The Surface Pro tablet is an important step for Microsoft as it continues along the path set by CEO Steve Balmer to offer both software and hardware.
In May 2013, product manager Ian Moulster pointed out that the company has a strong heritage in hardware, with the Microsoft mouse, keyboard and Xbox 360 games console.
Unlike the Surface tablet, which was released with Windows 8 in November 2012, Surface Pro runs the full Windows 8 OS. It uses a third-generation Intel i5 memory and is configured with 4GB of memory, so the majority of Windows 7 applications, including PC games and enterprise applications, should run without a problem.
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There are two versions, based on the size of the solid state drive (SSD) shipped. The 64GB version costs £719, while the 128GB version is priced at £799. Both use the same 10.6in high-definition (HD) display and include a pen input device, which makes the standard Windows graphical user interface (GUI) easier to use.
As with the original Surface, Microsoft offers a touch (£99) or type (£109) keyboard as an optional extra.
The Surface Pro ships with standard Windows 8 applications and Skype. Antivirus is provided by Windows Defender.
The device includes USB 3.0 connectivity and mini DisplayPort for video. However, there is no scope to expand memory or upgrade the hard disk.
With detachable keyboard, mouse, touch and stylus input, and weighing 900 grams, the Surface Pro has the potential to appeal to people who use both a tablet and a laptop PC.
But £900 is a lot for a tablet with a keyboard, and as a tablet device, it is a bit too heavy to use comfortably. So it is not a cheap product, but it is highly versatile.