Microsoft Surface 8 RTIt comes as no surprise that Microsoft has thrown their hat in the tablet computing ring.  In their quest to expand their foothold in the handheld mobile market, the Surface tablet is poised to compete directly with Apple’s iPad and Google’s recently released Nexus 10.

Last week, two members of our team sat down with the Surface RT tablet:

Quick Specs

Price: $499

CPU: Nvidia Tegra 3

OS: Windows RT

Display: 10.6 inches (1366 x 768); 5 point multi-touch

Size: 0.37 inches thick

Weight: 1.49 lbs

Storage (Built-in): 32GB, 64GB

Ports: microSD, USB 2.0, Micro HD Video, 2×2, MiMO Antenne

Cameras: 2- 720p HD LifeCams, front- and rear-facing

Specs provided by: blog.laptopmag.com  & Microsoft.com

Input

Our initial impression was that the interface was too small to know where you are touching on the screen but the phantom trail that follows your touch is pretty cool.

We recommend buying the optional keyboard touch cover because users may find the Surface interface too complex for only touch input, unlike iOS, but too simple for a more advanced input device. Our team suggested that Microsoft could make a better Windows 7 or move more in the direction of the simple iOS interface.

Apps

Where are they? One of our UI designers felt that the Surface 8 Tablet seems to have a lot of potential, but compared with Android (Nexus) and iOS (iPhone/iPad) offerings, Microsoft wasn’t offering  a lot of apps for the device.  Of course, third-party apps should come in time but developers may be slow to release versions that support the different processor architecture of the RT tablet.

Xbox Syncing

Despite the lack of apps, we felt that the ability to sync the Surface tablet with Xbox will open the doors for Xbox users learning to use Surface quickly because it’s got a very similar UI.

RT or Pro? What does it all mean?

There has been some confusion over the Surface tablets with Windows RT and those that will come out with Windows 8 Pro in early 2013. If you want some clarity on the features of Windows RT vs. Windows 8 Pro, check out Wired’s Gadget Lab. Until we see the Surface with Windows 8 Pro, we’ve only got one thing to say, “It’s nice to look at.”

Images: BGR.com & ubergizmo

Related article: Switched On: The time is right for Xbox Surface

 

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