Aug 14 AT 6:12 PM Taylor Wimberly 81 Comments

Poll: Would you consider the Microsoft Surface for Windows RT tablet at $199?


If millions of people are buying 7-inch tablets for $199, how many 10-inch tablets would they buy for the same $199 price? We might find out soon because Engadget editor Tim Stevens is reporting that an “inside source” told him Microsoft will launch their 10-inch Surface tablet for $199 on October 27th.

Microsoft revealed their Surface tablets a couple of months ago and the early impressions were positive, but everyone wondered is they would be able to compete on price.

Android fans have flocked to Google’s $199 Nexus 7 tablet, and retailers have had difficulty keeping it in stock. Reports estimate that Google could ship six to eight million units by the end of the year. Amazon has also found similar success with their $199 Kindle Fire tablet, which has been their best selling product since it launched last year.

When tablet prices drop this low, it becomes harder for consumers to justify the price of a larger, more expensive device. Some say that the $199 price of a 10-inch tablet is “too good to be true”, but Microsoft might have made the decision to take a short term loss in hopes of growing its share of the tablet market.

The Surface Tablet comes in two models. The first Surface runs Windows RT (a version of Windows 8 for ARM-based devices) and includes NVIDIA’s Tegra 3 chip, while the second surface runs Windows 8 Pro and uses an Intel chip.

Highlights of the Surface for Windows RT include:

  • Software: Windows RT + Office Home & Student 2013 RT
  • Processor: NVIDIA Tegra-based ARM chip
  • Display: 10.6-inch ClearType HD capacitive touchpanel
  • Capacity: 32GB / 64GB
  • Weight: 676 grams
  • Thickness: 9.3 millimeters
  • Battery: 31.5Wh
  • I/O: microSD, USB 2.0, Micro HD Video, 2×2 MIMO antennae
  • Accessories: Touch Cover, Type Cover, VaporMg Case & Stand

A quick overview of the specs reveals that the Surface offers some hardware advantages over Google’s Nexus 7. The two devices share a similar quad-core processor but Surface has a larger display, more internal storage, expandable storage with microSD, and faster WiFi.

Google has announced they will support Windows 8 and a preview version of Chrome is already available. It would be great to access Google services through their Chrome browser, but unfortunately Chrome will only run on Windows 8 for x86. Microsoft is not allowing browsers other than Internet Explorer on the Windows RT platform.

I believe that most Android users, who would buy a tablet, would want it to be a companion device to their smartphone. They are already invested in the Google ecosystem and they want instant access to their content and services from any device. Android fans might still be able to access some of their Google content and services through the Internet Explorer browser, but the experience will not be as fluid as an Android tablet.

We will have to wait and see how it plays out, because no press have actually received Surface review units or spent long periods of time with the device. Microsoft could have a major hit on their hands, or they could still screw it up.

As an Android owner, would you buy a Microsoft device if the price were right?

Via: Engadget

Source: Surface

Taylor is the founder of Android and Me. He resides in Dallas and carries the Samsung Galaxy S 4 and HTC One as his daily devices. Ask him a question on Twitter or Google+ and he is likely to respond. | Ethics statement

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  • Ed

    Thats tough, still no answer whether it will be pen support on the $199 if its true…..The Galaxy Note 10.1 is the Tablet to get this year in my books, but if Microsoft can toss in the pen support with good painting applications and a good price tag….they got Samsung beat if Samsung is going to over price.

    • Taylor Wimberly

      I bet the Galaxy Note 10.1 is going to cost $499.

      • WlfHart

        If that’s the price for the version with a phone still in it I might forgive the lack of resolution.

    • Kyle

      We already know that the Surface for Windows RT does not have pen support.

      Look under “Productive.” Only the Surface for Windows 8 Pro says “Pen with Palm Block”

    • melanie87

      no i already have a superior ipad

      • anywherehome

        superior? hmmm, see
        goo [dot] gl/ZuTmL

      • paul

        Superior in what way????? an i product is just a list of apps.

  • http://Note Uncemister

    As much as I DON’T want to bother with a windows tablet, I must admit, the 199 price tag is very tempting. It’d be something good enough to bring with me to school, without actually lugging around a full blown laptop, but I have the option to use the keyboard if I need it.

