My main purpose of purchasing this device was from an artistic/writer standpoint in hopes of a device that could meet my needs and expectations while providing more portability than a laptop.
For digital art and photo editing, I wanted to be able to use a Pro Stylist directly on a graphic screen vs the Medium Wacom Intuos Art tablet that I was using with my HP laptop. After a long period of searching, I narrowed the search down to a Wacom Cintiq tablet, the latest Ipad Pros, and this latest Microsoft Surface Pro. I ruled out the Wacom Cintiq for the reason that I did not want a graphic tablet that would still need to be connected to my laptop during use as it would prevent it from being portable for my traveling needs. I also wanted to be able to have more functionality for writing, which the Ipads and Surface Pro would allow for both this and the portability that I wanted. I ended up siding with the Surface Pro instead of an Ipad as the Surface Pro is more of a computer interface coupled with a tablet interface whereas the ipad pro only has an IOS tablet interface (in other words, 1) I would have a larger selection of digital art/photo shop software to use on the Surface Pro and 2) I could use the Surface Pro as a portable laptop (easier to transfer and work with files from my laptop to the Surface Pro with Microsoft Windows)).
Though the Pen and keyboard is sold separately from the Surface Pro, I will mention in this review that I am satisfied with the functionality of the Pen and the Keyboard. As with any computer stylist, the pen does take some getting use to. It is not like writing on paper, nor is any stylist for any device (at least that I have tried), though I have seen screen covers that are suppose to create a textured surface to make the interface more paper-like. The pen has multiple sensitivity levels and also functions as a quick eraser by flipping the pen to the eraser side like a normal no. 2 pencil. The keyboard is made as a cover to the Surface Pro, includes a mouse track pad, and has back-lit letters. It connects magnetically to the base of the tablet (so it is not a bluetooth connectivity which saves battery life) and folds over to cover the screen. I have also separately purchased a Urban Armor Gear (UAG) case that adds protection to the back and sides of the tablet with a slot to hold the Surface Pro Pen.
For writing, Ipads are a little limited (in my opinion) on apps for simple writing that are easy to transfer (without using email, dropbox, evernote, etc) word documents. I wanted to have more of a computer interface for creating documents with my writings without having to use external databases. I know that Apple IOS is improving on this and has in the recent year created apps to help with storing and transferring files, but I wanted something that already had all of that worked out on a solid interface. I sided with Microsoft Windows and Office, knowing that it would be easier to transfer files to/from my Windows laptop to/from the Surface Pro.
I chose this Surface Pro with the Intel Core i-7 and 8 GB memory knowing that it would be enough power to run Photo editing software such as Adobe Photoshop elements or Corel Paintshop. At the time, I did not want to spend too much on this in case I was not completely satisfied with the tablet, however, now I wish I went ahead and spent the extra $600 - $1,000 for the next upgrade to the i7 - 16 GB with 512 GB hard-drive or the 1 TB hard-drive instead of the 256 GB hard-drive that this one came with. For the reason that I have fallen in love with using this Surfce Pro instead of my HP laptop (don't tell my laptop). I've been using the Surface Pro for other computer projects, however, my primary focus was a portable artist tablet function for On-The-Go art when creativity sets in the moment.
-Battery life is fair. If I had to estimate, I can work on it for about 5-8 hours with photo editing software/streaming video and 11 to 13 hours for just writing/web surfing. Of course, I use battery saving settings such as keeping the screen dim, turning wifi and bluetooth off when not in use, and the actual battery saver setting on during most of my use of the tablet EXCEPT when using the photo editing software (have to be able to see vibrant colors, screen needs to be bright for best color quality).
-Pen can also be used to take hand written notes, if using Microsoft OneNote it can convert the hand written notes into text and keep sketches in the notes.
-External Speaker is good quality sound from the little speakers, perhaps a little better that an Ipad/Iphone, but I prefer to use headphones/bluetooth speakers.
-Includes headset jack, kickstand, front-facing camera, rear-facing camera. It states that there is a MicroSD card slot, I have yet to find the slot as it may be under the UAG case that I have on the tablet.
-Light weight and reasonable screen size for portability.
-One USB port (3.0). There really is no more room where they could have put another USB port in the slim device. The easy fix is to purchase a simple USB dock to have extra ports when necessary.
-No HDMI port. There is a "Mini DisplayPort" that you can purchase a HDMI adapter to connect a second display. I have purchased the adapter and can confirm that it works just to connect as HDMI though I wish I did not need an new cord since I have several HDMI cords floating around the house for my other devices.
-Device can get hot when working on the tablet while charging, the case I have vents pretty well from what I can tell. Device is cool when working off battery or when charging on idle.
I would definitely recommend this product! Hope that my review helps a fellow shopper!