CNET First Look
Microsoft Surface Pro aims to replace your laptopDecked out with optional keyboard covers and full Windows 8, Surface Pro is as powerful as a Windows ultrabook, and just as expensive.
-The computers stay in the status [unk] on the verge of evolving into selling entirely new. I'm Scott Stein and this is a look at the Microsoft Surface Pro tablet, the high-end version of what debut in some ways last fall with the Microsoft Surface RT. Though they looked similar but Microsoft's take on the Surface Pro side is a lot more high-end and a lot more like a real computer because it is a real computer. Underneath is a core i5 processor, 3rd generation Intel plus 4gigs of RAM, there's a 64 gigabyte or 128 gigabyte SSD and also, you're not gonna be limited to RT-style apps. There's a full Windows 8 operating system and Intel HD4000 graphics. This is $899 or $999 for the two configurations. So it's not cheap and keep in mind that price does not include the iconic, really the number one thing we associate with the Surface which is the really cool keyboard cover. The touch cover or the type cover, these are the very same covers that work with the Surface RT are not sold with the system. You have to buy those for $119-$129 each respectively. Honestly, if you're going to get a Surface, you're gonna get one of these and I would recommend going with the $129 type cover which has a pretty fantastic keyboard for its size and a little multi-touch track pad right underneath. It docks magnetically, does it seamlessly and it works about as well as any peripheral I've ever seen even though it's in the iPad world. And it really wound ups any keyboard covers I've ever experienced. It's really easy to use. It's fun to use with this. Now, keep in mind, the kick stand on the back which comes out provides a laptop-like experience but you can't technically put it on your lap in the same way. I was able the lap type but it's really meant to stand on a table and you have to get a little use to the footprint here. But when you cover this app and use it kinda like an iPad or a tablet because an all in one cover, it's a very portable if I'm going to travel. Now the Surface Pro is heavier and thicker than the Surface RT. It's a little under 2 pounds. Same vapour mag construction here magnesium, very solid feeling but there's also an additional vent around the side. It's a hairline vent in the back and you could hear fans inside activate very softly if you hold your ear up and it gets a little hot if you keep it down on a bed or something like that computer for a while. Now, included with this is a pressure sensitive pen, the surface pen which comes and attaches to the side here in the very same magnetic port that's used for the AC power. It's a comfortable pen, it's very useful for drawing an apps. You don't get the keyboard but you do get the pen. Another thing you don't get is a full version of Microsoft Office like you do on Surface RT. Here you're getting your basic suite of apps and they kinda pre-installed set of stuff that you'd find in a full Windows 8 laptop. Now, is it worth the money? Well, I think that this is a fantastically designed package. I think that it's a lot of fun to use this type cover or touch covers the case maybe. I think it definitely proves the point that tablets can be used like computers especially when they have peripherals that are this smart. But the price is a little high when you look at the landscape. You get an ultra-book right now with similar specs for 800 or less and you can also get an alternative option which are these lower powered processors inside tiny laptops much like the HP NVX2 which includes a keyboard and a track pad albeit running an Atom processor for about 850. So you are paying up here for the extra processing power and the design, you might find yourself all hampered by the storage limitations here and the fact that there are port limitations. This has 1 USB 3.0 port, it also has a mini display port and an SD card slot and that's pretty much it. There are few other nice design touches on the Surface Pro. The AC adapter comes with an extra USB port for charging external peripherals the same time, clever. And this Surface Pro doesn't actually need one of these keyboard covers in order to survive. In fact, even though it's something you wanna buy, just keep in mind, you could connect a Bluetooth keyboard and mouse to this and be just as fine especially the sensors got a built-in kick stand in the back but absolutely Microsoft has done the job in showing the tablets can be full computers too. I'm Scott Stein and that's a look at the Microsoft Surface Pro coming out February 9th.