Hands On: Windows RT Surface

Microsoft just got done unveiling its best kept secret in years and we got a few minutes with the device and came away modestly impressed. 

We got to play with the RT version of the tablet and it feels like it was carved from a rock. All around, it was sturdy, showed little flex in the casing, and was simply a rock solid piece of hardware. 

A nice little touch is that if you attach a blue Touch Cover to the device, it will change the theme to match the cover. Additionally, the kickstand was magnificent and did not feel flimsy by any means. 

Microsoft also went all out by dropping a little bit of water on to the tablet. As you might expect, the water balled up and rolled right off. Microsoft said that it will handle grubby fingers with ease and apparently even tested it with ketchup and mustard. 

The touch cover felt good in the hands and typing was a good experience in general, firm, responsive keys mended nicely to your fingertips.

To be blunt, we have never felt a tablet as sturdy as this one and that includes the iPad. It is quite a masculine tablet with its chiseled edges and gunmetal covering and we walked away impressed, ready to buy. 

Our time with the tablet was quite brief and we should note that until we get time to spend a few days with the device, we can't give it a proper review. 

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has to be 500$ for me to consider this. with another 75 for the keyboard. Otherwise too expensive. Rather get me a tablet. or for a bit more. an ultrabook.

mmmmmyummmy I'm planning on buying one (and possibly some for relatives too - suspecting that Metro Windows 8 on tablets will cut their help calls in half at least if the x86 ones are available during the holiday season

this looks amazing, i just fear it may turn out like the zune hd- awesome for enthusiasts, but nothing special for anybody else who already has their eyes set on Apple products

If I ever buy a tablet device then its going to be this year and its going to be called surface. USB is a great move, a keyboard is great - just wish storage capacity was at the stage where I could carry everything I have on my desktop PC on the Surface.. a backup device and a portable PC all in one. Hopefully this is the beginning of that. Apple, Google and other competitors offer different features, and Im happy about that. We need to keep hardware/software manufactures on their toes!!!

Microsoft Surface is just gorgeous looking hardware. Beautiful looking software. I have an iPad which is next to useless to me for business. Microsoft Surface brings the best of consumer and business functionality together into one device. Nice!

Here's what I was able to puzzle together from the comments in the presentation so far:

'Surface RT'
Runs on Nvidia chipset, Assume Tegra
32 and 64GB version
10inch Cleartype HD screen 16:9,1366x768 resolution
USB 2.0 used for charging but can also be used for external devices
HDMI out


'Surface Pro'
3rd gen i5 Intel chipset Ivy Bridge
64 and 128 GB versions
10inch Cleartype FullHD screen 16:9, 1920x1080
USB 3.0 port
Displayport out for larger resolutions on external screen

Pricing (I'm guessing here)
RT $499 for the 32 and $579 for the 64 GB version
PRO $949 for the 64 GB and $1199 for the 128 GB
The covers; $149 for the touch and $249 for the tactile

Edited by paulheu, Jun 19 2012, 9:46pm :

Pricing (I'm guessing here)
RT $499 for the 32 and $579 for the 64 GB version
PRO $949 for the 64 GB and $1199 for the 128 GB
The covers; $149 for the touch and $249 for the tactile

Ehhrm, I am in the UK so that would be pounds, not US$
Just glad I am not in sales..

I am actually looking forward to this and the top of the line Intel and Windows 8 Pro model. I currently have a Windows 7 main PC which is my main file server and I also work from home on it. I have a laptop which I did load Windows 8 on. And while I like it, I rarely use my laptop anymore. For mobile, I use my Android phone (Samsung Skyrocket) and my ASUS Transformer Prime tablet with keyboard dock. But I always felt empty when using my tablet as it was excellent at consuming media but I never felt really productive with it. Since I do have to often use the full version of Office, and code in VBA, Lightswitch and VB.NET, I've been really wanting a Windows tablet that will give me the best of both worlds. Looks like the SURFACE will meet that need! Microsoft, MARKET this thing like CRAZY!!!!

Looks very impressive. They really need to push this and market it as well as Apple does with the iPad for it to have any chance. I hope they release it in more than 1 country for launch.

