Surface Pro: What to expect from this killer Windows 8 tablet

The second coming: Back in June 2012, Microsoft said that Surface Pro tablet will come just three months after the launch of the ARM-based Surface RT. Now we are getting closer to the promised date and while the company has skipped CES this year, the final design of the device made it to the show-floor in Las Vegas.

One of the main difference from the forthcoming tablet when compared to its sibling, is that it runs a full version of Windows 8, this means that users will be able to run full-blown desktop programs (32-bit and 64-bit). It also includes a ClearType full-HD display for a maximum resolution of 1920 x 1080 pixels, packed inside of a 10.6-inch screen resulting in a more pixel density, making everything look sharper and crisper than the 1366 x 768 pixels screen resolution in the RT tablet.

Microsoft Surface with Win8

The Windows 8 tablet also features a 10-point multi-touch support and active pen input. The pen snaps magnetically to the side of the device and it has a small ridge that slots into the redesigned charging port. The pen auto calibrates, tracking is very precise and it includes a button to trigger the right-click action in the operating system, and when you flip it over you can use the top as an eraser –and don’t worry, the pen will be part of the bundled as well.


Surface with Windows 8 Pro is about 4.2mm thicker and 227 grams heavier than its brother. Microsoft was also able to pack a 3rd Gen Intel Core i5 Processor with Intel HD Graphics 4000 (just normal Ivy Bridge, not the upcoming upgraded lower wattage chips), and 4GB of RAM. But such powerful processor for such promising device doesn’t come without some sort of trade-off; Surface Pro comes with two tiny fans to cool the CPU, something that Surface RT doesn’t need. Battery life isn’t clear how long will last, but on average is estimated to last around five hours, compared to the 8 hours in the RT version.

The Wacom-powered display is also intelligent enough to realize that you run the pen across, but you didn’t mean to write and no writing will appear. The same is true for the palm rejection technology.

Surface Pro edge

Even though most of the hardware specs are already known, there are some refinements that will make a difference in the final product. Tom Warren from The Verge had a chance to play first-hand with the unit and he says that this time “Microsoft has angled the device at 26 degrees instead of 22 degrees, but if you compared the RT and Pro side-by-side it’s difficult to tell the difference at first glance.”. Tom also points out the microSDXC card slot now has been re-positioned to the side next to the Mini DisplayPort. 

He also writes “The kickstand is almost identical, but I did find the snap on it wasn’t as solid as the Surface RT model[…]” and “Microsoft has also made the Surface Pro charging cable slightly longer and implemented a USB port into the charging unit to charge your phone.”

As for the rest of the specs Surface Pro is the same as RT, for more details have a look at the technical specs table below.

Surface technical specs

ModelSurface with Windows RTSurface with Windows 8 Pro
Operating SystemWindows RTWindows 8 Pro
SoftwareSurface with Windows RT comes with Microsoft Home and Student 2013 RT Preview (Word, PowerPoint, Excel, and OneNote).Runs current Windows 7 desktop applications and integrates with your existing enterprise management infrastructure.
ButtonsVolume and PowerVolume and Power
ColorDark TitaniumDark Titanium
Weight676g (1.5lbs)903g (Less than 2lbs)
Aspect Ration16:916:9
Resolution1366x768 pixels1920x1080 pixels
Clear10.6" ClearType HD Display10.6" ClearType Full HD Display
Pen InputCapacitive pens available for purchasePen input and pen (included with purchase)
Multi-Touch5-point multi-touch10-point multi-touch
CPU1.3 GHz NVIDIA Tegra 3 (ARM)1.7GHz 3rd Gen Intel Core i5-3317U Processor with Intel HD Graphics 4000
WirelessWi-Fi (802.11a/b/g/n)Wi-Fi (802.11a/b/g/n)
AudioTwo microphones and stereo speakersTwo microphones and stereo speakers
CamerasTwo 720p HD cameras, front and rear-facingTwo 720p HD cameras, front and rear-facing
Device Angled22°26°
Power Supply24W power-supply48W power-supply (including 5W USB for accessory charging)
SensorsAmbient light sensor, accelerometer, gyroscope, compassAmbient light sensor, accelerometer, gyroscope, compass
PortsUSB 2.0, Micro HD Video out port, 2x2 MINO antennae, microSDXC card slot, Headset jack, cover portUSB 3.0, mini DisplayPort, 2x2 MINO antennae, microSDXC card slot, Headset jack, cover port
ProductivityOffice Home & Student 2013 RT, Touch Cover, Type CoverTouch Cover, Type Cover, Pent with Palm Block
PracticalVaporMg Case & kickstandVaporMg Case & kickstand
Warranty2-years limited hardware warranty2-years limited hardware warranty
Apps (included)Microsoft Office Home and Student 2013 RT Preview (Word, PowerPoint, Excel, OneNote); Windows Mail and Messaging, SkyDrive; Internet Explorer 10; Bing; Xbox Music; Video, and Games.Windows Mail and Messaging; SkyDrive; Internet Explorer 10; Bing; Xbox Music; Video, and Games.
Storage32 GB, 64 GB64 GB, 128 GB
SecurityDevice encryption and comes with Windows Defender.Provides enhanced networking and IT management. BitLocker drive encryption, use Remote Desktop, Active Directory, and Client Hyper-V. Compatible with third party applications.
ConnectivityAlways connected, even when in standby mode. Connected standby keeps apps up-to-date.Connectivity off when hibernating/sleeping to preserve battery.
ChargeEnjoy up to 8 hours of battery life.Enjoy up to 5 hours of battery life.
Price$499 for the 32GB version without Touch Cover
$599 for the 32GB version with Touch Cover
$699 for the 64GB version with Touch Cover
$899 for the 64GB version
$999 for the 128GB version

It’s difficult to explain but what Microsoft is offering with Surface with Windows 8 Pro is laptop that isn’t really a laptop, that’s also a tablet that isn’t perfect. However, the upcoming device is what it should have been all along, with a mix of hardware and software that will appeal to many users.

This higher end model of Surface is scheduled to launch later this month and it will come in two versions: a 64GB priced at $899 and a 128GB version priced at $999, Type Cover or Touch Cover not included.

Source and Images The Verge