On Thursday Microsoft finally announced the launch date and pricing of the upcoming Surface Pro tablets. Unlike the Surface RT versions which range from $499 to $699, these Intel-based models will be more expensive and PC-like, costing consumers a meaty $899 for the standalone 64 GB version and $999 for the standalone 128 GB version. Both are scheduled to arrive on store shelves in January 2013.
Panos Panay, General Manager of Microsoft Surface, said that both models will come packed with Windows 8 Pro, and a Surface pen with Palm Block technology. They'll also be compatible with the Touch Cover and Type Cover (sold separately), and share some of the same features seen with the current Windows RT tablets including the Dark Titanium VaporMg casing, dual 2x2 MIMO antennas, and the kickstand.
Naturally the big difference with the Surface Pro tablets will be in the core components and the OS itself: Intel's next-generation Core i5 processor running Windows 8 Pro rather than the ARM-based Tegra SoC from Nvidia running Windows RT. Panay said the Intel-based CPU will allow the tablet's 10.6-inch 16:9 ClearType display to sport a 1920 x 1080 Full HD resolution. There's also a full-size USB 3.0 port, and a Mini DisplayPort that can drive an external display up to 2560 x 1440.
"Surface with Windows 8 Pro will support Pen input," Panay said. "This is an amazing feature for all you note-takers or document editors out there, especially since it has expanded capacitive and digitizing technology we’re calling Palm Block that will prevent your handwriting from getting interrupted if you accidently place your palm on the screen as you write. This feature is pretty cool, and allows for a great inking experience alongside a great touch experience when needed."
The Surface Pro tablet will also allow users to install their favorite Windows 7 programs, thus consumers will seemingly shell out $899 or more for a portable laptop PC without the built-in keyboard and clamshell form-factor. Yet unlike a full-blown notebook with similar hardware, the two Surface Pro tablets will weigh less than two pounds and measure less than 14-mm thick, he said.
For the actual list of specs, check out what the new Surface Pro tablets have to offer below:
Windows 8 Pro – Runs current Windows 7 desktop applications and integrates with your existing enterprise management infrastructure. Use the programs and the apps available in the Windows Store.
10.81 x 6.81 x 0.53-inches
Dark Titanium color
Volume and Power buttons
*System software uses significant storage space. Available storage is subject to change based on system software updates and apps usage. 1 GB = 1 billion bytes. See Surface.com/storage for more details.
10.6-inch ClearType Full HD Display
1920 x 1080 pixels
Pen input and pen (included with purchase)
3rd Gen Intel Core i5 Processor with Intel HD Graphics 4000
4 GB RAM – Dual Channel Memory
Bluetooth 4.0 Low Energy technology
Cameras and A/V
Two 720p HD LifeCams, front- and rear-facing with TruColor
Full-size USB 3.0
microSDXC card slot
Ambient light sensor
48W power supply (including 5W USB for accessory charging)
1-year limited hardware warranty
Windows Mail and Messaging
Internet Explorer 10
Xbox Music, Video, and Games
Its really not at all. If you compare it to ultrabooks in the same price range, its very competitively priced (as opposed to the RT version imo).
I really like the fact that it uses SSDs not eMMC based memory, hopefully that will be upgradable.
My only beef with it is that if I'm dishing out $900 I think they should include one of the keyboards. It seriously can't cost anywhere near the $100 they ask for it. I bet it takes them $10-20 max to make.
Meanwhile, Surface Pro 128Gb = $999 + Cover ($150?) = $1050, that is cheaper than competition.
Acer W700 128GB is $999. Not quite sure about Lenovo Yoga. I vaguely remember other vendors such as Toshiba, Asus and Sony is more expensive.
If Microsoft has launched this in October instead of RT, Windows 8 take up might have been better as this tablet can run all existing x86 apps instead of have to relying on the still barren app store to catch up. Well, now that it is soon here, lets see if this will boost Windows tablet sales. I just hope that Microsoft is able to manage their sales and delivery channel well this time so that it is able to deliver the products timely all over the world. In this fast moving industry you really need to able to do what your competitor can do, which is to quickly make your products available to interested market segment and lock in their purchase as soon as possible. Because a purchase made on your product is likely to mean a purchase lost to your competitor for quite awhile.
If they included 4G LTE and the ability to make calls then they could have had more leverage.
Has to be at half the price to compete with the iPad and Android tablets that exist.
Microsoft will continue their subpar performance at their Entertainment and Devices Divisions.
Like RT, you'll need the keyboard and trackpad for input.
But that small screen is going to scroll you to death