From someone who has been completely disinterested in what Microsoft brings to market I must say this tablet is quite beautiful and I love the form factor.

Nice one MS

Its funny because I was just telling Hell-In-A-Handbasket yesterday that I was going for the Dell tablet unless Microsoft came out with its own and viola there it is.

Its simple if you bang the ipad against something you just made a dent in your sheeple investment Ewuuu you won't be cool and hip anymore have to get a new one this looks like it won't dent

If something was to come along and give the iPad some serious competition, then THIS IS IT! it will likely come down to price anyway, if it's too expensive it wont even get a look in.. regardless of how good the device is it's always going to have a hard time coming in to the market so late, if you can't beat the ipad price point it's going to be even harder.

They should make a black version of the touch covers. The Current black one is the key version (not touch) and is thicker than the touch cover.

Brian Miller said,
They should make a black version of the touch covers. The Current black one is the key version (not touch) and is thicker than the touch cover.

Take a look at image 11 of this article... it's the last image. Black Touch Cover.

Image 8 is obviously the black Type Cover.

mutualcore said,
I think Microsoft has been reborn as of June 18th, 2012. That day will be long remembered as the turning point.

I've seen people say the same thing when Microsoft released the Zune.

I don't know about you guys, but I always loved MS hardware, being it mouses, keyboards, webcams, etc. I have a MS mouse, for example, that still works without any issue after 6 years. Obviously, I can't compare a mouse with a tablet, but I have a very strong feeling that these babies will sell themselves.

"Surface". I wonder how long it took them to discover that name. Very original. They should have called it "Flat Surface" to go with Windows 8's "flat" Windows theme Metro. It will be "curtains" for Microsoft if they cannot sell "Windows" 8. Get it "curtains and Windows". I'v'e only scratched the "surface", or should I say "flat surface". He He!!.

jedimasterk said,
"Surface". I wonder how long it took them to discover that name. Very original. They should have called it "Flat Surface" to go with Windows 8's "flat" Windows theme Metro. It will be "curtains" for Microsoft if they cannot sell "Windows" 8. Get it "curtains and Windows". I'v'e only scratched the "surface", or should I say "flat surface". He He!!.

lame. surface is not new to microsoft, and this is their surface tablet.

jedimasterk said,
"Surface". I wonder how long it took them to discover that name. Very original.

Microsoft Surface is the name of another Microsoft product, now called Microsoft PixelSense. The first Microsoft Surface product was released in 2008... it's a well established brand name.

jedimasterk said,
"Surface". I wonder how long it took them to discover that name. Very original. They should have called it "Flat Surface" to go with Windows 8's "flat" Windows theme Metro. It will be "curtains" for Microsoft if they cannot sell "Windows" 8. Get it "curtains and Windows". I'v'e only scratched the "surface", or should I say "flat surface". He He!!.

Ignore the haters, that was actually pretty good

It doesn't look like the keyboard can fold away behind the device. Do you have to take it on and off when you're on the go? Seems like it will become an annoying accessory that you have to carry around with you.

I read in some other site that it has some smart software and a built in accelerometer to detect when you are resting your palm or other hand positions to figure out when you are actually typing versus say you just have it folded behind the back.

Danielr0y said,
It doesn't look like the keyboard can fold away behind the device. Do you have to take it on and off when you're on the go? Seems like it will become an annoying accessory that you have to carry around with you.

At one point during the show, I think it was the Design guy, he folded it to the back and mentioned something about an accelerometer within the cover that de-activates the keyboard

georgevella said,

At one point during the show, I think it was the Design guy, he folded it to the back and mentioned something about an accelerometer within the cover that de-activates the keyboard

yes the keyboard can fold around and deactivate when doing this.

jedimasterk said,
They could have had one up on Apple if they would have made it as thin as rice paper.

People still would have claimed that it was thicker than the iPad.

rfirth said,

People still would have claimed that it was thicker than the iPad.

No, Apple would have claimed that iPad was thinner.

Quote: " It is quite a masculine tablet with its chiseled edges and gunmetal covering and we walked away impressed, ready to buy."

