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Microsoft Surface Pro hands-on impressions

Jon Phillips | Jan. 11, 2013
Perhaps you remember Surface RT. It was Microsoft's bid to become a legitimate computer hardware manufacturer--a Windows-based tablet with a clever, snappy, magnetically attached keyboard cover. It looked great. It felt great. It had all the pluck and presence of Grade A industrial design.

Waiting for pudding--and proof therein

When Surface Pro arrives at the end of this month, it won't receive all the fresh, new-kid-in-town bonhomie that the world bestowed on Surface RT. When RT hit the scene in October, it wasn't just one of the very few Windows tablet-ish devices available, it also piggybacked on top of Microsoft's greater Windows launch PR effort.

But life is very different now for a Windows 8 tablet or tablet-PC hybrid. There are multiple Windows 8 machines to choose from, and consumers will be incredibly sensitive to pricing options. The 64GB version of Surface Pro will cost $900. The 128GB version, $1000. Touch-capable Ultrabooks are aiming to beat those numbers, and Microsoft will shortly find itself in a pricing war with its hardware partners. The "competitor" machines may not have the design panache of Surface, but will looks matter in an ultra-portable market that's already considered to be priced too high?

Stay tuned. Get ready. The PC landscape is more interesting than it's been in more than 10 years, and Surface Pro can tell us so, so much about what consumers want--and are willing to spend--in a new Windows 8 hybrid.


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