Specsheet Shootout: Surface Pro vs Surface RT

The pre-orders are open, the advertisements have been released and Surface RT is awaiting for your hard earned cash. But, if you are like many of us, you may be holding out for the Surface Pro and want to see a detailed spec breakdown between the RT and Pro version; we have the handy graphic you have been waiting to see.

The spec sheet breaks down the two tablets and will give you the best look yet at the less talked about brother of Surface RT, Surface Pro. The Surface Pro will pack under its VaporMg casing a 3rd Gen Intel Core i5 Processor with Intel HD Graphics 4000, come in 64 and 128 GB flavors, 4 GB of RAM and it will weigh less than 2 lbs.  

You can also tell from the graphic above that the Surface Pro will be noticeably thicker than the RT. This shouldn't come as a major surprise as you get a lot more for your money when compared to the RT variant.

The question remains, will you jump on the RT version now or will you hold off for the Pro model?

Thanks for the tip Surface Evangelist!

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I like the look of the Surface Pro as it has industry standard components similar to that of current notebooks! I like familiarity Does anyone know when Angry Birds for Windows Modern UI store is coming out? Nearly said Metro but forgot I can't call it that anymore

Bet you were wondering when Angry Birds would get mentioned, weren't you guys? It'd look a dream on the Surface hardware

Tidosho said,
I like the look of the Surface Pro as it has industry standard components similar to that of current notebooks! I like familiarity Does anyone know when Angry Birds for Windows Modern UI store is coming out? Nearly said Metro but forgot I can't call it that anymore

Bet you were wondering when Angry Birds would get mentioned, weren't you guys? It'd look a dream on the Surface hardware

I don't see how Mini Display Port is industry standard. Mini or full HDMI is far more useful.

migo said,

I don't see how Mini Display Port is industry standard. Mini or full HDMI is far more useful.

It may be more useful because of its rise in HD TVs but DisplayPort is the industry standard because it can handle higher resolutions than HDMI, which can at max carry 1080x1920 but then again it can carry audio and in some variants Ethernet so I guess they had to make a decision on which would be best overall and they went with displayport for all the projectors etc out there!

I emailed Steve Ballmer earlier saying that if it was £350GBP *WITH* surface cover I'd have sold my Nexus 7 & took the plunge on a Surface RT.

Just not meant to be.

No GPS? No 3G option? Too bad
I guess I will get an Atom Tablet with Keyboard Dock and 3G/LTE.
3G is an essential requirement for me

NXTwoThou said,
Same for my boss. Its tough even finding an ultrabook that's got cell on it.

Its common on 5-7" UMPC's through a mini pci card or a express card (for gps and 3g) some of the cards can be flashed for voice calls.

Oguz said,
No GPS and NFC damn.

They stated they couldn't do GPS/NFC with the magnesium case.. so there are tradeoffs, but i'll sure as hell take durability over something i'll have on my phone

At least there's USB 2 so hopefully there's gps receiver that can be plugged in. I am sure there's NFC receiver hardware somewhere (I think). I thought finding location is always through wireless carrier by triangulation. GPS is too darn slow IMO unless of course dedicated one like Garmin.

Oguz said,
No GPS and NFC damn.

minster11 said,
At least there's USB 2 so hopefully there's gps receiver that can be plugged in. I am sure there's NFC receiver hardware somewhere (I think). I thought finding location is always through wireless carrier by triangulation. GPS is too darn slow IMO unless of course dedicated one like Garmin.

Triangulation is only used in emergencies and I'm pretty sure its not legal to use any kind of triagulation technique in phones these days. Anyhow A-GPS is far more accurate and once you've connected to 5 satellitess there should be very little latency!

Oguz said,
No GPS and NFC damn.

NFC is done with Bluetooth in addition to specialized NFC secure chipsets. Microsoft's demonstrations earlier this year with WP8 and NFC tapping to a Windows 8 tablet was done over Bluetooth, as the specialized NFC type chipset is not needed.