Yeah the ones with the pink and red keyboards look real masculine!

jedimasterk said,
Quote: " It is quite a masculine tablet with its chiseled edges and gunmetal covering and we walked away impressed, ready to buy."

Yeah the ones with the pink and red keyboards look real masculine!

Yeah I kinda found that weird too, and made me wonder if the author plays for the other team

Stup0t said,
I wonder how many hipsters on my morning train to work will have one of these

Not very many. Hipsters are allergic to Microsoft.

Lets face it Ipad iOS and even Anrdroid are toy operating systems. WIndows 8 on x86 is real operating system. Yes its really 2 Operating connected ever so slightly but never the less its probable the best solution out there. Android is fragmented mess. ICS has what 4-7% of android market. iOS 6 has really stagnated. Not much real innovation.

Melfster said,
Lets face it Ipad iOS and even Anrdroid are toy operating systems. WIndows 8 on x86 is real operating system. Yes its really 2 Operating connected ever so slightly but never the less its probable the best solution out there. Android is fragmented mess. ICS has what 4-7% of android market. iOS 6 has really stagnated. Not much real innovation.

Toy operating systems? I don't think so.
To keep some credibility, you could use "phone operating systems".

TheCyberKnight said,

Toy operating systems? I don't think so.
To keep some credibility, you could use "phone operating systems".


When I say Toy operating systems I am including Windows Phone, the Metro part of WIndows 8, android. and iOS

Melfster said,

When I say Toy operating systems I am including Windows Phone, the Metro part of WIndows 8, android. and iOS

Even then..still wrong. They are far from toy OSes. Things like ReactOS and the like...now those are toy OSes.

SharpGreen said,

Even then..still wrong. They are far from toy OSes. Things like ReactOS and the like...now those are toy OSes.

So you call them phone operating systems even though ipad is not a phone or android tablet is not a phone a Windows RT tablet is not a phone.?

This all revolves around geeks wanting to look cool. In the real world however consumers have shown they're not interested in running heavy desktop apps on tablets simply because the experience is extremely poor.

geez. microsoft are really desperate this time.

a ploy by microsoft to promote windows 8. nothing more. microsoft has never been really sincere in their effort to support hardwares for their windows platform. the reason is obvious.

good luck to all the buffoons drooling over this little marketing toys.

Oh damn, Microsoft is promoting its own products. What's up with that nonsense?

I was really hoping today's big announcement would be Office for iPad!

Albert said,
geez. microsoft are really desperate this time.

a ploy by microsoft to promote windows 8. nothing more. microsoft has never been really sincere in their effort to support hardwares for their windows platform. the reason is obvious.

good luck to all the buffoons drooling over this little marketing toys.

Yeah totally agree, advertising and bigging up your own hardware is a total 100% sign of desperation. Oh dam M$ you look sooooooo desperate, with your advertising and promoting nonsense.

/s

Albert said,
geez. microsoft are really desperate this time.

a ploy by microsoft to promote windows 8. nothing more. microsoft has never been really sincere in their effort to support hardwares for their windows platform. the reason is obvious.

good luck to all the buffoons drooling over this little marketing toys.

double post!

Albert said,
geez. microsoft are really desperate this time.

a ploy by microsoft to promote windows 8. nothing more. microsoft has never been really sincere in their effort to support hardwares for their windows platform. the reason is obvious.

good luck to all the buffoons drooling over this little marketing toys.

lol whut?

GS:ios

Enron said,
Oh damn, Microsoft is promoting its own products. What's up with that nonsense?

I was really hoping today's big announcement would be Office for iPad!

Agreed. And from my experience Microsoft supports hardware pretty well... Not really sure what he's getting at.

M_Lyons10 said,

Agreed. And from my experience Microsoft supports hardware pretty well... Not really sure what he's getting at.


Microsoft make a lot of hardware and invest a lot of money into bringing other hardware to everything. MS releasing this tablet is to make sure oems don't **** around and make crap stuff, MS wants good products for the software and this is telling oems to smarten up

Albert said,
geez. microsoft are really desperate this time.

a ploy by microsoft to promote windows 8. nothing more. microsoft has never been really sincere in their effort to support hardwares for their windows platform. the reason is obvious.

good luck to all the buffoons drooling over this little marketing toys.


