Microsoft’s Surface (with Windows RT) tablet isn’t doing all that well in terms of sales, we just told you that earlier today. One rumor claimed that this would compel Microsoft to launch the Surface Pro (the Intel-powered tablet running ‘full’ Windows 8) as soon as December, earlier than anticipated. But now we have official word that the Surface Pro will in fact arrive in January. Furthermore, we get to know the pricing.
The 64 GB Surface Pro will go for $899, and the version with 128 GB of storage will cost $999. These prices are for the tablet alone, neither the Touch Cover nor the Type Cover are included.
The starting price is $100 more than what several rumors claimed it would be. Interestingly, those rumors got the Surface RT’s pricing wrong too, but in that case it turned out to be $100 cheaper than predicted.
Although they look the same, there are some differences between the ARM-based Surface (with Windows RT) and the Surface Pro (with Windows 8). The Surface Pro comes with an Intel Core i5 processor, Full HD 1920×1080 resolution (although the screen size remains the same 10.6″), a full size USB 3 port, a mini DisplayPort, and it will support pen input. And, naturally, since it runs actual Windows 8, you’ll be able to install any Windows app that you’ve gotten used to on your laptop or desktop, alongside the new apps in the Windows Store.
However, the Surface Pro has three things really going against it. It’s thick, heavy, and expensive. The tablet comes in at almost 14 mm thickness, it weighs 907 grams, and it costs a lot more than any other tablet out there. In fact, it’s both thicker and heavier than any other non-Windows tablet out there. And there may be a fourth disadvantage too, although we won’t know until the tablet will be released: battery life. That Intel processor will surely be more power hungry than the Nvidia unit inside the Surface RT. Of course, the extra thickness may be for a bigger battery (alongside better cooling), so that may be a non-issue after all. We’ll see.
Microsoft will be quick to compare all of these things to a laptop or ultrabook, but when you add the Type Cover to the Surface Pro you’re already past $1,000 even with the smallest capacity option. And that’s pretty expensive for a tablet.
As for the handwriting recognition – that sounds nice, but holding a 900+ gram object (which isn’t particularly small either) in one hand while writing ‘on’ it with the other will prove to be quite a task, possibly reserved for connoisseurs only.
Enterprise customers will probably love the idea of the Surface Pro, running the actual Windows that IT departments everywhere can ‘safely’ manage. So it’s bound to sell quite well in that space. But consumers may just walk away once they’ve picked the thing up even once, despite the ‘Windows ecosystem’ promise.
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