Fast Company

The Best Of Microsoft's Surface: Two Tablets, Full-Sized Keyboard, Stylus, No Price Yet [Video]

Microsoft unveiled an iPad competitor today. Here's the best and rest of the event.

Microsoft CEO Steve Ballmer unveiled a suite of new hardware products today, led by a signature Microsoft Surface tablet that will compete directly with Apple's iPad. 

The tablet, powered by Windows 8, is a hair thinner than the 9.4 mm iPad 3. It's screen, at 10.6-inches, has a full inch on the iPad's. It also sports a USB 2 port, and is compatible with a magnetized stylus that uses digital ink.

The best: The two standout features of the Surface are a full-sized, multitouch keyboard with trackpad that also doubles as the device's case, and a built-in kickstand for hands-free use.

The Microsoft Surface RT tablet has a 10.6-inch ClearType HD Display. But the resolution of 1366x768 is far lower than the iPad's Retina display (2048x1536). 

Although only a few in attendance have had the chance to test out the device, the presentation was impressive and garnered a healthy amount of positive commentary on Twitter and elsewhere.

The rest: Microsoft also introduced a Pro version of the Surface for professionals that features a higher-res display and greater processing power, as well as the Touch Cover, a full trackpad keyboard with clickable buttons that snaps onto the tablet. The keyboard, which is available in five colors, was designed "organically, like a book," said Panos Panay, Microsoft's designer of products. It can also distinguish between hands that are at rest and typing by measuring the pressure exerted on the keyboard.

The price of the tablet was not announced at the event, but Windows president Steven Sinofsky did say the 32GB and 64GB versions of the Surface will be priced competitively to other ARM tablets. The release date is also unconfirmed.

Late last week, a handful of tech reporters (including Fast Company's Austin Carr) were invited to today's event in Los Angeles, which was shrouded in the kind of mystique normally associated with an Apple keynote. Even the exact location of the presentation was kept secret until just hours prior to the kick-off. Showmanship and attention to design detail notwithstanding, Surface is unlikely to flatten the Apple's iPad anytime soon. But Microsoft still has a lot to gain from being in second place.

 

Specs and Features

Windows Surface RT 

OS: Windows RT

Weight: 676 grams

Profile: 9.3 mm

Display: 10.6-inch ClearType HD

Ports: microSD, USB 2.0

WiFi: 2x2 MIMO Antennae

Video: MicroHD 

Software: Microsoft Office

Memory: 32 GB or 64 GB

 

Windows Surface Pro

OS: Windows 8 Pro

Weight: 903 grams

Profile: 13.5 mm

Display: 10.6-inch ClearType Full HD

Ports: microSDXC, USB 3.0, Mini DisplayPort

WiFi: 2x2 MIMO Antennae

Video: Mini DisplayPort Video

Software: Not shown

Memory: 64 GB or 128 GB

 

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2 Comments

  • Lenflwkfnwef

    "Full sized Keyboard" is quite an exaggeration. Spend five minutes trying to type on it and you'll feel like you're working on a midgets computer. Took me 15 minutes to write a paragraph due to constantly hitting the wrong keys. Lining it up against my keyboard right now it's about 2/3rds the size of a "full size" keyboard.