Microsoft’s answer to iPad: Surface pros and cons
Posted by Gerry Kiernan
Online content editor
June 20th 2012 at 10:18
Move over iPad and Android… a new tablet family is coming to town and their name is Surface, Microsoft Surface…
Microsoft has announced its new rival to the iPad and it has caused a flutter in the IT industry. A favourable flutter. In the manner of Apple’s legendary hyped announcements, Microsoft has created quite a stir with Surface.
Two tablet versions will be available, the Surface and its more powerful big brother Surface Pro – both touch-screen, slim-line and, crucially, able to run the Office applications with which most of us are familiar.
These own-brand tablets from Microsoft will run on a new operating system, Windows 8, which Microsoft say is their biggest software overhaul since Windows 95.
Surface, aimed at the consumer market, will have an ARM-processor, while Surface Pro will contain a more powerful Intel chip, thus targeting a professional/business clientele (with a higher price tag to match) who might otherwise buy a slim ultrabook.
So why might you choose a Surface over an iPad or Android tablet?
- Only 9.3 mm (0.4 inches) thick – slightly less than the iPad.
- 10.6 inch (26.9 cm) display screen – bigger than the iPad (9.7 inch).
- 16:9 screen aspect ratio making it good for watching films and TV.
- Surface will have 32GB or 64 GB of storage while Surface Pro will go up to 128 GB (compared with iPad’s 64 GB maximum).
- Ability to run Office applications and other commonly used applications eg Photoshop.
- Choice of five different coloured screen covers, attached to the case using magnets. The real wow factor here is that a cover also doubles as a highly-sensitive 3 mm thick touchpad keyboard, allowing faster touch-typing. Exciting!
- Can also be used with a digital pen so users can write onto screens if they wish.
- Magnesium casing making them easy to grip.
- Built-in kickstand, no need to buy a separate case.
- Two USB ports.
- Heavier than the iPad (676 g for the Surface, 903 g for the Surface Pro).
- Surface won’t be the cheapest on the market – Microsoft is planning to price them competitively but haven’t indicated how much – with Surface Pro probably costing a lot more.
- The cheaper Surface tablet won’t be powerful enough to run the full Office suite, so it will offer a scaled-down version.
So far, it’s looks like Surface has a lot going for it. Of course, Microsoft will want the Surface range to become as desirable as iPads. It remains to be seen if queues will be snaking round blocks when it launches on Friday 26 October.
Are you a tablet fan? What do you make of Surface? Will you buy one when it comes out? Let us know below
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