Microsoft has now officially entered the tablet ring with their first tablet device which they call ‘Surface’. There are two variations of Surface: Windows RT, which has an NVIDIA chip and Surface Windows 8 Pro, which runs off Ultrabook-grade Ivy Bridge processors. Both Surface tablets have a 10.6″ display, with the Pro model getting a full HD 1080p display.
The Pro model is slightly thicker, it is essentially a tablet/ultrabook device as it’s powered by Intel’s 22nm Ivy Bridge chip that gives you a true desktop experience, especially with Microsoft’s USP for the Surface tablet, a Magnetic cover. It’s not just a copy of Apple’s iPad Smart Cover however, as it doubles as a keyboard.
There are two keyboard types, one with multitouch input (Touch Cover) and one with physical keys (Type Cover). What makes both keyboards special is that they have built-in accelerometers that allow the keyboard to tell which key you’re hitting the keys, or just resting on them. They look very impressive and go well with the Surface’s built-in kickstand, which is as thick as a credit card. The device is wrapped in a magnesium case that Microsoft calls VaporMg, which makes it truly light.
The question is will it be good enough to compete with the much loved Apple iPad? The lower spec Windows RT model is targeted more at the general consumer with the Pro version aimed at the corporate market. Could the Pro version replace laptops in the office in the same way as the trend to issue laptops instead of desktops?
We believe Apple may finally have found a competitor within the tablet market with the release of this Microsoft Surface. Where some brands such as RIM’s Playbook have failed, in our eyes the nicely designed Microsoft Surface may do very well alongside Apple, that is as long as they make it available at the right price point.
Microsoft still has a lot of catching up to do as they are late to the game, but it will be interesting to see what innovations they bring to the table. We’re looking forward to getting our hands on one to start experimenting with it.