Microsoft has finally announced pricing for Surface Pro: $899 USD for the 64GB model; $999 for the 128GB. Whereas the Surface “RT” model has more of a tablet-only focus given its use of an ARM SoC, Surface Pro behaves more like a tablet or notebook PC thanks to its inclusion of a traditional x86 processor from Intel. On the surface (no pun, of course), $899 USD seems ridiculous for a tablet, but this is in effect designed to give people the best of both worlds.
Aside from its raw Core i5 processing power, the Surface Pro bumps the resolution to 1920×1080, includes a full-speed USB 3.0 port, includes mini DisplayPort that supports up to a 2560×1440 resolution and includes a Pen (believe it or not, RT doesn’t).
Overall, the specs add up to make the Surface Pro a rather attractive offering, but at its current pricing, it definitely seems to be bound more for the business-user than the end-user. This isn’t a solution for someone who just wants a tablet, and given the current lack of apps in the Windows 8 store, many people would have a better overall experience at the moment with a competing platform. At the same time, as a notebook, the Surface Pro falls a bit flat due to its size (it’s a netbook, essentially), and then there’s the fact that it doesn’t even include a keyboard (the Touch Cover will be $100 extra).
If money were of no concern, or I felt I needed a Windows tablet for business-use, I can totally justify Surface Pro’s cost. But as an end-user, $1,000 minimum for a tablet-sized notebook that can become a tablet on command based on a mobile platform that’s far from proven – that’s a hard sell. Time will tell if this is what consumers have been waiting for.