Real World Surface Pro Performance (Video)

I know a lot of you out there are interested in seeing some real world performance tests with the Surface Pro, so in this video were going to show you just how fast this tablet is at things like rendering HD videos in Premiere Pro, Applying Photoshop Filters, opening RAW images, HTML5 Rendering, and some “League of Legends” game play.

Booting up the device from a completely turned off state is extremely fast.  If you’re not going to use the Surface Pro for a while, shutting it down is not a problem since you can be back up and running within about 6 seconds.

The web browser is also extremely fast.  In the video below I’ll load Pocketnow, start playing an embedded YouTube video and then quickly pan and zoom while the video is playing.  The Surface Pro doesn’t lag one bit even during this CPU intensive action.  The HTML5 Peacekeeper speed test score was only 663 though.  That’s still better than most other mobile devices out there, but it lost a few points because certain things were not supported. Luckily if you want even better browser performance, all you have to do is install a different Windows 8 compatible browser like Chrome, Firefox, or whatever.

The Premiere Pro Benchmark version 5 worked very well on the Surface Pro. If you’d like to try it on your own current PC, visit to download the project files.  The Surface Pro’s rendering times were as follows:

H264 test – 5:49
Disk test – 2:11
MPEG2-DVD test – 7:12

Those aren’t great scores for a dedicated video editing workstation, but they’re pretty excellent for a thin 2 lb. tablet.

We also ran a widely used Photoshop Speed Test which you can also download and try for yourself.  That speed test took about a minute to complete, which again is not spectacular when compared to much higher-end hardware, but absolutely acceptable when it comes to a tablet as portable as the Surface Pro.  Opening and working with 13 Mb RAW photos is also a joy to use.  Sure it will slow down when you throw 1500 of those into Camera RAW at one time, but when working with a smaller handful at a time, performance was excellent.

We also tested a popular PC game called “League of Legends“.  It took a while to download and install since this is a pretty heavy game, but once it got running I was very impressed with the performance even at 1080p resolution.  You might notice a frame drop here or there, but I feel like you could easily play that game on the Surface Pro.  The game is not designed for touch screen or stylus interaction though, so you’ll be better off getting a Bluetooth/USB mouse for that one.

When it comes to games that are designed for tablets, the Surface Pro does not disappoint.  If you remember, Brandon complained about running Hydro Thunder Hurricane on the ARM-based Surface RT.  On the Surface Pro, the same game runs extremely smoothly.

By the way, after filming this video, I plugged the camera’s memory card into the Surface Pro, dropped the video files into Adobe Premiere Pro, edited the clips together, rendered it and dropped it on YouTube. The whole process was very smooth and easy.

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About The Author
Adam Z. Lein
Adam has had interests in combining technology with art since his first use of a Koala pad on an Apple computer. He currently has a day job as a graphic designer, photographer, systems administrator and web developer at a small design firm in Westchester, NY. His love of technology extends to software development companies who have often implemented his ideas for usability and feature enhancements. Mobile computing has become a necessity for Adam since his first Uniden UniPro PC100 in 1998. He has been reviewing and writing about smartphones for since they first appeared on the market in 2002. Read more about Adam Lein!