image006 Microsoft Surface Pro goes on sale in Singapore from June 3: Better Late than Never?

Following the release of its Windows RT-running sibling earlier this year, the Surface Pro will be available in the island state come next Monday. It doesn’t come cheap though. More importantly, would you still buy this Ivy Bridge based tablet knowing Haswell (superior mobility) is on the horizon?

Nearly two months after the launch of the Microsoft Surface RT, the Surface Pro will finally hit local shores on June 3rd. Targeted at users seeking a purist Windows experience, the Surface Pro runs a full-fledged Windows 8 Pro operating system, instead of the tablet-optimized Windows RT found on the Surface RT. As the key selling point of the slate, this basically allows you to install and run any compatible Windows 8 application that you could on any of your other PC devices, as opposed to being limited to Windows RT specific applications on the Surface RT. Just imagine using a desktop or notebook, but in a tablet form factor.

Microsoft Surface Pro700 Microsoft Surface Pro goes on sale in Singapore from June 3: Better Late than Never?

To make this possible, the hardware had to be spruced up accordingly. Under the hood, the Surface Pro is powered by a 3rd generation Intel i5 processor and comes with 4GB of RAM, making the Pro no slouch in terms of horsepower. The device also sports an impressive 10.6-inch 1920 by 1080 pixel resolution display, a significant bump from the 1366 by 768 pixel resolution of the RT. Storage wise, the Pro is available in 64GB and 128GB models, beefed up from the 32GB and 64GB capacities of the RT respectively — supposedly to accommodate comparatively larger applications.

However, with the specification boost, the size and weight of the tablet had to be compromised. The Surface Pro checks in at a hefty 910g, compared to the 680g RT. The Pro is also a substantial 3.6mm thicker than its less powerful sibling at 13mm — quite an intimidating side profile for a tablet if you ask me. Other notable differences from the Surface RT include support for 10-point multi-touch, stylus input as well as a USB 3.0 port (the RT is equipped with a USB 2.0 port).

Given the slate’s operating system and weight, which is comparable to some of the lighter 11-inch ultrabooks after slapping on one of the fancy keyboard/cover accessories, the Pro feels like an out-of-place product that just does not belong to the tablet segment. To me, the Surface Pro is a confusing product that is neither a tablet nor an ultrabook, and comes across as an unnecessary attempt to plug a trivial gap that lies between the tablet and ultrabook segments. This is compounded by the price of the Pro which starts from S$1198 for the 64GB model and S$1328 for the 128GB model, putting it clearly in the price bracket of some of the entry level ultrabooks. So the question beckons – why would anyone want to buy the Surface Pro, especially when superior Haswell based offerings are on the horizon?

But for those still unwaveringly interested to get your hands on the slate, the Surface Pro will go on sale come next Monday at all major Challenger, Harvey Norman and Newstead retailers islandwide.