Microsoft Surface Pro vs. Surface RT: Which One Should You Buy?

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Microsoft’s Surface Windows 8 Pro (or Surface Pro) is the ultrabook-class tablet that people have been waiting for. Question is, is it worth the extra price premium over the Surface that (only) comes with Windows RT? The Microsoft Surface with Windows RT does a decent job running Windows RT, a lighter version of Windows, but to get older programs running on your tablet, you’ll need a tablet that runs Windows 8.

If you grab one of each tablet in either hand, and view the Start screen, you’ll be hard pressed to spot the difference between the two. The new Windows interface (formerly known as Metro) gives you a minimalist interface, which you can use to open programs, check weather and sports, and use the tablet in general. True, the Surface Pro is a little thicker to accommodate the ultrabook-level components, but they look almost identical from the front at first blush. Below the surface (pun intended), however, the two tablets are as different as night and day.

The Surface Pro is a little thicker to give the Intel Core i5 processor some breathing and cooling room. The ARM-based Nvidia Tegra processor in the Surface Windows RT model needs no active cooling. Predictably, the Surface Pro models come with more SSD storage space, system memory, and a larger resolution screen. Of course, the top of the line 128GB Surface Pro comes in at $999, $300 more than the $699 64GB Surface with Windows RT.

The Surface Pro comes in a 64GB model for $899, but is otherwise identical to the top of the line model. Both Surface Pro systems come with a digitizer stylus (a la Wacom), but no Type nor Touch Covers. Microsoft has released a new $599 64GB Surface with Windows RT model without the cover, which lets the end user choose another Touch Cover color aside from black.

For more on the Microsoft Surface Windows 8 Pro, check out PCMag’s full review, as well as our unboxing.

By Joel Santo Domingo, PCMag

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