NOTE: This is a review of the 2012 Surface Pro - the 2013 Surface Pro 2 has just been announced and we've got a Hands on: Surface Pro 2 review here. You can also read what we think about Windows 8.1 as well as about the new Windows 8.1 RT-powered, Nvidia Tegra 4-based Surface 2.

The Surface Pro is now on sale in two versions, a somewhat lean 64GB version and a more usable 128GB variant.

We've been waiting quite a while for a tablet like this - and not just since it was announced last year. If you ever saw a Windows tablet PC and wanted one that was done properly, you've been waiting years for Surface Pro with full Windows 8.

What's more, it's now a steal - discounted prices that went into effect in early August are here for good, at least in the U.S., with the Surface Pro, Touch Cover and Surface RT all seeing some slices. What's more, there appear to be price cuts going into effect globally, with the Microsoft UK and Australia websites showing discounted pricing for Surface and accessories.

Microsoft Surface Pro review

In the US, for example, a $100 Surface Pro price drop is in effect, meaning a 64GB Windows 8 machine starts at $799. Touch Covers are now $40 off, giving them a new starting point of $79, and a Limited Edition Touch Cover will cost $89.

Microsoft Surface Pro review

Surface Pro looks like Surface RT, with the same distinctive look and the same full-size USB port - but it tweaks the iconic kickstand and the clever magnetic connectors for power and the two tear-off keyboards (Type Cover and Touch Cover both work interchangeably with Surface Pro and RT).

It improves on the 10.6-inch touchscreen of the Surface RT with higher resolution and a digital pen you can use to scribble notes on the screen (and snap into the power port for carrying around), but it still has some of the darkest blacks you'll find on any screen.

Microsoft Surface Pro review

It's a PC, but it's still a tablet. Do you want it? Depends on what you really want.

If you've seen the Surface RT in the flesh, the Surface Pro looks utterly familiar. The same VaporMg coating over the same sturdy but sleek metal body, the same gently curved corners and wide black bezel, the same subtle Windows logo on the front.

But pick it up and you'll notice the difference straight away. The Surface Pro is thicker - although 13.5mm (0.53 inches) rather than 9.3mm (0.37 inches) isn't exactly bulky - and it's heavier, at 907g (2lbs) rather than 680g (1.5lbs). But the weight is evenly distributed and well balanced so it doesn't feel a lot heavier unless you pick them up side by side.

Microsoft Surface Pro review