If you held off the original Surface launch for fear of Windows RT, then the full Windows 8 Pro version is just around the corner with beefier specifications and the full-fat OS.
More Power to the Pros
Microsoft's first launch of the Surface tablet had a lot of novelty factor in it, but there were concerns over the lack of access to regular Windows, despite the inclusion of Office RT. Now, we get the real deal Surface tablet with several models hitting stores sometime in January.
A 64GB model will cost US$899, while the 128GB version will go for $999, that's minus keyboards for which you need to add an extra $120. These machines will be pretty powerful, packing in an Intel Ivy Bridge Core i5 CPU plus 4GB of RAM and a base level of 64GB storage. It will also have a higher-resolution 1920x1080 touchscreen display, a good improvement on the not-too-shabby original Surface.
It does have a bigger 42-watt hour battery, but as it is running more powerful hardware, the battery life is down to around five hours, which is a big drop from the RT models. But, that's the price you pay for access to all your existing Windows apps, resources and the fun new world of Windows 8.
The new devices are a touch thicker (4mm extra) and heavier to accommodate the extra components and probably some more cooling, a 2x2 MIMO WiFi radio, but there is space for a microSD card, USB 3.0, and video out via mini-DisplayPort. That'll make it feel more like an Ultrabook than a tablet, but with a lot of extra space to play with, the trade might be worth it.
Playing the Numbers Game
With various reports of slow uptake for Windows Surface and Windows 8 products so far, the Pro models might go some way to raising interest with its full feature-set. Microsoft has promised to support Surface for four to five years, but it is going to need plenty of takers to get up some headwind for the brand.
Microsoft's partners will have their own products competing in the same spaces and stores, with Acer's W700 tablet and its cradle, and Samsung's ATIV range high on buyer's agendas. Then there's the ever-increasing number of Android and iPad tablets that can take some of a user's workload.
With such a confused landscape, Microsoft might need to sweeten the deal on these devices, but with launch not far off, it will want to judge the reception from the market. Do you think Surface has a better chance of success in this package?