Microsoft has officially announced the latest member of its Surface family of tablets. Running an Intel Core i5 processor, the Surface Windows 8 Pro provides the power and performance of a fully-fledged Windows computer in the tablet form factor.

As with the previously announced Windows RT version of the Surface, consumers can choose between two types of attachable keyboards which effectively turn the tablet into a fully functional laptop. The 16:9 format touchscreen offers a resolution of 1920x1080 pixels, the device comes with a stylus pen and consumers will have the choice between 64 and 128GB versions.

The reception to Microsoft's Windows RT tablet has been lukewarm since its October debut, partly due to a lack of compatible apps in the Windows 8 store, which the RT version of the Surface is limited to running on its hardware. With its powerful processor the new Pro model can run any Windows 7 software package in addition to Windows 8 apps. From a photography point of view this means that you'll be able to run Photohop, Lightroom, ACDSee and all your other favorite imaging Windows applications on the Surface Pro, giving you the option to pack light on your next photo trip.

The Microsoft Surface Windows 8 Pro will be available through retailers in the U.S. and Canada from February 9th and starts at US$899 for the 64GB version.

 The Surface Pro can be used like a touchscreen laptop with an attached keyboard...
 ...or as a tablet. The stylus is included in the purchase.

Are you thinking about getting a Surface Pro? Discuss in our Windows Talk forum.