Well ok maybe not triangulation, but it has something to do with cell tower always tries to phone home (insert smartphone here). GPS is accurate only if you are outdoor, not indoor.

ingramator said,

Triangulation is only used in emergencies and I'm pretty sure its not legal to use any kind of triagulation technique in phones these days. Anyhow A-GPS is far more accurate and once you've connected to 5 satellitess there should be very little latency!


iPad keyboard is $69 and smart cover is $49. You kidding right?

the_gank said,
For the life of me, I can't understand why the keyboards are $119 and $129 a piece.

Windows RT has only 5 multi-touch points compared to Surface Pro? Being that Windows RT is the touch-friendly version of Windows 8, why doesn't it have more touch points?

A340600 said,
Windows RT has only 5 multi-touch points compared to Surface Pro? Being that Windows RT is the touch-friendly version of Windows 8, why doesn't it have more touch points?

processing power limitation?

A340600 said,
Windows RT has only 5 multi-touch points compared to Surface Pro? Being that Windows RT is the touch-friendly version of Windows 8, why doesn't it have more touch points?

I guess they feel 5 is enough. I cant imagine needing 10 unless playing a multiplayer game on one tablet.

majortom1981 said,

I guess they feel 5 is enough. I cant imagine needing 10 unless playing a multiplayer game on one tablet.

How about a Piano app?

A340600 said,
Windows RT has only 5 multi-touch points compared to Surface Pro? Being that Windows RT is the touch-friendly version of Windows 8, why doesn't it have more touch points?

1) They are both the 'touch friendly' version of Windows 8. There is no difference. One has an ARM CPU and the other has a much faster x86 CPU. I feel bad that the technology press has let people like you down by conflating information that leaves people believing there is a difference. **

2) I agree the lower end device should have more touch points, but these are 'active' touch points, which is different from 'detection' touch points. You will see the iPad and other devices say they have several touch points, but they are not active touch points. So you can keep 'adding' new touch points, up to like 11 on an iPad, but it can only track 4 or 5 of them at time.


**(Windows RT is restricted artificially to only acquire new 'Apps' through the Windows App Store or via Enterprise deployment. Since the CPU is different, it cannot run existing x86 software unless the developer recompiles and releases it for Windows RT.)

thenetavenger said,

1) They are both the 'touch friendly' version of Windows 8. There is no difference. One has an ARM CPU and the other has a much faster x86 CPU. I feel bad that the technology press has let people like you down by conflating information that leaves people believing there is a difference.

No I meant "touch-friendly" as in Windows RT apps, aside from Office, are made mainly for touch, so it should have more than 5 touch points. Windows 8 desktop might have touch, but like Windows 7, it is not a touch OS, so why does it have more touch points than the version of the OS that's made for touch.

Richard Cousins said,
What are the graphics like for the RT? Could I play 720p video with ease?

It should play videos up to 1080p with no problem

I was curious about it too, then I noticed the important line about not including windows media player nor media center. So the question comes up, can I download and watch videos on it? What codecs are going to be included? I was also wondering if we could use our line-of-business WinForm .NET app but can't find any clear answer if it could run or not. Lots of things that don't seem to have clear cut answers straight from Microsoft. Mostly due to the retarded naming structure. You want to find "Windows RT" but all you find is "WinRT", which are not the same thing at all. They could have done something simple like Windows 8x(intel/AMD x32/x64) and Windows 8m(arm) or something with the WinRT being the new programming model that works on both. Then I could easily look up "Windows 8M WinForms" and be done with it.

NXTwoThou said,
I was curious about it too, then I noticed the important line about not including windows media player nor media center. So the question comes up, can I download and watch videos on it? What codecs are going to be included? I was also wondering if we could use our line-of-business WinForm .NET app but can't find any clear answer if it could run or not. Lots of things that don't seem to have clear cut answers straight from Microsoft. Mostly due to the retarded naming structure. You want to find "Windows RT" but all you find is "WinRT", which are not the same thing at all. They could have done something simple like Windows 8x(intel/AMD x32/x64) and Windows 8m(arm) or something with the WinRT being the new programming model that works on both. Then I could easily look up "Windows 8M WinForms" and be done with it.

