If you’re following Windows 8 then you understand that there are two flavors of Surface coming out – one is the RT version (which is an ARM chip) and the other is the x86 with legacy desktop support. The backwards compatibility for x86 for the business version comes at a higher cost and the feature set shifts as well. This is from Microsoft’s website:

OK so the Pro version weighs 1/3 more (but is still slightly under 2 pounds) and is about 50% thicker  (but still puts the Pro at 1/2 inch).  The Pro gets a Full HD display and a larger battery (which I don’t expect to equate to better battery life – the CPU uses more energy so that’s just a necessity). Pro also gives you a bump to USB 3.0 and a mini DisplayPort for video out. RT comes with Office RT home (Word, Excel, PowerPoint and OneNote) and this will be shipping with the preview version of the app as Office 15 RT won’t be in final release by then. The Pro version omits this and it will be interesting to see if you can download the RT version for free or not on the Pro version. The Pro version gets a pen that recognizes when your hand is near so your palm doesn’t cause the screen to input that as a touch. There’s also a boost to the internal memory available (but both have microSD slots, with the Pro offering microSDXC).

The WinRT version will be available at Windows 8 launch (Octoberish) and the Pro version will be 3 months behind (right before the holidays). You can also expect the pricing to be higher on the Pro side, likely approaching the $1000 mark, but my gut is that it aligns a lot closer to iPad pricing ($500 RT 32GB, $600 RT 64GB, $700 Pro 64GB and $800 Pro 128GB).

For me, I’m a Pro kind of guy. I love backwards compatibility because that means it’s more than just a tablet- it’s a full desktop and when I’m in a meeting or on the go I can get 100% of what I can get at my desktop. Heck, there’s a strong possibility that I just use this as my home PC as well with the DisplayPort and a BT keyboard and mouse (and some external storage for media). Nothing against WinRT but I use Word (the real guy, I don’t want a stripped down version) and I’ve never had a tablet that can replace a desktop. WinRT is nice and all but I want Outlook Word and all of the goodies I’m using now in a desktop mode the way that increases productivity.

What about you?


  1. The reasons you cite in favor of going Pro are exactly my reasons for holding off on a tablet until now. I wasn’t going to bother with a tablet until I could get those things, so I’m obviously not going to settle for the RT (as nice as it might turn out to be).

  2. Pro all the way for me. I know I’m going to catch some flak but I’d love to install Visual Studio on that thing and work on my projects anywhere I get some time.

  3. I agree, but my wallet may not. :(

    Now that my desktop may be fubar, I’m undecided whether to let the laptop be my new desktop, and get one of these babies for mobility. Sooo shiney…

    I really like the Pro, as well, though, for exactly the same reasons. The price tag will be the ultimate deciding factor, I’m afraid.

  4. I really, really hope that they get the battery life right on the Pro. It’s almost–ALMOST–more important than the price for me. If the battery life is lousy, I’ll probably sit back and wait (even longer) before I take the plunge into the tablet ownership pool.

  5. Don’t do much mobile computing these days except for stuff around the house. So the RT will fit my current needs and budget. Will still fire the desktop up for serious stuff, but that may only be a couple days a week. I will take another look at a full blown tablet next year when it has had some time to mature. The RT will get plenty of use.

  6. I want the Windows 8 Pro version. :) But I think the Windows RT version will be the one for “average” people. :)

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