    • Anthony J Allen

      Except that the idea of applications for RT is still up in the air as it’s not a real version of full Microsoft Windows.

      If all you wanted to use was IE and Office, you’d be great though.

      • Dags -

        True, but any program that is developed for the Modern UI of Windows 8 can be compiled for RT. There’s no shortage of Windows developers and they’ll all soon be able to make tablet apps with ease.

  • jian9007

    I have a 16GB Nexus 7 and I love it. However, at $199 for a 32GB Surface, I would buy it in a second even though I own the N7. I doubt that Microsoft will price it at $199 though, as it would seriously undermine the OEM’s who want to release theirs for more. That being said, if they did sell it for $199, it would become an instant competitor to the N7, Fire, and definitely the iPad as well. Many of us have Windows based latops/desktops, and the ability to seamlessly sync between those devices and have access to robust features like Office, etc., is very appealing.

    • shadhussain

      i’m not sure if the surface can be considered as a direct competitor to the nex7, fire, mini ipad (?) because i really do believe that the 7″ form factor serves a separate, more convenient and more mobile “fun” function in the tablet market.

      but for folks who haven’t used a tablet yet, the $200 tag for a “windows” device might push them to get one and expect productivity functions that may or may not be met. it’s an exciting time in the tablet space …

    • theviper21

      It would be one of the first tablets that could actually be considered for fully legitimate business use. iPads and current Android tablets can loosely support Office formats, but a tablet that can run full Office would explode in the business world.

  • JPB

    $199 for 10″ tablet with keyboard.

    Yes, absolutely.

    But I’ll be surprised if that’s the price point.

    I’m guessing more like $299.

    • epps720

      Even at $299 it could be a great deal if it comes w/the keyboard. Question is at either one of these prices is the keyboard included or sold separately like the Transformer line. My guess since they have 2 different versions of the keyboard (Touch and Type covers) it will be sold separately

      I just got a Transformer Infinity, which I love but if this thing came in at $199 w/a keyboard (not likely) I would buy it in a heartbeat. Like someone else said Microsoft couldn’t sell it at this price point and kill all their OEM’s

  • mcopeman23

    I think metro is beautiful. But is it on the surface? I notice that the ui is metro but if you need to do anything, you go to windows which I don’t like. I don’t like ie . And if it doesn’t integrate with my google life, that’s a new platform, but there is no reeason to add if it doesn’t integrate seamlessly.

    • ericl5112

      That’s not true. You can only do a very limited number of things on the Desktop of Windows RT. Nearly everything will be the environment formerly known as metro.

      • Eric Rossman

        We should just make a symbol for the new “blue UI” and call it Prince, “formerly known as metro”.

        All kidding aside; 199$ would be very tempting, being that MS would be selling at a substantial loss.

  • josh

    How many Microsoft developers does it take to change a silver lightbulb? 1 to change the lightbulb, 35 to make it not work for anyone else.

  • Nate B.

    I’m an Android kind of guy, but to be honest, Windows is the only company that has a REAL tablet. The iPad is a bigger iPhone/iPod. They may have a few apps that have different layouts but a Tablet needs to be closer to a laptop when it comes to functionality, but as slick and simple as a phone. Android tablets are also a bigger phone to me in my opinion. The closes to a true tablet function is the Note 10.1 with it’s split and double displays. The pen functionality is nice to.

    I personally would buy a Surface Tablet. If it’s really going to just be 199, then I will go for the Pro.

    • criddar

      Totally agree with everything you just said

  • rpras

    If XDA and/or CM can hack Android on it, absolutely!

    • Anthony J Allen

      Pretty sure they’ve put stops in place to prevent this sort of thing. We’ll see though.

  • Chuck Norris

    What is happening with this commercial? Am I the only one taking crazy pills?

  • skugern

    a 10″ tablet from windows would be very compelling – I’d have to wait to see how good the “hackablility” of it would be.

  • AceoStar

    The biggest advantage that Surface has over other tablets, imo. Is the large keyboard. I’ve gotten pretty quick on my Galaxy Nexus and voice chat is quick enough, but its pretty hard to match typing speed on a desktop.

  • Max.Steel

    I’m not voting on the poll because I’m not quite sure. If this price is indeed true. Then a Surface tablet is VERY, VERY attractive for me. I already have a GNex which to be honest is good enough for an Android and phone tablet for me. I would like to have a different tablet experience if I wanted to buy one.

