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Surface Pro Prices To Start at $899, Microsoft Says
By Barry Levine
Posted: November 29, 2012 3:24pm PST

The Surface Pro looks like its slightly older RT cousin. Both have screens measuring 10.6 inches with ClearType HD. The RT weighs in at about 1.5 pounds and is 9.3mm thick, while the Pro version is about 2 pounds and is 13.5mm thick. The RT is only available at Microsoft's stores and Web sites, and it's not yet clear if the Pro will be the same.

$899 and $999. That's the pricing Microsoft unveiled Thursday for its new Surface Tablet with Windows 8 Pro, for the 64 GB and 128 GB versions respectively.

The pricing was announced on the Official Microsoft Blog. Panos Panay, general manager of Microsoft Surface, wrote that the Windows 8 Pro version of the Surface tablet -- which is being called the Surface Pro -- will be available in January, will include a Surface pen with Palm Block technology, and will support the separately sold Touch Cover and Type Cover.

Palm Block prevents handwriting from being interrupted if a user accidentally places their palm on the screen. The Touch Cover has a working, printed keyboard on the inside of the cover, and the keys do not move when pushed. The Type Cover has raised keys that move.

RT Versus Pro

The ARM-based Surface with Windows RT was released about a month ago.

The Surface Pro physically looks like its slightly older RT cousin. Both have screens measuring 10.6 inches diagonally with ClearType HD. The RT weighs in at about 1.5 pounds and is 9.3mm thick, while the Pro version is about 2 pounds and is 13.5mm thick. The RT is only available for sale at Microsoft's stores and Web sites, and it's not yet clear if the Pro will also be available through other outlets.

The RT's connections include microSD, USB 2.0, Micro HD Video, and a 2x2 MIMO antenna for wireless connections. The Surface Pro's connections are microSDXC, USB 3.0, Mini DisplayPort Video, and the 2x2 MIMO antenna. The Mini DisplayPort can drive an external display up to a 2560x1440 screen.

The RT's ARM-based processor is the quad-core Nvidia Tegra 3, while the Surface Pro's is the Intel Core i5 with HD Graphics 4000.

'PC AND a Tablet'

For the RT version, the Touch Cover goes for $100 when bought with the 32 GB model, $120 when bought separately, and it's included in the 64 GB version. The Type Cover goes for $130.

For the Surface Pro, the Touch Cover is $120 and the Type Cover is $130.

The RT runs only applications that have been specifically developed for its RT OS. Unlike the RT tablet, however, the Windows 8 Surface will run current Windows 7 desktop applications. As Panay noted, "It's a full PC AND a tablet."

Ostensibly, the "it's also a PC" argument is the key rationale behind the substantially higher price than the RT. The RT goes for $499 for the 32 GB, and $699 for the 64 GB. The Surface Pro pricing is in line with earlier statements from the technology giant, which said that the Pro would cost about the same as an Ultrabook, the lightweight laptop that has been championed by Intel.

The Surface Pro is being positioned as a single-item replacement for either/both a laptop and a tablet, rather than a direct competitor to a consumer tablet like Apple's popular iPad.

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