Review Microsoft Surface RT Tablet

Patrick Afschar Kaboli, Michael Moser (translated by Vinay Pradhan), 11/20/2012

PC? Tablet? A Different Approach. Microsoft calls its long-awaited tablet Surface a PC: the first PC from Redmond. We extensively tested the tablet and Windows 8 RT and found that this device truly is a PC, and a very exciting one at that.

Microsoft launches Windows RT - an operating system optimized for ARM devices. Of course, a new system like this will have to be made familiar to the users. What better way than for Microsoft to make a tablet themselves, which shows off their OS in a user-friendly way? The Microsoft Surface is the first tablet made by the software giant based in Redmond and so we have to ask the question: will this ambitious project succeed?

Our test configuration is equipped with an HD-ready display, an Nvidia quad-core Tegra 3 CPU, Windows RT2 GB of RAM and 32 GB flash memoryWith the Touch Cover, the tablet costs 579 Euros (~$737). The Touch Cover (by itself) costs 120 Euros (~$153), whereas the Type Cover (keyboard with mechanical keys) is priced at 130 Euros (~$166). The 64 GB Surface with Touch Cover is available for 679 Euros (~$865).

This model is aimed at consumer and light business users. However, the upcoming Surface with Windows 8 Pro aims to fulfill the needs of the more demanding business users. It will be larger and will include a Full HD display, an Intel Core i5 CPU, 4 GB of RAM, a 64/128 GB SSD and a stylus. We will write a separate review for the Surface with Windows 8 Pro once it is available.

Case

The Microsoft Surface has excellent workmanship. The display is protected by glass and fits perfectly in the chassis.
The Microsoft Surface has excellent workmanship. The display is protected by glass and fits perfectly in the chassis.
The sturdy magnesium case looks cool.
The sturdy magnesium case looks cool.
The kickstand is solid and practical.
The kickstand is solid and practical.

The Surface tablet has clean workmanship: the glass display cover has even gaps on all sides of the "dark-titan" chassis. The so-called VaporMg case is made of a magnesium alloy. This makes the tablet very sturdy, but it is not the lightest tablet available: 676 grams (~1.5 pounds). Single-handed use can quickly tire the user out.

Microsoft has prepared for this by installing a kickstand on the back of the device. The sturdy kickstand contains powerful hinges and emits an aura of reliability. This presents the user with the option of either putting the tablet down on the kickstand or holding it. When the kickstand is closed, it recedes into the case completely.

The angular shape of the tablet provides good ergonomics and feel. The Surface is 9.3 mm (~0.37 inches) thick - a hair thinner than the Apple iPad with Retina display.

Microsoft integrates a front camera with a 720p resolution at the front of the tablet. The rear camera also has a 720p resolution and is fitted into a small synthetic panel, which stretches from the back to the upper case edge.

All-in-all, Microsoft's first tablet does not need to hide from the competition. The nice looks and excellent workmanship underline the high quality of the device. The front of the tablet is bare with the exception of the Windows 8 logo. All other details, like the name of the tablet, can be found on the back, under the kickstand.

Connectivity

The Surface is equipped with good hardware. The tablet contains an Nvidia Tegra 3 quad-core CPU with an integrated GeForce ULP graphics chip. This is a well-known chip which has been out for a while and still finds a home in new tablets. Few CPUs in the ultra-mobile sector can give it a reason to worry: Apple A6X or Samsung Exynos 4 are currently the fiercest competitors.

Microsoft also invests in 32 GB storage space and 2 GB RAM for the Surface. The packet (with Touch Cover) is on-sale for 579 Euros (~$737). The pricing of the device may not have been identical to that of the competitor, Apple, but the price of the accessories is. We would have liked to see a few more ports.

Interfaces

Microsoft has not given the Surface a wide variety of interfaces to work with. Thankfully, the most important ports are covered.

The right case edge boasts a proprietary HD video out for external monitors. However, the user will require an adapter for VGA or HDMI (both available separately for 40 Euros/~$51) to use this port. The tablet also offers a USB 2.0 interface for peripheral devices, like a keyboard, mouse, USB stick or external HDD. A card reader is hidden under the kickstand; it supports Micro-SD cards up to 64 GB (SDXC).

The lower edge only contains the magnetic interface for the Touch Cover or Type Cover. Both keyboards dock into the tablet with a satisfying click.

Touch Cover or Type Cover dock magnetically to the bottom of the tablet.
Touch Cover or Type Cover dock magnetically to the bottom of the tablet.

