Microsoft announces pricing and detailed specs for Surface Pro

Microsoft announces pricing and detailed specs for Surface Pro

Summary: Microsoft's Surface RT is the warm-up act, but for many potential buyers the headliner is still waiting in the wings. Today, Microsoft revealed that its Windows 8-powered Surface Pro, due in January, will include two models at $899 and $999.


Microsoft's first venture into the hardware business, the Surface RT, launched to mixed reviews last month. But for many observers it was only the warm-up act anyway.

Today, Microsoft released more details about its headline act: the upcoming Surface device with Windows 8 Pro.

Screen Shot 2012-11-29 at 16.27.26
Microsoft Surface Pro. Credit: CNET

The new Surface will debut in two editions in the United States and Canada: one with 64 GB of storage, priced at $899, a second with 128 GB for $999. Each model comes with a Surface pen but does not include Touch Cover or Type Cover add-ons ($120 and $130, respectively).

Surface General Manager Panos Panay also revealed additional specs for the Intel-powered device, which is capable of running the full spectrum of Windows desktop programs in addition to Windows Store apps:

  • Core i5 processor (clock speed not specified)
  • 10.6" 9 ClearType with 1920x1080 full HD resolution
  • Full digitizer and ink support with Palm Block technology
  • Full-size USB 3.0 port
  • Mini DisplayPort (can drive an external display up to 2560 x 1440 resolution)

According to Panay, the Surface Pro will weigh "less than two pounds" and be less than 14 millimeters thick.

Presumably, the devices will continue to be sold exclusively through Microsoft's brick-and-mortar stores and its online Microsoft Store.

Microsoft's announcement didn't include pricing or distribution information for markets other than the United States and Canada. The company also remains mum on the actual on-sale date, although Microsoft's Tami Reller, the Chief Marketing and Financial Officer for Windows, announced earlier this week that the Surface Pro will be available in January 2013. At the initial unveiling of Surface last summer, Microsoft said Surface Pro would arrive approximately 90 days after the General Availability of Windows 8, which would put it in late January.

The more powerful processor and higher-resolution display, along with full support for Windows desktop programs, should alleviate many of the concerns of early adopters who rejected the Surface RT. What's still unknown (and conspicuously absent from the new published specs) is battery life. It's unlikely that the Surface Pro can deliver all-day battery life in such a small package. We'll have to see how long it does last.

Topics: Hardware, Microsoft, Windows

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  • Holiday Pop-Up Stores

    Any idea whether they're keeping the pop up stores around to sell them? It seems like that would make a lot of sense, but on the other hand, that's a different kind of holiday at that point...
    • Okay, so let's do the math...

      $1,130 for 128GB and a keyboard.

      Now, I can purchase a macbook air, which will have close to the advertised storage space of 128GB, unlike the Surface, which will have considerably less, for $1,099, less with an educational discount. I then throw Windows on it. I think I'd rather have a full fledged computer, running both Mac OS and Windows, than an untested, unproven, keypad-falling-apart, Surface.

      or, a top of the line iPad, with wifi and cellular, for hundreds less.

      Microsoft is in a world of hurt, here. Can't sell RT's, Pro's coming in at a price point that is laughable. A few ZDNET posters will buy a couple, but MS will be lucky to sell say, 4 million per quarter...if they're lucky. No wonder Sinorfsky got fired; what a mess he left; buggy software, hardware that rips apart after two weeks....What do you expect from MS?
      • ASUS Q200E

        ASUS is selling a touch-screen Windows 8 laptop model: Q200E at Best Buy fro $499.00

        Comes with a $500 Gb hard drive, 4Gb of RAM and a core i3 processor.

        That's the one I'd buy if I didn't want a laptop/tablet hybrid. Save myself $600+ over the Surface Pro and the Macbook Air.

        It's a sweet piece of kit, too. Very thin, very light. Very good value. Very tempting.
        • Asus.

          Asus is awesome. I bought an Asus notebook with Windows 8 and it's a beast! Far superior to my other 2 laptops... Even if my HP Envy4 TouchSmart is very pleasant to use it can't compete with ASUS N56VZ-DH71, I also have a MacBook Pro Retina, that is used by my girlfriend... really... except for the flashy look and the retina display... I didn't see much reason to like my MacBook...
          Simon Tupper
        • price too high

          They were selling for $449. I've been running Win8 on a regular laptop for a year. My Q200 gets here tomorrow. We decided the WinRT unit was not going to be a good fit for us. We will get the maximum Surface Pro when it ships.
        • I would never buy ASUS

          While the specs and price of the ASUS are nice, they have the worst support of anyone in the business. The products are great when they work. With Apple, Lenovo, HP, and Dell, you get companies that will support their product line.

