Windows 8 Tablet pricing becomes clearer

Martin Brinkmann
Sep 18, 2012
Hardware, Windows 8

I find it interesting that news about mobile devices running Windows 8 seem to concentrate almost exclusively on tablet PCs. Is that because the majority of mobile devices will be touch-based tablets? Or are developers holding back on laptops to highlight products that the Windows 8 operating system has made possible in the Windows ecosystem?

Microsoft CEO Steve Ballmer recently mentioned that Microsoft Surface tablets would fall in the $300 to $800 price range. I expect Surface RT devices, that is devices running a version of Windows RT, to be considerably cheaper than Surface Pro devices, which run a full version of the Windows operating system. The main difference between the two? Windows Pro allows the installation and execution of traditional desktop applications, while Windows RT only that of apps made available in the Windows Store.

The price range makes it likely that the Surface RT with 32 Gigabyte of storage will retail for $300 to $400, the 64 Gigabyte version for about $400-500, the Surface Pro 64 Gigabyte version for about $550 to $650, and the Surface Pro with 128 Gigabyte storage for $700 to $799.

Asus' holiday roadmap leaked yesterday to the Internet, and it is interesting to see how the company is pricing its three devices that are powered by Windows 8:

  • Asus Vivo Tab RT (TF600T) is offered at a starting price of $599. It is a 10.1" device powered by a Nvidia Tegra 3 quad-core cpu.
  • Asus Vivo Tab (TF810C) is offered at a starting price of $799. The 11.6" device is powered by an Intel Atom Z2760 processor.
  • Asus Taichi starts at $1299. It features a 11.6 dual Full HD 1920x1080 display that makes notebook and tablet functionality available.

The Vivo devices come without keyboard dock which is separately available for $199. The dock not only adds a physical keyboard to the device but also extra battery power.

Samsung too is preparing devices that it wants to launch on October 26, the day the Windows 8 operating system is officially launching. Two devices have been announced so far.

  • Samsung Series 5 is powered by an Atom-based Clover Trail processor and a screen supporting a resolution of 1366x768 and Windows 8 Pro. It will be available starting $649 with 2 Gigabyte of Ram and a 64 Gigabyte solid state drive.
  • Samsung Series 7 Slate or Ativ tabs is powered by an Core i5 processor, features a screen supporting 1080p and ships with 4 Gigabyte of memory and a 128 Gigabyte solid state drive. It will be available for $1119.

While it is too early to judge from the numbers provided, it seems likely that most manufacturers will price their RT tablets at around $500 to $700 with the possibility that some undercut that price. Windows 8 Pro tablets on the other hand are offered at a greater price diversity, with low end tablets starting at about $650 and high end tablets at about $1100. That's quite expensive for a tablet if you compare it to comparable tablets powered by iOS or Android.

How much would you pay for a Windows RT or Windows 8 Pro tablet, and what features and specs would you expect from it?


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  1. Sam Wronski said on October 1, 2012 at 10:29 pm

    The problem with calling a Windows 8 Pro a Tablet is that it isn’t. Effectively it’s a Touch Laptop. Which is different. It’s something worth keeping in mind.

    When comparing Windows 8 Tablets to others you need to use the RT prices. Which, as this article points out, are comparable

    Hoping these numbers are correct, I would love a Windows 8 Tablet.

  2. Joe said on September 21, 2012 at 4:27 am

    I’d pay up to $750 for a pro tablet. Samsung series 5 probly. wait to see other companies pricing.

  3. hke said on September 19, 2012 at 4:27 pm

    Thank you for the quick response! The tablet space is becoming complicated very quickly..catching up to the cell phone space :))

    Thank you again.

  4. hke said on September 19, 2012 at 4:08 pm

    So it seems that if I need to use enterprise-wide apps (on the go) that function best on Firefox, I will need to wait for the Surface Pro so that I can download (Firefox) from the Web?

    Thank you!

    1. Martin Brinkmann said on September 19, 2012 at 4:16 pm

      Yes that is right, unless Mozilla somehow manages to produce a Windows Store apps only version of the browser. Not sure if Mozilla thinks about that.

  5. ilev said on September 19, 2012 at 8:46 am

    These are no more than netbooks with touch screens. The netbooks failed with Windows 7
    Starter (= Windows 8 RT) and failed with Windows 7 . These will fail as well.

  6. CY said on September 19, 2012 at 5:51 am

    Now all should know why MS has to build the tablet themselves. Win8 will sure fail if MS let others to market tablets.

  7. Karl Gephart said on September 19, 2012 at 2:07 am

    Martin, please let us know if you get wind of Dell tablets. :)

    1. S. Kyle Davis said on September 19, 2012 at 2:11 am

      Tablets or their pricing? Tablet info here:

  8. S. Kyle Davis said on September 18, 2012 at 10:05 pm

    It’s nice to at least have an article remember the Samsung pricing. I’ve been ranting about this all day (though, I would take Samsung’s pricing as a measure for the ASUS pricing’s validity. I doubt someone would pay $50 less than a full Windows 8 tablet for the RT tablet.

    You might want to add in the Lenovo pricing, though:

    They said that their Windows 8 tablets would be $600-$700, with the RT version being $200-$300 less than that. To me, that hints at a $400 RT price with the Pro being $600-$700.

    1. Martin Brinkmann said on September 18, 2012 at 10:40 pm

      Interesting, so Lenovo is using the same price range that Microsoft used for its Surface line (Ballmer said $700-$800 IIRC). I’d really like to know specs for a $300 Windows RT tablet, especially if those tablets come with 16 or 32 Gigabyte of storage. I can’t really believe that they will only have 16 GB considering that the OS should use a big part of that already if the desktop version of Windows 8 is anything to go by.

      I’m not really considering buying an RT tablet for myself as I think it is too limited apps-wise.

  9. Jim said on September 18, 2012 at 9:46 pm

    Those prices aren’t going to shake things up. I think I’ll go with an ultrabook instead.

  10. Joe Danger said on September 18, 2012 at 7:11 pm

    Depends on how good the hardware is going to be. Win8 RT pretty much is the same oversized MP3 player like all the iPads and friends are, and I don’t really see a point in paying more than $250 for stuff like that… Win8 PRO is a real computer tablet, a bit different than normal tablets like the x220t and might be worth a try. Depending on the functionality of the keyboard a price equivalent to ultrabooks of similar size should be acceptable.

  11. DanTe said on September 18, 2012 at 5:32 pm

    I’m definitely picking up the Asus Taichi 13 incher when it comes out. It’s i7 and does what I want with no weight. Especially since it has two touch screens. One where it’s normally at and the other on the back of the normal LCD.

    1. Martin Brinkmann said on September 18, 2012 at 6:14 pm

      I’m looking forward to the Surface Pro, but need to test it before I make a decision.

  12. anony said on September 18, 2012 at 3:26 pm

    $800 for an Atom netbook. Wow, talk about ripoff.

  13. Roman ShaRP said on September 18, 2012 at 3:13 pm

    $50 for Win 8 RT — it is rather useless toy (non-RT apps don’t work)
    $350 for Win 8 Pro — as much as I paid for my Asus EEE 1015 PED with Win 7 onboard

    As I don’t need any of Win 8 special features (like Modern UI or Store) at all, I expect what I wantув from EEE 1015 and Win 7: all my old apps to work, long work on battery.

    If Asus can provide longer work on battery, working Win 7 and by lower price — why I need to pay more for Win 8 Modern Crap?

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