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Microsoft Surface hits John Lewis shelves this weekend

The Microsoft Surface is in shops at last. It hits shelves at John Lewis this weekend and the website today.

The Microsoft Surface is in shops at last. It hits shelves at John Lewis this weekend and the retailer's never knowingly undersold website today.

Up until now you've only been able to get hold of the Windows 8 tablet online, or at Microsoft Stores in the US. But from tomorrow you can pop down to your local John Lewis, which will give you your first chance to actually play with the tablet.

Microsoft is no doubt hoping that this will boost sales of the Surface, which have initially been described as "modest". No wonder sales are modest -- you couldn't buy the thing! Microsoft has been advertising the Surface in every ad break but you couldn't go and try it or buy it in a shop until now. Now I'm no Alan Sugar but that doesn't seem like the world's smartest business model.

Windows 8 and the Surface went on sale in October, along with a range of tablets, laptops and computers. Some of the more interesting devices include transforming hybrid tablet/laptop mash-ups such as the Sony Vaio Duo and Asus Vivo Tab.

Many of these, including the Surface, use a special stripped-down version of Windows 8 called Windows 8 RT, set up for the lower-powered ARM processors in tablets. Other tablets, including the forthcoming Microsoft Surface Pro, use the full version of Windows 8. Windows 8 RT only allows you to install apps from the Windows App Store, but the Surface Pro will let you install any program, just like on your computer.

The 32GB Windows 8 RT Surface costs £480 at John Lewis, and the 64GB version is £560. At the time of writing, neither is in stock online. 

What do you think of the Surface? Have you bought one? Tell me your thoughts in the comments or on our Facebook page.