A month after Microsoft's LTE-compatible Windows RT-based Surface 2 launched in the US, the tablet is is now available to UK customers for pre-order.
US consumers who were bowled over the the $679 price tag Microsoft slapped on for the Surface 2 4G there might be pleased they're not customers in the UK, where Microsoft is asking for £539 ($904) for the device.
The 10.6-inch 1920x1080 display ARM-based device runs Windows RT 8.1 and comes with RT-flavoured Office Home and Student and 64GB storage. It also offers 200GB OneDrive storage and Microsoft's kickstand but, as in the US, there's no keyboard/cover included, which in the UK is sold separately and costs around £109.
The device is available for pre-order at retailers such as Curry’s and PC World, where the 64GB wi-fi-only Surface 2 currently costs £439.
The price of the new Surface 2 with 4G comes in well on top of Nokia's 32GB Lumia 2520 LTE Windows RT tablet, which costs £399. But Nokia's tablet, soon to be Microsoft's anyway, was not Microsoft's prime target with the Surface 2, which it hopes will rival Apple's iPad Air and MacBook Air.
And on price, the Surface 2 does undercut the iPad Air, which costs £659 for the 64GB LTE and wi-fi model. The 64GB wi-fi-only iPad Air costs £559. And, of course, if businesses want Microsoft's new Office apps on the iPad it will cost an extra £100 a year per user.
Still, one of the selling points of the Surface 2 is bundled Office RT and to take advantage of that really requires the Type Cover.
As ZDNet's review recently highlighted, using the soft keyboard to work with Office documents can become cumbersome after some time. In addition, most desktop apps are more usable with the Type Cover.
Microsoft highlighted at its second quarter 2014 earnings update that it had doubled Surface revenues from the first quarter to $893m; however, it also reported $932 million in cost of revenues for the device.