Microsoft Surface Pro: thick, heavy, and expensive. Pricing finally detailed, arrival in January

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.

Author: Vlad Bobleanta

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  • TommyT

    You cannot compair the surface pro to a standard tablet. It’s a whole different breed. Honestly, I’d rather own tablet PC than an enlarged iPod touch. But it’s all about what you want to use it for. If you want to play games, read books, and watch movies, get an iPad, it’s the clear winner. But if you want something more powerful with the ability to type out documents, make power points/ excel graphs and run all of your import windows programs on the go, get a Surface pro, it is also the clear winner. To me almost every real productivity app available on the iPad feels dumb-downed, just a replacement that actully takes longer to mess around with than turning on your PC and using the real thing. And that’s the beauty of the surface pro, you have the real thing in your hands.

    However, that being said, I believe that the surface RT was a poor poor business move by Microsoft, or at least the early release was. As a competing company you always want to put your best foot forward, if you don’t have a sturdy foot to stand on in that specific market, don’t stand there. Bad hype alone is enough to kill a potential product, even a halfway decent one.

    In other words Microsoft pro is a great product move by Microsoft and the RT was not. You think that microsoft would have learned their lesson with the Zune. What’s truly upsetting though is that the flak that the pro version is catching from the RT is going to hurt the sales of a truely respectable device.

  • TommyT

    Compare*

  • kent ma

    I call this BS, Heavy come one 2 lb is heavy then go tot he gym

  • http://twitter.com/bordercreek K S

    I’m willing to carry around a 3 lbs touchscreen Windows 8 laptop. 2 lbs is nothing, and it’s got a built in USB3 port and a mini display port…awesome!

  • tech_lvr

    I am Curious to know if you will buy surface on your own or are you Hoping for your company to buy it for you?
    A typical surface user will be:
    Male in 30s
    Regarded as go to tech support by friends and family
    Bachelors from tier 2/3 school
    Fan of star wars/trek

  • TommyT

    Haha, I like your demographics. Never been a big fan of Star Wars myself however. I just believe in a more powerful tablet. I have come to desire something more than an ipod touch with a larger screen. Furthermore, unless you expect to get much accomplished playing angry birds space. I only find a small handful of productivity apps on the iPad actually useful; The majority are designed for children K-12. Rendering most of the apple app stores’ hundreds of thousands of apps basically usless to anyone over the age of 17. So, all-in-all, yes. I want my tablet to be a PC. But regardless of how the windows surface pro preforms, give it a few years. Apple will come out with an identical device. And everyone will love it.

  • Tiger

    “holding a 900+ gram object… in one hand while writing ‘on’ it with the other will prove to be quite a task”

    When was the last time you held a paper notebook with one hand in the air and wrote ‘on’ it with the other? You are suggesting that boardrooms don’t have tables?

    You went on and on about its apparent disadvantages while forgoing its advantages. Not everyone want a tablet to fling birds or browse Facebook. There are people who need tablets for office and design applications. Name one “non-windows” based tablets that can run Autodesk Inventor or Revit.