Microsoft promised a Surface Pro LTE launch last year and it delivered, but only for business customers. Thankfully, the company is now opening it to all for $150 extra.
The release will be essential for customers who travel, work on the go, or just don’t want to be tethered to WiFi. Though many can tether to a cellular hotspot from their phone, it doesn’t offer the same degree of speed and control as built-in LTE.
In fact, the functionality could very well pay for itself. The ability to finely manage your data use can stop you exceeding your cap. Usually, that comes at the price of battery, but Microsoft promises the device will support 12.5 hours of continuous video playback.
That’s very similar to regular Surface Pro, thanks to intelligent power management, standby, and sleep modes. In real workloads, ZDNet’s Ed Bott says customers can expect between 6.5 and 7.5 hours. It’s a lot less than the 13.5-hour benchmark, but it does line up with its non-LTE alternative.
Value and Alternatives
The result is an impressive device that users can work on all day with no penalty. The device has a tiny expansion slot behind the kickstand for a nano-SIM, with a Cat 9 modem, embedded SIM, and GPS inside.
Other than that, the device is the same. Its price depends on which model you choose, with anything from an i5 with 8GB RAM to an i7 with 16GB and a 1TB SSD. Unfortunately, Microsoft is cutting out its lower spec models, so you’ll have to pay at least $1450.
That makes the Surface Pro LTE only a no-brainer if you’re planning to get a higher spec model anyway. In truth, 4GB of RAM doesn’t cut it these days, and Eve V LTE is supposed to be launching at some point. Its Core m3 8GB model costs just $960.
Of course, there are also Always Connected devices, which offer 18-hour battery and LTE with the functionality of regular PCs. However, they do come with caveats, such as 64-bit only drivers, no Hyper V support, and no apps that use later OpenGL versions.
As a result, the Surface Pro LTE could be a good purchase for those who don’t want to compromise on productivity. Importantly, you can also grab it today, from the Microsoft Store.