          AVOID ASUS.
      • Math must not be your strong point

        Can you use the McAir as a tablet?
        Does it have a touch screen?

        Sometimes the world does hurt, but not this time.
        • Microsofts whole reason for the Surface

          is to say it won't be a consumption device, like the iPad. But it's still touchscreen with an OS that can use legacy apps that are not optimized for touch; you still need to use keyboard and mouse. In that case, you're better off with an Air which has a multitouch trackpad, can run multiple operating systems, and you're not going to use touch to 'create'.

          I have PC remote desktop on my iPad and using non touch Windows apps are horrible.
          • I take it you have never used one!

            Other wise we wouldn't need the 44 gallon drum. lol
            I have owned a Windows 7 Tablet of 19 months now, as soon as Win 8 came out I installed it and not it works faster and smoother than before. I have a full office suite on it, works great.
            One size does not fit all, we had notebooks and tablets in the shop and I demonstrated bot to customers and ended up buy the Win 7 Tablet because it could be a tablet (consumption device) and it could be a laptop or ultra book if you like. As I use my desktop as my primary machine I couldn't justify a single use device to replace my old laptop so I got a duel use device, with a keyboard and Bluetooth mouse attached it does all my work while a way on holidays, travels to work with me on the pushy (sorry not a school kid rather a 50year old who whats to stay fit) and can also double as an Ereader and entertainment center when I want to relax. Sorry you have trouble keeping up with the modern world. 8-(
          • What Windows 7 tablet is that?

            upgraded to W8? Brand & specs, please?
          • Could it be Samsung Slate's?

            There were quite a few Slates. Core i5, 4 gigs, touch screen, bluetooth mouse and kbd... with Windows7.
            Price range was that of MacBook Air... Battery lasted close to notebooks, not tablets.
          • Samsung Series 7 Slate

            I've had it for one year. Originally Windows 7 Professional, now upgraded to Windows 8 Pro, and it has improved immensely as a tablet. The only thing I miss is a keyboard dock, like the new Samsung ATIV 700T, but it works flawlessly with a Bluetooth keyboard and mouse when on my desk. Specs:

            - i5 processor (1.6GHz Sandy Bridge)
            - 4gb ddr3 ram
            - 256gb hd (upgraded from 128gb - NOT for the faint of heart)
            - 64gb micro sd card
            - 11.6 inch capacitive touchscreen
            - Wacom digitizer
            - 4-5 hour battery life (a little short for my tastes)
            - desktop dock with standard HDMI, 100gb Ethernet, USB 2
            - on the slate - micro HDMI, standard USB 2, micro SD card slot, audio out
            - hardware button for windows key
            - hardware button to rotation lock
            - volume buttons

            Just under two pounds, including the (expensive) OEM case, which is pretty nice.
          • Asus Eee Slate EP121

            The above is the tablet I have had for a couple of years now which now has Windows 8 on it. It originally had 7 which worked great as well.
            Before hating on these products, really take the time to use one for an extended period of time. You will be amazed if your preconceived notions allow for it.

            - i5 processor
            - 4gb ddr3 ram
            - 64gb hd (with an addition 64gb sd card)
            - 12.1 inch capacitive touchscreen
            - 5-6 hours battery life (I never needed more)
            - Stylus included (Amazing for taking notes and all sorts of things, but not a requirement)
            - Leather case which can enable it to have a few different positions to stand by itself on a table or in your lap
            - 2 USB ports
            - HDMI port
            - Memory Card port
            - headphone jack
            - hardware button for onscreen-keyboard
            - hardware button for windows key
            - hardware button to lock position
            - volume buttons
          • forum posters

            god damn dude, learn how to type.

            I come to these forums looking for advice, but all I see are nonsense idiot posters.
          • thats where the keyboard cover comes in

            the keyboard cover has a trackpad and you have the option of using it as a tablet. It runs win8 and linux not macOS, thats not MS fault it's apples (still you could probably do a hackintosh). If it had a keyboard dock like the transformer it would be freaking awesome.

            I like tablets, I like labtops but its a pain to carry both with what is being released thanks to MS new OS I dont have to choose which is best and missing the other.

