Microsoft Surface: First availability in UK stores today

John Lewis announced last week that it would work with Microsoft to bring retail availability to the UK for  Surface tablets running Windows RT. The devices have previously been showing as available online through the website even though Sat 15th was said to be when the devices would be widely distributed.

Microsoft has to date only been selling the devices through its own online store here in the UK even though it has been promoting the tablets on TV and through billboard advertising. Today marks the first store appearance for Microsoft’s Windows RT tablet.

Taking Front Page on John Lewis Web Store..

The Microsoft Surface is the first computer produced from the software giant and marks a radical new direction for the company. They have stated they want to become a Devices and Services Company and the Surface Tablet is the first step towards that goal. This is just the start and more device set to appear later. Microsoft do have a bricks and mortar presence in the Americas but elsewhere they have yet to set up shop. This has meant that the tablets were initially only available online and difficult for the consumer to physically evaluate, when committing this much money to a purchase a 'hands on' is a must.

John Lewis is a well trusted department store here in the UK and it is with some relief that they are the first to take on the device. Their staff are knowledgeable and selection of products is well chosen unlike some of the other retailers we could, but won’t mention. Today has seen the stock of the Surface arrive and the department store will carry both the 32GB and the 64GB devices.. They have also taken the step of offering the devices only with the touch-cover instead of providing it as an optional extra.  If you wish to buy the surface without the Touch Cover then you’ll need to head back to the Microsoft Online Store for the Vanilla option.  

Surface In Store UK

Surface stocking in John Lewis - Gets its own stand

In store the devices have been put on a separate stand away from the tablets and the laptops, the Surface boxes are stacked up with a demo unit on display. Initial interest in the device looks to be good with the quick take we did in store. The staff were able to answer questions about the included Office Suite and the Marketplace for apps. The devices had just gone onto display when we turned up and customers seemed interested in the tablets.

Now that these tablets running Windows RT are now available to actually compare and contrast in stores here in the UK we will be following how they do very closely. We have yet to find out if Microsoft and John Lewis will partner on further advertising to make the public aware of the availability. The Surface is certainly the best known of all the Windows 8 machines and offers tablet like battery performance. What will consumers make of it when they compare to the Android Tablets and the mighty iPad?

We can’t help but think that things for Microsoft UK would have been simpler if they just had a Store in the UK to show people their Windows Phone’s and Tablet devices… 

John Lewis will sell the 64GB Surface with Black Touch Cover for £559.00 while the 32GB version will go for £479 with the Black Touch Cover.

If you live in the UK we’d like to hear from you, are you planning on checking out the Surface? If you do pop into a store let us know what your experience was like. Comments are open.

Robert Brand
  • Good news. Shame they don't stock it without keyboard
  • Personally, I can't understand why Microsoft keeps trying to sell the Surface with the keyboards. Sure most people (if not everyone) will want one of those, but why forcing us to get the sad black nuance.
    Why should I buy a keyboard I don't need just to get the one I want later?
    Same goes where I live, Microsoft has no store, but importers are just bringing the black-keyboard combos... I'm starting to think they are only offering the coloured versions because they look more fashionable on commercials and advertisements.
  • Agreed, I just don't get why they don't give the coloured options. I know girls (and I'm not being sexist) who would be attracted uncontrollably if they saw the bright pink keyboard as an option!
    The black keybaord just makes it look like a business machine and not something for the yoof!
    Personally, I'd love to have a cyan keyboard.
    I just don't understand why they don't get this!
  • Its the suppliers, same principal with Orange UK
    I could get the Lumia 920 in any long as its Black
    The Suppliers are terrified that they'll get lumped with unwanted devices so buying a generic color is their best bet
    We all know that vibrant colors would probably sell better but the shops are just too chicken to order them!!
  • Agreed. The positive in this people can play with it and then buy it online with a choice of keyboard or not plus colors to choose from
  • Totally with you on this. I had to get the 32GB instead. What if people don't want the touch cover and prefer type cover? Lame.
  • Happy that John Lewis are first to get the devices, I used to work in their audio & tv department selling laptops and know the quality of staff they attract! Just hope there has been some training from MS as well
  •   The guys there seemed to know their apples from their oranges alright. Confident questions taken on included office package and suitability for student use etc. I was impressed and I hardly ever find that in stores.   
  • Maybe in the new year year John Lewis will sell it without keyboard and the different coloured versions. Lets hope so. Microsoft should also sell in other outlets too
  •   If you want the version without the keyboard you can buy it online directly. I think most folks would want the keyboard but it does push that price up a little too high. Better to sell them the base unit on cost and then urge them to buy accessories for it. Most would want the keyboard/cover. 
  • I have noticed that ie10 doesn't handle drop down menus properly on some websites when using just the tablet without keyboard. Because the websites have "mouse over" function to show the list and when you use touch on screen, instead of showing the list it goes to the page where the "click" is linked to. But if you use the touchpad on the keyboard, the drop down menu will show with "mouse over".
  • I have found that you can use the arrows in the screen keyboard to deal with those menus, you have to enable the standard keyboard layout for it
  • Think the main point is that the Surface is actually there - in a store - you can see it and touch it. If you dont like the touch cover in black you can always go to microsoft online and buy it without a cover or with any colour you choose. I ve put a skin on my surface from decalgirl and it looks pretty tasty. Its actually garnering more attention from others now than it was plain.
  • very nicely done display.  Clean yet understated.
  • Here in Australia, I noticed JB Hi-Fi had them on display over the weekend, they said they would be selling them from this week.
  • John Lewis is definately where the action is right now when it comes to sales in the UK having had two record breaking weeks already in December bucking the trend elsewhere on the high street. They also have a mighty reputation for service and never knowingly undersold is a by word spoken with conviction. Being a cooperative helps I think when it comes to staff going the extra mile as well.
  • This could have been a big hit,if the older management in MICROSOFT aren't there anymore..too expensive!!!
  • I don't want Office preinstalled if you're gona charge me that price Microsoft !