Surface Pro shows up at Microsoft stores ahead of launch, also appears on Best Buy website

Check out our full review of the Microsoft Surface Pro tablet. 

A few days ahead of its official launch on Saturday, Microsoft’s Surface Pro tablet has started to show up at the company’s retail stores, as well as on the Best Buy website.

A report from Cnet said the computer maker’s store in Century City in LA, for example, now had the tablet out on display, with visitors free to give it a workout. 

Meanwhile, Best Buy’s website is now showing both versions of the forthcoming Surface Pro tablet – the 64GB model for $899 and the 128GB model for $999. Both listings are accompanied by a ‘coming soon’ label.

While the less powerful RT version of the Surface launched several months back, the Windows 8 Pro device, powered by an Intel Core i5 processor, will go on sale at branches of Microsoft retail stores, Staples and Best Buy this Saturday following a special midnight launch event at Best Buy in Manhattan’s Union Square the evening before.

Panos Panay, general manager of the Surface team, is expected to be present at the event, together with members of Microsoft’s Windows team.

Reports indicate that sales of the RT have so far fallen below expectations, leaving Microsoft hoping its more powerful Pro offering will have wider appeal. Besides the different operating systems – RT is essentially a stripped-down version of Windows 8 – the Pro tablet has a better display (1920 x 1080 pixels to the RT’s 1366 x 768), better multi-touch support and a more powerful processor. However, compared to the RT model, the Pro version is slightly thicker and heavier and, perhaps of most concern to some potential buyers, has only half the battery life (around 4.5 hours) of the cheaper RT device.

Consumers interested in Microsoft’s tablet may also have been alarmed by news last week that the demands of the tablet’s operating system and native apps mean the 64GB Surface Pro will actually ship with only 23GB of available storage space while the 128GB version will come out of the box with just 83GB.

Fortunately, Surface Pro owners will be able to bump up the amount of available storage using the tablet’s microSDXC card slot. They can also reclaim some of that lost storage space by deleting the recovery partition together with any unused apps.

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