  • KennyL

    Full size tablet, keyboard, case, kickstand, 32gb and gorgeous ui. I’d be crazy not to.

  • ericl5112

    Nexus 7 AND Surface. That said, N7 is going to be my 7″, and I’ll probably sell the Tf101 for Surface Pro. I’ve been waiting for a good Keyboad+Pen tablet.

  • Mix

    As much as I wanted (and still want) the Nexus 7 if Surface comes with all that (keyboard, 32g HDD,SD….etc) I can announce a HELL YEAH at the $199 price point.

    I don’t expect Surface to launch at that price though…we can hope though can’t we.

    For being an E-reader first tablet second, the Kindle Fire isn’t worth close to $199.

  • brian

    The problem is that this is Windows RT, which is decidedly NOT Windows.
    It’s just another tablet with a limited eco system.
    The thing that makes the Nexus 7 so good is it has all of the Googly stuff.
    Windows RT has specifically denied google chrome.

    An INTEL Surface is quite compelling. An ARM Windows RT is not.

    • clocinnorcal

      Exactly! If the x86 version were $199, then I definitely would buy one.

    • paul

      I will be getting a x86 tablet with keyboard dock to replace my laptop, but with a screen size of 13″ or higher.

      I will stick to an Android tablet for 10″, for now at least.

      Google need to make Android more PC like to stay competitive. by that I mean, multi log on (coming soon) & the ability to have resize program windows to you can have to windows open @ the same time, like twitter app on the left & Word processing document on the right.

  • nivekkev

    It does sound pretty good but will it give a Windows laptop type experience or something with much less functionality? If I were to get a Windows tablet, I would want it to be a more portable version of my home computer/laptop (which is really a desktop). Otherwise Google has everything for the portable side for me.

  • Sheila

    I have a Nexus 7 that I really love; but I will buy the Microsoft Surface RT for $199 even though I don’t like the size and there is not that many WinRT apps.

    I just had a thought as I was reading this article. Microsoft said that they will have some surprises when they release Windows 8. One of the surprises could be a 7″ – 8″ Surface RT tablet and it is that tablet that will be $199.

    No matter the size, I will buy a Surface RT tablet for $199!

  • Samar

    Oops..That hurts Kindle Fire..

    • theviper21

      Unless Amazon really ups the specs on the Kindle Fire 2 and updates their Android version, they are definitely going to be in trouble; especially with how well the N7 has done.

  • wild

    1) Many people(if not most) using windows only because of software/games and windows RT doesn’t have x86 software, it only has few programms ported(office e t.c.), at least on the start of win8, it will be pretty useless for people who need more then browsing and making docs. Main problem that people don’t understand that Windows Rt is more like rebranded Windows CE with unified interface, it’s not fully working Win8 and Microsoft doing all they can to trick people so they would thing it’s just Win8 in thin case.

    2)Interface, Microsoft made awfull choice with unifying interface. Most people blaming metro style on desktop and all this “big touch optimized buttons”. The funny thing ,that while it’s awfull on desktop it’s awfull on tablets too! You can like or don’t like metro, but when you need to make some tasks, like drag file from one place two other, you’re saying “hello old windows interface” and it’s so “comfortable” to use it on a tablet. Stylus be with you.

    3) The price. First I don’t think Microsoft will make a 10″ tablet for 199$. It’s damn hard to build t3 powered device with 10″ screen for this price point . The screen is most pricey part in the tablet so if they will make it for 199$ it will defenetly be not good quality screen( if they will make it ) like in nexus. For example you can check prices for chinese tablets, ~110-140$ for dual core 7″ tablet and 200$+ for 10″ dual core tablets

    4) Perfomance. It’s good old Windowds that eats all resources on breakfast , t3 is less powerfull then an old amd x86 dual core processor, don’t think it will run smooth on this hardware .

