flash drives in most tablets are, by comparison, "horribly slow."

The Surface Pro's benchmarks scream ultrabook, scoring right up there with the Acer Aspire S7 and Lenovo Yoga, both essentially touch-screen based ultrabooks.
The Surface Pro's benchmarks scream ultrabook, scoring right up there with the Acer Aspire S7 and Lenovo Yoga, both essentially touch-screen based ultrabooks. CNET
Mozilla Kraken. 'Surface Pro manages to deliver almost 5x the performance of the iPad 4 here,' said Anandtech.
Mozilla Kraken. 'Surface Pro manages to deliver almost 5x the performance of the iPad 4 here,' said Anandtech. Anandtech

Other benchmarks such as Mozilla Kraken (above) show just how fast Pro is compared with tablets and high-end smartphones.

There is a downside to blistering data transfer speeds and a fast processor, however. Microsoft took to Reddit on Wednesday to address concerns with battery life.

While the iPad has a rated 10 hours of battery life, the Surface Pro has trouble squeezing out much more than four hours.

So, does all of this make the Surface Pro a laptop? Internally, the answer is obvious: it's clearly an ultrabook, replete with an Intel Ivy Bridge processor, 4GB of memory, and a laptop-class solid-state drive.

Future iterations of Surface will undoubtedly offer better battery life as Intel moves to its more power-efficient Haswell generation of processors this summer and Microsoft tweaks the design to allow it to run longer on one charge.

For now, Microsoft has bragging rights to the fastest "tablet," albeit with very untablet-like battery life.

About the author

Brooke Crothers writes about mobile computer systems, including laptops, tablets, smartphones: how they define the computing experience and the hardware that makes them tick. He has served as an editor at large at CNET News and a contributing reporter to The New York Times' Bits and Technology sections. His interest in things small began when living in Tokyo in a very small apartment for a very long time.

 

Join the discussion

Conversation powered by Livefyre

Show Comments Hide Comments
Latest Galleries from CNET
Uber's tumultuous ups and downs in 2014 (pictures)
The best and worst quotes of 2014 (pictures)
A roomy range from LG (pictures)
This plain GE range has all of the essentials (pictures)
Sony's 'Interview' heard 'round the world (pictures)
Google Lunar XPrize: Testing Astrobotic's rover on the rocks (pictures)