It’s not everyday that you see a positive headline about Microsoft from the tech industry. But when Microsoft revealed its long rumored about tablet, the Surface, tech analysts and industry reporters were quick to praise it as device worthy of the software giant. That’s good news for consumers, because there could certainly stand to be a little variety in the tablet market beyond the iPad and the Android offerings.
There are a lot of unknowns concerning the Surface. There’s no set release date yet and Microsoft is mum on some of the Surface’s specs, and it’s not entirely clear how much the tablet will cost. But there is plenty to learn about the Surface right now, so let’s take a closer look at this new tablet.
The specs (so far)
Microsoft will release two versions of its tablet, the Surface and the Surface Pro. We don’t know everything about the difference between the two Surface models thus far, but it appears that the Surface Pro model will act more as an ultrabook while the Surface looks like a standard tablet. From what I can tell, it seems like the Surface Pro will be marketed towards businesspeople while the Surface will be meant for college students and tech savvy consumers.
For the specs inside the tablet, this is what we know. The Surface will come with 32GB minimum of storage capacity with the potential to scale up to 64GB. The Surface Pro will also start at 32GB of storage, but can go up to 128GB. As far as processing power goes, we know that the Surface Pro will pack a Intel Core i5 processor (think Ultrabook) while the Surface boasts a new NVidia Tegra 3 processor. Surface will come equipped with Windows 8 RT operating system, while Surface Pro will come with Windows 8 Pro. Again, keep in mind that the Pro model will be more like a mini laptop than a tablet, hence the amped specs.
Both the Surface and the Surface Pro will have a 10.6 inch display size, bigger than both the iPad and any Android tablet out today. That impressive screen
size will come at a cost in weight: the Surface will weigh 1.49 pounds, while the Surface Pro clocks in at a whopping 1.99 pounds. The Surface will be just about as thick as the iPad at 0.36inches while the Surface Pro will be much beefier at 0.53inches, making it one of the thickest tablet on the market.
There’s a lot to like about the Surface tablet. The Surface model will run Windows RT, the new Windows 8 operating system designed specially for
tablets. Windows RT will feature the Metro interface, allowing users to control apps, tools, and various functions through the management of easy to understand graphic tiles. Users will be able to download apps and services through Metro in an experience unlike on any other tablet (at least, according to Microsoft). For example, you’ll be able to run two apps side by side on a Surface tablet.
The Surface Pro, on the other hand, will run the actual Windows 8 operating system, not the RT tablet version. That means that using a Surface Pro should be equivalent to running a state of the art PC powered with Windows 8.
One of my favorite perks about the Surface tablet so far is the dustcover that comes with it. Unlike the cover for other tablets, the Suface’s cover doubles as an extremely thin rubber keyboard that attaches to the tablet via a magnetic edge. This simple but genius design from Microsoft comes as a big surprise to tech analysts. The keyboard cover completes the Surface package, making it seem like a cross between a tablet and a laptop, ideal for either situation depending on your need.
The next big thing in tablets?
To be sure, we don’t know nearly enough about the Surface to predict its impact on the tablet market. While the Surface Pro model looks like it will cost as much as a laptop with its impressive specs, I think it’s a safe to assume that the standard Surface was built to compete with the iPad and Android tablets. The question remains whether or not college students, business people, or even the average consumer will show interest in them. We’ll just have to wait for the release.