On February 9th the new addition to the Surface line of tablets will go on sale in the US and Canada. The Surface Pro is going to start at $899 without a Touch Cover and can be purchased through Microsoft’s own retail outlets as well as Best Buy and Staples. It’s just the first step in a larger rollout plan, but it marks the biggest step forward for Microsoft’s new hardware plans.
Unlike its predecessor, the Surface RT, this tablet runs off of an Intel Core i5 processor and comes installed with a full copy of Windows 8 Pro. This makes it more reasonable for anybody interested in replacing their laptop or ultrabook with a more portable solution. That was basically what they had in mind with the design, which explains the pricing and the fact that there is a bit more power under the hood than other tablets can usually boast.
The basic appearance and feel of the device is much like the Surface RT. It’s a little heavier and a bit thicker, but the similarities are going to be what stand out. The less superficial details are more important here. The 10.6” display has a resolution of 1920 x 1080. The touch interface can accept the usual finger presses, but there is also a digitized for the included Surface Pen. From what hands-on reviews have said so far, that’s going to be a feature of note for most people. Onboard storage is 64GB for the basic model (128GB model is available for $999). There are front- and rear-facing 720p cameras. Basically everything you could ask for in a tablet is handy.
If you want to really use one of these to replace your laptop, however, the keyboard covers will be an important factor in the purchase. As with the previous model, the Surface Pro is sold separately from these covers. They will fun anywhere from $99-129 depending on the model and will generally work exactly as you’d hope. The reviews have been available for quite a while now and they’re considered a pleasure to work with by most people.
Microsoft is also pushing the Wedge Touch Mouse Surface Edition at the moment. This is a special release of their best touch mouse offering that has the same VaporMg casing you find on the Surface itself. The interface is impressive and adds a lot of options to Windows 8 navigation, but at $69.95 this might be a peripheral that is hard to sell. The Touch Cover already has a touchpad, after all.
For those who might want to get a Surface Pro outside the US and Canada the wait shouldn’t be too long. The Surface RT is already also for sale in Australia, China, France, Germany, Hong Kong, and the United Kingdom with Austria, Belgium, Denmark, Finland, Ireland, Italy, Luxembourg, the Netherlands, Norway, Portugal, Spain, Sweden and Switzerland soon to come. The Surface Pro should be soon to follow in all these markets as supply allows.