            P.S. never got the point of large iOS, more confused about medium iOS. Android is on the right track it feels like a viable PC operating system but its for tablets and phones. I truly think Win8 and android just make sense as tablet operating systems apple not so much. Then again I do h8 apple as a company so don't read to much into my comment.
          • What kind of performance

            might one expect from this kludgey pseudo W8 netbook? For example, I can catch up on last nights TV while working between 8-10 open applications, including live updating web sites & apps, while connected to a WiFi network on my laptop for many hours (6-7 at my usage). What are my chances of doing that on Surface Pro? And at what speed? If its not fast and steady/reliable, why would I want it? So I can touch the screen? How about No?
          • Windows 8 does all of that

            It just depends on if you run it on cheap hardware or not. A tock i5 with a few Gb of RAM seems more than capable of all the things you mentioned. Obviously it has to at that price point or people will get ticked. Don't know about the battery life yet. I was kinda hoping they'd wait for the new Haswell. Those chips promise to breath some serious life into mobile x86 computing. That is part of why people are excited about Windows 8. You can do it your way on the hardware that is right for you across all sorts of devices. Having a touch screen is useful even if it's not necessary. Apple's laptops are best in class but they're not the only thing out there that can do everything you mentioned and they are quite expensive. The Surface Pro is expensive probably as a show piece to kick the junk OEM's into gear. ACER and HP have been screwing people and giving Win PC's a bad name for years - they need a kick.
          • I'm not sure people are excited about Windows 8

            "NEWS ANALYSIS: Despite Windows 8’s launch and analysts’ initial hopeful estimates, Windows PC sales are down considerably and computer makers are scrambling to figure out why.

            When Windows 8 launched on Oct. 26, the operating system was expected to dramatically change the state of the PC market. Prior to its launch, PC sales were slumping across the board, and most analysts said it was due mainly to customers holding on to their cash until Microsoft’s new operating system was made available. Post-Windows 8, the analysts said, everything would change.

            But it appears things haven’t actually changed for the PC market. According to new data from research firm NPD, Windows PC sales have fallen 21 percent since the Windows 8 launch."

          • Absolutely pc sales are down but not much to do with Win8

            Windows 8 has little to nothing to do with slow PC sales. You would have to have a very very exciting new OS to get a boost in PC sales based on interest in a new OS.

            Consider the fact that by ALL accounts Windows 7 is a very great OS and it so happens that by time Windows 7 was coming out people also noticed PC sales were going flat. PC sales are relatively flat due to the fact that for the last few years PC hardware and Windows operating systems right back to XP have become so reliable that it takes comparatively forever for people to now feel they need an upgrade in their computer.

            This isn’t guesswork. This isn’t speculation. Its simple reality that if you look at all the facts it quickly becomes obvious. Windows XP is the longest surviving OS there has been, we know by the numbers of users still on XP. Look around at the homes and businesses that are still using PC’s that are 4 years or more old. About 5 years ago if you had a four year old PC it was pretty old hardware, today a 4 year old PC can still get the work done for huge percentages of the population.

            Its like asking someone to go out and replace a 4 year old refrigerator they are still quite happy with. They rightfully ask “why”?

            In all seriousness, just how exciting can any OS be to convince someone to pitch out or sell at a loss a perfectly fine PC that they know and still find every bit as useful as they did 3,4, or even 5 years ago in many cases. It’s a really really tall task to ask of any OS. Windows 8 included.
          • You didn't read the whole article you pointed to...

            and if you had, you would've noticed this:

            "Still, blaming only Windows 8 for the decline of PC sales doesn’t make much sense. PCs are in deep trouble today because of a host of reasons. Unfortunately for PC makers, it doesn’t appear that things will turn around anytime soon."

            Much of the reason for a drop of PC sales, is because of the economy, which means that, people will be holding on to whatever PCs they currently have for a bit longer than normal, and so, a new PC purchase is something that many people won't do as often as they did when times were better. Also, with XP and Windows 7 having been such great OSes, chances are that, people will have another reason for not having to upgrade. Microsoft has, in a sense, eaten it's own market. But, eventually, people will upgrade, but not as quickly as they used to.

            However, when it comes to the number of W8 licenses sold, that is a great number for Microsoft, with some 40 million in the first month, which beat the first month of Windows 7 sales. So, I'm pretty sure that, it's not as bad as some people, including you, would like to paint it.