Tablet computers have been around for a very long time now. And so has Windows. But combining the two traditionally hasn’t resulted in a very good product. Enter the Microsoft Surface RT tablet. It’s the culmination of Microsoft’s most recent efforts to “reimagine” Windows and mobile computing in general. Though there have been many attempts at making Windows-powered tablet computers in the past, those usually turned out to be either inadequate in terms of power, or simply too expensive to be worth considering. With the Surface RT tablet, Microsoft aims to bring a successful Windows-powered solution to the tablet computing market once and for all. Has it finally managed to accomplish this seemingly impossible task?
In trying, Microsoft outfitted its Surface RT with a 10.6-inch, 1366x768 touchscreen display which can be paired with an external keyboard for the “full” Windows 8 experience. As an ARM-based device, it uses a 1.3GHz quad-core NVIDIA Tegra 3 processor, much like many of the most popular Android-based tablet computers of today. Other hardware features include 2GB of RAM, 32GB of internal storage, a USB 2.0 port, HDMI-out, and a microSD card slot. Notably absent features include NFC and LTE cellular connectivity, which means that for the time being, it’s Wi-Fi-only.
It's hard to talk about this tablet without mentioning its innovative cover. The smart cover option lets users choose between a Touch Cover, which has pressure-sensitive keys, and a Type Cover, which has actual scissor-switch keys, to type stuff with. These covers, which are available separately, make typing on the go a lot easier and also protect the tablet when it’s not in use. Though technically, it isn’t a part of the tablet itself, the well-designed addition is counted by many as one of its best features.
This tablet is truly interesting, and it looks ready to take the world tablet PC market by storm. But its job isn’t just to wow people who have never used a Windows tablet before. It also has to convince people that Android or iOS aren’t worthy alternatives. It has to be so good that people would be willing to go for the smaller app ecosystem and miss out on some of today’s most advanced hardware features. By itself, it’s certainly impressive, but once you pit it up against the likes of the iPad or the Nexus 10, things start to sober up.
At the end of the day, a choice has to be made, and the people who end up with the Surface RT from Microsoft are bound to be the ones who choose to try a new perspective. Microsoft says it’s time for a change, and here it is offering something different. The question is, are you ready for it?
Need to Know: Microsoft Surface RT
1. Uses a quad-core NVIDIA Tegra 3 SoC and ships with 2GB of RAM. (The Good)
2. Has an HD touchscreen display with 5-point multi-touch support. (The Good)
3. Touch Cover and Type Cover accessories cost extra. (The Bad)
4. Windows RT feels like a gimped version of Windows 8 for the desktop. (The Bad)