"the reason is obvious" - what reason is that? the only one I can think of off the top of my head is that MS doesn't want to anger their OEM partners. if that's what you're talking about, i'd suppose that there's a reason they're releasing the Pro model 3 months after the RT one - enough time to give HP/Dell/etc. a head start in the market, so they at least have a chance against the Surface.

I was personally extremely impressed with the Surface - after watching the video Neowin posted up I'm planning on buying the x86 version the day it comes out (that's assuming, of course, that I don't see something from HP or someone I like better ;D)...if we're drooling over the marketing toys, isn't that a good thing for Microsoft? (I mean, they're going to sell them, so even if they're "marketing toys" why not let them take our money for an actually pretty nice device?) sorry if I'm missing something (or did you forget a /s somewhere?), but your points just don't make sense to me

Hilarious, this dude's living in the past. Of course MS is catching. It is a game changer, as will all the other Win8/RT Tablets. I have an iPad 2 which I barely use and want one of these now and will never look back at the iPad.

Will be much more manageable in the corporate environment which will make our IT staff's life easier.

It's a game changer alright. I have issues with Metro on a desktop PC, but on a tablet and Phone, hell yeah!

That's coming from a guy who is an Apple cheerleader (check his past articles), always recommending and praising Apple over the competition.

He also recommended buying Facebook stock, so I really trust his advice.

jedimasterk said,
"Microsoft Win8 Tablet is NOT a Game Changer- Forbes"

http://www.forbes.com/sites/ad...blet-is-not-a-game-changer/

I'd have to agree that it isn't a game changer. I doubt it'll put a dent in the iPad sales to your average consumers. So it has a keyboard? Average consumer won't really care. So you can run desktop programs? Average consumer really doesn't care.

iPad's are toys and they'll stay that way.

Now being a tech person, I'm all over the pro version of this, since I have a true tablet (tablet PC) and I need a new one!

I never brought an ipad for myself because it doesn't run my pc applications and it was locked with no upgrade path after 2-3 years.
Now we have a good tablet which given Microsoft's OS will have a long life and run my PC applications. That in mind is a real huge game changer.
Then again if the x86 version is locked its a no go for me.

jedimasterk said,
"Microsoft Win8 Tablet is NOT a Game Changer- Forbes"

http://www.forbes.com/sites/ad...blet-is-not-a-game-changer/

That guy makes several mistakes in that article. I don't think he really knows what he's talking about. For example:


Not Even Nokia could make Windows mobile

People are moving to the mobility provided by apps, cloud services and the really easy to use interface on modern mobile devices. Market leading cell phone maker Nokia decided it needed to enter smartphones, and did so by wholesale committing to Windows 7.

Windows 7? I don't like reading articles by people who don't know the difference between Windows Phone and Windows.

Besides, why bring Windows Phone into this? The tablet and PC market are completely different (as Google has found with it's venture into Android tablets).

rfirth said,

That guy makes several mistakes in that article. I don't think he really knows what he's talking about. For example:

Windows 7? I don't like reading articles by people who don't know the difference between Windows Phone and Windows.

Besides, why bring Windows Phone into this? The tablet and PC market are completely different (as Google has found with it's venture into Android tablets).

I don't think it is that he doesn't know the difference. The issue is Microsoft should have called it something else instead.

recursive said,

I don't think it is that he doesn't know the difference. The issue is Microsoft should have called it something else instead.

That's like the reason for American English to exist - JUST GET IT RIGHT DUMB ASSES

MorganX said,
Hilarious, this dude's living in the past. Of course MS is catching. It is a game changer, as will all the other Win8/RT Tablets. I have an iPad 2 which I barely use and want one of these now and will never look back at the iPad.

Will be much more manageable in the corporate environment which will make our IT staff's life easier.

It's a game changer alright. I have issues with Metro on a desktop PC, but on a tablet and Phone, hell yeah!

Agreed. It certainly is a game changer, and particularly in corporate environments should prove pretty popular among the IT departments... I think it's going to be huge.