    5) IE. Are you kidding? There will be no other browser, at least on start, how to live with IE? It’s one of the worst browsers ever created :)

    6)Locked bootloader. it just like to put label: “We are afraid that people will install android instead of our crap”

    7) Let’s fantasize a bit. Microsoft released a 10″ Win RT device for 199$, it’s popular, people buying it , e t.c. , companies can’t complete with Microsoft at this price point, because a) they are paying fee for using windows, b)they are not receiving money from a microsoft store, so they can’t sell it without receiving profit from sales (while MS can), so it will be just another 1 tablet OS on the market like ipad

    My prediction: It will be same fail like with WP7

    • domi1k

      3) Price -> you are so wrong here.. look what they did with XBOX, they sold them with loss for years just to take market share.

      • wild

        Different story.
        1) On xbox they are making huge ammount of money on games, devs paying absolute crazy fees to MS + avg game price is 50$, while avg app price is few bucks. Crazy MS fees for xbox will not work on mobile segment
        40k $ for one patch …

        2) You can’t install android or anything else on xbox and if you’re hacking it, you will be banned from online play. In mobile segment, bootloader will not help, and if we will fantasize again that MS is releasing good 10″ device with huge loss, then people just will install android on it. It will be like with touchpad, I(and lot’s of other people) have bought it only as cheap hardware on which you can install android.

    • Raptor

      Agree with most points besides one: i am sure $199 price for RT is right. Frys Electronics is full of cheapy Android tablet crap for $69. Means it costs $40 to produce 7″ tablet. And probably $60 10″.

      Even highest quality retina screen of iPad3 costs….guess how much?

      • wild

        Kindle fire 140$
        Nexus 7 8GB 159$
        ipad 2 16GB 245$
        ipad 3 16GB 316$$157-BOM-Teardown-Reveals.aspx

        All this chinese crap for 69$ has bad quality, weak processor, not much Ram/Rom,no gps,nfc, 0.3mp cams (if they have any) e t.c.
        Normal chinese 10″ tablets are 200$+ and they aren’t using quad core processor

        Stil think MS can make normal(!) 10″ win rt tablet for 199$?)

        • Raptor

          You can safely divide iSupply crappy estimations by factor 1.5-2. They never had any sense because they do not include huge volume discounts. Let they show their BoM math is right assessing those cheapy Frys tablets because we know their price is a total bottom + around 20-40% profit for Frys. MS also takes into account falling prices for the components over 1 year span while the price for tablet will be most probably stable.

          But even taking iSuppli figures the difference between “good” and “bad” quality in price of components is
          - Processor – $5-10
          - Screen – $10-20
          - Flash $0.5/GB
          - RAM $5/1GB
          - Camera – $3-7

          Total difference is $50 for the model without retina display like all MS tablets will be. Total BoM will be $100-110 maximum. Samsung as a component producer will probably fit into $50 budget

          • wild

            Amazon selling theire readers/tablets for lowest price they can, they don’t need profits from devices sales(at least atm) they need to gain as much people as possible to theire ecosystem.
            Do you really think that isuppli is stupid and you’re smart?
            You’re prices for components is taken from air or maybe you’re owner of Chinese factory and know better?)

        • Raptor

          If iSuppli would be right Apple should be renamed to AppleSung because from every $500 iPad3 they pay almost $300 to Samsung

          ROTFL LOLOL

  • aantoine87

    as far as pen support its a captive touch screen doesn’t that mean that a stylus/pen will work no matter what? and as for it being windows i love android i defend android but my laptop and pc are windows, however when i think of it if both tablets are running on the same processor then i guess its not that much better than the nexus as far as raw speed

  • shadhussain

    i’d get a surface, mainly because all our windows based laptops in the house have died and $200 wouldn’t be a bad price for a replacement. in the end i don’t quite expect a 10″ surface to act like a productive windows netbook. i find 10″ too limiting for any serious work. and a solid keyboard is also important. too early to make any conclusive statements now anyway.

    • paul

      Be careful the RT version is no the same as x86 windows 8 so to replace all your home laptops with just RT, then I guess a lot of your programs you have bought will not work on RT version, where as they are more likely to work on a x86 version, but this will be alot more expensive.

  • Jody

    I would consider getting a Surface to just see the technology if they didn’t have the browser lock on IE. They try too hard to force you into their inferior products.

  • herbivore83

    I would definitely consider it. I mean, you would be insane not to. But considering it =/= buying it. Everyone has pretty much covered the real issue here: Windows RT is way too stripped down for this to be a regular-use device. Especially considering the amount of Google-centric computing most of us do.

