Microsoft started taking pre-orders for the Surface RT tablet yesterday for $499 and up. Some folks complained that the price was too high. Other folks didn’t… because apparently they were too busy clicking the pre-order button.

While the $599 and $699 models still show delivery dates of October 26th, the Microsoft Store now says if you order a 32GB Surface RT tablet for $499, it will ship “within 3 weeks.”

Microsoft Surface RT

That doesn’t really tell us all that much. We have no idea how many tablets Microsoft has, although the Wall Street Journal reported this week that Microsoft plans to ship up to 5 million units this fall.

My guess is that at least a few people were happy enough with the $499 starting price to pull the trigger.

Interestingly, that’s the price for a tablet without one of its key features: the optional cover with a built-in keyboard. The $599 model comes with one of those covers, or you can buy one yourself for $120 and up.

At $499, the Surface RT tablet has the same starting price as the latest Apple iPad. The iPad has a higher resolution 9.7 inch, 2048 x 1536 pixel display, while the Surface RT has a 10.6 inch, 1366 x 768 pixel screen.

But the Surface tablet has a lot of features the iPad lacks, including USB and HDMI ports, an SD card slot, Microsoft Office RT software, and a kickstand on the back. It should also work with a wide range of peripherals including USB keyboards, mice, cameras, and printers.

Comparing the devices is a bit tricky though, since there are hundreds of thousands of iOS apps for the iPad, while the Surface RT runs Windows RT. On the one hand, that’s a new version of Microsoft’s powerful desktop operating system, designed to run on devices with low power ARM-based processors. On the other hand, while you can technically run “Windows” apps on a Windows RT tablet, that doesn’t include older apps designed for computers with x86 processors.

In other words, you’ll be able to do a lot with a Surface RT tablet out of the box. You can surf the web, watch Netflix, edit documents, listen to music, and do much more. But for now, it’s not clear whether you’ll be able to do any of those things better on a Surface tablet than an iPad.

But at least a few people seem to be willing to spend $499 to find out.

via Neowin

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23 replies on “$499 Microsoft Surface RT pre-orders sold out? Ship date pushed back to 3 weeks”

  1. >Sorry but that’s wrong, the RT tablet specifically comes with a mini HDMI and that’s not proprietary!

    Please refer to Microsoft’s official Surface RT page.

    (Edit: My reply isn’t showing up for some reason, probably because of the link to MS Store. Please use Google.)

    Go to Microsoft Store. Select Surface RT, click on “Help Me Choose” tab.

    “HD Video Out also requires the HD Digital AV Adapter or VGA Adapter (each sold separately)”

    Go to Accessories page, select “Surface HD Digital AV Adapter” ($39.99)

    “Designed for Surface with Windows RT, this proprietary HD Digital AV Adapter lets you connect your device to any HDMI-compatible display (HDTV, monitor, or projector)”

    >That’s your opinion

    It’s not about my opinion or yours that matters, but how many of each. Talk is cheap, and we’ll find out how many MS boosters will put their money where their mouths are come Oct 26.

    Perhaps you get yours free, courtesy of the freebies MS employees get. Then please regale us with your insights at that time–hopefully with more accurate info than you’ve provided to date.

    >We’ll have to wait for some official sales figures

    Oh, I don’t think we’ll have to wait that long to pass a verdict on MS’ latest debacle. Internet speed moves a bit quicker nowaday.

    1. Again, I’ve clearly covered this! The port is not proprietary and the site isn’t bothering to properly describe the port. Probably because they’ll cut and paste most of it for the Pro model, which I already pointed out will be the one with “display port”!!!

      At best it could be they want you to buy an overpriced adapter or are trying to hide that you’ll need a pricier adapter for the Pro model.

      So again, the Surface coming out now is using micro HDMI and you shouldn’t have to get the expensive version of the port adapter or cable.

      Really, the first Surface will be based on Nvidia Tegra 3. It doesn’t really support any proprietary port types!

