When it comes to mobile devices, being connected is pretty important. Depending on where you live, easily accessible Wi-Fi networks might be commonplace, but that’s not always the case for everyone. And while being able to use your smartphone as a hotspot isn’t something that carriers completely frown upon anymore, it’s still not always the best option.
Which is why having the ability to connect to an LTE network should be a standard feature at this point. Well, at least a standard option.
To be fair, there are a lot of tablets out there that offer an LTE connection, but there are still some that don’t. What’s worse, it’s the ones that are missing this feature that could probably really use it. Specifically, the mobile-focused 2-in-1s that rave about how you can take them with you anywhere and get stuff done, but not if you need a connection to the internet.
Recently, Microsoft unveiled the Surface Pro 4 and I can’t help but wonder why on Earth the company announced the product without an LTE option. I’m sure there’s technological reasons aplenty, and maybe even extra costs that they didn’t want to have to navigate, but it’s still a little strange to me.
This is one area where I think Apple gets it right without exception: their iPads offer both a Wi-Fi-only model, and one that offers LTE support. Yes, the latter of the devices is more expensive, and I’ll tell you right here and now that Apple could probably get away with not charging so much, but at least the option is there. Several years ago I switched to a tablet with an LTE connection and I just won’t go back to a Wi-Fi-only model.
I can’t help but wonder if it is based on pricing. Right now the Surface Pro 4’s base model, with a 128GB SSD and a Core i5 processor, costs $999.99 without the Type keyboard (but it does come with the Pen!). Adding the LTE option would more than likely put that price up to $1,119, and then you’ve got the $129 (at least) for the new Type keyboard, which would bring the total up to $1,248.99 before taxes.
Plus, Microsoft positions the Surface Pro 4 as a main competitor to Apple’s MacBook Air and that laptop doesn’t have LTE, so why should Microsoft’s mobile workstation?
And, as a comparison, just to get it out there, let’s talk about Apple’s 128GB iPad Pro with LTE. That starts at $1,079. And then there’s the Smart Keyboard which retails for $169. So, just with those combined, you’ve got a total of $1,248 — already matching the Surface Pro 4’s hypothetical price tag if it had LTE support. But for some they’ll want that Apple Pencil, too, and that’s another $99, so then you’ve got a grand total of $1,347.
(Let’s not get into a battle of specs or “Why would you buy an iPad Pro…?” because we should all just enjoy the devices and not worry about why someone might buy something versus something else. It just felt like a worthy device to compare, since it offers LTE support.)
What do you think? Even with a price increase, do you think adding LTE support in the Surface Pro 4 would be a nice advantage? Let me know!