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Why Microsoft Corporation (MSFT)’s Surface Pro Can’t Replace Your Laptop

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Microsoft Corporation (NASDAQ:MSFT)‘s upcoming Surface Pro tablet is being given a daunting task: present a viable alternative to laptops and Apple Inc. (NASDAQ:AAPL) iPads for business users in need of productivity devices. The device is hoping to do this with a price point that sits between iPads and high-end laptops including MacBooks.

Unfortunately for prospective buyers that were hoping to ditch their laptops for the software giant’s tablet, they may be in store for an unpleasant surprise.

Microsoft Corporation (NASDAQ:MSFT)

Now with 64% less space!
In an official statement to Engadget, Microsoft has now confirmed that the actual amount of free space available on the entry-level $899 Surface Pro will be just 23 GB of storage right out of the box, a whole 41 GB less than its advertised 64 GB of storage. That’s also approximately the same deficit that the higher-end 128 GB model that costs $999 will see, with only 83 GB of free space from the get-go.

In fairness, all gadgets have less free space than advertised, since formatted capacity is always less and the operating system and first-party apps inevitably take up some space. The difference is that in most competing gadgets that usually amounts to a handful of gigabytes, not up to 64% of advertised storage.

This exact issue arose in October when the company launched its Surface RT and some users found out the hard way that those entry-level 32 GB models that cost the same as a 16 GB iPad didn’t actually have twice the capacity. One such user happened to be a lawyer, and as lawyers tend to do, he sued for false advertising and unfair business practices.

Model Price Advertised Storage Free Space Out of Box Free Space Percentage
Surface RT $499 32 GB 16 GB 50%
Surface RT $599 64 GB 45 GB 70%
Surface Pro $899 64 GB 23 GB 36%
Surface Pro $999 128 GB 83 GB 65%

Sources: Microsoft and Microsoft statement to Engadget.

Windows RT and bundled apps take between 16 GB and 19 GB of space, depending on which model, while Windows 8 Pro gobbles up 41 GB to 45 GB. That’s particularly hard to swallow for the $899 Surface Pro model in particular, as users only have 36% of advertised storage to call their own for content.

Microsoft’s unhelpful suggestion is to use the device’s USB 3.0 port to expand its storage capabilities with external hard drives and flash drives, which is not only inconvenient but decidedly less mobile and potentially costly.

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