And I also agree with your point on Metro.

article

A nice little touch is that if you attach a blue Touch Cover to the device, it will change the theme to match the cover. Additionally, the kickstand was magnificent and did not feel flimsy by any means.

So this means that Win 8 RTM will finally include a full black theme?

It's gorgeous! I'm not sure about the Windows RT version, specially with its low resolution, but the Windows 8 Pro version would be nice -- all depending on price, of course.

I also like the idea of that Touch Cover.

Zwolf said,
As I want one, I hope it doesn't price itself out of the market its going to be aimed at.

Which one do you want? there are 2 that will be priced wildly apart.

Zwolf said,
As I want one, I hope it doesn't price itself out of the market its going to be aimed at.

Yeah, I hope the pricing is good. I would like one myself.

thornz0 said,
what size (screen) is it?
Both the Surface (RT) and Surface "Pro" (8) have 10.6 inch displays. It is said that the Surface has a 1366x768 res and the Pro has 1920x1080.

thornz0 said,
what size (screen) is it?

Both are 10.6", but the Windows RT version is running at the lowest resolution for Windows 8 (13-something by 7-something -- I'm not interested in this version, so I don't bother with it) and the Windows 8 Pro version is running at 1080p.

Alladaskill17 said,
For a 'Hands on' article, its quite lacking, or did you not get time with the software?

Since people have been using Windows 8, Developer Build, Consumer Preview, Release Preview for almost a year now, why would they need to spend MORE time on the OS and the software that we already are using?

If you are REALLY curious, even you can download Windows 8 Release Preview and see how the 'software' works for yourself.

Windows 8 Pro and Windows 8 RT are the SAME Software/Operating System. The only difference with Windows RT is the artificial restrictions on what software can be loaded on the device, which can be a regular 'recompile for ARM' version of any software you use today, but Microsoft is asking developers to either create a new Metro UI for the software, or wrap the software in the Metro UI.

This means that literally ANY existing Windows software like Photoshop can be recompiled for Windows RT; however, Microsoft wants them to ensure it has a Metro UI, so that it fully works with Touch and all the gestures and principles of Touch.


I think people see Windows RT is the FULL version of Windows 8 NT, the only difference/restriction is that x86 has to be recompiled to run on the ARM processor, and Metro requirements Microsoft needs developers to respect to ensure touch is done right.


bdsams said,
They would yell at you if you played with the OS...not even kidding. Hardware only.

Did they say "hey, if you want to play with the OS, download the release preview yourself!"

bdsams said,
They would yell at you if you played with the OS...not even kidding. Hardware only.

Wow, talk about over protective haha. But we already know Windows 8 runs butter smooth on existing tablets, it will run the same or even better on this!

bdsams said,
They would yell at you if you played with the OS...not even kidding. Hardware only.

Just tell them "The screen is part of the hardware" i'm testing it out!

Edited by warwagon, Jun 19 2012, 3:45am :

thenetavenger said,

Since people have been using Windows 8, Developer Build, Consumer Preview, Release Preview for almost a year now, why would they need to spend MORE time on the OS and the software that we already are using?

If you are REALLY curious, even you can download Windows 8 Release Preview and see how the 'software' works for yourself.

Windows 8 Pro and Windows 8 RT are the SAME Software/Operating System. The only difference with Windows RT is the artificial restrictions on what software can be loaded on the device, which can be a regular 'recompile for ARM' version of any software you use today, but Microsoft is asking developers to either create a new Metro UI for the software, or wrap the software in the Metro UI.

This means that literally ANY existing Windows software like Photoshop can be recompiled for Windows RT; however, Microsoft wants them to ensure it has a Metro UI, so that it fully works with Touch and all the gestures and principles of Touch.


I think people see Windows RT is the FULL version of Windows 8 NT, the only difference/restriction is that x86 has to be recompiled to run on the ARM processor, and Metro requirements Microsoft needs developers to respect to ensure touch is done right.


Its also to make sure these devices live upto battery life expectancies relative to other ARM tablets (iPad etc.).

Forcing a metro rebuild is a good play for the ARM versions, theres far too much crappy software out there to give people a carte blanch option of simply recompiling for ARM and watching all battery and stability claims go out the window.

