Now that Microsoft’s Surface with Windows RT has launched, the company is sharing details about the more powerful tablet known as Microsoft Surface with Windows 8 Pro. The device, available in January 2013, will cost $899 for a 64 GB model while doubling the internal storage adds another $100. Optional keyboard covers will also be available while the tablet does come with a digital Surface pen and Palm Block technology.
When Microsoft first hinted at Surface Pro pricing, it said it would be competitive with Ultrabook pricing. While the $899 starting price is more than some would like to see, I’d say it’s roughly in line with previous expectations, even with additional costs for a keyboard cover. I’ve seen a few Ultrabooks in the $600 to $800 price range, but they’re generally entry-level devices in this class. Most are actually nearer to over just over $1,000.
Microsoft is using Intel’s Core i5 chip to drive Windows 8 on the 10.6 ClearType display. On paper, that screen should be as good, if not better than most Ultrabooks because of the 1920 x 1080 resolution; that works out to a reasonable 208 pixels per inch. And the slate can output 2560 x 1440 resolution to an external display over Mini DisplayPort. Overall the device is built similarly to the Surface RT, with the same materials and integrated stand.
Price and specs aside, I think the most intriguing aspect will be the included Surface pen. Like the Galaxy Note 2 I use daily, Surface Pro has both a capacitive touchscreen and a digitizer for ink. Assuming the slate has good palm rejection technology, digital inking on the two-pound tablet may be the real secret sauce for success here. Of course, it doesn’t hurt that the slate can run any Windows 7 application, unlike the Surface RT, which is limited to apps that are new or are re-compiled to run on ARM-based chips.