    2. Btw…

      “Perhaps you get yours free, courtesy of the freebies MS employees get. Then please regale us with your insights at that time–hopefully with more accurate info than you’ve provided to date.”

      This is why you’re the fanatic, if I was working for MS I wouldn’t be telling you that you could just get a cheaper adapter and trying to point out the video out is nothing special. I’d be doing the opposite and trying to convince you to spend the $40 instead if I worked for them, but that isn’t what I did!

      Heck, if anything MS may only be calling it proprietary to help avoid paying licensing fees associated with using HDMI standards.

      Only the VGA adapter would make sense for that price as it would need to convert the output to that format and the image of the cable clearly shows it to be much larger and not just a cable with two different connector types like the other cable.

      Samsung’s AA-AH1NAMB/US Micro HDMI To VGA Adapter goes for about $40 too for example.

      Really, you’re the one blindly believing what you read on the MS order site, not me!

  2. Seems that MS marketing is copying the Apple ploy of “selling out” the first batch. Sadly, it’s also copying the Apple tactic of making proprietary ports. Video out to HDMI requires a $40 adapter, and VGA-out requires a separate $40 adapter. Let’s hope the early adopters are content with another iPad-wannabe with an old CPU and no software.

    1. Mini HDMI isn’t proprietary, it’s pretty standard (lots of tablets and Ultrabooks use it) and you can get the port adapter for a lot cheaper than $40, like a few bucks ($2.59 to $10.99 in most places), or just get a mini HDMI to HDMI cable for a direct connect (Amazon has a Tripp Lite 6′ HDMI to mini HDMI cable for just $2.82).

      While there are already over 4000 apps and a lot more will become available after launch and even RT offers more than either Android or iOS for functionality and potential.

      So I think early adopters aren’t going to have it so bad…

      1. >Mini HDMI isn’t proprietary

        As explicitly stated on the Surface RT page, it is a proprietary port that requires a $40 cable to HDMI; nowhere is a mini-HDMI port mentioned.

        >While there are already over 4000 apps

        I wouldn’t play the numbers game were I you. It’s not a strong hand.

        >So I think early adopters aren’t going to have it so bad…

        We’ll see how many people actually pre-ordered the RT come Oct 26, as many of those will hit the blogosphere circuit, along with the blog reviews.

        1. Sorry but that’s wrong, the RT tablet specifically comes with a micro HDMI and that’s not proprietary!

          You’re either ignoring that the specs for the Surface was already long ago released or probably confusing information for the Surface Pro, which comes with a display port instead of HDMI and thus requires more specialized adapters.

          Also, “HD video out port” is just stating the video quality output, not what type of connector it’s using!

          “I wouldn’t play the numbers game were I you. It’s not a strong hand.”

          That’s your opinion, the number of apps is before the product has even launched and most developers have yet to get a RT unit to develop their apps with!

          Things to remember is the lowest common denominator for both Android and iOS is phone apps. For RT it is the lowest common denominator and it goes up to apps made for the full Windows 8. So you’ll see apps actually intended for tablet usage instead of phone apps scaled up.

          “We’ll see how many people actually pre-ordered the RT come Oct 26, as many of those will hit the blogosphere circuit, along with the blog reviews.”

          Maybe, many of those can still be just rumors. We’ll have to wait for some official sales figures or at least shipment estimates before we get a real idea.

  3. Good thing I ordered the $599 one. I’m going to give the touch keyboard a whirl. I’m curious to how well it works. I have not prob with the OS itself since I’ve been loving the Windows 8 RP on my three screen desktop.

  4. Maybe they give preference to the $599 version as opposed to a first come first servce system? If they did that it wouldn’t be hard to imagine the $499 running out of units.

  5. The article is misleading. The 499$ surface comes with 32GB storage, while the 499$ ipad comes with 16GB storage.

    1. Well that falls under overall comparison to counter whatever edge the iPad has at the same pricing. Most people generally start their consideration with the price and then work from there.

