November 30, 2012, 4:48 PM — There is a diverse array of tablet options to daze and amaze shoppers this holiday season. Microsoft has a solid contender with its current Surface tablet, but it runs the more limited Windows RT operating system that was designed for use with ARM-based processors. I've already examined how the Surface RT beats the iPad, and how the iPad beats the Surface RT, but how what about tablets that run the more powerful Windows 8 Pro OS?
Well, Microsoft itself will offer a Surface Pro in the near future that runs the full Windows 8Pro instead of Windows RT. The Microsoft tablet is slated for a January 2013 release--although there is speculation it could hit the street in December. Microsoft has just announced official pricing for the Surface Pro: a 64GB unit will be $900, and the 128GBtablet will be $1000.
You don't have to wait, though. There are already tablets running Windows 8 Pro. Sitting on my desk, I have the Microsoft Surface RT tablet and a Samsung Series 7 Slate PC running Windows 8 Pro.To be fair, the Samsung Series 7 Slate PCs currently available on retail shelves come with Windows 7 Home Premium by default--I installed Windows 8 Pro on mine myself. The Samsung site, however, sports a "Get to know Windows 8" marketing logo, and states, "Samsung recommends Windows 8", so perhaps the tablet will soon come with the new OS pre-installed.
Based on my own use, each platform has some pros and cons, so be aware of the benefits and disadvantages of each before you set out to spend your hard-earned money.
The Surface RT starts at $500 for a 32GB model--$600 if you throw in the default black Touch Cover. The Surface RT pricing keeps it competitive with the plethora of tablet options, including the Apple iPad.