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Microsoft Surface Pro: But How Is It For Gaming?

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First Posted: Mar 10, 2013 09:33 AM EDT
The Microsoft Surface Pro: How does it stack up as a gaming console?

The Microsoft Surface Pro: How does it stack up as a gaming console? Credit:Microsoft / iTechPost.com

With Microsoft being called out as of late (even by its own chairman and founder Bill Gates) for a notable lack of innovation, the company is probably delighted by the buzz surrounding its new Microsoft Surface Pro.

There have been plenty of reviews and discussions about the Microsoft Surface Pro as a new tool for the businessman on the go looking for a tablet that can (allegedly) run all the programs Windows offers. But what of the gaming capabilities? Where are those reviews?

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Luckily, Game N Guide is here to give us a hands-on review of how the Microsoft Surface Pro plays as a device for gamers, too.

Though Game N Guide was at first stymied by there being no pre-installed mainstays like Solitaire and Minesweeper (really? C'mon, Microsoft), the review does delight in "the fancy Surface stylus, which shows you where you're pointing at the screen before you actually make contact," making this incarnation of Minsweeper "the most efficient I've ever played."

Leaderboards and statistic tracking also help make Microsoft Solitaire and Microsoft Minesweeper (both free from the Windows Store) feel "appropriately modern."

As for the Microsoft Surface Pro keyboard, Game N Guide reminds potential gamers that the device is an "absolute necessity." That is, of course, unless the gamer wants to lug around a Bluetooth keyboard everywhere.

"The arrow keys are weird," the review states, however, noting that "Microsoft split and squished the up and down keys into the space of one, sitting the left and right at normal size out to the sides." This was done, the review reports, "in order to keep everything compact."

While playing PC game Isaac, the reviewer found himself "clumsily shifting my middle finger as I felt around for the right button, at least in the beginning.

Like any gamer with any control scheme, I found my way past the hardship and acclimated myself, but these are anything but a natural fit for quick action."

Microsoft Surface Pro's track pad is apparently quite small for those wishing to game, with the reviewer stating he could only fit two fingers on it at once before getting squished.

"You're not going to want to do anything but the most rudimentary of mouse navigation with this thing," he says.

What the Microsoft Surface Pro might lack in straightforward arrow keys and a sizeable tracking pad, it ostensibly makes up for in its stylus. The review refers to the mouse alternative as possibly being the Surface Pro's "greatest gaming innovation."

He does warn us that the stylus is "pretty much useless" for first-person-shooters and games of that ilk. But when it comes to strategy games or anything else that's mouse-intensive, "I don't think I want to go back. It's amazing how well it translated into a flash game built specifically for a mouse."

With the stylus being something to cheer about, the reviewer finds two big problems the Microsoft Surface Pro has when it comes to gaming.

First of all, we have a heat issue.

"The Surface kicks into high gear whenever, and I mean absolutely all the time, a game is running."

The reviewer says his Microsoft Surface Pro's fans were going strong even while playing those low-key games like Solitaire. He tells us that though performance isn't affected, the hardware does get hot.

The console gets so hot, in fact, that this reviewer was reticent about leaving the thing on his lap for fear of its "exploding."

With the Windows Store being relatively new, that brings us to the other problem from which the Microsoft Surface Pro suffers as far as being a gaming device.

It's "pretty vacant," the reviewer says, only a few games are there for now, like the aforementioned Minesweeper and Solitaire, along with other perennial favorites like Angry Birds. There are a few other games the reviewer mentions, but ultimately he does feel it will be some time before Microsoft catches us with competitors like Apple and Google viz. apps. (Something we're certainly all aware of.)

Overall, the review makes the Microsoft Surface Pro look like something that gamers could enjoy but that they might not necessarily want to run out and buy just for gaming.

At least not yet.   

Like what you're reading? Follow @profklickberg.

 

 

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