How close were we to getting the Surface Mini this past May? To hear the reports, Microsoft’s decision not to introduce us to its pint-sized tablet at the event that ultimately delivered the Surface Pro 3 was very much a last-minute one. In the time that’s followed, we saw evidence for the tablet’s existence in the form of inadvertent mentions in the Pro 3 manual, as well as references to Microsoft’s decision not to launch the tablet in an earnings report. But even all this time later, we haven’t seen this guy in the flesh, nor found ourselves convinced of its ultimate fate: postponed or canceled? We still don’t have any pics, nor word of new launch plans, but today we get maybe the next best thing, as one reporter describes his hands-on time with the Surface Mini.
The Surface Mini is described as looking very much like a scaled-down Surface Pro 3, even keeping the larger tablet’s pen (something lacking from the Surface RT and 2). While it would have gotten its own convertible kickstand cover, Microsoft apparently wasn’t interested in trying to cram a keyboard into that smaller space, and this would have been just a “dumb” cover. That said, it was reportedly very well designed, firmly clipping to the tablet’s body.
Bezels may have ended up a little large for the tablet’s size (making it sound a bit more like the Pro 2 than the Pro 3), and while this report attempts to confirm the screen’s eight-inch size, there’s no mention of aspect ratio, something we saw Microsoft change with the Pro 3.
A so-called “pen and paper killer,” the Surface Mini sounds like it really might have had what it takes to be a real contender – had Microsoft launched it. For now, we’ll just have to turn to accounts like this one and wonder about what might have been.