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