Microsoft's third-generation Surface Pro was unveiled earlier this week, and much punditry on the 12-inch Windows 8.1 tablet/laptop hybrid has now been committed — some of it even based on hands-on experience. We'll reserve judgement here in the UK until we get hold of a review sample, but one thing we couldn't help noticing, now that the UK pricing has been revealed, is how much more you have to pay for the Surface Pro 3 on this side of the pond.
Here's how the US and UK Surface Pro 3 prices stack up:
|Surface Pro 3 model||US price||UK price (inc VAT)||UK price (ex. VAT)||UK ex. VAT price in $*||UK premium ($)||UK premium (%)|
|i3 / 64 / 4||$799||£639||£532.50||$898.42||$99.42||12.44%|
|i5 / 128 / 4||$999||£849||£707.50||$1193.68||$194.68||19.49%|
|i5 / 256 / 8||$1299||£1109||£924.17||$1559.40||$260.40||20.05%|
|i7 / 256 / 8||$1549||£1339||£1115.83||$1882.94||$333.94||21.56%|
|i7 / 512 / 8||$1949||£1649||£1374.17||$2318.88||$369.88||18.98%|
* via XE.com, at the time of writing (12pm BST, 22 May)
As the table shows, when you take the UK's 20 percent VAT out of the equation, the Surface Pro 3 costs between 12.4 percent and 21.6 percent more to buy in the UK than in the US. The biggest discrepancy is with the Core i7/256GB SSD/8GB RAM configuration, which costs $1,549 in the US and £1,339 (inc. VAT)/£1,115.83 (ex. VAT) in the UK: converting the ex. VAT UK price to US dollars gives $1,882.94 for a UK premium of $333.94, or 21.56 percent.
The price discrepancy extends to the Surface Pro 3 accessories too:
|Surface Pro 3 accessory||US price||UK price (inc VAT)||UK price (ex. VAT)||UK ex. VAT price in $||UK premium ($)||UK premium (%)|
* These accessories are supplied as standard with the Surface Pro 3
There is currently no UK price or availability estimate for the Surface Pro 3's $199.99 docking station, which is likely to be a key component for business users. Taking an average from the UK markups shown above, we'd expect the Surface Pro 3 dock to come in at around £171 (inc. VAT).
We asked Microsoft for a comment on these figures, but after 24 hours have yet to receive a substantive response — we'll update this story as soon as we hear from the company. It's worth noting that Microsoft isn't alone in charging more in the UK than it does in the US. A similar pattern is seen with Apple's products, for example. In general terms, explanations have cited a 'higher cost of doing business' in the UK.
The Surface Pro 3 — which is available for preorder now, and will ship by the end of August — could well fit the bill for mobile professionals who are seeking to reduce the number of devices in their travel bag. But UK-based buyers should be aware that they'll have to pay more than their US counterparts.