On Monday night Microsoft held a super secret event to launch their own tablet named Microsoft Surface. As one would expect it is a Microsoft branded Windows 8 tablet with some pretty interesting and original design, and a few original accessories.
The design is similar for both tablets, with the Pro version being a bit thicker and heavier. You can tell the Metro square theme is in full force with the design, employing 22 degree angles on the sides (which is important for what I don’t know) and seemingly hard edges. There is a kickstand built in to both allowing them to stand on their own in landscape mode. One differentiating feature is the pro model has a gap around the edges to let heat out, necessary with a Core i5 under the hood (this is not pictured anywhere on the surface site at this time, but was brought up during the announcement).
WIN RT SURFACE
This is the consumer version of the Surface tablet, essentially an iPad competitor. It is a 10.6” wide screen display, which no actual resolution numbers have been given. The weight at 676 grams is around the weight of the OG iPad and it is about .1 mm thinner. It will be Tegra 3 powered and should have respectable battery life with a 31 Watt-hour battery. The RT version has a microSD (not SDXC like the pro), a USB 2.0 port, and will come in 32GB and 64GB varieties. The omission of a 16GB model strikes me as a way to position it favorably price wise with the more expensive versions of the iPad at those sizes without having to lose money on a $499 model.
WIN PRO SURFACE
In the same style chassis, albeit a thicker and heavier one, is the Pro tablet. This is the one more like a real computer. It will come with a Core i5 processor, full HD screen (again the actual resolution has not been released), USB 3.0 port, and Mini DisplayPort. All in all it seems as if this is the perfect device for someone who doesn’t really use a tablet all that often and will mostly be docked on a desk with a real keyboard and monitor.
The Pro tablet to me makes less sense. It seems like it is a hot rod that they shoe horned into an econobox chassis. I fail to see how a Core i5 based computer running a full version of windows will last more than an hour or two with a 42 Watt-hour battery. Or, if it has great battery life, it will be a performance kludge. They also don’t state how much RAM the tablet will have and being real windows it will need a good portion if it is to feel responsive with a gimped CPU. For a device that is to offer No Compromises, I fail to see how it won’t.
Now that I have brought up the “No Compromises” tagline, I really think Microsoft is going to be bit hard with this one. They say it is running Windows on a tablet, which is true, but which version. What I mean is, they have to realize a lot of people are going to buy the ARM version of this tablet. They are going to think it is a hell of a deal being priced like an iPad, but getting the “No Compromises” of Windows. And then they are going to try to put the Windows software they already own on it. At this point they will realize it is not a Windows tablet. As the frustration of why this won’t work slowly rises from a simmer to a boil, they will go online and do some searching and find out that they really needed to buy the much more expensive pro tablet if they want to use their existing software. Inevitably in their anger, they return it and buy a iPad or an Android tablet.