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Surface pre-orders sell out despite the early reviews

Microsoft venture will hope to take on the iPad.

Microsoft Surface - the latest hardware offering from the firm and its first foray into the tablet market - has sold out on preorder in the UK, according to reports.

However, the device has been received coolly by tech reviewers, who praise the highly designed hardware but slam the bundled Windows RT package that comes loaded with it.

As The Register reports, the Microsoft UK website shows preorders of the device have already sold out, with the £399 entry-level 32GB device selling out entirely, while the £599 high-spec 64GB version is also being keenly snapped up.

And a browse of similar sales portals in France, Germany and the US shows the British consumers are particularly keen on the new hardware effort.

The BBC also confirms that the first tablets have already been shipped to UK stores ahead of the official launch on Friday.

Surface is kind of like a tablet PC but comes with a big floppy keyboard, meaning users can crucially create content using the device as well as just tap their fingers on it to play simple app-style games. But early reviews have criticised the bare-boned Windows Store along with software glitches that means running the pre-loaded Office Suite sees users hop from touchscreen-friendly Windows RT to a desktop-style background.

"Surface is a brilliantly conceived machine whose hardware will take your breath away - but whose software will take away your patience," says the New York Times' David Pogue. The expert goes on to note the lack of 3G and 4G connectivity (Surface boasts WiFi-only internet access, which helps retain the much-cited eight-hour battery life) as well as an inferior screen resolution when compared to the iPad's retina display (1366 x 768 vs 2048 x 1536). 

The Surface heralds the arrival of Windows 8, too, despite the OS not yet being available on the device (a 'pro' version of Surface with 8 is expected next year). Hardware manufacturers are anticipating the launch, as they hope the release will reignite demand for PC parts.ADNFCR-1220-ID-801476299-ADNFCR