By James Paladino/ ( | First Posted: Jan 14, 2013 07:42 PM EST

Sales staff demonstrate the Microsoft Surface during the opening of Microsoft's retail store in New York's Times Square (Photo : Reuters)

In just a few short weeks, the Microsoft Surface Pro will launch amidst a stable of Windows 8 laptops, ultrabooks, and tablets. The upcoming hybrid ditches Windows RT for a full version of Windows 8 Pro, granting the new device with backwards compatibility to Windows 7 programs and prior unlike the Surface RT. 

The Surface Pro features a multi-touch 10.6-inch screen with a 1920x1080 resolution, Intel Core i5 processor, 4GB of RAM, USB 3.0, an integrated Intel GPU, up to 128GB of memory, and a new pressure sensitive pen tailored for graphic artists and image editing software.The 64GB and 128GB models of the device will reportedly go on sale around January 26, according to a recent CNET report. Respectively, the Pro will cost $899 and $999.

Tech experts recently went hands-on with the new surface at CES 2013, so let's take a look at what they had to say.

PC World tested out the system's gaming capabilities with the first-person shooter Bulletstorm and found that "its frame rate at 1920x1080 was smooth enough to play, but didn't look butter smooth in 60fps+ territory. Still, if nothing else, the game demo did prove that Surface Pro is a legitimate performer, and can deliver what one would expect from other Windows 8/Intel tablet combos running similar components."

"What Microsoft is delivering with Surface Pro is a laptop that's also a tablet (in a similar way, the Surface RT is a tablet that's also a laptop)," writes ZDNet. "It's shaping up to be the Tablet PC done right, with a mix of hardware and software that should make it attractive to many users - and at an ultrabook price point"

PC Mag suggests that the "pen and Surface Pro combo may not replace a Wacom Cintiq for the hardcore artist, but you could certainly use it for casual sketching and signing documents. The internal screen can be mirrored, extended, or turned off when you have the Surface Pro connected to a mini-DisplayPort monitor."

Engadget was impressed with the Core i5 processor's performance, which "seemed zippy at first blush: apps close and open quickly, and transitions are smooth. Is it technically faster than other Core i5-powered Windows 8 hybrids? Only time and benchmarks will tell, we suppose. Suffice to say, it appears to perform about as well as other products."

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