Microsoft Surface Pro launching on the 23rd of May
May 16, 2013 // 9:57 a.m.
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.