Remember when Microsoft said the Surface for Windows 8 Pro was going to be priced in the same ballpark as ultrabooks? Yeah, it wasn't kidding. Microsoft revealed earlier today that the Intel-powered Surface is actually going to start at $899—and that's for the standalone 64GB model, without a keyboard.
The 128GB version will set you back $999, still with no keyboard included. Microsoft's announcement doesn't even mention the keyboards, so presumably, the same ones currently available for the Surface for Windows RT will be on offer. That means you'll probably be asked to pay $119.99 for the Touch Cover and $129.99 for the thicker Type Cover, which has proper scissor-switch keys. (Unlike Transformer-style convertibles like the VivoTab RT, neither of the keyboard add-ons for the Surface features a hinge. That means you'll have to rely on the tablet's "kickstand" to type on your lap—a somewhat awkward proposition.)
At least Microsoft hasn't skimped on the hardware. One might expect an Intel-powered Windows 8 slate to pack an Atom processor, but the Surface for Windows 8 Pro actually has a Core i5 CPU inside. The 10.6" display has a 1080p resolution, as well, higher than the 1366x768 of the Windows RT model. Microsoft has even thrown in a stylus, which may please professional users.
Physically, the Surface for Windows 8 Pro weighs "less than two pounds" and measures "less than 14 millimeters" (or 0.55") in thickness. Microsoft doesn't mention battery run times in this announcement, but as The Verge reports, the company said on Twitter that the device will have about half the battery life of the Windows RT version. Microsoft quotes an eight-hour run time for the WinRT variant, which would peg the Intel model's battery life at a paltry four hours.
The Surface for Windows 8 Pro will be available starting in January 2013.