It’s about damn time.
Microsoft announced the Surface product family on June 18th. After eight months of waiting, Microsoft announced that on February 9, the fully-capable, Windows 8-packing, Intel-powered, actually-really-novel Surface 8 Pro will finally hit stores in the U.S. and Canada.
The Surface Pro is the big daddy in the Surface family. Unlike the $499 Surface with Windows RT, the $899 Surface Pro runs standard Windows 8. The device is powered by hardware that wouldn’t be out-of-place in an Ultrabook. In short, the Surface Pro is a legit machine.
Microsoft built the Surface Pro to be the reference standard for Windows 8 tablets. Redmond really didn’t have many options. It was either build a device internally or rely on its tradition partners of HP, Dell or the rest. One look at the Surface’s competitors and it’s clear Microsoft choose wisely.
The Surface was a massive surprise when Microsoft introduced it at a large event in LA last summer. But it probably shocked OEMs the most. Microsoft suddenly went from partner to serious competitor overnight.
It’s a bit hyperbolic to say the Surface will dominate the Windows 8 tablet market. Don’t count HP or Samsung out just yet. Even if the sales numbers don’t outpace those of competitors’ offerings, the Surface has succeeded in getting people to notice Windows 8 tablets. And now that the Surface Pro is about to launch, the party can finally begin.
I wasn’t a fan of the Surface RT. When I reviewed it 3 months ago, I dismissed it due to lack of compatible applications and questionable design decision regarding the Touch Covers. But now, after using it extensively, especially the last few weeks, I find myself constantly frustrated at its poor computing performance. Windows 8 is capable of so much, but the Surface RT, with its ARM-based CPU, just barely handles the system. The Surface Pro should counter most of my criticisms. I’m a Windows guy. I want to love the Surface Pro — I just hope Logitech makes a Surface keyboard similar to the Ultrathin iPad Keyboard Cover.
Look for the Surface Pro starting on Feb. 9 in Canada and U.S. It will be available at all Microsoft stores, microsoftstore.com, Staples and Best Buy in the U.S. and Future Shop in Canada. The 64 GB will run $899 with the 128 GB priced at $999. Both models ship with the Surface Pen. Touch Covers and the Type Cover will run an additional $119 and $129, respectively.
Oh, and there are new Surface accessories including three limited edition Touch Covers and a special mouse because, you know, every tablet should have a mouse. At least we can finally get excited about the Surface, which is a good feeling for those who are pulling for Windows 8.