Product snapshot: Microsoft Surface Pro tablet

Microsoft’s full-power tablet PC is a huge step up from the original Surface

If you’ve been following Microsoft’s announcements in the last year, you would have to have heard about the Surface. It was announced alongside the new Windows 8 operating system, and we think it’s got a lot of potential.

Surface is Microsoft’s entry into the portable tablet market — challenging the Apple iPad and the dozens of Google Android tablets, like the Nexus 10. The Surface RT, based on a new branch of Windows, is a direct iPad competitor — it’s designed around a library of apps, and can be entirely driven by its touchscreen.

But far more interesting is the Surface Pro. The Surface Pro is the same form factor as the Surface RT tablet — a rectangular tablet with straight edges, sharp curved corners and a squarish industrial design — but at the cost of a little extra thickness and weight, it adds a whole lot of power.

The Surface Pro tablet runs the same version of Windows 8 as any other Windows notebook or desktop PC. It’s a full-power, fully-compatible computer crammed into a tablet’s body — able to exist in Microsoft’s new Metro interface and run touchscreen apps, or to use the traditional Windows desktop and run programs that any other Windows 8 or Windows 7 PC can.

The Microsoft Surface Pro has just about as much power as any Ultrabook. It runs a third-generation Intel Core i5 processor with integrated HD 4000 graphics, has 4GB of RAM, and is available with either 64GB of 128GB of storage. The Windows 8 operating system does take up a reasonable proportion of that space though, so the larger hard drive size is more appealing.

The Surface Pro is compatible with all the Touch Covers, Type Covers, Wedge Mice and other accessories that the original Surface is. It’s also compatible with some accessories that haven’t been announced just yet.

The Surface Pro is already on sale in the US and Canada, but so far it isn’t available here. We’re still waiting to hear back about when the Pro will go on sale in Australia — we’ll let you know as soon as we find out.

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Campbell Simpson

Campbell Simpson

PC World
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