Surface - The Microsoft Tablet

Originally posted on 2012-07-01T08:46:00Z at

Microsoft's Surface tablet has had quite the buzz since its unveiling last month. This latest Microsoft tech has been described as the PC-tablet, tablet-PC and Microsoft's answer to the iPad. This post looks at everything you need to know about Surface.
Microsoft Surface Tablet

Surface -The Features

Touch Cover - (The Touch-Keyboard/Cover)

If there is one thing that most tablets have needed it’s this; a non-obstructive keyboard. Microsoft Surface comes with an attachable multi-touch keyboard (the touch keyboard) that doubles as its cover. The keyboard connects magnetically to the tablet, allowing you to remove it, pick another cover colour, and snap it back on – all this and being only 3mm thick. The keyboard comes complete with a touch-pad. This keyboard is not just for looks though, it is 10 times faster in scanning (as measured from a keyboard matrix) as compared to any other keyboard today.Surface is able to detect the weight of each key press or depress to determine whether the user is keying in or just resting their fingers on the touch keyboard. While the touch keyboard is awesome, it's not the only keyboard for the Surface tablet. Surface also comes with a surface-type keyboard, with the same full-pitch layout as the touch-type keyboard cover. This alternative provides a better typing experience full with click-able track-pad buttons. This is for those of you that love to type, or maybe just like the feel of buttons depressing under your fingers. Personally, I've never liked doing any typing on tablet glass, especially because the keyboard compressed my workspace on the screen. That's one of the reasons I love the Surface keyboard, plus the fact that it doubles as the cover that magnetically snaps on the tablet.
On average, typing {on the Surface keyboard} is twice more efficient than typing on glass, and it’s certainly more comfortable. - Windows President Steve Sinofsky

Vapor MG Case

The tablet is framed with liquid magnesium leaving the tablet rigid yet light (at 676g). The case was made from physical magnesium vapour (VaporMG, as Microsoft likes to call it) deposition process –leaving the case with a permanent scratch resistant surface. Magnesium is boiled to it's liquid state and then with injection molding, it's structured as the various parts, each at at-most .65mm; thin, light yet rigid.The Surface tablet also comes with a in-built kick-stand

Look and Feel

Surface has a variety of touch cover colours. The tablet's edges are beveled at 22 degrees giving the tablet an even thinner look and feel. The Surface stand allows you to kick stand the tablet into laptop-position with the external keyboard in place.


Surface has dual high performance antennas providing the best WiFi performance no matter how the tablet is held. The Microsoft Surface tablet has the best WiFi reception in comparison to other tablets.

The Stylus

The Microsoft tablet comes complete with a digital inking pen, that magnetically clicks onto the side of the tablet. Microsoft has worked to reduce the layers between the glossy cover and the screen such that the distance between the pen and the ink is at 0.7mm, the thinnest and closest distance of any other inking tablet.

The Digitizers

Microsoft Surface has two digitizers; for touch and digital ink. When the stylus (digital pen) is close to the screen, Surface implements palm-block technology which disables touch inputs. This allows you to comfortably place your hand on the tablet as you write with the pen, as you’d do when writing with pen on paper.

The Display

Both versions of the Surface tablet come with clear type display. While the Lite version comes with clear-type HD display, the Pro version comes with clear-type Full HD display. This display combines precise pixel geometry, rendering and an optical bonding process in order to make individual pixels indistinguishable by the human eye at normal viewing distance (43 cm). Clear-type display reduces z-height and conserves the tablet’s battery power.

Surface - The Flavors

The Surface tablet comes in two versions, with two Windows versions:
  • Microsoft Surface for Windows RT
  • Microsoft Surface for Windows 8 Pro

Surface for Windows RT vs Surface for Windows 8 Pro

First off, I find it easier just calling the two tablet versions: Surface Pro and Surface RT. While they are similar in design, with the same slick casing, touch-cover, stylus, front and rear facing cameras; generally a similar look, they are two very different machines.

Microsoft Surface for Windows RT

The slimmer, lighter version of the Surface tablet. It has most features you'd need from your everyday tablet, plus the Windows OS, and the Microsoft Surface features mentioned above. This tablet comes in at a slim 9.3 mm, just thick enough to fit a USB port. Unlike the Pro it's smooth and uninterrupted by Pro's Perimeter Venting. Surface RT is most definitely the tablet to carry around and just look awesome. This surface version will come with nVidia's ARM processor and will be released in 32GB and 64 GB versions, plus Windows 8 Operating System. It'll be released with the release of Windows 8.

Surface RT Specifications

  • Processor: Nvidia ARM Processor
  • Height/ Thickness: 9.3mm
  • Weight: 676 grams/23.85 ounces
  • Display: 10.6-inch ClearType H
  • Ports: USB 2.0, Micro-HD video, 2x2 MIMO antennas, microSD

Microsoft Surface for Windows 8 Pro

The first thing you notice when you compare the two is the size and weight of the Pro. Surface Pro is slightly larger than RT, and with a very good reason: performance. Surface Pro packs a punch much like a laptop, complete with an Intel Core i5 third generation processor. Surface Pro is definitely the tablet to get if you're looking for power in performance, being able to run powerful Windows applications like Photoshop with ease. This tablet, on initial release will come in 64GB and 128GB versions. Release - 3 months after Windows 8 Release.

Surface Pro Specifications

  • Height/Thickness: 13.5mm (minus cover)
  • Processor: Intel’s 3rd Generation i5 (Ivy Bridge Core i5)
  • Perimeter Venting: Surface’s cooling vents involve a groove that goes all around the tablet, making it harder to feel let alone block.
  • Digital Inking: Surface’s “digital ink” is sampled at 600 d.p.i, giving a smooth look and making the stylus feel almost like a real pen on paper. With the distance between ink and stylus at 0.7mm, Surface has the thinnest and closest distance of any inking tablet.
  • Weight: 903 grams/31.85 ounces
  • Display: 10.6-inch ClearType Full HD
  • Ports: USB 3.0, microSDXC, Mini DisplayPort

Surface by Microsoft -Video