Microsoft didn't have a full exhibit booth at CES 2013, but the company did indicate that it would be holding closed meetings with its partners and even some journalists at the Las Vegas trade show this week. As it turns out, those meetings included some hands-on time with the upcoming Surface Pro tablet which Microsoft plans to launch sometime before the end of January.
ZDNet.com and The Verge have written up their impressions based on a brief amount of time with a pre-production model of the tablet at CES 2013. Besides the fact that the Surface Pro runs Windows 8 Pro versus Windows RT on the ARM-based Surface RT, there are a number of other cosmetic differences between the two tablets.
ZDNet reports that the MicroSD card slot, which is located on the back of the built-in kickstand on the Surface RT tablet, has now been moved to one of the tablet's sides for the Surface Pro. The Verge adds that the kickstand's angle for the Surface Pro has been changed to 26 degrees versus just 22 degrees for the Surface RT. The articles also mention a new ventilation strip that goes around the tablet in order to keep it from heating up. The charging cable for the Surface Pro is reportedly longer as well, and will also add in a port so people can charge up a smartphone at the same time.
Both articles also say that this pre-production version of the Surface Pro uses a third generation Intel Core i5 processor. However, it's still not clear if Microsoft might be able to add in the new version of the Core i5 chip to the tablet that reportedly uses less power, and therefore could improve its battery life. Previously, Microsoft has said that the Surface Pro will have about half the battery life of the Surface RT, which means users could expect to get between four to five hours of power for the Surface Pro.
Once the Surface Pro tablet goes on sale, Microsoft will have a 64 GB version for $899 and a 128 GB version for $999, both without the optional keyboard add-on.