Microsoft adds LTE cellular to Surface Pro, boosting appeal for business travelers and field workers

Dropping in December, Microsoft's newest Surface Pro will have LTE capabilities, making business travel and fieldwork easier without Wi-Fi.

Cracking Open: Microsoft Surface Pro

Microsoft is bringing LTE connectivity to the Surface Pro, the company announced Tuesday at its Future Decoded event in London.

Slated to begin shipping in December, the new Surface Pro will have built-in LTE Advanced support, giving users constant connectivity and decreasing reliance on Wi-Fi. Made with business users in mind, the model will also support 450 mbps downloads, faster than other LTE-enabled devices that typically have 300 mbps downloads, according to Techcrunch.

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The convertible tablet-laptop will have a Cat 9 modem, as compared to most current LTE devices that use a Cat 6 modem, according to Techcrunch. The device is expected to have support for 20 cellular bands, allowing connectivity around the globe. The battery supports up to 17 hours of video playback.

The cheapest version, $1,149, will have 4GB of RAM and a 128GB SSD, while a user can pay an extra $300 to double the RAM and SSD.

The previous version of the Surface Pro has six options, ranging from the $799 version with an m3 processor, 4GB of RAM, and 12 GB of SSD storage to the $2,699 version with an i7 processor, 16GB of RAM, and a 1TB SSD.

The Surface Pro's LTE is expected to work worldwide, further boosting its appeal for business travelers, who will be less reliant on Wi-Fi to get work done on the go.

"The office is no longer restricted to a set of buildings - it's at home, in a café, a city across the globe, or on a plane," said Panos Panay, Microsoft's corporate vice president for Windows device, in the announcement. "With so many changing locations your device becomes your office, and many of our customers tell us that's what their Surface is to them - a mobile office."

People working while traveling or in a spot without Wi-Fi, like researchers doing fieldwork or someone visiting a rural area, typically use a tablet with LTE capabilities to remain connected. The Surface Pro could be an option for those business leaders looking for a device with a more traditional-feeling keyboard.

The 3 big takeaways for TechRepublic readers

  1. Microsoft announced its newest Surface Pro will support LTE and 450 mbps downloads. The model is slated to be released in December.
  2. The convertible tablet and laptop will have a Cat 9 modem and a battery that can support an estimated 17 hours of video playback. Prices range from $1,149-$1,449, depending on RAM and SSD size.
  3. Business leaders will be more connected with the expected worldwide cellular connectivity, no longer needing to rely on Wi-Fi while traveling or working in a rural location.

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