Codecs will be tricky as they are not included and not nearly as extensive as Windows 7 where Microsoft licensed a ton of them for users. (Especially with the Google/Motorola crap that tried to get the Xbox banned by trying to revoke their portion of the MPEG license.)

However, the device is capable of HD 1080p and does support several codecs. I don't have the info in front of me, but a good test would be, can WP7 play it? As it can inherently play more codecs than Android or iOS, it should also be a good test for what Windows RT includes.

neufuse said,
Do either of them come with a built in GPS sensor that doesn't require a cellular network card in it?

No GPS on both model... That sucks....

neufuse said,
Do either of them come with a built in GPS sensor that doesn't require a cellular network card in it?

I was curious about that too.

neufuse said,
Do either of them come with a built in GPS sensor that doesn't require a cellular network card in it?

Indeed. Without GPS/cellular there isn't really a reason to buy any of these. That's a deal breaking feature compared to the iPad.

Anyone have more information on this or options for adding it?

And no, a USB3.0 dongle won't cut it...

excalpius said,

Indeed. Without GPS/cellular there isn't really a reason to buy any of these. That's a deal breaking feature compared to the iPad.

They announced that there will be no models with 3G at launch. And since today's GPS in devices is mostly assisted GPS, that means that wi-fi only models are left without it. Same as the iPad.

excalpius said,

Indeed. Without GPS/cellular there isn't really a reason to buy any of these. That's a deal breaking feature compared to the iPad.

Anyone have more information on this or options for adding it?

And no, a USB3.0 dongle won't cut it...

Seriously, you would rather have a tablet with 1/50th the features and 1/20th the performance just so you don't have to use WiFi, or tether it to your phone you already have in your pocket?

BTW
USB Adapters are not that bad, especially since you CAN ADD one, which is not possible with the iPad. You can even add a tiny GPS adaptor if you don't want Cellular connectivity.


I remember PS3 fans saying they wouldn't buy the Xbox 360 because the Wifi adapter was separate. Then as G was replaced with N, the PS3 users were left behind, and Xbox 360 owners just slapped a new N adapter on their console.

Besides these are NOT BIG CELL PHONES, these are actual COMPUTERS.

neufuse said,
Do either of them come with a built in GPS sensor that doesn't require a cellular network card in it?

I just checked and it seems that some people say it has one and others say that it doesn't!!

I'm kind of suprised neither has NFC. there was a big demo of Win8 and WP8 interacting through NFC at the dev con last year

gohatters said,
I'm kind of suprised neither has NFC. there was a big demo of Win8 and WP8 interacting through NFC at the dev con last year
NFC isn't catching on for computers/tablets

gohatters said,
I'm kind of suprised neither has NFC. there was a big demo of Win8 and WP8 interacting through NFC at the dev con last year

That is odd.. I do remember those demos of nfc capabilities.

gohatters said,
I'm kind of suprised neither has NFC. there was a big demo of Win8 and WP8 interacting through NFC at the dev con last year

The demo you are speaking of is NFC, and it uses Bluetooth. Since both Surface tablets, and we will assume all other Windows 8 tablets will have Bluetooth, there shouldn't be a problem.

Using a Tablet for a NFC purchase would be a bit cumbersome, and would be surprising considering the security required that needs connectivity, which a tablet cannot always be guaranteed it will have, even with a Cellular adapter.


thenetavenger said,

The demo you are speaking of is NFC, and it uses Bluetooth. Since both Surface tablets, and we will assume all other Windows 8 tablets will have Bluetooth, there shouldn't be a problem.

