The new Microsoft tablet, the Surface, can be expected to come out this fall alongside the Windows 8 release. Microsoft is shooting to compete neck and neck with Apple’s most recent iPad.
The Surface runs Windows RT and will not be available until Windows 8 comes out. Windows RT is almost identical to Windows 8 with similar look and functions.
Unlike the iPad, which falls under a mobile device category, this tablet is more closely related to a laptop or netbook than a mobile device. It comes with an SD card slot and a USB port to read other portable devices, similar to a full functioning computer; a function where other tablets lack similar options. This is a MUCH NEEDED feature and gives the Surface a leg-up in the tablet world. Many tablets sell accessories that allow you to read memory cards, but having a USB & SD card reader built in is much more convenient.
The Surface will have a Nvidia Tegra 3+ processor where as the iPad has an A5 processor chip. The Nvidia Tegra Processor has a quad-core CPU limited to 500MHz. This is a newer, upgraded version of the Tegra 3 processor in the Asus Transformer Infinity 700. However, Apple’s A5 processor chip in the new iPad 3 is a quad-core with 1GHz, which is 500MHz above the Nvidia Tegra 3+. If you want to compare it to the iPad 2, the A5 processor in the iPad 2 is only a dual-core processor but is still 1GHz.
The Surface will have 1GB of RAM, equal to the iPad which has 1GB of DDR2 for RAM. The Surface will have storage options of a 32GB model and a 64GB model. These are the standard storage options that the iPad offers, and while the 16GB iPad option is nice, it is for those who would like to go the cheaper route.
The design of the Surface is much more “edgy” with more lines and corners than the curvy and smooth iPad. This design could easily be favored over the iPad for people who like an all black, sleek yet straight design. The Surface also has a built in stand which allows you to prop up your Surface for easy viewing.
The Surface has a Windows logo at the bottom of its screen that lights up white and is not just for show. It actually works the same as the Windows button on the Windows 8 operating system. When you touch this logo, it will take you to the Start screen in order to switch applications.
Similar to the iPad’s smart cover, the Surface also has an intuitive magnetic cover that easily attaches and flips to protect your screen. One very impressive feature over Apple’s smart cover is this flip-cover includes a keyboard on the inside or the screen side. When you have the Surface propped up on its stand, this tablet sits similar to a laptop with a screen and keyboard in front of you. This tablet can even balance in your lap without tipping over like the Asus Transformer often does. This cover comes in a variety of bright colors you can choose from.
If you have seen Windows 8, you will remember, all of the application tiles are very colorful on the Start screen. They are one solid, bright colored rectangle with a white logo for the application icon in the middle. The background is a bland, almost annoying green color. Unlike Windows 8, when you connect your Surface to its cover, Windows RT automatically reads what color your cover is and makes your Start screen background match the same color as your cover/keyboard.
The Surface has a larger screen than the iPad at 10.6″ vs. Apple’s 9.7″. To most people, this 1″ will not make a difference. However, people are demanding larger screens for their devices. People wanted smaller devices before, now larger devices are in higher demand for large, easy to read screens.
Unlike the iPad that can auto-adjust to any direction you turn the tablet, the Windows tablet looks as though it only works in the landscape position; you cannot flip this tablet vertically. This may not bother some people, but the convenience of turning your tablet in any direction may be a feature that is missed.
This tablet is definitely something to be excited for. The iPad is still the leading tablet and although there are plenty of Android tablets — this tablet will put Microsoft in the running.
This tablet brings new features that are definitely useful that I hope other tablet manufacturers will soon copy.
However, I am a little disappointed in the tablet on the hardware side. This tablet will be released sometime in the fall, which should give Microsoft plenty of time to amp up this tablet with the newest, most powerful hardware out there.
The iPad 3 has been out since March and still is slightly ahead of the Surface. I really would like to have see more speed and power from this tablet considering it has plenty of time and is half a year ahead of the iPad 3. If they had beefed up the processor, this tablet could have been the most powerful tablet out at least until next year.