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Microsoft Surface Pro launching on the 23rd of May

Microsoft Surface Pro launching on the 23rd of May

Microsoft's Surface Pro is finally reaching the UK, with prices starting at £719 for the tablet and an additional £99 for the Touch Cover accessory.

Microsoft has officially announced that the Surface Pro tablet will be heading to the UK later this month, following delays caused - the company claims - by unexpected demand for the device in the US.

Built around a third-generation Intel Core i5 processor, the Surface Pro is the big brother of Microsoft's ARM-powered Surface RT. As well as the more powerful processor - which, as you might expect, has a somewhat deleterious effect on battery life - the device packs a 1,920x1,080 Full HD screen into roughly the same dimensions as the Surface RT's 1,366x768 panel. Better still, it comes running Windows 8 rather than the cut-down Windows RT - meaning full compatibility with existing 'legacy' desktop and laptop software packages.

Its launch, however, has been dogged with problems. Initially, Microsoft was forced to delay the US launched due to production issues surrounding the keyboard-cum-cover Touch Cover accessory that caused its rubber casing to split open after only light use. When that was resolved, Microsoft launched the device in February only to find its relatively modest production capacity overwhelmed by demand - despite software bugs and other issues that the company is still working to fix.

With production ramped up and its US customers now largely satisfied, Microsoft is finally turning its attentions to the UK. The company's official announcement on the matter states that the Surface Pro will launch on the 23rd of May in the same two flavours as in the US: a 64GB 'entry-level' model and a more capacious 128GB version. Aside from internal storage capacity, the specifications of the two models are identical.

As expected, Microsoft has priced the Surface Pro units to compete with rival Windows 8 devices rather than the ubiquitous iPad and Android-based tablets that make up the bulk of the market: the 64GB model will cost £719, while the 128GB version costs £799. Neither come with the innovative Touch Cover accessory, which includes a touch-sensitive Sinclair ZX80-style keyboard embedded into a screen-protecting cover, which will be available as an optional extra for £99. Those who prefer a little tactile feedback while typing will have the option to purchase the Type Cover instead, which provides a small mount of travel for each key and will cost £109.

While high, the pricing is roughly equivalent to its US retail cost - correcting, naturally, for the UK's 20 per cent VAT rate. Those who purchase the Surface Pro will also receive the Windows 8.1 upgrade free of charge when it launches later this year - as will those who opted for the already-available Surface RT model.

15 Comments

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ChaosDefinesOrder 16th May 2013, 10:11 Quote
That's actually cheaper than I was expecting it to be; I was fully expecting a launch price of £1000+ for the 128GB model...
Gareth Halfacree 16th May 2013, 10:25 Quote
Quote:
Originally Posted by ChaosDefinesOrder
That's actually cheaper than I was expecting it to be; I was fully expecting a launch price of £1000+ for the 128GB model...
Yeah, when I wrote up the "soon to launch" story I'd stated that, while a fair conversion would see it fetch £700-800, I wouldn't have been surprised to see a symbol-swap that meant it hit the market at £899-999. That said, there's not a great deal of point in having a Surface Pro over a rival Windows 8 tablet if you're not going to have a Touch Cover or Type Cover, so you need to mentally add £100 to the cost for that.
rollo 16th May 2013, 10:55 Quote
Too little to late for uk market. Surface pro 2 should launch by September/ October makes it a difficult sell.
[-Stash-] 16th May 2013, 14:22 Quote
Quote:
Originally Posted by rollo
Too little to late for uk market. Surface pro 2 should launch by September/ October makes it a difficult sell.

Completely agree. And hopefully Surface Pro 2 will have somewhat improved battery life. Not that Surface Pro was bad, it was just "laptop" good, not "tablet" good.
rocknroll237 16th May 2013, 19:30 Quote
"keyboard-cum-cover"

Didn't know these existed...
Cei 16th May 2013, 19:38 Quote
"Surface Pro will launch on the 23rd of May in the same two flavours as in the use: a 64GB 'entry-level' model"

In the use? I assume you mean USA?


To be honest, Microsoft should have just accepted the delay and waited for Haswell to land, boosting their GPU performance. As is, they're launching at a point where the hardware will be no longer cutting edge within a matter of weeks - pretty poor timing!

Plus, they really do need a 256GB option.
RichCreedy 16th May 2013, 19:48 Quote
where did the date come from, as I was talking to Microsoft staff today, and was told the date hasn't been released yet, only that it is coming this month.
cnyrsitizin 17th May 2013, 22:55 Quote
What I can't understand is the assumption by Microsoft that they are selling premium products. Where is the retina quality display, the aluminium casing etc.. The RT was underpowered in the tablet market and the Pro is meh and too late.
Nexxo 17th May 2013, 23:03 Quote
The RT has exactly the same CPU as most Android tablets, so how is it underpowered?

As for aluminium casing, the Surface family has a magnesium casing. For those who slept through physics class, it's like aluminium, only lighter, stronger and posher.
Gareth Halfacree 18th May 2013, 11:49 Quote
Quote:
Originally Posted by Cei
"Surface Pro will launch on the 23rd of May in the same two flavours as in the use: a 64GB 'entry-level' model" In the use? I assume you mean USA?
Yes. Yes, I do; fixed, ta!
Quote:
Originally Posted by RichCreedy
where did the date come from, as I was talking to Microsoft staff today, and was told the date hasn't been released yet, only that it is coming this month.
Direct from Microsoft, in the form of a press release. If you're curious, the full release can be read on the company's small business site - for some reason, it hasn't made it through to the Press Centre yet.
rollo 18th May 2013, 12:07 Quote
As I've said and wondered before, I don't think the uk will see a surface rt2 sales have been poor of the device world wide and the Zune had better sales in the USA and never saw a uk release.

The surface pro is late and haswell is due for those that want one they will know haswell is due just don't see it been a big hit in uk markets till it becomes haswell ill be a buyer then myself.

Wether the surface rt is underpowered or not is Irelivent its not sold and has probably not even broke even. Wether we will see a second version is highly questionable.
Nexxo 18th May 2013, 12:34 Quote
First, the Surface RT and Pro have barely been launched on the world stage so it is waaayyy too early to comment on their sales. Compared to the iPad and Android tablets it has been spectacularly hard to get hold of a Surface device.

So it all depends on what Microsoft's long game is. Many people speculate that Microsoft does not really see the Surface as a main source of income but a market catalyst (a bit like Google sees Google Glass and the Pixel Chromebook). Keep in mind that the Google ChromeBook is selling even worse than the Surface RT. That does not stop Acer and Samsung from cranking out new models.

The Zune's demise was purely a product of Microsoft's poor business strategy. It seems to have spent the last decade deciding on what it wants to be while Apple and Google forged ahead with a clear focus. The price of being a big company with lots of subdivisions which were left to develop tribalism for too long, I guess. Hopefully Julie Larson-Green does a Steve Jobs and slams down some dictatorship on their asses.
Dr Evil 26th May 2013, 23:58 Quote
@ Gareth: Yep looks like you won! Name your charity?

Hopefully a SurfacePro with Haswell won't be too far off

Best,

Evil
Gareth Halfacree 27th May 2013, 09:17 Quote
Quote:
Originally Posted by Dr Evil
@ Gareth: Yep looks like you won! Name your charity?
You're a gent: I nominate the Centre for Computing History - they're moving to a new location, and need to raise a whole mess of cash to set everything up.
Dr Evil 30th May 2013, 12:00 Quote
Donation made
Confirmation number: 20H11436RB346243H.

Cheers,

Evil
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