Surface tablet with Windows 8 Pro: DOA

Now that we know several key points about the Surface Pro, Microsoft's claim that it 'isn't just any tablet' certainly rings true -- but not in a good way

Sometimes I wonder if Microsoft's Surface efforts will ever get the chance to evolve beyond the "version 1.0" stage. Case in point: The latest announcements about the upcoming Surface with Windows 8 Pro. If you missed the evening news or the official Microsoft blog, let me hit the high points for you.

Surface with Windows 8 Pro will arrive in January. It'll certainly be sold in Microsoft Stores and online through Microsoft. There's no indication yet if you'll be able to get it elsewhere.

If you want a keyboard, that boosts the price of the cheapest Surface Pro by $120 to $130, adding up to more than $1,000 for a Surface Pro.

For a thousand bucks, you get 64GB of SSD storage. We don't yet know how much of that SSD will be eaten up by the operating system, but Microsoft says the 64-bit Windows 8 Pro takes up 20GB. If you install Office 2013, Microsoft says you'll use 3GB more, leaving you with 41GB of usable space, give or take.

The screen size is 10.6 inches, with a resolution of 1,920 by 1,080 pixels, driven by an Intel HD 4000 chip. No, I won't draw a comparison to Apple's 2,048-by-1,536-pixel Retina display.

You also get 4GB of RAM, an Intel Core i5 "Ivy Bridge" processor, a USB 3.0 slot, Mini DisplayPort, and Wi-Fi (but no 3G or 4G cellular). And a stylus, of course. It's a Microsoft tablet -- it has to have a stylus.

If you want Office, you will pay more. Although Office 2013 Home & Student RT (sans Outlook) comes installed on the Surface RT tablet, Surface Pro doesn't have Office built-in. Office 2013 isn't available at retail yet, but expect it to add at least a couple hundred dollars to the Surface Pro's cost.

Then there's the battery. Microsoft studiously avoided discussion of the battery life in all of its official material. Surprisingly, it was Surface honcho Panos Panay (the person who controls the @surface Twitter account) who let the bad news slip in a tweet: "Surface Pro will have approximately half the battery life of Surface RT."

The folks at Engadget and The Verge publicized the tweet and calculated that the Surface Pro will run about 4.5 hours on a charge.

Did I get this right? The low-end Surface Pro will set me back $1,300 for a 2-pound Windows 8 touch tablet with keyboard, Office, 1,920-by-1,080 screen, just a bit over 40GB of usable storage -- and a battery that lasts just four hours?

I think I'll run out and buy a dozen.

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