The device can run standard applications such as its own Office and Photoshop and contains a choice of an Intel or ARM-based processor.
The company may face competition with other manufacturers planning to release tablets designed for Windows 8.
The devices have 10.6 inch (26.9cm) displays, built-in kickstands and are housed in magnesium cases – which the company described as the first of their kind.
The ARM-based tablets are 9.3mm (0.4 inches) thick – slightly less than the iPad – and run the Windows RT version of the new system.
The ARM-based version will be available with either 32GB (gigabytes) or 64GB of storage. Microsoft said they would be priced at a similar rate to other tablets using the same type of processor built by other firms.
It added that the Intel-based versions would be offered with either 64GB or 128GB of storage and would have price tags comparable to ultrabook laptops.
“Microsoft can offer a competitive price for these specifications as it doesn’t need to pay itself a licence for the Windows 8 software which other manufacturers will have to do, and that might make its PC and tablet-making partners unhappy,” said Carolina Milanesi, research vice president at the technology consultants Gartner.
The device comes with a stylus, which the company has dubbed “digital ink”. When the stylus is held close to the screen of the tablet it ignores touch-input from the users’ hands and “samples” the ink at 600dpi (dots per inch).