20 Jun 2012 09:38 | metro microsoft surface win8 windows

After avoiding the iPad since its release, and being under the opinion that Android works better as a phone OS rather than a tablet OS, I will be buying the Surface Pro tablet from Microsoft later this year. This is what I have been waiting for.

Apparently it will be released three months after the WinRT version (approx. December instead of September) - but good things come to those that wait.

When on the go, I'd continue to bring my MacBook with me, but would replace my existing bulky Windows 8 Release Preview laptop with this Surface slate. The existing laptop would remain at home, and I'd use Windows 8's syncing capabilities to keep things updated between the two. The biggest benefit over my current laptop will be the improved battery life in both of these tablets.

Anyone that uses a computer only for Internet access will be able to make great use of the WinRT model.




Microsoft has taken a rather unique marketing approach for the Surface. Their video is unlike any other that I have seen from them.

It has a huge "Wow" factor, but doesn't give any useful information about the device.

See the next section of this post titled "Details" for that info.


Here are the main differences between the two models of the tablet:

Surface (iPad competitor):
- Unconfirmed price, expected ~$500 USD
- Unconfirmed availability, expected September 2012
OS - Windows RT (Metro only)
Battery - 31.5 W-h
Storage - 32 or 64 GB hard drive, microSD slot
Display - 10.6" ClearType HD screen (16:9, capacitive, estimated 1366×768)
Input - Multi-touch screen, Touch Cover (keyboard), Type Cover (keyboard)
WiFi - 2×2 MIMO Wi-Fi (802.11 a/b/g/n)
Ports - USB 2.0, micro HDMI
Weight - 676 grams
Thickness - 9.3 millimeters

The Surface also comes with Office Home & Student 2013 RT, which is a lightweight Metro version of Microsoft Office. The Surface Pro does not come with Office built-in, but you will be able to use the existing version that you already own anyway.

Surface Pro (comparable to an Ultrabook):
- Unconfirmed price, expected ~$1000 USD
- Unconfirmed availability, expected December 2012
OS - Windows 8 Professional (Metro + Windows Desktop)
Battery - 42 W-h
CPU - Quad-core Intel Core i5
Storage - 64 or 128 GB hard drive, microSDXC slot
Display - 10.6" ClearType Full HD screen (16:9, capacitive, estimated 1920×1080)
Input - Multi-touch screen, Touch Cover (keyboard), Type Cover (keyboard), Pen with palm block (exclusive to Surface Pro)
WiFi - 2×2 MIMO Wi-Fi (802.11 a/b/g/n)
Ports - USB 3.0, Mini DisplayPort
Weight - 903 grams
Thickness - 13.5 millimeters


The Surface is an iPad competitor. If you like the appearance of the Metro interface and want a very fluid, responsive interface such as the iPad gives you, but prefer the appearance of Windows 8 Metro (aka. the WinRT API), go for the $500 Surface.

However if you want something that is comparable to an Ultrabook, which has the grunt to complete most of your regular daily PC tasks and run all of your existing applications, but can additionally be used as a tablet, you want the Surface Pro. It provides all the benefits of Windows 8 Metro, but also includes the classic Windows Desktop interface that you're used to and the many incremental upgrades associated with it.

Want more?

Post a comment - let me know what you think about Windows 8. Let me know what you think about the competitors - the iPad and Android-powered tablets.

Are you considering a tablet purchase in the future - and if so, which device? Which platform?

I will write more Windows 8 focused articles in the near future, based on my experiences with Windows 8 Consumer Preview and Windows 8 Release Preview on my main machine.

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