Pricing for the Surface Pro starts at $899.
Here's some highlights:
The Surface RT was riddled with compromises, from the odd omissions — five-finger multitouch rather than ten — to the dealbreaking performance problems. The Surface Pro has none of those. It's as fast, consistent, and capable as any ultrabook I've tested in the last several months, and from a touch and responsiveness standpoint may be the best I've used. It has no confusing app incompatibilies, no weird performance issues. Sure, it's heavier and thicker than the Surface RT and has frustratingly poor battery life, but it's worth both the tradeoff and the extra expense. If you're going to buy a Surface, buy the Surface Pro. Period.
Microsoft created a very strange product category with the Surface Pro, one that will likely only appeal to a slim number of people who want to try a funky form factor but still work in a classic desktop environment when they need to. My experience with the Surface Pro was nearly identical to the one I had with the Surface RT, which makes it tough to recommend a pricier and heavier device with bad battery life. If the Surface intrigues you, check out the RT model first.
We're still completely enraptured by the idea of a full-featured device that can properly straddle the disparate domains of lean-forward productivity and lean-back idleness. Sadly, we're still searching for the perfect device and OS combo that not only manages both tasks, but excels at them. The Surface Pro comes about as close as we've yet experienced, but it's still compromised at both angles of attack. When trying to be productive, we wished we had a proper laptop and, when relaxing on the couch, we wished we had a more finger-friendly desktop interface -- though more native Windows 8 apps might solve the problem by keeping us from having to even go there.
The Surface Pro solves a lot of the issues I had with the Surface RT, but has some new ones. It can now run a lot more programs, but the tablet is much thicker and heavier. It is now a lot faster, but it only lasts five hours on a charge. It has a beautiful, high-resolution screen, but it's now more expensive. As a tablet, the Surface Pro is not as strong as its competitors. It's larger, the battery life can't compete and still lacks critical apps. As a laptop it's hampered by its smaller screen size, lack of a good mouse option and the fact that it doesn't really sit on your lap. Putting the two together results in a breed that's simply not as compelling as separate tablets and laptops.
I’m not arguing that Surface with Windows 8 Pro is a machine without a market. If you equip it with an external display, keyboard and mouse, it becomes a serviceable desktop PC, and if you stick to Windows 8 apps, it may be the best Windows 8 tablet so far. If I were shopping for an Ultrabook and my budget allowed, I’d consider it. But used with the applications I tried, Surface Pro doesn’t prove that one computing device can do everything well. Instead, it makes clear that there’s no such thing as no-compromise computing. That’s not the lesson Microsoft intended, but it’s a useful one nonetheless — for consumers, for the industry and maybe even for Microsoft.
Surface Pro is about as well executed as Microsoft could have made it given the currently available hardware. Its performance is outstanding for a tablet - it’s truly in a class of its own. If I sit down and use Surface Pro as I would an iPad or Android tablet, it delivers an appreciably quicker user experience. Apple does get fairly close in some cases on far slower hardware, which should concern Microsoft quite a bit should Apple ever choose to go ahead and build a tablet/notebook convergence device of its own. But overall, there’s just not a faster tablet on the market. It’s really the combination of a very fast CPU and very fast storage that enable such great performance out of Surface Pro.
I’m not a constant or dedicated Windows user, yet I am very excited about the Pro. It is Microsoft at its best – a pure expression of some computing solution that is more akin, say, to the Xbox 360 than the Dell Adamo. This is not a laptop that looks weird being sold at a premium. Instead it is a hybrid device that works surprisingly well as both a laptop and a tablet. There are obviously trade-offs, but the simplicity of form, the excellent design, and the promising OS make the Surface Pro a real treat – and threat to other manufacturers.
Despite the challenges of Windows 8, the Surface Pro is still a device I'd recommend because it really solves a problem. If you're like me, your digital life — both personal and professional — is vast, and it involves more than just access to apps and documents. It's also about having a device with the power to really unlock their potential. It's not good enough to just have access to photos; you want to run Photoshop, too. The Surface Pro is a great all-in-one gateway to your digital life, work and play. It's better than a laptop because it's more portable. It's better than a phone because you can get more done on a big screen. It's better than other Windows 8 tablets because it's more powerful. And it's better than an iPad because it's made for productivity from the start.