Alongside its Windows Phone phablet, Nokia officially entered the tablet market with a 10.1" device at Nokia World in Dubai.

The $499 SnapDragon-powered machine runs Windows RT 8.1 and offers both 4G and Wi-Fi, plus a full 1080p HD display.

How does it compare to Microsoft's own Surface 2 RT tablet? Let's take a quick look at the spec sheets.

Microsoft/Nokia's Best Effort Yet?

Nokia World starts today in Abu Dhabi, United Arab Emirates, and the company got things going with a bang by announcing its first full tablet PC. A Windows RT device, the Lumia 2520 will ship with your choice of a red, white, cyan or black polycarbonate case to match your Nokia Lumia smartphone. It comes with Microsoft Office preinstalled. 

Since the two companies aren't officially one yet, pending regulatory approval, Nokia has produced a device to compete with Microsoft's own Surface 2 model that goes on-sale today. It's a great start to the Day of the Tablets, with Apple's iPad reveal to come later on.

The Lumia 2520, announced alongside the phablet Windows Phone 8 Lumia 1520, looks like it offers a high-quality, full tablet experience that can easily be bolstered by a $150 keyboard to make it a full-fledged PC. The Power Keyboard also adds extra battery life, USB ports and a track pad. 

Learning Opportunities

The hardware specs include the ever-popular SnapDragon 800 CPU with 2GB RAM, 32 GB internal memory, micro SD card support for an extra 32GB, plus SkyDrive cloud storage. That's backed up by an 8,000 mAh battery and a 6.7 megapixel camera, while the screen is an IPS model with extra brightness and low reflectivity for use under any lighting conditions.

Surface vs. Lumia

There's a lengthy introductory video over on the Nokia site, guiding potential buyers through the tablet's features. While it looks broadly similar, if a little smaller to the new Surface 2, there are some big differences. The Lumia has a Snapdragon CPU vs. the Surface's NVIDIA Tegra 4 chip, which will make for some interesting performance comparisons when units are available. Both claim 10-hour battery life, but that Power Keyboard stretches running time by another five hours if portability is key. 

While the software is pretty much on a par with Microsoft's new Surface 2, with the new Windows 8.1 update and MS Office, it has some extra Nokia apps including maps, music and camera software. That will be useful for the 2520's stronger main camera, but it does have a weaker second forward-facing lens (2-megapixels vs. 3.5-megapixels) compared to the Surface.

The new Surface 2 also has a HD out port for streaming content to a big screen, but it lacks the 4G mobile connectivity of the Lumia. Those few unique features either way may sway a buying decision based on user needs. And, if you're after a Windows RT tablet, there's now a wider choice with these and Samsung's ATIV plus a few other models. 

Have these improvements in the Windows RT market made it sound any more attractive, or would a full Windows 8 with desktop experience with Intel CPU be the deciding factor in any buying decision. There is no release date other than in the fall, with a US, UK and Finnish rollout first, so we'll soon see if it flies off the shelves.