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Microsoft's Surface Pro tablet costs $999
Microsoft's Surface Pro tablet costs $999
November 30, 2012 | By Mike Rose

November 30, 2012 | By Mike Rose
More: Smartphone/Tablet, Business/Marketing

Newsbrief: Microsoft's Surface Pro tablets will cost up to $999 when they launch in January, nearly double the price of the initial Surface Windows RT versions that launched last month.

The Pro tablet, which runs Windows 8 Pro as opposed to Windows RT, will cost $899 for the 64GB version and $999 for the 128GB version, and come with a Surface pen with Palm Block technology.

In comparison, the original RT models are priced at $499 for a 32GB model and $699 for the 64GB model. Other rival tablet makers, like Google and Amazon, offer smaller tablets that sell for as cheap as $199.

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Bill Loguidice
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These should be a great value if they combine the benefits of a tablet (always on, incredible battery life) with the benefits of a traditional laptop with little compromise as promised. The pen support is also an important part of that equation. When these come out in force and if they get most of all of that right, then there should be little reason to get a traditional tablet or laptop instead of something like this. With the right execution, this is the future for high end mobile devices.

Joe Wreschnig
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MS doesn't have any power management magic. Battery life is about four hours, and it's not going to get drastically better any time soon without major compromises to size and weight.

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I read the battery life was pretty good, where did you hear it was only 4 hours?

Alan Tucker
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A S:
The 4 hours battery life is an estimate directly from Microsoft, they stated that Surface Pro will have approximately half the battery life of the Surface RT which gets about 8-10 hours from a single charge.

Benjamin Leggett
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"In comparison, the original RT models are priced at $499 for a 32GB model and $699 for the 64GB model. Other rival tablet makers, like Google and Amazon, offer smaller tablets that sell for as cheap as $199."

Other tablets are also not 1080p Intel Ultrabook/Macbook Air beaters with pen input and touchscreens.

Zirani Jean-Sylvestre
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That kind of prices works when you're first on the market. With little hype and such prohibitive cost, I fail to see what is so exceptional in this product.

Amir Sharar
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In a manner it is indeed first to the market when you factor in that it's a complete desktop OS in a tablet. Apple has yet to do that, and Google's Chrome OS isn't really up to Windows level at the moment.

The only question is, will this fact be appropriately communicated to the public?

Jose Striedinger
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$900 ???? am I the only who thinkgs that's just TOO much for a tablet device? I know the Surface also aims to be like an hybrid between a tablet and a laptop but, with that money I can just buy a great ultrabook.

Bisse Mayrakoira
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Not sure what you guys are on about. Assuming it has no major problems, a real computer, a high quality 1080p display and a digitizer in that form factor is *fantastic* value for $1k. I have been waiting for something like this for years. I find this hardware to be so significant, in fact, that I'm thinking of giving up the OS X ecosystem to be able to use it; it would replace a Macbook Air which is my primary work machine.

The only reason I'm not planning to buy right off the bat is that Haswell is just around the corner and will be a huge improvement for ultralight devices, especially battery life. I'm waiting for a Surface Pro v2 with an ULV Haswell processor in mid-late 2013. Hopefully they'll also offer a 256GB version at that point.

Chris Melby
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Exactly! The digitizer -- which I hope is Wacom -- makes this an awesome deal.

The Asus I've been eying, is $1200, and it's lower specs than this configuration.

If all things check out, I'd buy a Surface Pro for a portable Painter tablet.

I'm a Mac guy that after about 2 decades of buying and using them professionally, is getting ready to abandon Apple; I don't like where OS X is going -- same for Windows -- and I don't like the direction they've gone with their portables; which out of principle I will no longer buy.

Bisse Mayrakoira
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I, too, do not buy iOS devices because I hate the idea of my computing devices being walled off towards myself.

I would have considered buying Galaxy Note 10.1 for notetaking and reading, but the screen resolution on it is much too low, the price is quite high, and quality Android apps are lacking. For instance, I looked for an Android flashcard app for my Note phone, but could not find a single one that lets you seamlessly draw freehand on the flashcards. A Surface Pro will not have this apps problem and it will only cost slightly more.

Chris Melby
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Sorry, I have to ramble. Just had some coffee. :)

I own a Note 10.1 and I love it! I also own several other tablets -- which includes an iPad -- and the Note 10.1 is the best one, the most useful one hands down.