      Though MS has stated that they did what they could to optimize the screen and leverage other screen characteristics like contrast ratio, etc. So to the human eye it should look just as good as the Apple retina display despite the PPI difference.

      We have to wait for hands on comparisons but it is true that PPI isn’t the only determining factor for screen quality but people generally don’t understand that there are other factors involved when considering screen quality.

      1. The iPad’s screen is a really nice screen so I’m interested in seeing how the Surface screen holds up.

      1. RT seems to be taking up less than 16GB, mind that includes the space used by the MS Office Home and Student 2013 RT that comes pre-installed.

        MS is requiring a minimum amount of free space. So the 32GB are the smallest capacity you’ll see offered to provide about 20GB of free space.

        While iOS is a mobile OS and thus takes up a much smaller amount of drive space. You’ll typically have about 13.5GB free space with a 16GB iPad. So the 32GB version would provide more free space but the 32GB version also costs $599.

        Also, mind that the Surface and other Windows tablets will come with both USB and microSD card options to expand storage, but you’ll only have internal storage capacity the iPad comes with, at least without having to get some external peripheral with port adapter.

        1. Thanks. That means the $499 Surface has 20 GB of user space while the $499 iPad has 13.5 GB. I was asking since GG was directly comparing drive size between the Surface and iPad which is misleading too.

          I wonder how the same (as similar it can be) app differs in size between the OS’s.

          1. The Modern UI apps are much like mobile apps, optimized for mobile usage and low on system requirements.

            So the lack of legacy support actually helps with the drive capacity as this won’t be running really large apps like you’d find for traditional Windows.

            The included MS Office will probably be the largest installed app.

            However, it also depends on your media collection size… but you also have the expandable storage option and MS online storage, like with Skydrive.

          2. I’m hoping that the “Modern UI apps are much like mobile apps, optimized for mobile usage and low on system requirements” doesn’t mean dumbed down software like with the rest of the mobile OSes.

            That may mean if I have a Windows 8 device, I’ll be spending more time in desktop mode. I would be better off just staying with Windows 7 for the time being especially since the whole legacy software compatibility thing is a hit or miss in actual practice. At least in my experience going from Windows 95 to Windows 98 to Windows XP to Windows 7.

          3. Yes, quality of apps are a question but developers would be primarily interested in appeasing both mobile and desktop users. So we’ll see how well that goes, but developers won’t be as hampered as they would be with traditional mobile devices.

            Since they don’t need to really optimize for specific hardware, ARM devices can be pretty fragmented but MS is imposing minimum specs that should keep that to a minimum, and Windows driver support tends to be good for peripherals, etc.

            So no need for special apps just to use a Printer or similar.

            While MS also put in things like “contracts” which can let apps work together despite the sand boxing. So has a bit of a leg up over iOS that makes it much harder for apps to work together, but again will depend on how well developers take advantage of it.

            The full Windows 8 does offer other things though that advance it over Windows 7. So even if you want to avoid the Modern UI, there are other things to consider before deciding to stick to Windows 7.

            Mind also, you’d also have to avoid any type of tablet as the reasons why Windows never really took off on tablets still applies to Windows 7.

            Though Windows 7 should still have full support till 2015, Dell for example will continue to offer it. It’s just after 2015 that you may have to decide as then Windows 7 enters extended support and that’ll end by 2020.

    2. It also comes with Office 2013 – word, excel, power point etc!
      Awesome product. I bought one!

  6. I wouldn’t be surprised if Microsoft limited the original batch for the $499 machine in order to create some hype.

    1. This is always a suggested assumption when this happens for any product but we can never know for sure until and if the final sales figures are released.

    2. Yet why would they risk turning away customers put off by the wait? In less than 2 weeks the market will be flooded with win 8 tablets and will be reviewed by everyone. It would make more sense for microsoft to have as many available and pre-ordered as possible.

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