The Surface Pro: A tablet with PC guts and PC price, to boot
Microsoft's new tablet is high-powered and quite expensive.
The Surface Pro is related to the regular old Surface, but in fact the devices are quite different. The Surface Pro runs a full version of Windows 8, while the Surface has a less powerful processor and runs Windows RT, which cannot run every PC application. The Surface Pro is 0.53-inches thick and weighs 2 pounds, compared to 0.37-inches thick and 1.5 pounds on the Surface. And the Surface Pro starts at a hefty $899, while the base price of the Surface is $499.
Even that $899 base is misleading: To really take advantage of the Surface Pro, you'll want the Touch Cover keyboard, which starts at $119.99.Â
So how does the Surface Pro measure up to its competitors? Well, in a mostly-positive review over at the New York Times, David Pogue points out that it would be a big mistake to compare the Surface Pro to the iPad â€“ one's just a tablet, after all, and the other is a fully-loaded flat-screen PC.Â
"The Surface Pro is an important idea, almost a new category, and it will be the right machine for a lot of people," Pogue writes. "It strikes a spot on the size/weight/speed/software spectrum that no machine has ever struck. You can use this thing on a restaurant table without looking obnoxious (much). You can hold it in one hand to read a Kindle book while youâ€™re standing in line.Â And wow, is it happy on an airplane tray table. Lean back all you want, pal. Iâ€™m getting work done."Â
Of course, as Harry McCracken of Time Magazine is quick to point out, you don't get a machine like the Surface Pro without a few compromises.Â
The Surface Pro is "bulkier than Surface RT because its components require more interior space," he notes. "Microsoftâ€™s stated battery life is five hours, compared to eight for Surface RT. Even the AC adapter is portlier. (One nice touch: It sports an additional USB port you can use to recharge your phone or another gizmo.)Â The price is heftier, too."Â