Microsoft Set to Launch AT&T Surface 2 LTE Model on Tuesday
Microsoft’s Windows 8 platform is certainly controversial, but for those who like it, the Surface tablet family is arguably the best way to experience Windows 8 on the go. But the Surface line has always had one glaring flaw: a lack of integrated mobile data support. Although rumors pointed to an updated model with LTE support for months, the option has thus far eluded the marketplace. That ended Monday when Microsoft announced the impending launch of a Surface 2 model with integrated LTE, although there are several caveats that interested buyers will need to consider.
Available online and in stores on Tuesday, the LTE surface will be limited to AT&T at first, and costs $130 more than a corresponding non-LTE model, the same price premium for mobile data support that Apple charges on its iPad line. Another factor to consider is that the Surface 2 with LTE is currently limited to a single 64GB model for $679, meaning that those looking for a cheaper 32GB option will be out of luck.
Of course, the most glaring omission is a lack of support for the Surface Pro 2. While all Surface models are compatible with personal mobile Wi-Fi hotspots, the higher end users of the Surface Pro 2 would surely appreciate the clean integration of LTE support without the need for extra dongles or devices.
But for those who find the 64GB option acceptable, users will fortunately be free from any mobile contracts and will be able to access AT&T’s data network via supported micro-SIMs. The Surface 2 LTE supports LTE bands 4, 7, and 17, 3G UTMS bands 1, 2, and 5, and GSM at 800, 900, 1800, and 1900MHz. Due to the crossover in band support, Engadget speculates that unofficial T-Mobile support may also be possible.
The Surface 2 LTE will be available tomorrow at Microsoft retail and online stores and Best Buy retail and mobile locations. Interestingly, shoppers won’t be able to find the device at AT&T stores. Also of note, new buyers will still receive the same extras that Microsoft has been touting since the original Surface 2 launch last year, including a free pre-installed copy of Office 2013, 200GB of OneDrive storage for two years, and one year of Skype Wi-Fi and landline calls.