With Microsoft’s(s msft) own Surface Pro tablets starting at $899, there’s some room for lower price points by its partners. Dell(s dell) wants some of the value action and will be selling the Dell Latitude 10 Essentials for $499. The Windows 8 tablet loses some bells and whistles to keep the price down, but Dell thinks that won’t matter: Aside from value-conscious consumers, the tablet is aimed at students and teachers.
The $499 model is due out in the coming months, so for now, the only available model is the 64 GB version at $579. The sub-$500 machine will have 32 GB of storage capacity, which won’t leave much room for data and apps. As a point of comparison, Windows Surface Pro models start with 64 GB of storage and Microsoft says “System software uses significant storage space; your storage capacity will be less.” These two Essentials configurations augment the standard 64 GB model which costs $599 and up, depending on options and additions.
Dell is cutting the cost of the Windows 8 slates by changing two major aspects from the standard Latitude 10. Gone is the active digitizer that supports digital inking. And the 2-cell, 30 hr battery — standard for the Latitude — is non-removable, so you won’t be able to swap in a new battery. Businesses likely can’t live with those missing features, but some consumers, educators and students ought to find the compromise acceptable at this price.
At $499, it’s not a bad deal, considering all other specifications are the same as the higher priced model: Intel(s intc) Atom Z2760 1.8 GHz processor, 2 GB of memory, 10.1-inch IPS screen with 1366 x 768 resolution, 10-finger multitouch and Corning’s Gorilla Glass all with Windows 8 Pro.