Those anxious to get their mitts on a Windows 8 tablet have a lot of options to sift through in the near future. Dell hopes to lure potential Windows RT buyers its way by taking pre-orders for their XPS 10 tablet priced competitively at just $499 alongside Microsoft's Surface.

The 10.1-inch IPS display features a modest 1,366 x 768 resolution with 10-point multitouch support, a dual-core 1.5GHz Snapdragon processor, 2GB of LP-DDR2 RAM and 32GB of built-in storage (for starters).

3G/4G wireless connectivity is noticeably missing as the entire line of systems available for pre-order ship with Wi-Fi support only. Alison Gardner, director of product group brand and messaging at Dell, said mobile broadband options will be offered in future models.

A USB port, HDMI-out and a built-in 28Wh 2-cell lithium ion battery round out the bundle. The PC maker claims the XPS 10 will provide around eight hours of battery life on a single charge. Expect the slate to weigh roughly 1.4 pounds without the optional docking station.

The Mobile Keyboard Dock in question adds a full size (well, almost - 92 percent full size) keyboard, a touchpad, additional I/O ports, stereo speakers and an extra battery. The dock comes at a premium, however: expect to tack on an additional $180 to the price of the tablet.

Of course, Dell isn't getting around to shipping the XPS 10 tablet until sometime in mid-December so that could make your decision a bit easier if you're looking to get started with a Windows 8 slate ASAP.