Are you buying Microsoft's Surface Pro?

Evan Selleck
Contributing Editor from  Arizona
| December 1, 2012

Microsoft’s Surface with Windows RT has been out for a little while now, long enough that people have had plenty of time to make up their mind whether or not they want to pick one up. With the holiday shopping season in full-swing, it’d be no surprise to find out that Microsoft sells quite a few of the Windows-like tablets to give to a loved one. Or maybe just someone they kind of life, depending on your view of Windows RT.

Of course, for anyone who was still trying to decide on a new Windows RT tablet, Microsoft decided to spill the beans on the Surface Pro, long before it’s due to hit store shelves. For those of you who don’t know, Surface Pro is the full version of Windows on Microsoft’s tablet. It’s the version of Windows you’d see on someone’s computer. Basically, it’s the version of Windows that you’d want to use if you want to use your tablet . . . Like a computer.

As you might imagine, with “full Windows” comes a “full price tag.”

Right now, you can buy a Surface with Windows RT (from here on out, called Surface RT) starting at $499. That will give you a 32GB tablet, and that’s it. If you bump up to $599, you get a (black) Touch Cover with your 32GB Surface RT. (The Touch cover is a special type of keyboard, which lacks the traditional “travel” of a keyboard. It’s a great idea, but if you’re someone who types quickly for long durations, it might not be for you.) Now, the last option is the 64GB with Touch cover Surface RT, which will set you back $699 when it’s all said and done. So, not bad, but not necessarily priced to fly off the shelves, either.

Surface Pro? It starts at $899 for a 64GB version. That doesn’t come with a keyboard, but it does include a stylus, so that’s something. For $999 you’ll get a 128GB version of the Surface Pro, but again, just the stylus and no keyboard. Microsoft is rightfully calling these the “standalone” models, so if you wanted to assume that Microsoft could offer some bundles at a later date, that could be a possibility. But, who knows.

When the news broke of Surface Pro’s pricing, the responses were a bit all over the place. However, it’s safe to assume that the tech press wasn’t necessarily “blown away” by the pricing. Or, at least not in a good way. The Surface Pro is indeed a “true tablet,” in the sense that we’re looking at a tablet with a USB port, mini display port, 4GB of RAM, and a third-generation Intel Core i5 processor. On top of that, you’ll get the ability to download things to the traditional desktop, something that Windows RT will not let you do on the Surface RT.

So, you get specifications, which is great. On the flip-side, Microsoft has also confirmed that the Surface Pro’s battery will last you “approximately half” of what you’d get out of the Surface RT. While battery testing ranges from user to user, the general perception to that is anywhere between four and five hours. You do get better specifications in Surface Pro than what you do with Surface RT, and you do indeed get full Windows 8 on a true tablet manufactured by Microsoft, but some would argue the sacrifice in battery life just isn’t worth it.

My Ultrabook was only $498 off the store shelf, and while my display is measured in at 13-inches instead of 10.1, I still find it plenty portable. And it came with a keyboard, two USB ports, an HDMI-out port, and ethernet and memory card reader. Yes, it’s an Ultrabook so it should come with those things, but if this is what Microsoft is trying to compete with, I’m not sure there’s much of a competition. Because I don’t think Microsoft is looking to compete with Apple’s iPad with Surface Pro. If you were to ask me if you should get an iPad as a laptop/computer replacement, I’d tell you no. However, Surface Pro, the battery notwithstanding, is targeted as a laptop replacement.

That’s just my opinion on Surface Pro’s competition, though. If you think Surface Pro is strictly set to compete with other “high-end” tablets, then there’s nothing wrong with that. Also, remember that the Surface RT is the first tablet that I’ve truly loved right out of the box, and I wish more than anything else I could replace my laptop with it. That’d be neat.

So, let me know, Dear Reader. Are you going to buy a Surface Pro? In fact, are you gearing up to pre-order it? If you are going to buy one, tell me why you’re shelling out the money to make one your own. Or, if you aren’t buying one, tell me why you’re skipping it. Going for something else? Let me know!