Software for Surface

Microsoft delivers the Surface with the ARM-optimized OS, Windows RT. The new OS is packed with fresh features, like the interactive tile surface. We wrote an article about the Consumer Preview of the OS here.

The Surface could open programs and all Windows-compatible files via USB. This is possible thanks to the included desktop mode (Windows 7), which allows the usual transferring and copying of files from/to external devices. Software cannot be installed as Microsoft only allows the Surface RT users to install programs from the Windows Store. x86-compatible programs will run on the Surface tablet once the "full-version" of Windows 8 is launched.

comfortable mail program connects to different accounts. The cloud storage service, SkyDrive, is also installed alongside the Xbox 360 App, which can link to Xbox games, videos and music.

In addition, the tablet offers a few office Apps which allow the user to work productively on-the-go. A pre-launch version of Office Home & Student 2013 RT (WordExcelPowerPoint and OneNote 2013) is pre-installed. The upgrade to full-version will be free-of-cost and performed by Windows Update once the software is available on Windows Store. However, in comparison to the desktop version, some features, like macros, are missing. The RT Office suite can only be used commercially if a business license is installed on a notebook or a desktop PC. The tablet is secured by encryption and Windows Defender.

On to social networks: pictures or web pages can be directly shared with a simple swish of the finger from right to left. In the menu "Share", the user will be presented with methods to share the display content with contacts over social networks, via E-mail or on SkyDrive.

Communication

A bar made of synthetic material on the upper edge contains the power button and two microphone openings. The wireless antennas under the flap are wired to the wireless communication modules: Bluetooth 4.0 and WLAN 802.11a/b/g/n (2.4 and 5 GHz networks).

The wireless communication modules offered good signal strength in our tests. We could easily connect to a router with WLAN 802.11a/b/g/n and a Smartphone with Bluetooth 4.0.

Sadly, despite multiple tries, it seems the transmission of picture or MP3 files is not possible via Bluetooth. Microsoft allows connecting peripheral devices with Bluetooth, but no data transfer.

A GPS sensor is not installed in the Microsoft Surface. However, even the competition, like the Android-based Lenovo IdeaTab S2110A, lacks this feature. The Surface does not offer 3G or LTE so far.

The tabs on the start screen are animated and their position and size can be altered.
The tabs on the start screen are animated and their position and size can be altered.
Internet Explorer 10 as a touch-optimized App.
Internet Explorer 10 as a touch-optimized App.
The pre-launch version of Office 2013 is installed on the tablet.
The pre-launch version of Office 2013 is installed on the tablet.
Multi-tasking: two or more open Apps can be displayed simultaneously.
Multi-tasking: two or more open Apps can be displayed simultaneously.

Cameras & Multimedia

The two HD video cameras on the front and back of the Surface record in 720p (a little over 1 MP) and offer sufficient quality - if the ambient light is good. Sadly, no flash is included. This would allow the light sensors to work well, but as they are, the cameras can only take grainy pictures when the lighting is poor. This means that they are good for the occasional snapshots or video chats via Skype. The kickstand holds the Surface in the ideal position and points the rear camera straight.

The two stereo-array microphones on the top edge of the Surface record sound in relatively good quality and provide good voice quality in video chats.

In poor lighting, the cameras take very grainy pictures ...
In poor lighting, the cameras take very grainy pictures ...
... as shown by these pictures.
... as shown by these pictures.
A stereo microphone array ensures good record quality.
A stereo microphone array ensures good record quality.

Accessories

Like many other manufacturers, Microsoft provides few extras. The package includes the Surface, a compact, 136 grams (~0.3 pounds) 24 W power adapter and a short intro/guarantee card. The Touch Cover is also included - if the buyer ordered it. Currently, at the Microsoft Store, there are few accessories available: a second power adapter, the Touch Cover, the Type Cover and a VGA and HDMI adapter.

Warranty

Microsoft provides a 24-month manufacturer's guarantee for the Surface, as well as 90 days free technical support.

Input Devices & Interface

Without the Touch Cover, the user can interact with the Surface tablet via the touch screen, which recognizes up to five fingers simultaneously. The panel has no problems with input recognition and the finger glides over the glass with little resistance.

