Books & Review | Cole Garner Hill
Updated: Nov 08, 2012 03:17 PM EST

Microsoft surface

A Microsoft representative holds a new Surface tablet computer as it is unveiled by Microsoft in Los Angeles. (Photo : reuters)

Microsoft's first ever tablet, the Surface RT, may have stolen most of the headlines when the company released the device Oct. 26, but the company still has another - and some say, superior - tablet coming in early 2013: the Windows 8-powered Surface Pro. Microsoft hasn't commented on pricing, but recent news indicates the Surface Pro will cost around $900, if leaks are accurate.

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Microsoft recently confirmed to BGR and reporters from a number of other publications that its next Surface tablet, the Pro, would launch in January or early Feb. 2013. "The Windows 8 version will be about three months behind the RT model," said Windows boss Steven Sinofsky.

While Microsoft has thrown $400 million into its initial Surface tablet advertising blitz, according to Windows Supersite Editor Paul Thurrott, we still know relatively little about its bigger brother, the Surface Pro. That all changed when a German retailer, Notebook.de, leaked the pricing for the new tablet, seemingly by accident.

"It looks like German retailer Notebook.de has leaked the price and is taking pre-orders," reported TWC News.

The site reportedly lists two versions of the Surface Pro, one with a a 64GB hard drive priced at about $920 excluding tax (€722) and one with a 128GB hard drive priced at $1026 (€808), excluding tax.

Microsoft has not confirmed these prices. However, as Business Insider notes, the pricing does match the pricing scheme the company employed for Microsoft's RT, which increases by $100 for each higher-level model. The Microsoft Store sells the 32GB Surface RT for $499 without the hyped touch-cover keyboard. The 32GB with the touch cover runs $599 and the 64GB with the touch cover costs $699.

"A starting price of about $900 for a Surface Pro would also let Microsoft's other PC partners advertise a lower price. For instance, Dell's 64GB Latitude 10 with Windows 8 Pro starts at $749 but it doesn't include the keyboard, nor the Microsoft Office software," commented Business Insider.

Not everyone agrees with the pricing for the Pro tablet. According to BGR, "the logic behind the report is fundamentally flawed."

"Converting [listed] prices into U.S. dollars, a number of sites speculated that the new tablet will be priced above $1,000 when it launches in the United States. This may or may not be the case, but Netbook.de's Surface pricing has no bearing on pricing in the U.S. market," said BGR.

The tech site speculates that the German retailer may have used Microsoft's recommended pricing on its early preorder page, but notes, "pricing varies dramatically between markets. The same website currently offers Microsoft's entry-level Surface with Windows RT without a Touch Cover accessory for 549€, or US$699. That price is 40 percent higher than the tablet's actual end-user pricing in the U.S."

So, who is right? Anyone in Germany want to throw their hat in the ring here?

Microsoft Surface tablet features

The Pro has a 10.6-inch Clear type Full HD (1920 x 1080) screen with 16:9 widescreen.

That means they are among the biggest tablets in the market. If you are not satisfied with the typical 10.1-inch tablet, you can go for the Surface tablet. Along with the touch keyboards with the device, you can turn the machine to a small notebook.

The Surface tablet comes with five Touch Covers. Different from typical keyboards, the Surface keypads provide a smoother typing experience thanks to their touch-based surface.

The Surface tablets mount both front and rear cameras. The front camera, named life cam by Microsoft, makes the tablet ideal for video chatting through Skype or other services. Using the rear camera, you can capture images and video clips.

Microsoft puts forward better memory options with the Surface tablets. The device comes in 32GB, 64GB and 128GB options. The 128GB is available only with Surface Pro. Further, you can expand the memory using external memory sticks thanks to microSD card slot. That is, you can store enough data including music, software items and video in external clips.

The 3mm Touch Cover can be connected to your Surface tablet with a single magnetic click, so, now you can type text and send messages quite easily.

The Surface's tablet housing features a revolutionary kickstand. Along with fully functioning keyboard and track-pad, the integrated kickstand helps you place the gadget in both portrait or landscape modes.

The Surface Pro will likely be more popular with businesses than RT because it can run older Windows software.

The Pro version weighs a little more, has a larger solid-state hard drive, and has a higher resolution screen than the RT. "Because it can run full-blown Windows 8, the Surface Pro is as much a laptop, ready for serious productivity and entertainment duty, as it is a traditional tablet," says CNET.

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