Microsoft has started taking pre-orders for its Windows RT-based Surface tablets. The 32GB tablet without keyboard costs $499; add $100 for the black Touch Cover bundle (so $599) or $200 more for a 64GB bundle with keyboard ($699). You can also get a Type Cover keyboard with moving keys for $120. But should you pre-order or buy the Surface Tablet?
The price for the RT tablet isn't bad. It's very competitive with the iPad, which sells for $499 for the 16GB model, and 10-inch Android tablets.
The two killer features are the slim keyboard cover (but you could get keyboard accessories for other tablets) and the Windows 8 Metro apps common to the tablet, Windows Phone, and Windows 8 desktop. Although there aren't that many Win8 apps available right now, Microsoft claims more than 100,000 Windows 8 apps will be available by the end of January next year.
There are a lot of great things about the Surface RT: It's light and thin, the cover with kickstand is killer, you get full-size USB ports as well as an expandable microSDXC card slot, and you get a lot of storage for this price.
That said, I'm personally holding out for the Windows Pro Surface Tablet. I want to run full Windows apps on the tablet, not just tablet-optimized ones. With the keyboard cover, the tablet is meant to be a full laptop replacement--and as such I want it to run all the software you can run on a laptop. (Although I do have a concern that you can't really use the tablet with keyboard on your lap like a laptop.)
The Pro version also comes with a stylus and digital inking support and I'm kind of a sucker for that. The downside, however, is that the Pro Surface Tablet will probably cost twice (if not more) than the RT version, and there's months to wait. The Surface Pro will be in your hands this month if you want it.
What do you think? Can Windows Tablet PCs make it in an iPad world? | Here's how to decide between the Surface RT and Surface Pro
Photo from Microsoft