Posted by:Monica Samuel October 25th, 2012

Microsoft has made the Windows Surface tablets available for preorder ahead of the launch of the awaited Windows 8 operating system. While the arguments on the good and bad of Windows 8 go on, let’s talk about what the new Windows Surface tablets bring to the market.

For starters, there’s the new operating system that no other tablet has – Windows RT. The underlying hardware runs on an NVIDIA chip based on the design of ARM Holdings. It will be cheaper than Windows 8 Surface tabs and will also boast longer battery life. The only problem is that currently, Windows Surface RT can only run third-party software from Microsoft’s Windows Store which is not a lot. You’d think that’s a major hurdle but preorders of Windows Surface 32GB tablets (WiFi only) ‘sold out’ across the US, Canada, France, Germany and the UK on the first day of sale. The devices will ship out on October 26, followed by Windows 8 Surface tabs in January, 2013.

Now that the real deal is in the hands of tablet reviewers, we can list out what users may love or hate about the Surface tabs. ‘This is one of the most of exciting pieces of hardware I’ve ever used,’ says Wired’s Matthew Honan. ‘It is extremely well-designed; meticulous even.’

What’s to love

Here are some features that you’ll love on the Microsoft Surface RT tabs:

  • 10.6inch 1366×768p display
  • solid but light magnesium chassis
  • 2GB RAM
  • pre-loaded with touch optimized Microsoft Office Home and Student 2013 RT Preview edition
  • built-in kickstand
  • responsive 3mm thin Touch Cover keypad (extra cost of $119) that attached to the tab pretty strongly
  • 802.11N Mimo Wi-Fi radio
  • Bluetooth 4.0
  • dual microphones
  • stereo speakers
  • accelerometer
  • gyroscope
  • compass
  • HD-out port
  • full-sized USB 2.0 port
  • micro SD-slot
What’s not to love

Here are some conclusions drawn by reviewers from popular gadget websites and journals (including Verge, Wall Street Journal, etc.) who got a chance to play with the Windows Surface RT tabs. You may or may not agree when you have the tab in your hand:

  • Mediocre720p front and back cameras. Well, the camera on iPad 2 was nothing to boast about either.
  • Battery life is a problem.
  • Lack of third party mobile applications is a big turnoff.
  • Some sluggishness was noted in existing apps such as Kindle on Windows RT though Internet Explorer worked impressively.
  • Some reviewers found the tab unwieldy because of the size but recommend it as a good alternative to a laptop.
  • The Touch Cover keypad works smoothly with the tab.
  • Lack of cellular connectivity is a big disappointment, especially since Microsoft makes no promises on the feature being added later.
More Windows RT tablets are expected to launch soon from Dell, Asus, Lenovo and Samsung. With Christmas not too far away, it looks like it’s going to rain tablets on holiday shoppers yet again.

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