The 10.6-inch touch screen offers intuitive gestures which require a little getting used to, but are very useful: a swipe from the right opens the system menu and a swipe from the left blends in a bar with recently opened programs. A swipe from the bottom of the screen provides the user with the App commands whereas a swipe from top-to-bottom closes the App. Input is quickly and precisely recognized. The only gesture, which we had a few problems with, was pulling an App to the front by pulling it from the pop-up bar (left swish) and then closing it (top-to-bottom swish) in one motion.

The on-screen keyboard recognizes commands well. In addition, it can be quickly changed from the traditional virtual keyboard to a split version, which is optimized for the input with both thumbs.

In our opinion, the menu of the Surface is as fluid as the interface of the latest Apple iPad or an Android competitor with the same processor. Overall, the Surface touch screen is one of the best we have used to date.

The mechanical keys for the volume adjustment and Power/Standby have a good pressure point and do not leave any room for complaint.

Two birds with one stone

Alternatively, the user can attach the Touch Cover, which, like the Apple Smart Cover, acts as an intelligent display cover, which sends the tablet into standby when closed. Microsoft has installed a pressure-sensitive keyboard and touchpad on the inside of the waterproof cover, whereas the outside is covered by a thin layer of material similar to felt. If a finger is lightly placed on a key or the user quickly glides over one, the keyboard smartly does not recognize this as input. The 16 x 16 mm (~0.63 x 0.63 inches/normal dimensions) react to typing and translate the input well. The 65 x 31 mm (~2.6 x 1.2 inches) touchpad is somewhat small, but with the mouse replacement keys placed below, it works perfectly and can even translate a double tap into a right-click, or recognize scrolling with two fingers.

So how is typing with the Touch Cover? In the beginning, the user will make a few mistakes here and there due to the missing key feedback and the lack of a border between the bottom row of keys and the hand-rest regions. After a period of use, the user will be able to type quite well and will not want to type on any other keyboard. Sadly, the touchpad will see little use, as the navigation via touch screen is faster and much more precise. However, the touchpad cannot be turned off.

The Touch Cover is 3 mm (0.12 inches) thick, weighs 200 grams (~0.4 pounds) and is available in five colors: blue, white, pink, black and red. We find this variety to be a good idea and believe that this grants buyers a degree of customization.

The Touch Cover may not be for everyone. For example, if you have to frequently type large texts, then we recommend purchasing the Type Cover for 130 Euros (~$166) instead. This matte black keyboard has mechanical keys and should offer the comfort and typing speed of a traditional keyboard.

The Touch Cover is a mere 3 mm thick.
The Touch Cover is a mere 3 mm thick.
Five colors are available. (picture: Microsoft)
Five colors are available. (picture: Microsoft)
The Type Cover resembles a notebook keyboard. (picture: Microsoft)
The Type Cover resembles a notebook keyboard. (picture: Microsoft)

Display

10.6 inch panel with a resolution of 1,366 x 768 pixels (16:9 format).
10.6 inch panel with a resolution of 1,366 x 768 pixels (16:9 format).

The 10.6-inch "ClearType HD display" of the Microsoft Surface has a resolution of 1366x768 pixels (HD-ready resolution) and achieves a pixel density of 148 PPI (Pixels Per Inch). The competition offers much more: the Apple iPad (264 PPI) and Acer Iconia Tab A700 (224 PPI).

huge advantage of the Microsoft Surface is the 16:9 picture format which allows the tablet to present movies without distracting black borders. Such borders are visible, for example, on the 4:3 display of the iPad.

In addition, the Surface panel is shining with other values: the average brightness is a good 331 cd/m², and the brightness hits a max of 356 cd/m² in the middle of the screen.

322
cd/m²
322
cd/m²
312
cd/m²
332
cd/m²
356
cd/m²
324
cd/m²
335
cd/m²
347
cd/m²
329
cd/m²
Distribution of brightness
Information
Gossen Mavo-Monitor
Maximum: 356 cd/m²
Average: 331 cd/m²
Brightness Distribution: 88 %
Center on Battery: 356 cd/m²
Black: 0.33 cd/m²
Contrast: 1079:1

The black value of the screen is a decent 0.33 cd/m². This results in a contrast of 1,079:1 - very good. The illumination of the panel is an acceptable 88%. The drop of brightness towards the edges is not noticeable in everyday use.

Outdoors use
Outdoors use

In the practical test of the screen, we found (subjective) the colors to be bright and the contrast to be very high. Text is sharp even after zooming and even the small words on the desktop can be read clearly without using the on-screen magnifier. Multimedia content like games, pictures or movies is displayed well by the panel thanks to the good black value and the high contrast.