Its also a very good way of forking windows into a 'NEW' legacy free version while keeping businesses happy that it will run their old software 'x86' but still allow them to utilise the touch designed Metro apps.

thenetavenger said,

Since people have been using Windows 8, Developer Build, Consumer Preview, Release Preview for almost a year now, why would they need to spend MORE time on the OS and the software that we already are using?

If you are REALLY curious, even you can download Windows 8 Release Preview and see how the 'software' works for yourself.


seeing as tho many of the icons were changed in this version (the Surface version) and the RP I'm running, I'd be willing to say they are _not_ the same version (:

I want this. This is what I been waiting for all these years.
I am hoping there will be good RAM options (8GB at min) I am a big Vmware user -- need it for office work.

figgy said,
I want this. This is what I been waiting for all these years.
I am hoping there will be good RAM options (8GB at min) I am a big Vmware user -- need it for office work.

these aren't designed for you then... these are consumer play a few games do office type slates.. not workstations

neufuse said,

these aren't designed for you then... these are consumer play a few games do office type slates.. not workstations

They are designed for what he could be talking apart. They are made for businesses, not just casual people.

ccoltmanm said,

They are designed for what he could be talking apart. They are made for businesses, not just casual people.

Then expect to be using remote connection to virtualised servers that have the raw power to virutalise properly.

figgy said,
good RAM options (8GB at min)

LOL. more like 8 GB at max.

This isn't made for true power users. I'm certainly buying it for taking notes in class and writing Windows Phone apps though, my old tablet is old and fat!

Regardless of the comments, I will keep my fingers crossed though. 8 GB RAM is cheap nowadays so you never know.

For the record, 8 GB RAM is an IT standard for my org, given the kind of work we have to do is memory intensive rather than processor intensive. So Microsoft can expect a gigantic order.

figgy said,
Regardless of the comments, I will keep my fingers crossed though. 8 GB RAM is cheap nowadays so you never know.

For the record, 8 GB RAM is an IT standard for my org, given the kind of work we have to do is memory intensive rather than processor intensive. So Microsoft can expect a gigantic order.

I would hazard a guess and say it will come with 2 to 4 GB of memory, which is more than ample to do what you want on a tablet.

neufuse said,

these aren't designed for you then... these are consumer play a few games do office type slates.. not workstations

True for the Arm version, but the specs on the Intel version don't really apply those restrictions do they? Sure your VM hard disks would need to live externally but the specs on the device certainly wouldn't prohibit serious work.

figgy said,
I want this. This is what I been waiting for all these years.
I am hoping there will be good RAM options (8GB at min) I am a big Vmware user -- need it for office work.

the thing is that it need to be light, portable and with enough power to have a stable system, that means a light procesor, "low" RAM and enough battery. maybe in the future they will have muscle tablets

duddit2 said,

True for the Arm version, but the specs on the Intel version don't really apply those restrictions do they? Sure your VM hard disks would need to live externally but the specs on the device certainly wouldn't prohibit serious work.

If the VM disks need to live externally then you may as well use a Laptop or Desktop. Tablets are about convinence, mobility, lightness and tailored towards web browsing, document typing, watching videos. Not running virtual machines. And if you need to hook up an external hard drive then it's completely pointless. And I agree what others say. I think the RT version will come with 2GB and the Pro version with 2-4GB.

I'm quite surprised someone would even think about running a VM on a tablet.

Tony. said,

If the VM disks need to live externally then you may as well use a Laptop or Desktop. Tablets are about convinence, mobility, lightness and tailored towards web browsing, document typing, watching videos. Not running virtual machines. And if you need to hook up an external hard drive then it's completely pointless. And I agree what others say. I think the RT version will come with 2GB and the Pro version with 2-4GB.

I'm quite surprised someone would even think about running a VM on a tablet.

I was thinking the same. This isn't going to be a workplace replacement by any means. Particularly for something like that.

Hell-In-A-Handbasket said,
ill get one if its not absurdly expensive and more along the same prices as the iPad of same capacity

Same here. I would like a tablet, but money can only go so far... lol