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Microsoft admits Surface Pro 128GB storage limited to 83GB

Microsoft's Surface Pro tablet, which is due to launch with a headline-grabbing 128GB of storage space, will only have 83GB of room for users' files.

According to a statement from the company given to Softpedia, the 128GB Surface Pro device - which swaps out the low-power ARM chip of the Surface RT for a meatier Intel processor while upgrading the Windows RT operating system to a full-fat installation of Windows 8 - a chunk of its 128GB capacity is taken up by the operating system and pre-installed applications - leaving just 83GB of user-accessible space to store files.

While it's true that 83GB is significantly more than most other tablet devices, which typically top out at around 64GB before any add-in storage is accounted for, that's a not-inconsiderable drop in storage space of around 35 per cent compared to the figures shown in Microsoft's advertising.

The issue becomes more pressing when the cheaper 64GB model is taken into account: the space used up by the operating system and pre-installed applications is the same between devices, so - allowing for differences in actual capacity between the two solid-state drives - the 64GB Surface Pro may have as little as 23GB of user-accessible space.

In its defence, Microsoft has pointed out that the Surface Pro includes a USB 3.0 port for high-speed connectivity to external storage devices such as pen drives or hard disks, along with a free SkyDrive cloud storage account offering an additional 7GB of web-based storage. With the devices failing to reach the promised capacities - and Barrons claiming that Microsoft may have sold as few as 230,000 Surface RT tablets worldwide - the company may struggle to convince tablet fans to switch from their iPads or Android devices.

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