Microsoft is no stranger to tablets, though with Windows RT and Surface the company is hoping to have its first tablet success. Borrowing frugal processors from the mobile industry and a distilled version of Windows 8, and pairing it with distinctive and high-quality hardware, Microsoft certainly appears at first glance to have ticked the right boxes.
Still, in a market where tablets are generally scaled-up smartphones, does Microsoft's pared-back desktop OS do enough to rid its reliance on the keyboard and mouse? Read on for the full SlashGear review.
In the case of Surface, Microsoft opted for NVIDIA's quadcore Tegra 3, here paired with 2GB of RAM. It's a chip we're very familiar with from Android phones and tablets, and in fact much of Surface's other specifications are par for the course in the mobile world. A choice of 32GB or 64GB of storage – no 16GB option, though Microsoft prices its entry-level Surface directly against the 16GB iPad 3 – with a microSDXC card slot, WiFi a/b/g/n, and Bluetooth 4.0.
As you'd expect there are stereo speakers – which are on the quiet side, even at maximum volume – and dual digital microphones, an HD video output which, with the right $39.99 dongle, hooks up to an HDMI or VGA connection, and a cluster of sensors: ambient light to control screen brightness, an accelerometer, gyroscope, and digital compass, though no GPS. Microsoft also isn't offering a 3G/4G version of the tablet, claiming that consumer research suggests the vast majority of tablets of a similar size to Surface don't ever get taken outside of the home or office.