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Microsoft Surface Pro coming to the UK in May

Microsoft's proper Windows 8 tablet, the Surface Pro, is heading to Blighty "before the end of May", the company promises.

Microsoft's proper Windows 8 tablet, the Surface Pro, is coming to the UK "before the end of May", according to a company blog post. The software behemoth has yet to announce prices.

The last we heard about the delayed Pro was several weeks ago, when Microsoft said it was due "in the coming months". It'll arrive in other countries next month too, covering much of Europe -- Austria, Belgium, Denmark, Finland, France, Germany, Ireland, Italy, Luxembourg, the Netherlands, Norway, Portugal, Spain, Sweden and Switzerland -- and further afield in Australia, Hong Kong and New Zealand.

The Surface Pro runs full Windows 8, rather than the cut-down Windows RT on the Surface. That means you can run any Windows-compatible software, whereas the Surface is stuck with whatever's available on the Marketplace app store. Manufacturers including Samsung have criticised RT for being hard to understand, but it's due to get Outlook at some point this year.

While a British price for the Pro is yet to materialise, it sells for $899 (£560) in the US. The £399 Surface is cheaper in the States than in the UK, thanks to our swingeing 20 per cent VAT. Plucking a number out of thin air, I reckon the Surface Pro will be £700 here.

But that's just for the basic 64GB model, which doesn't have much free storage, and no keyboard cover. Upgrading to the 128GB model, which our CNET.com colleague Scott Stein calls "essential", and adding the cool keyboard will set you back $1,200 -- nearly £800, plus VAT. Cripes.

If you can't wait for a Windows 8 tablet, we can recommend the £600 Acer Iconia W700 and £400 Asus VivoTab Smart, both four-star machines.

Are you pro-Pro? Or just anti-RT? Has Apple got the tablet market sewn up? Explain your thinking down in the comments, or over on our VAT-free Facebook page.