- Operating System: Microsoft Windows (RT)
- Dimensions: 10.81 x 6.77 x 0.37 inches (275 x 172 x 9 mm)
- Weight: 680 gm
- Display: 10.60 inches
- Resolution: 1366 x 768 pixels
- TouchScreen: Capacitive, Multi-touch ClearType technology
- Features: 5-point multi-touch
- Processor: NVIDIA Tegra 3 T30, Quad core, 1300 MHz, ARM Cortex-A9
- Memory: Internal 32/64 GB Storage, 2 GB RAM
Card slot: microSD, upto 64 GB
- Camera: Primary 1.2 MP
Secondary 1.2 MP, 720p@30fps
- Battery: Standard Battery, Li-Ion (31.5 Wh)
- Connectivity: Bluetooth 4.0, Wi-Fi 802.11 a/b/g/n, Wi-Fi Direct, dual-band, USB 2.0, TV-Out, OTA Sync
First Impressions and Hands On Review:
I must say, I was pretty apprehensive about Microsoft’s tablet offering, the Surface. Being an avid iPad user, I felt that MS had to really outdo themselves to not only challenge Apple, but all the other tablets out there in the market. I have been exploring my new gadget for a week now and I totally love it.
The Surface has a solid build quality with its case made out of magnesium instead of plastic like most other tablets on the market and definitely felt like a premium product when I first held it. The 10.6” HD display delivers a 1366×768 resolution, 5-point multitouch, and a 400 nit brightness level.
The Kickstand which I felt would be flimsy proved to be more durable and user friendly. Unlike other tablets where I have to struggle to make stand on a table, the Surface’s kickstand was more counter-top friendly.
The Touch Cover Keyboard is more friendly than expected. It’s easier to type on and feels like a natural transition from the usual keyboard. This Keyboard is most effective when used on a hard surface, mainly because of how light it is. The Touch Cover keyboard can be purchased for an extra few dollars.
A distinguishing feature of the Surface is that it supports a USB port which is great for easy file transfer or even extending the memory of the device. Another interesting feature of the surface is the ability to split the screen between two applications. You can view a video while monitoring your email but this may not be entirely useful on a tablet device.
At first glance, the new Metro interface is refreshingly different from the static icons I am used to on my ipad. The colorful dynamic tiles make the home screen of the surface almost seem alive. The weather app dynamically displays the local weather, the stock quote app displays my current portfolio and the news app shows what’s trending on the live tiles without me having to open any of the apps.
The Surface runs on Windows RT, the new flavor of Microsoft’s Operating System made for devices that run on ARM processors, the same low-power chips utilized by iPad and other competing tablets. Having used Windows 8 on my PC I noticed that the basic interface of the Surface is very similar to its PC version and Microsoft definitely deserves some credit in that aspect as this can make the transition from the PC to the tablet or vice-versa that much more intuitive for new users.
The Surface also ships with versions of the Office programs like Word, Excel, Powerpoint and OneNote which is a great value add since these applications can cost hundreds of dollars if purchased stand-alone for the PC.
While the Surface is a formidable foray in the tablet market it does seem to lag in some aspects compared to the current generation iPad. The iPad’s rear-facing camera records videos at 1080p and edges out the surfaces 720p camera. The still images on the iPad are shot at 5 MP and seemed a lot sharper compared to the surface. The crisp screen resolution of the retina display on the new iPad makes browsing web pages and reading small text a lot easier. The marketplace for the Surface leaves a lot to be desired. Since it’s been up and running only for a few months the number of apps is not even in the same ballpark as Apple’s, this can be a bit disappointing to Apple users who are spoiled by the extensive number of apps available to them.
It’s clear that Microsoft wants to place the surface as not just a portable entertainment/browsing device but as a portable PC with all its functionalities. With the Surface’s cross-PC-tablet unified interface, touch/type keyboard & office applications suite it feels like they are a step closer to that vision than most other competitors. Since this is Microsoft’s first entry into the PC hardware market, I am glad The Surface is getting some great reviews. It’s brilliant how I can use this as a tablet or a desktop as per my requirement.