Surface Pro and Office

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Get Microsoft’s Surface Pro and then pay more for Office.

Microsoft has announced that their Surface Pro computer will be released on February 9th.

We hope it has better luck in the market than the rightly belittled Surface machine with its low disk space, lack of compatibility and high price.

Surface Pro uses an Intel based chip to run standard Windows 8 – not the ‘RT’ version. That means you can use pretty much any normal Windows program.

Surface Pro is heavier at 2.0lbs (0.9kg) and slightly thicker 0.53 inches (13.5mm). The screen is the same size but a higher resolution 1920×1080. There’s USB 3 and Mini DisplayPort sockets. The new machine has more storage than Surface (there are 64GB or 128GB models) but it’s not know how much space will be taken up by system requirements.

The downside is shorter battery life. Microsoft is saying Surface Pro will have half the running time of Surface – meaning 5 hours instead of Surface’s advertised 10 hours (which itself is an overstatement).

Then there’s the price, which is high and higher than the ‘sticker’ price quoted by Microsoft.

For starters you pay for a copy of Microsoft Office to accompany Surface Pro. Surface machines included Office 2013 RT but Surface Pro doesn’t. However you can use an existing transferable Office license if you wish.

Microsoft’s advertised price is ‘Starting at $899’ but that’s only the start and you’ll have to pay more than that. Just like Surface, the advertised price doesn’t include a keyboard, so you’ll have to pay over $100 for that essential piece of kit. We recommend the Type Cover for $130 plus tax. In the USA, add state sales tax.

So what do you get with Surface Pro that you can’t get with a standard laptop? It has a touch-screen, a detachable keyboard and …. well that’s about it really. Surface Pro is a nice piece of hardware but you can get better value and better hardware from a thin laptop/ultrabook.

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