The screen rez is not an issue at all, not on a 10" screen. It's 150 pixels per inch and the same resolution as my Wacom Cintiq 12wx of which I've used to paint poster size illustrations. The screen on the Note is very sharp and I know first hand that it does not look any lesser when next to an iPad 3 as example.

Pushing around extra pixels, just for a slightly sharper screen which not everyone can even perceive is a waste of resources IMO. I value value screen real estate more than a slight sharpness bump, which is why I hope the Surface Pro acts like a 1920 x 1080 screen and not an "Interpolated" 1280 x 720 screen.

And to get back to why I love my Note 10.1", it's the size -- very comfortable to hold and use for hours on end -- and its Wacom is as good as my Cintiq minus tilt and barrel rotation support. Full 1024 levels of pressure and hover state rocks!

And compared to OS X and Windows, mobile software is definitely lacking, but there are a few gems on Android -- which I can share? -- and one massive exception, which has turned my Note 10.1" into a full on workstation.

This program "TV Paint" is in beta on Android and it's a full on professional desktop animation application -- not some dumb app:

With that program, I can do "printable" digital paintings and sketches that are on par with what I can achieve with Painter. It supports any canvas size that I know of and has an awesome selection of very powerful natural media tools, of which are fully customizable and can even be created from scratch. It does way more than I need -- as noted, it's an animation package -- and has yet to fall short of what I've needed it to do. TV Paint picks up every nuance of of the stylus -- all 1024 levels of pressure -- and it has no problem tracking most brushes.

Sorry, lots of rambles, but I can not express enough at how awesome the Note 10.1" is with TV Paint. At the price, I feel it's fair, just because it is essentially a 10" Wacom Cintiq with full on multi-touch, so an awesome deal. And outside of Windows and OS X, Android is the only mobile OS that has met all of my needs that I've used. I have pretty much every thing I need on Android software wise, I can not say the same for iOS. I haven't looked into Flash card apps though. ;)

And if you've made it this far, not only am I done with iOS -- because of its walled garden, but also buying MacBook Pros. I can not support Apple's decision to turn these workstation notebooks that I've been buying for a long time, into overpriced non-upgradeable consumer toys... A big problem I see, which I've encountered, is that Apple uses generic memory, which can fail, and I've had it fail on me on 2 separate Macs. So now they want to charge a premium for this crap memory and solder it on the motherboard... great...

Anyways, looking forward to the Surface Pro.

Wes Jurica
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Considering we're on a blog targeted at game developers, I'm surprised the response to this product isn't more positive. I know of no other device that allows you to create art assets, write code, and test the finished product, all from the same machine with no add-ons, while being extremely portable and relatively affordable. This should be the machine to have, especially if you are an indie dev targeting mobile platforms. I am really looking forward to this.

Amir Sharar
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I share much of the same excitement in terms of it being a great development platform but I'm also keeping my expectations realistic in terms of its performance. My music, art, and modelling software are all CPU intensive.

At the same time, what other tablet will allow me to hook up my MIDI keyboard, Wacom tablet (hard to say how good the current pen is), and even mouse to at least touch up and polish assets while I code, build, and test?

Secondly, if I were back in Uni, this would be the one machine I'd be getting (battery life notwithstanding). This can potentially cannibalize a certain laptop market.

Chris Christow
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You guys are joking. You like a farmer:
"Yeah, I wanna car that is fast as a Ferrari, that can tow trailers and plow my field, that has pussy magnet's looks and cost around $15 000."

All I can say: "Hahahahaha..."

That device might work well for engineers/support stuff on the field if it can replace the current laptops but it also would need to be water and dust proof but I doubt it is.

At the end it will turn out as usual: expensive, breakable and won't do any job good enough.

Bisse Mayrakoira
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It's obvious this isn't a ruggedized tablet, so it's weird you'd bring that subject up. I'm sure there will eventually be a similar device from another manufacturer that is ruggedized, weighs 2x more, costs 2x more and is warrantied for use in the field.

This machine is capable of the tasks Wes listed, especially when using external screen and peripherals when appropriate. Not only will it do most jobs good enough, it looks to be possibly the best device on the market for stuff like sketching and note-taking. It's huge that the device manages to be a Win8 tablet and a dev laptop capable of developing for said tablet at the same time.

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