Microsoft Surface Pricing, Specs Finally Revealed

Dennis Faas's picture

After months of speculation, we finally know how much Microsoft's soon-to-be-released Surface tablet will cost: $499 and up. The device goes on sale October 26, the same day Microsoft launches its new operating system (OS), Windows 8.

Last week industry insider Sameer Singh grabbed media attention by suggesting that Microsoft's entry-level version of the Surface running a slimmed-down edition of Windows 8 known as Windows RT would retail for $399 and up.

Surface's Storage, Screen Size Compares Favorably with iPad

It appears Singh's prediction was somewhat close to the actual price. Microsoft has officially announced that the cheapest version of the Surface will be available for $499. It comes equipped with Windows RT and 32GB of storage.

For another $100, buyers can add the Touch Cover keyboard. When not being used, the keyboard literally acts as a protective case for the Surface, wrapping around the device. (Source:

Consumers can double their storage space to 64GB and add the Touch Cover keyboard for $699. Sold separately, the Touch Cover keyboard will be available for $120.

That pricing means the Surface will compete directly with Apple's iPad. So, how does it stack up?

First, the Surface ships with a slightly larger screen: 10.6 inches versus the iPad's 10.1-inch display.

The $499 32GB Surface also comes equipped with twice the storage space available on the $499 16GB version of the iPad.

If one draws a price comparison with the $599 32GB iPad, those willing to spend the same money for the 32GB Surface with Touch Cover keyboard are effectively getting the keyboard for free.

The Surface also ships with more RAM than most of its rivals: 2GB instead of the standard 1GB.

Consumers: Beware Early Reviews

So far, reviews are generally positive. PCWorld's Eric Franklin says typing on the Touch Cover is easy and comfortable. "It's definitely more spacious than typical tablet keyboards," Franklin says. (Source:

However, it's important to note that virtually no one has spent an extended amount of time testing the Surface.

Given Microsoft's somewhat troubled track record with new hardware -- including the Xbox 360's Red Ring of Death -- it may be wise for consumers to hold off for a few weeks.

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