Dell announced on Tuesday its own tablet running Microsoft Windows RT, much like Microsoft’s Surface with Windows RT introduced last week. In addition to the same operating system and similar device size, the Dell XPS 10 starts at the same price as the Surface: $499. But if you want a keyboard, you’ll be spending quite a bit more: $679 for the tablet and dock that adds a full keyboard as well as a second battery. At that price, with no support for legacy Windows apps, consumers could opt for ultrabooks, traditional laptops or cheaper tablets that run on alternative platforms.
Another deviation from Microsoft’s own Surface RT slate is the choice of processor. Instead of using Nvidia’s Tegra 3 chip, Dell opted for Qualcomm’s 1.5 GHz Snapdragon S3 silicon, which isn’t actually the highest end processor available from Qualcomm. The base XPS 10 model also includes 32 GB of flash storage, a 10.1″ HD Display at 1366 x 768 resolution with 10 point multi-touch and pen input support, micro SD card slot, 28 wHr integrated battery, a pair of web-cams (5 and 2 megapixels), dual-band Wi-Fi (802.11a/b/g/n) and Bluetooth 4.0 connectivity. Integrated LTE is available as an option.
The keyboard dock looks nice and reminds me of the Asus Transformer Prime; it adds a full keyboard, trackpad, additional ports and a second battery, although Dell hasn’t provided details on the battery capacity. The XPS 10 alone weighs 1.4 pounds while the slate plus keyboard combo brings that up to 2.89 pounds.
Overall, the device looks nice and portable. I’m still holding out to see what apps there will be for Windows RT as you can’t install old Windows apps on this device. Office Home and Student 2013 RT is included in the price, however.
When I look at the base model with keyboard dock and see a $679 price tag though, I see this as competing with ultrabooks that do have legacy app support for Windows. The question for Dell — and Microsoft, for that matter — is will a vast number of consumers opt for a lower-powered, touch tablet with far fewer apps at launch instead of a traditional Windows notebook?