The glass surface of the Surface is not vulnerable to scratches, but it can quickly accumulate smudges and fingerprints. Outdoors, the panel of the Surface is prone to strong reflections, like the screens of many other Smartphones and tablets. The good brightness cannot compensate completely for them, which means that the user should avoid direct sunlight.

The high viewing angle stability reminds us of IPS panels. The picture content does not lose brightness, contrast or invert colors at any of the commonly used angles. In fact, distracting reflections kick in before any adverse effect from changing the viewing angle can be detected. 

At extreme angles, the display is overwhelmed by reflections before it loses brightness or inverts colors.
At extreme angles, the display is overwhelmed by reflections before it loses brightness or inverts colors.

Performance

The insides of the Microsoft Surface RT are well-known: a quad-core Nvidia Tegra 3 SoC (System on Chip) version T30 (a conservative choice) runs the tablet at 1.4 GHz. This SoC can be found in many upper-class and high-end devices (like in the Asus Transformer Pad Infinity TF700T) and provides good performance.

Unfortunately, we cannot run the majority of our tablet benchmarks on the Microsoft Surface RT as the corresponding Apps are not yet available in Windows Store. As soon as they are launched, we will write an update. For the moment, we rely on the browser-based benchmarksBrowsermark, Google V8 and SunSpider 0.9.1. We also ran Futuremark Peacekeeper.

The results do not match our expectations. The Surface performs great in the JavaScript benchmark SunSpider . A score of less than 1,000 milliseconds had only been achieved by the Apple iPad 4 till now. Sadly, the results of the Browsermark and Google V8 are disappointingIdentically-equipped devices, like the Fujitsu Stylistic M532 and the Asus Transformer Pad TF300T score up to 40% higher in both tests.

The result from the Peacekeeper benchmark is also poor: 357 points place the Microsoft Surface far behind the competition (Apple iPad 2Google Nexus 7Samsung Galaxy Tab 10.1, etc.). We are even more surprised to see the Surface left behind by Smartphones, like the Apple iPhone 5 or the Samsung Galaxy S3.

We believe that this lower performance can be attributed to the new OS and Internet Explorer 10. As soon as more benchmarks are available, we will explore this in further detail. Verdict: performance – ordinary.

In everyday use, this lower performance is noticeable. In comparison to the Apple iPad 4 or fast Android tablets, like the Asus Infinity, Apps start much slower on the Surface. Working on this tablet will proceed at a leisurely pace.

Google V8 Ver. 7 - Google V8 Ver. 7 Score
Microsoft Surface RT
GeForce ULP (Tegra 3), 3, 32 GB SSD
796 Points ∼4%
Apple iPad 4
SGX554MP4, A6x, 32 GB SSD
1661 Points ∼9% +109%
Apple iPad 3. Gen 2012-03
SGX543MP4, A5x, 64 GB SSD
838 Points ∼5% +5%
Asus Transformer Pad TF300T
GeForce ULP (Tegra 3), 3, 32 GB SSD
1132 Points ∼6% +42%
Asus Asus Transformer Pad Infinity TF700T
GeForce ULP (Tegra 3), 3, 64 GB SSD
1487 Points ∼8% +87%
Samsung Galaxy Note 10.1
Mali-400 MP4, 4412 Quad, 16 GB SSD
1954 Points ∼11% +145%
Fujitsu Stylistic M532
GeForce ULP (Tegra 3), 3, 32 GB SSD
1273 Points ∼7% +60%
Browsermark 1.0
Microsoft Surface RT
GeForce ULP (Tegra 3), 3, 32 GB SSD
73180 points ∼13%
Apple iPad 4
SGX554MP4, A6x, 32 GB SSD
204149 points ∼37% +179%
Apple iPad 3. Gen 2012-03
SGX543MP4, A5x, 64 GB SSD
126324 points ∼23% +73%
Asus Transformer Pad TF300T
GeForce ULP (Tegra 3), 3, 32 GB SSD
104663 points ∼19% +43%
Asus Asus Transformer Pad Infinity TF700T
GeForce ULP (Tegra 3), 3, 64 GB SSD
118896 points ∼21% +62%
Samsung Galaxy Note 10.1
Mali-400 MP4, 4412 Quad, 16 GB SSD
160006 points ∼29% +119%
Fujitsu Stylistic M532
GeForce ULP (Tegra 3), 3, 32 GB SSD
106982 points ∼19% +46%
Sunspider
Microsoft Surface RT
GeForce ULP (Tegra 3), 3, 32 GB SSD
997.5 ms * ∼9%
Apple iPad 4
SGX554MP4, A6x, 32 GB SSD
895.3 ms * ∼8% +10%
Apple iPad 3. Gen 2012-03
SGX543MP4, A5x, 64 GB SSD
1860 ms * ∼18% -86%
Asus Transformer Pad TF300T
GeForce ULP (Tegra 3), 3, 32 GB SSD
1928.8 ms * ∼18% -93%
Asus Asus Transformer Pad Infinity TF700T
GeForce ULP (Tegra 3), 3, 64 GB SSD
1873.5 ms * ∼18% -88%
Samsung Galaxy Note 10.1
Mali-400 MP4, 4412 Quad, 16 GB SSD
1236 ms * ∼12% -24%
Fujitsu Stylistic M532
GeForce ULP (Tegra 3), 3, 32 GB SSD
1841 ms * ∼17% -85%

