It turns out that Microsoft’s expensive Surface Pro tablet can handle PC games — sort of. For $1,000, you’d think it could do more.
Recently, PC World’s Alex Cocilova tested out a range of popular PC games on Microsoft’s new Surface Pro tablet PC, which boasts an Intel Core i5 processor and a 64GB or 128GB solid state drive. That’s far more hardware muscle than can be found inside most tablets, including Microsoft’s own Surface RT.
Cocilova found that the Surface Pro actually handled several popular games — including XCOM: Enemy Unknown, Portal 2, Minecraft, and Civilization V — rather well. In fact, on medium resolution settings (or roughly the kind of resolution you’d see on a console, like the PS3 or Xbox 360), Portal 2 ran at a steady 50 frames per second.
Minecraft also ran well, clipping along at 40 frames per second.
However, XCOM and Civilization V chugged along at just below 30 frames per second. That results in a somewhat choppy, though by no means abysmal, gaming experience.
There were a few problems, however: for one, the Surface Pro ships with just a single USB port. This means that if you want to plug in a mouse and a PC controller at the same time, you’ll need to purchase a special docking accessory.
Another area of disappointment: Cocilova found that using the Surface Pro’s built-in touch screen display for gaming purposes was “clunky.”
“In a game where a simple miss-click could easily ruin your strategy, I found myself struggling past the point of frustration,” Cocilova said.
Finally, the Surface Pro suffers from a relatively short battery life. Cocilova found that playing games on a Surface Pro meant plugging the device into the wall soon after the gaming got underway.
Overall, the Surface Pro appears to be a business-oriented tablet computer with modest gaming abilities. Still, there’s nothing like taking a break from data entry with a little Portal 2 action.