The Windows 8.1 tablet arena is starting to get crowded, as Dell’s sizzling hot and not-so-pricey Venue 11 Pro is up for grabs stateside on pre-orders.

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As if to make life even more difficult for Microsoft’s Surface line, the brand new 10.8-incher only costs $499.99 in an “entry-level” configuration. Mind you, there’s nothing entry-level about the Venue 11 Pro though, as it comes with a 1,920 x 1,080 pixels resolution (aka Full HD) IPS panel in tow, plus a quad-core Intel Bay Trail CPU that’s not only decently zippy, but also very easy on the battery.

The cherry on top is, just like the Surfaces, the Venue 11 Pro can be much more than another sleek but unproductive slate, as a measly 130 bucks can score you an optional slim keyboard docking station, turning the thing into a full-blown laptop, nay ultrabook.

There are actually two docks up for grabs via Dell, with another, bigger and comfier one costing $160. Oh, and there’s also an active stylus going for $35.

Dell Venue 11 Pro

Back to the actual $500 tab body, let’s mention it runs full Windows 8.1 (no RT nonsense here) and packs 2 GB RAM, as well as 64 GB storage, Intel Gen7 graphics and oodles of connectivity options, with USB 3.0 and micro HDMI in the limelight.

As for pricier variants, the $800 model gets rid of the Bay Trail CPU in favor of a Core i3 4020Y, whereas the one going for $850 steps things up even further, with a Core i5 4210Y chip. Both those fellas up the RAM and storage ante as well, to 4 and 128 GB respectively. Also, they come with superior Intel GT2 graphics cards.

Sounds like a tough choice to make, though you still have some time for deliberations. The $500 Venue 11 Pro starts shipping December 6, with its more generous siblings leaving Dell’s warehouses a week later. Choose wisely and try to not spend your money all at once.

Sources: Liliputing, Dell