* ... smaller is better

We compared the Microsoft Surface directly to an iPad 4 in a video. 

While turning on, both tablets are equally fast. The performance in the App menu is good for both tablets and so is the scrolling through the menu pages. The start of the Store App paints a similar picture.

The Internet browser is a bottleneck for the powerful hardware. Both browsers are equally fast when using Pinch-to-Zoom or scrolling through web pages. However, Apple's Safari loads our homepage very quickly, but the slow Microsoft Internet Explorer 10 takes very long (subjective). The browser interface is better in the Apple browser as well.

Movie playback is far better in the Surface, as the 16:9 display can play to its strengths and shows little or no black borders.

Games

A touch-based tablet can easily transform into a mobile gaming console and the Microsoft Surface is no exception. The good performance of the Nvidia Tegra 3 CPU with the integrated GeForce ULP graphics chip is noticeable here.

We ran Hydro Thunder HurricanePinball FX2Cut the Rope and the brand-new Angry Birds Star Wars on the Surface to test its performance. Cut the Rope demands little from the CPU/GPU but the other games require a lot more power. Even so, the Surface delivers the necessary performance, and the game experience is fluid. The precise touch screen and nice gyro sensor ensure good control. Due to the weight of the device, the user will probably want to use the kickstand or place the tablet on the lap after a while of use.

Demanding 3D games run fluidly.
Demanding 3D games run fluidly.
The new Angry Birds is a lot of fun on the Surface.
The new Angry Birds is a lot of fun on the Surface.
Even classics, like Cut the Rope, are available in the Windows Store.
Even classics, like Cut the Rope, are available in the Windows Store.

Emissions

Temperature

The temperature emissions of the Microsoft Surface are similar to those of other devices which run on Tegra 3 (like the Acer Iconia Tab A700).

Even at full load (3D games or flash-intensive websites), the surface of the tablet reaches a max 37 degrees Celsius (98.6 °F). The tablet remains in a tolerable region on average: 32-33 °C (89.6-91.4 °F).

While idle, the device can reach a max of 29 degrees Celsius (84.2 °F), and the average of the nine measuring points on the top and bottom of the Surface is a moderate 28 °C (82.4 °F).

Max. Load
 30 °C35.6 °C33.2 °C 
 29.4 °C30.0 °C30.5 °C 
 34.2 °C34.4 °C31.6 °C 
Maximum: 35.6 °C
Average: 32.1 °C
34.4 °C37.3 °C31.7 °C
33.6 °C35.2 °C31.3 °C
32.3 °C32.9 °C31.8 °C
Maximum: 37.3 °C
Average: 33.4 °C
Power Supply (max.)  40.9 °C | Room Temperature 23 °C | Voltcraft IR-360

Speakers

The two stereo speakers provide good sound output, but are soon pushed to their limits when playing music, game sounds or films, due to their small dimensions. The sound output is heavy on the highs with few middles and little bass. This means that the speakers are only good for background sound, especially as the max volume is relatively low. Thankfully, the audio jack provides good, loud output and the user can plug in external speakers or headphones.

Battery Life

Power Consumption

The power consumption of the Microsoft Surface is appropriate for its class. The battery has a capacity of 31.5 Wh. While idle, the Surface consumes between 3 and 6.2 W. This means that in everyday use, the user should expect a power consumption of roughly 4.5 W.

While playing an HD video, the Microsoft Surface requires 7.6 W. While the Nvidia Tegra 3 is at full load (playing Full HD videos or a 3D game), the tablet consumes a max of 10.6 W. The 24 W power adapter is well-equipped to deal with this.

