Microsoft Goes the Tablet Way with Surface RT

When it comes to the numero uno spot in the tablet segment, Apple’s iPad range rules the roost without doubt. Many have tried in the past to topple Apple from its perch in this segment but to no avail. Microsoft, with an eye on Apple’ crown, has released its first tablet powered by the touch enabled Windows 8 OS. So what factors work in the Surface RT’s favor?

Surface; Cyan Touch Cover

Rugged Hardware Specifications

The screen is the make-or-break part for most tablets and it’s no different with the Surface RT. Unlike most other Windows 8 powered tablets we’ve seen lately, the display on the RT is actually quite usable. The display has a 10.6 inch size and this definitely makes it more practical than the rather ungainly 11-12 inch displays sported by most Windows tablets. The Surface has a resolution of the 1366 x 768 pixels, which, although not in the class of Apple’s iPad, is still pretty good.

The processor in the Surface RT is an NVidia Tegra 3 unit based on the ARM architecture. It’s a quad-core processor with a clock speed of 1.4GHz. System memory is at 2GB. All these figures endow the Surface RT with some amazing performance and benchmark figures. Windows RT, which is the version of Windows 8 made exclusively for tablet devices, runs very smoothly on the Surface. Apart from being quite responsive, there is virtually no lag when operating the tablet and performing any tasks. Microsoft has really done a good job in optimizing Windows RT for the Surface’s internal hardware and it shows up in the fantastic user experience.

Another area where the Surface betters most of the competition is in the battery stakes. The tablet is capable of continuous video playback for close to 9 hours, a figure second only to that of the iPad’s. Normal usage should add at least another 3-4 hours to that figure.

The Touch & Type Experience

Zippy and fast are two terms that perfectly describe the touch experience on the Surface RT. The touch gestures are the hallmark of using this tablet. Pretty much every touch is registered instantly. The typing, on the other hand, is a touch and go experience (pun unintended). It is not a touch typists’ delight by any means but should be just about enough to get some work done. Typing is possible by opting for the Type cover, which houses the very thin and flat keyboard. There is also a bundled kickstand that can be used to place the Surface RT in landscape mode at an appropriate angle.

On the positive side, the Surface RT has very fluid gesture control, great design, and powerful hardware. On the downside, the display isn’t the most class leading one around while Windows RT does feel like an undercooked version of Windows 8.

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