Microsoft has announced their new Windows 8 based tablets known as Microsoft Surface. We can say that finally, Microsoft has entered the tablet market with some serious models. The company has launched two models – Surface for Windows RT and Surface for Windows 8 Pro. Let’s take a closer look at these new tablets.
What is Microsoft Surface
Surface is the name that Microsoft has chosen for its line of tablets. These tablets are powered by Windows 8 operating system. Currently, there are two editions offered by Microsoft.
Microsoft Surface for Windows RT: This is the first Surface model that runs on Windows RT which is the tablet based version of Windows 8. This tablet is powered by ARM processor.
Microsoft Surface for Windows 8 Pro: As the name suggests, this model runs on Windows 8 Pro and comes with some serious processing power – Intel Core i5 “Ivy Bridge” processor.
Tech Specs of Surface for Windows RT
OS: Windows RT (Windows on ARM) .
Display: 10.6-inch HD Display.
Chip: Nvidia Tegra.
Weight: 676 g.
Ports: microSD, USB 2.0, Micro HD Video.
Software: Office 15.
Battery: 31.5 watt-hour.
Capacity: 32GB, 64GB
Casing: VaporMg Case & Stand
Tech Specs of Surface for for Windows 8 Pro
OS: Windows 8 Pro (Windows running on Intel).
Display: 10.6-inch HD Display: 16:9, 1920×1080.
Chip: Intel Core i5 “Ivy Bridge.”
Weight: 903 g.
Ports: microSDXC, USB 3.0, Mini DisplayPort Video.
Battery: 42 watt-hour.
Capacity: 32GB, 64GB, 128GB.
Casing: VaporMg Case & Stand
Now that you are aware of the technical specifications, let’s take a look at difference between Windows RT and Windows Pro models.
The Windows RT model runs on ARM processor, with Windows RT OS. It weighs just 676 g, 9.33mm thick, 31.5 W-h battery and comes with 32 or 64GB storage options.
Looking closely at the second model which is Microsoft Surface Pro, it runs on Windows 8 Pro and the most important of all, it comes with Intel Core i5 Ivy Bridge processor. Other points that differ in this model compared to Windows RT is that it’s thicket at 13.5mm, weighs 9903g, comes with 42 W-h battery and three storage options – 32GB, 64GB or 128GB.
Surface RT version won’t have full-featured Windows desktop. This tablet can only run software available through the Windows Store. But the Pro version means that you can run fully-featured Windows 8 Pro on it, which means more compatibility of apps compared to Windows RT.
No doubt some users may start wondering, is it a tablet or a laptop ? Or is it a laptop-tablet hybrid ? These questions are bound to occur in the mind when we look at such a device that closely resembles to a laptop.
Looking closely at the features of Surface, you’ll notice that the Windows RT model comes bundled with Office, while Windows 8 Pro users will need to buy Office separately. Microsoft has not made it clear about the resolution of both the devices. We can assume, as of now that WinRT variant won’t ship with a full HD (1080p) panel, instead it will come with a screen resolution of 1366 x 768, while Win8 Pro variant can come with 1080p display and a resolution of 1920 x 1080 pixels. Does it makes sense to compare this resolution with iPad’s 2048 x 1536 retina display ? No, not at the moment because we don’t know the exact screen resolution of Surface.
Touch Cover vs Type Cover
Touch Cover, as the name suggests is a cover, which doubles up as a touch sensitive keyboard. The average keyboard mechanism detects a keypress in 8 milliseconds and according to Microsoft, the Touch Cover is ten times faster at detection. All you need to do is to touch the keyboard to type and there’s no need to apply pressure, as compared to traditional physical keyboards.
This Touch Cover attaches with the magnetic connection “forming a natural spine like you find on a book, and works as a protective cover,” Microsoft said.
Type Cover is slightly thicker and does have physical keys that needs to be pressed. Those who prefer physical keys rather than touch keys can opt for this cover. Type Cover is 5mm thick, whereas Touch Cover is 3mm thick.
How Much Will Microsoft Surface Cost?
Price of Microsoft Surface tablet is not announced yet. However, if Microsoft want to compete in the tablet market, then they should launch the tablet with competitive price tag. The Windows RT model can cost around $500 which is the same as the cheapest model of iPad.
Windows 8 Pro model can cost lot more as it comes with Ivy Bridge processor, more storage and better tech specs.
Availability and Launch Date of Microsoft Surface
Microsoft has not cleared this part also. But according to rumors, the basic model i.e. Windows RT should be launched at the same time as Windows 8 itself, which be in the fall of 2012. One thing that Microsoft clearly stated is that the Pro model will be launched approximately 90 days later, which means during the Christmas time.