Things are starting to get interesting for consumers who like the feel of a tablet but want or need the power and the software of a desktop or laptop. Microsoft's Surface Pro, which is now available, is designed to be the happy medium.
It's not to be confused with Microsoft's Surface RT, released a few months ago, which is a true tablet that runs tablet-type apps on its Windows 8 operating system. The Surface Pro is a bit thicker in size and substance.
"This is a full-fledged ultrabook computer. So I can work with the apps, I can install Quickbooks, Photoshop, it's got an Intel-based processor and larger storage capacities, and comes in 64 GB and 128 GB storage capacities," Matt Tverberg with Microsoft said. "It's going to give me the option to add more storage via a micro SD card, and it'll have USB 3.0 versus 2.0. It has a full 1080p screen and then you have the digitizer pen here as well. This also offers palm rejection as well, so as I'm signing documents or working with Photoshop, signing an email, it's really going to give me precise navigation."
Most critics knock the Surface Pro's battery life. All the fancy innards running all the real PC versions of software reportedly drains the tablet in just three to four hours.
The price is another sticking point. The Surface Pro costs $899 for 64 GB of storage and $999 for 128 GB. Another $120 or so should be tacked on for a cover that doubles as a keyboard.