Using a Tablet for a NFC purchase would be a bit cumbersome, and would be surprising considering the security required that needs connectivity, which a tablet cannot always be guaranteed it will have, even with a Cellular adapter.

gotcha. thanks

simplezz said,

Yeah, that'll run Crysis for sure.. /s

And can you run it on Android, the OS you claim that every single device can be upgraded to the latest version?

simplezz said,

Yeah, that'll run Crysis for sure.. /s

As others have pointed out, it is very capable of running Crysis 2, and even some of the latest game releases this year, including MoP/WoW and Guild Wars 2.

Want to see a comparable system running Crysis 2 at 30fps, here...
http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=cJM9bmhhWDE


Sure the Intel HD4000 is not the worlds greatest GPU, but it a step up from Intel's previous generations of junk, and even a nice boost from the HD3000.

I'm not going to argue that games are going to run at 1080p, but people should be able to count on 720p for games at the very least.

In context even at 720p @ 30fps with DX11, it is going to be producing higher quality graphics than an Xbox 360 (or PS3) and doing so on a light tablet.

For additional context, compare a DX11 game with the low quality mobile engines running on the crippled OpenGL ES like Android and iOS are running on comparable tablets. They aren't even hitting PS1/PS2 level graphics, and out of the gate, Windows 8 has tablets flipping out DX11 2012 quality graphics in games that can be installed on day one.


As titles appear for Windows RT devices, the NVidia GPU in them will do nicely, and again since it includes the full Windows frameworks, including DirectX it won't be limited to restricted 'mobile' engines and will produce games far beyond Android or iOS running on the same level ARM hardware.

The Unreal and Havok engine demos out for Windows RT and Windows Phone 8 are already beyond anything Android or iOS will be capable of for several years.


However, Windows RT aside, just focusing on Windows 8 Pro on a device like the Surface Pro is impressive and offering graphical gaming that is beyond what was anticipated for another year or two.

(Look at the Sony gaming work with Android, it is rather sad in comparison, and this is because they did not think there would be DX11 class gaming on tablets let alone full and fluid DX9 gaming on Phones in the year 2012.)

One thing I noticed was originally they said RT would support SDHC, while pro would be SDXC. Now they both have SDXC.

nohone said,
One thing I noticed was originally they said RT would support SDHC, while pro would be SDXC. Now they both have SDXC.

I noticed that as well! Not complaining at all!! You could boost the storage up another 32GB without buying the 64 version!

'You can also tell from the graphic above that the Surface Pro will be noticeably thicker than the RT' going from .37 to .53 is not really all that much thicker, special with how much more you are getting.

thejohnnyq said,
'You can also tell from the graphic above that the Surface Pro will be noticeably thicker than the RT' going from .37 to .53 is not really all that much thicker, special with how much more you are getting.

Thicker and heavier. To be honest, I think the pro will be too heavy considering that it will weigh more than a kilogram once you add a touch cover.

jakem1 said,

Thicker and heavier. To be honest, I think the pro will be too heavy considering that it will weigh more than a kilogram once you add a touch cover.

2 pounds is 906 grams. If the spec says it will weight less than 2 pounds, it will be less than a kilogram (I think I read somewhere that it would weight 850 grams, but I'm not sure).

jakem1 said,

Thicker and heavier. To be honest, I think the pro will be too heavy considering that it will weigh more than a kilogram once you add a touch cover.

Oh no! Not 2+ pounds! 8P

Seriously, the Pro replaces my waste of money iPad toy AND my much heavier Sony laptop with a 2+ pound touch alternative. Count me in 100%.

"You can also tell from the graphic above that the Surface Pro will be noticeably thicker than the RT. This shouldn't come as a major surprise as you get a lot more for your money when compared to the RT variant."

The battery is larger so that is probably one of the reasons the Pro Surface is thicker.

[quote=The battery is larger so that is probably one of the reasons the Pro Surface is thicker.[/quote]

Intel are a bit thicker than Arm. This is true of both their processors and their management.

