Following the release of the Surface with Windows RT last month, Microsoft has finally announced a release date and pricing details for the Intel-based variant equipped to run the full-fledge version of the operating system. As expected, it won’t be priced to compete with the iPad. Arriving in January, the Surface Pro will be available in 64GB and 128GB flavors, priced at $899 and $999 respectively.
Both models feature an Intel Core i5 processor with integrated Intel HD 4000 graphics, 4GB of RAM, a 10.6-inch display with a resolution of 1920 x 1080 pixels, a USB 3.0 port, and 4-5 hours of battery life.
That price doesn't include one of the nearly-obligatory keyboards that go with the Surface, however, which are sold separately at $120 for the Touch Cover and $130 for the Type Cover. To put that into perspective, add a cover and you have a starting price of $1,019, or $20 more than a similarly spec’d 11-inch Macbook Air -- give or take a couple of features like longer battery life but an inferior screen resolution on the Air.
Of course, the Surface Pro is not meant to rival laptops. Not yet, at least. Even though it offers a full desktop OS capable of running x86 applications, it’s more a portability, functionality, and form factor proposition.
But at that price it won’t be an easy sell. Aside from the consumer confusion it will likely generate when people have to decide between two Surface tablets that look almost the same but are priced ~$500 apart, it will nonetheless have to compete with a range of ultrabooks and hybrid machines that offer more for less.