So Microsoft has been pretty busy this week. It has held two live events almost back to back showcasing some new software and hardware. That’s right, H-A-R-D-W-A-R-E. We’ll talk about that first, shall we? What is this new piece of hardware? Well, for many moons leading up to the announcement, several rumours had SURFACED as to what Microsoft potentially had up their sleeves and on June 18th, not one, but two tablets were announced.
Both tablets are Microsoft branded as opposed to being manufactured by HP or Dell and running Windows like computers we see today. Both tablets are 10.6 inches and both are named Surface but it is the suffixes and size that separate them. The first tablet is “Surface for Windows RT”. As the name suggests, it is designed only to run Windows RT. Windows RT is the slimmest of all Windows 8 releases as it only allows Metro apps to be installed and run making it the perfect OS for a tablet. Surface for Windows RT has the usual WiFi capabilities and USB connections and is driven by a Nvidia Tegra processor all in a slim 9.3mm form factor weighing 1.5lbs.
Another four millimetres thicker and we move onto “Surface for Windows 8 Pro”. Weighing in at just under 2lbs, this model comes with the Pro version of Windows 8 meaning that you get the full Windows 8 experience with Metro as well as the generic Windows desktop we all love. With the heavier operating system, the hardware is also more substantial compared to Surface for ‘RT. Surface for ‘Pro steps things up a gear with an Ivy Bridge CPU, USB 3.0 and a larger battery.
Both tablets feature a pop out kick stand. The Surface for ‘Pro will come in 64GB and 128GB flavours whereas the RT version will come in 32GB and 64GB. Users may also choose between two addons, a Touch or Type keyboard.
This was a highlight for me personally. Adding only an additional 3mm to whichever Surface model you are using, the Surface Touch Cover looks like a a regular tablet cover similar to the Apple Smart Cover but if Apple’s one was smart, then this would be genius. The cover features a multitouch keyboard as well as a trackpad. The keys are slightly raised so users can actually feel the keys plus they are pressure sensitive so fingers can be rested on the keys before typing without firing off any letters, unlike on regular touch screen keyboards. Microsoft is also catering for those not into the whole touch thing with a Type Cover which has tactive keys instead of the pressure sensitive ones. Both act as a cover, although personally I would go with the Touch Cover for two reasons – one, it is pretty cool; and two, the surface of the keyboard is covered in a sort of soft felt finish that will not scratch the display, the Type Cover, wierdly, doesn’t have this even though it could be easily implemented.
So that that wraps up Part 1 in our coverage of honestly, a huge step for Microsoft. I most definitely will be getting myself a Surface. I have not decided which version yet but watch this space as a review may just appear. Stay tuned for Part II where we will look at Microsoft’s new mobile OS which does not disappoint. At all.