Skwerl said,
Ordered an RT this morning, but I strongly suspect it will be heading to Craigslist in January.

lol i agree.
rt for the holidays, then the pro for new year.

Brian Miller said,
I wonder why they haven't released the Pro version yet.

Likely because Intel can't make enough chips to meet demand over Xmas. The Pro looks like it will definitely be the next big thing. If MS hogs the Intel chip market it will p*ss off the other OEMs.

And Intel had the cheek to say W8 isn't ready for market.

Well that sucks I was really hoping since the final group policy sheet came out which mentions Windows RT on all the new settings it would have group policy support, So if you want group policy or domain join their offering is pretty much the same as what we allready had for the last 3-4 years through oem's ie a hot power hungry processor coupled with **** poor intel integrated graphics.

As for the battery life i can guess...

I hope at least the RT version can use WSUS (cant see any they reason they deployed updates for it)

TPreston said,
Well that sucks I was really hoping since the final group policy sheet came out which mentions Windows RT on all the new settings it would have group policy support, So if you want group policy or domain join their offering is pretty much the same as what we allready had for the last 3-4 years through oem's ie a hot power hungry processor coupled with **** poor intel integrated graphics.

As for the battery life i can guess...

I hope at least the RT version can use WSUS (cant see any they reason they deployed updates for it)

ON wsus there is a setting to select windows rt for updates.

TPreston said,
Well that sucks I was really hoping since the final group policy sheet came out which mentions Windows RT on all the new settings it would have group policy support, So if you want group policy or domain join their offering is pretty much the same as what we allready had for the last 3-4 years through oem's ie a hot power hungry processor coupled with **** poor intel integrated graphics.

As for the battery life i can guess...

I hope at least the RT version can use WSUS (cant see any they reason they deployed updates for it)

Whoa...

You need to really rethink the purpose the Windows RT device and why you would need for it join the active directory domain.

This is where IT people are really not getting something important.

This is a user tablet, that can be controlled, and authenticated and managed through active directory without 'joining' the domain.

You have no need for the DEVICE to be a part of the Domain.

This is the difference between device and user level security, and even though the DEVICE cannot be a domain member, the user logging on the network through the device can and still would be a DOMAIN MEMBER.

Stop thinking in terms of Client Domain security/management and instead think User.

With Windows RT you can still apply policy to 'users' and have full control of their authentication and what they can do and not do while using logged in via their domain account.

If there is some out of scope reason you need users on Windows RT tablets to be running Domain managed x86 software, you need them using Terminal Services, as your company software is NOT going to run on the ARM devices.

If you do have corporate software that you are going to distribute that is using Modern/Metro x86/ARM based Apps, these are still controlled by your network and are locked and domain controlled via the User account.


'Computer domain relationships' are irrelevant when you only need to be worried about 'User domain relationships', which work just fine on Windows RT.

Make sense?

I really want, but I really want to wait for Pro. Whats the word on when thats coming? Any guesses on price? Cheaper or more than Rt?

MikeInBA said,
I really want, but I really want to wait for Pro. Whats the word on when thats coming? Any guesses on price? Cheaper or more than Rt?

Cheaper? Oh, silly guy!

MikeInBA said,
I really want, but I really want to wait for Pro. Whats the word on when thats coming? Any guesses on price? Cheaper or more than Rt?

Hahahaha! Cheaper? You're funny.

I bet 1099 on Pro.

MikeInBA said,
I really want, but I really want to wait for Pro. Whats the word on when thats coming? Any guesses on price? Cheaper or more than Rt?

lol, why would you think it's cheaper?
it's clearly superior, besides the microphone part.

Metka said,
Does anyone know how much of the 32 gigs is used up by the OS?

Yes, that's what I want to know too. Unfortunately MS don't have any details on their website.

Metka said,
Does anyone know how much of the 32 gigs is used up by the OS?

