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Microsoft sweetens path from Windows XP to Windows 8.1 with Surface Pro tablet deal

Microsoft Surface Pro
Microsoft Surface Pro: Still has it

You can get a Surface Pro tablet from Microsoft for a mere £359, including a free touch cover keyboard and £10 credit to spend at Microsoft Store. There's just one catch - you'll have to access Microsoft's website from a Windows XP machine.

Microsoft will check whether you are ordering from a genuine device and will charge you extra if that is not the case, but there are perfectly legal ways to circumvent the check and save yourself a tidy sum.

The end of the support for Windows XP on Tuesday coincided with the general availability of Windows 8.1 Update 1, the second big update to Windows 8.

A powerful Ultrabook substitute

The Surface Pro has been superseded by the Surface 2 Pro which boosts a better processor. That's not to say that the original Surface Pro is an obsolete machine; far from it.

The Ivy-Bridge Intel Core i5-3317U that powers it is still a very capable CPU and the rest of the specification means that it's still a very capable device, infinitely more versatile and powerful than most computers still powered by Windows XP.

It has 4GB of RAM, 64GB onboard storage, a 10.6-inche full HD touchscreen display with a stylus, rear and front cameras, a microSD card slot plus an impressive array of connectivity options (MiniDisplay port, USB 3.0, Bluetooth, Wi-Fi).

This version is the x86 based model rather than the often-criticised Windows RT-powered Surface tablet; it also doesn't come with Office. Note that a 128GB model also available for an additional £80.