Surface Pro with LTE Advanced now available to all

Microsoft's Surface Pro with built-in LTE is now available online, one of a rare breed of Windows portables with integrated WWAN connectivity. The Surface Pro with LTE Advanced was confirmed as in the pipeline back in September, a welcome return after Microsoft's last cellularly-equipped Surface was discontinued several years ago.

Sales of the Surface Pro with LTE Advanced began for commercial customers in December of this year, though individual buyers were still out of luck. That changes today, with a listing for the tablet appearing on Microsoft's online store.

For $1,449 you get a Core i5 based Surface Pro, with 8 GB of RAM and 256 GB of solid-state storage. It uses Qualcomm's Snapdragon X16 LTE modem, though there's a little disappointment there. Though the modem is theoretically capable of gigabit LTE speeds Microsoft has, according to Neowin, capped download rates at 450 Mbps.

If you're willing to compromise on storage and RAM, meanwhile, there'll eventually be a second configuration with LTE Advanced. Priced at $1,149, it has a Core i5 processor but pairs it with 4 GB of RAM and 128 GB of storage. However, it's currently out of stock, with no indication from Microsoft as to when that might change.

What there doesn't appear to be is any sort of partner deal with a carrier. The LTE Advanced modem is presumably unlocked in that case, ready for you to drop in your SIM card of choice. That makes for maximum flexibility, particularly when traveling – being able to use a local SIM rather than pay expensive data roaming rates is always preferable – though it's arguably less convenient than, say, Apple's system with the iPad Pro, where you can choose carriers through the tablet's settings.

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That could well change in time. Though the Surface Pro with LTE Advanced is indeed now available for anybody to buy, it's still listed as the commercial model. Should Microsoft decide to push the consumer side, it could cut a deal with a carrier and make connectivity a little more straightforward in the process.