~21 gigs free/useable last i heard. (thats with OS / Office & Installed apps)

Surface Pro really should have cellular network connectivity. Rest of it beats iPad. Display resolution is slightly lower but that's okay. I don't want to waste a USB port and battery life on a mobile network USB dongle.

MsftGaurav said,
Surface Pro really should have cellular network connectivity. Rest of it beats iPad. Display resolution is slightly lower but that's okay. I don't want to waste a USB port and battery life on a mobile network USB dongle.

The price is going to be much much higher than the iPad though. It makes sense to compare the RT to the iPad, but not the Pro. Just saying.

Isn't the display the majority of the thing you view the most? Yea, that beats iPad...

MsftGaurav said,
Surface Pro really should have cellular network connectivity. Rest of it beats iPad. Display resolution is slightly lower but that's okay. I don't want to waste a USB port and battery life on a mobile network USB dongle.

MsftGaurav said,
Surface Pro really should have cellular network connectivity. Rest of it beats iPad. Display resolution is slightly lower but that's okay. I don't want to waste a USB port and battery life on a mobile network USB dongle.

Just enable wifi tethering on the phone you probably have with you

MsftGaurav said,
Surface Pro really should have cellular network connectivity. Rest of it beats iPad. Display resolution is slightly lower but that's okay. I don't want to waste a USB port and battery life on a mobile network USB dongle.

Um, ok if it had integrated Cellular connectivity, you would STILL BE WASTING battery life on the Mobile Network device, as they are just hooked in through internal USB port.

As for losing the external port, buy a $5 tiny hub if you really need more ports. (Something you can't do with an iPad)

With the iPad and Android tablets, YOU CANNOT LATER add Cellular to the devices, because of the platform constraints and lack of driver/ports. So you are knocking a product because it has flexibility that the iPad does not.

So a tiny Cell Dongle is not really a bad thing, and considering most people have Cell phones with WiFi tethering, not a big issue for them.

PS Look for other 'brands' of Windows 8 tablets to offer Cellular 'integrated' versions, and even Carrier branded Windows 8 tablets.

These are 'computers' not BIG phones or simplistic tablets.

The Pro version is close to the same size and weight as the iPad, and yet it can literally run Photoshop, AutoCad, and yes it can even run Crysis 2 the day you buy it, at 30fps.

MsftGaurav said,
Surface Pro really should have cellular network connectivity. Rest of it beats iPad. Display resolution is slightly lower but that's okay. I don't want to waste a USB port and battery life on a mobile network USB dongle.

We've gone through this guys, MS has said that cellular networks won't work because of the magnesium!! Their would be too much interference, this also effects GPS!

The specs are quite good actually. Did anyone notice that the pro has only one microphone while the RT has two? Quite strange.

Asrokhel said,
Why doesn't the Windows 8 Pro version have two microphones?

It's the fans I tells ya, the fans...... ggsszzzzzzzzzzsshhhhsssshhhhh....

Jojo Andoh said,
I've ordered the RT, I got office I'm ok with that

Same. I want the RT. I like the fact I get office for free and that there is NO FANS! For once, Windows PC without hot fans.

Jojo Andoh said,
I've ordered the RT, I got office I'm ok with that

Me too. RT has way more portability and Free MS Office 2013. Also I think the Apps will increase once Windows 8 releases.

Jojo Andoh said,
I've ordered the RT, I got office I'm ok with that

Same with me. Pre-ordered two for christmas. One for me and one for my niece. I'd wait for the pro, but that's in january...

Nazmus Shakib Khandaker said,

Same. I want the RT. I like the fact I get office for free and that there is NO FANS! For once, Windows PC without hot fans.


What does the "Preview" mean? Is this like a Trial, or is it a preview because the final isn't released yet?

dodgetigger said,

What does the "Preview" mean? Is this like a Trial, or is it a preview because the final isn't released yet?

Pre-release to be updated to full version when available. Office 2013 hasn't been released yet.