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Microsoft’s Surface RT tablet may have been out for a couple of months now, but those with a keen eye for higher-end technology would doubtlessly have put their purchase on hold for the Pro version. It has long since been common knowledge that the Intel-powered device would be arriving at some point in January, and whilst a release date has still not been revealed, it will be hitting the retail market later, rather than sooner in the month.

The Surface RT has been reasonably popular hitherto, but in some departments, has been found wanting. The lack of support for legacy apps is the biggest limitation, and considering it is being marketed as a Windows 8 device that can double up as a notebook for all intents and purposes, I wouldn’t be surprised if some consumers have been left disappointed with their underpowered gadget.

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The Surface Pro, meanwhile, can truly claim to be a hybrid, for not only does it support legacy apps, but runs on an Intel Core i5 (of i7, if you want to pay more) processor. Starting at $899, it’s aimed at those looking for the very best technology and features, and with a beautiful 1080p display, it has them in abundance.

The Metro tiled interface is something Microsoft is rightly proud of, but considering most current users are running traditional PCs, the potential functionality of Windows 8 is arguably being sold short. With a tablet capable of running Windows 8 Pro, users will truly be able to get to grips with the fledgling operating system, and although the software maker is rumored to be preparing as many as three new Surface tablets in order to bolster options in 2013, consumer demand for the initial Surface Pro is likely to be high.

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CNET did a little digging by ringing up various stores, and employees expect the tablet by the end of the month, and although recent rumors have suggested the Windows maker will take advantage of the buzz by releasing on CES week, nothing concrete to that tune has been disclosed. Moreover, the company has already declared its desire to keep a low profile at CES this year, so the chances of an announcement around that time would seem slim.

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