After releasing the stripped down, ARM processor-based Surface RT last year, Microsoft's Intel-based variant of its tablet PC, the Surface Pro, has arrived. And since Feb. 9 last week, customers are able to order the Pro.
Obviously, Microsoft Surface RT stood no chance in trying to crack the strong visage put up by the Apple iPad, even though it seemed poised to do so with its interesting design and brand spanking new platform. Now that Surface Pro is here, offering all the same luxuries of a Windows 8 PC but in a compact, all-in-one tablet form factor, the Surface Pro lets consumers install and operate both traditional third-party software and tablet-optimized apps. There are millions of people who are anxious to see what is new in the Surface Pro.
The first thing surprise me is that Surface Pro was so significantly heavier and thicker than the Surface RT — roughly 43-percent thicker and 33-percent heavier, to be exact. While it's still thinner and lighter than the MacBook Air and most ultrabooks, it's on the heftier side of the spectrum in the tablet form factor. But then again, few other devices in the tablet category are capable of running a full build of Windows.
The Surface Pro looks almost identical to its RT stablemate, particularly when viewed from the front. Both have 10.6in. ClearType multitouch displays, although closer inspection reveals that the Pro's screen has a higher 'full HD' 1,920-by-1,080-pixel resolution (compared to the RT's 1,366 x 768) and supports 10-point multitouch (compared to the RT's 5 points). In terms of pixel density (pixels per inch, or ppi), the difference between the two Surfaces is 208ppi for the Pro and 148ppi for the RT (by contrast, the 11.6in. MacBook Air's 1,366 x 768 display has a pixel density of 135ppi). Both tablets support the same keyboard covers that snap onto the magnetic docking connector -- the pressure-sensitive Touch Cover ($119.99) and the 'classic' Type Cover ($129.99).
What's most unique about the Surface Pro is its guts. The Surface Pro sports a dual-core 1.7GHz Intel Core i5 processor with integrated Intel HD 4000 graphics, 4GB of RAM, and either 64GB or 128GB of storage. This marks a significant boost over the RT, which is powered by an NVIDIA Tegra 3, 2GB of RAM, and comes with 32GB or 64GB of storage. What's more, the screen is notably better, going from 1368x768 on the Surface RT to 1920x1080 on the Surface Pro — a 40-percent increase in pixel density. All these make the Surface Pro's overall performance stable and speedy.
As previously mentioned the Surface Pro offers a full, unhindered build of Windows 8 and offers the full desktop experience found on a traditional PC. As a result, the Surface Pro is capable of accessing a wide range of PC titles through services like Steam and Origin.
However the battery life is a little disappointing. The 64GB model barely has any free storage. Microsoft has quoted the Surface Pro as having half the battery life of the RT, which achieved roughly 8 hours per charge. The price of Surface Pro with 64GB storage starts at $899. That hit on your wallet becomes closer to $1,200 if you go with the 128GB version (a necessity) and add the so-cool-you'll-want-it keyboard cover.
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