    Great device for students assuming it comes with MS Office; but other than that, I can’t see many people here springing for this device.

  • Ardrid

    I certainly give a Windows RT Surface tablet a look for $200, especially since Surface is at the top of my list for tablets due to the inherent interoperability with other Windows devices. That said, of the choices in the poll, I had to go with the Nexus 7 based on the information available, though I will say I’m extremely interested to see what Amazon comes up with for the next iteration of the Kindle Fire.

  • amgala

    I would consider getting the Surface as a work tablet. The ability to run actual MS Office on my tablet and the low price tag would be to hard to resist.

  • sunrise

    $199 sounds great but this is an ARM based device, which I believe means that most software we use on current Windows x86 machines won’t run on it. At the same time Windows doesn’t have many ARM apps. So it becomes somewhat useless if you have to wait for your favorite apps to come to Windows ARM Surface.

  • jamal adam

    I love my N7 but this would be the biggest steal of the year. Though I would prefer it to be android there is no way I would not buy it. Looks like it’s either go big or go home for Microsoft and at $199 the Surface is a impossible to ignore and not buy.

  • Alex Belko

    for now this price tag looks unbelievable for a 10i tablet with 32gb, surely temptig, but like everything about nexus, and nothing from microsoft except the price tag

  • tottyrice

    i would consider it have to test drive it first before buying… I love the keyboard/cover idea!!!

  • paul

    I will be getting a Windows 8 x86 intel tablet with screen size 13mm or greater with keyboard dock to replace my laptop, but for a smaller tablet I will stick with Android.

    I dont want a 7″ tablet its just to small for me.

    • javier

      Yow want the 14 inch Asus Transformer Book

  • Vyrlokar

    WinRT will have the issues already stated above, mainly that many people will buy it believing that they get to use legacy apps and classic desktop on it.

    For $199 it’s a crazy deal, and it is inevitable that someone will manage to run Android/Linux on it eventually. Key word here is eventually. Secure Boot is a tough nut to crack, but we all know how “secure” and “bug-free” Microsoft products are.

    Personally, if Microsoft releases this for $199, it will sell like hotcackes, and then will come the issues with people expecting it to do things it won’t do. The fallout will be huge, but media manipulation will prevent it from starting a nuclear winter for Microsoft. WART (Windows on Arm RT) won’t have a rich ecosystem from the get go, unlike Android and iOS who could at least run phone apps. Win8 seems to be a fiasco that will dwarf Vista, and I must say that while I’m a Linux guy, the supposed improvements (separate OS kernel from desktop manage, untangle the unholy mess of spaghetti code that was Windows, etc) are long overdue to Windows.

  • Lee Kelly

    I wouldn’t consider it if it was free unless I could install a better operating system and could easily remove any Microsoft branding on it.

    • Bob

      I see MS are trying to promote it through social media, good luck to them.

      There is even a competition for writing apps with a massive 5000$ prize. Good luck to them.

      BTW the first prize includes a free Surface tablet while second prize gets 2 surface tablets!! lol :)

      If all else fails, you can always set a nice wood grain background on it then you can use it as a chopping board in the kitchen. Of course you would have to “fork” out for the special MS knife which will cost an extra $200.

  • Raptor

    Surprisingly but Microsoft is the only company which can not be called copycat in tablets. So i wish it success in grounding the shitwave of knockoff makers.

  • Himmat

    I think $199 is game over. Like seriously. That’s an epic price. But I think MSFT have to do this even if they’re losing money because they just can’t afford to be a dud at launch.

    In the short term they will make losses, but if you look beyond that, truckloads of cash awaits them!

  • Louis A

    Even though I will not buy none of the above tablet, I like idea of the 10.1″ tablet for $199 because it will cause all these manufactures to rethink their prices for some of these over priced tablets.

  • OnIn2

    I’ll buy i as soon as the XDA guys port Android to it. Metro is the suck. I don’t like it

  • Lara Wolf

    Im waiting for the new ipad mini

  • tagstar

    If the Surface supports Verizon, I’ll get one. If not I’ll be forced to get the next LTE Samsung tablet.

