When Microsoft announced the Surface product line I was immediately drawn towards the Surface Pro and not the Surface RT. The latter got released first to my dismay and while it seems to have done reasonably well, it was clear that the majority of IT professionals were waiting for the Surface Pro instead.
The core reason behind that decision is the fact that you can run legacy Windows programs on the Surface Pro but not on the Surface RT. Sure, Microsoft Office and apps that you can download from Windows Store may be all that some users need to work with the device, but I want control over the device and the software that I install on it.
The tablet, formally called Surface with Windows 8 Pro, will ship sometime in January.
In terms of both size and tech specs, the Surface with Windows 8 Pro is beefier than its Windows RT sibling. It weighs about 2 pounds and measures 0.53 inches thick, compared to 1.5 pounds an 0.37 inches thick for the Surface with Windows RT.
But instead of a Tegra 3 ARM-based processor, the Pro version has an Intel Core i5 chip, and its 10.6-inch display has a resolution of 1920-by-1080, instead of 1366-by-768. When connected to an external monitor through mini DisplayPort, the Surface with Windows 8 Pro supports resolutions up to 2560-by-1440. Its storage configurations are also double those of the RT version, but Windows 8 itself will likely consume more of that space compared to Windows RT.
The biggest difference, however, is that the Intel-based Surface runs a full version of Windows 8 Pro. That means it can install any desktop app, in addition to Modern-style apps from the Windows Store. Although the price is much higher than the Windows RT Surface, which starts at $500, it’s more akin to an Ultrabook in terms of its capabilities.
Microsoft isn’t yet taking pre-orders for the Surface with Windows 8 Pro, and hasn’t said when it’ll go on sale. One might speculate that the pricing news was meant to disruptconflicting reports about whether Windows 8 is selling well, or that it’s simply meant to help people decide whether to hold off on purchasing a Surface with Windows RT.
The 64 Gigabyte version of Surface Pro will start at $899, the 128 Gigabyte version at $999. Note that the price includes the pen but not a keyboard which is sold separately. Assuming that the pricing for Type and Touch covers are the same as for the Surface RT, you can add $129.99 or $119.99 to that order which effectively raises the price above the $1000 mark..
Here is a short list of some of the components of the Surface with Windows 8 Pro:
- 10.6″ Clear Type Full HD 10-point multi-touch display with a 1920×1080 pixel resolution
- 64 Gigabyte or 128 Gigabyte of storage
- Pen input and pen included with purchase
- 4 Gigabyte of RAM
- Intel Core i5 processor
- Intel HD Graphics 4000
- 42 W-h battery
- Full size USB 3.0 port