  • alexanderharri3

    IF they do indeed manage to get this thing out at $199 (I’d be VERY surprised), I pity the software developers and users trying to get a Windows experience out of a device with all bells and whistles and better performance cut out of it. $199 is above the hardware cost – and M$ is looking to make a profit from the software side too (Google does not for Android). There is also no ecosystem to go along with Windows (windows app store coming soon?)

    IF they somehow manage to do it….I’ll eat these words – but i highly doubt a Metro….oh wait it’s not Metro anymore…..2DSquareRainbows Windows RT tablet will hit $199.

  • Jobless Steve

    Brilliant if they do. Maybe they will just be selling out of their initial run of hardware in order to get customers to adopt their ecosystem. Once in Microsoft’s world, their partners can take over the Hardware side and license the OS from MS. Genius strategy.

  • John Patrick

    For me it wouldn’t make sense to get a Surface. I have 2 windows laptops running 7 and 7 Pro. If I’m going to haul something big enough that it requires bag or a case somewhere, I’ll bring a laptop. That’s a no-brainer. If I’m traveling light I’ll bring my Galaxy Nexus and a Nexus tablet(that is really a screen extention of my phone’s OS) that I can side into a cargo pants pocket or lightweight folio. The Surface is too close in size and form factor (with the keyboard cover) to a small laptop to bother with. Besides that, this is beginning look like a re-hashed Pocket – PC turned tablet. ARM chips, a subset of Widows functions, stripped down version of Office… been there, done that, no thanks.

  • aranea

    Hmm I had my eye on the pro version but for $200 and full office availability this seems great. If the pro is not that much more expensive I’d probably go for it though.

  • Chopper Joe

    I didn’t answer the poll because I own a Nexus 7 and would buy a Surface at that price.

    Like many here, I’m skeptical about this rumor and it is almost certainly too good to be true. However, I’d pay double if it could perform as a laptop substitute (at least for travel).

    Some concerns:

    1.Lack of Google integration is one thing (and stupid of MSFT) but I can’t imagine MSFT keeping Chrome etc from being added (MSFT has already played in that ballpark. If it’s too difficult to work with Android, I wouldn’t have much use for it.

    2.Can I tether it as I do my laptop?

    I confess some Schadenfreude at the pressure on Apple’s very high profit margins from the N7 and (in some form) Surface.

    • aranea

      That’s why my eyes are on the pro version. I imagine if this is $200 the other will not be more than $400.

  • Dave

    Heck yeah. Windows to me is really improving in the mobile world. If it didn’t take T-Mobile so long to get a high end Windows 7 phone, I would’ve had that instead of a Android right now. The only thing I would’ve missed from Android is the massive android apps & certain apps that are only now exclusive to Android & iOS like Instagram. I was wondering how much this thing would cost. & all my stuff is already running on my windows laptop. This would be a dream to me. Plus, I have a Zune MP3 player (well had, it’s dead now). If it wasn’t for my Nexus 7 I just bought & I could’ve had the will to wait longer, I would be right in line for this, or online. lol

    $199 for 32GB of Any well performing tablet, you can instantly take my debit card, & swipe!

  • sdude

    Got a nexus 7 but definitely getting surface pro as long as it doesn’t cost $1000 but the rt for only $199 is so good…

  • Leo Young

    No. Microsoft never fails to disappoint.

  • MoSDeeb

    For $200 yes I would. But it would depend on the user experience the device offers.

  • otoha

    Had an ipad for a while but didn’t like it (just felt like a useless toy since my laptop could do every the ipad could do but better), I considered getting a Nexus 7 but the lack of USB and microSD scared me away, surface didn’t impress me at all but if they can make it more of a laptop than the ipad and bring the price to $200 (Seems an impossible task to me) then I think any sane person would snap it up in a second, but there’s no way since MS needs to turn a profit (unlike google who sells ads) and it seems more high end like the ipad compared to the nexus. Perhaps they could break even on the device and profit from selling Office, but there is no guarantee users would pay up…

  • oliver

    I’ll be getting one of each- the RT will be used around the house as a web device. And to function as a sort of super sized ZuneHD with,finally, speakers and built in video output. When the Pro model is released it will replace.or supplement an aging laptop. I’m glad I waited and didn’t become one of those smug fools with an iPad.

  • Nick

    Hell yes, for $199 I would buy a Service and then install Android or linux on it.