Power Consumption

Off / Standby 0 / 1.4 Watt
Idle 3 / 4.9 / 6.2 Watt
Load 7.6 / 10.6 Watt
 
Key: min: , med: , max:         Voltcraft VC 940

Battery Life

The battery life of the Microsoft Surface allows the user to work with the tablet an entire work day without any issues. The Reader’s test, which runs a read script on the tablet at minimum brightness to measure the max run time, measures 15 hours and 32 minutes. The more realistic surf test, which uses Internet Explorer 10 to load a set number of different web pages, runs for a good 8.5 hours with adjusted brightness. These run times are respectable as the battery is relatively small. The Microsoft Surface places squarely in the mid-field when compared to other tablets running on the Tegra 3. The long-life Acer Iconia Tab A510 remains in the lead and even the Apple iPad with Retina display has more juice (but also a 10 Wh bigger battery).

Battery Runtime
Idle (without WLAN, min brightness)
15h 32min
WiFi Surfing
8h 36min

Verdict

A homerun on the first swing: Microsoft Surface with Windows RT
A homerun on the first swing: Microsoft Surface with Windows RT

The Microsoft Surface is a good tablet, but there are a few weaknesses. For example, the performance is low - at least, when measured with the available benchmarks. Other tablets with Tegra 3 post higher scores. However, the Surface does offer good performance for everyday use (subjective) and is consequently a good option for every application. In addition, the tablet offers many Apps in the App Store, which is easily accessible and should grow exponentially in the coming months.

The interfaces of the Surface are limited, but the tablet does have a USB port and an SD card reader - slightly more than the average tablet. The video out will excite users with HD output. However, s/he will have to first purchase the separately available adapter.

The 10.6-inch touch screen is very good and offers bright and lively content. The viewing angle stability is great and so is the fast interface. The resolution is good, although other tablets even offer Full HD.

The Touch Cover is a well-designed accessory which will raise the productivity of the tablet.

The cameras capture in 720p, which is standard. The photos are not great, but the cameras record good video. The speakers can not beat external speakers, but they do a decent job for their size.

The workmanship of the tablet is very good. Most people would wish for the Surface to be a bit slimmer and lighter, but thankfully the tablet does not overheat at load. The high mobility of the device is guaranteed by the long battery life. The power adapter can be left at home, as the Surface lasts an entire work day with adjusted brightness.

Our final thoughts: users who want to explore the tablet scene should take a look at the Microsoft Surface with its fresh OS. After a few minutes of use, we found the device to be very appealing. Microsoft has managed to stage a good tablet premiere and the device is available for 579 Euros (~$737/incl. keyboard). Overall, the Microsoft Surface is ready to take on the competition.

 

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In Review: Microsoft Surface 32 GB with Windows RT
In Review: Microsoft Surface 32 GB with Windows RT

Specifications

Microsoft Surface RT

:: Processor
NVIDIA Tegra 3 1.2 GHz
:: Memory
2048 MB
:: Graphics adapter
:: Display
10.6 inch 16:9, 1366x768 pixel, Capacitive, Multi-touch, ClearType HD, IPS, glossy: yes
:: Harddisk
32 GB SSD, 32 GB
:: Connections
1 USB 2.0, 1 HDMI, 1 Docking Station Port, Audio Connections: 3.5 mm jack, Card Reader: microSD up to 64 GB, Sensors: Ambient light sensor, Accelerometer, Gyroscope, Magnetometer,
:: Networking
802.11a/b/g/n (a b g n ), 4.0 Bluetooth
:: Size
height x width x depth (in mm): 9.3 x 274.6 x 172
:: Weight
0.676 kg Power Supply: 0.136 kg
:: Battery
31.5 Wh Lithium-Ion
Battery runtime (according to manufacturer): 8 h
:: Price
579 Euro
:: Operating System
Microsoft Windows RT
:: Additional features
Webcam: 2 x HD (720p), Speakers: Stereo, Keyboard: Virtual & Touch Cover, Keyboard Light: no, Touch Cover, 24 Months Warranty

 

The kickstand is branded with the new Windows logo, ...
The kickstand is branded with the new Windows logo, ...
The settings menu pops up when the finger is slid from the right. The tablet can be switched off via this menu.
The settings menu pops up when the finger is slid from the right. The tablet can be switched off via this menu.
The front camera has a 720p resolution. A small white LED indicates its status.
The front camera has a 720p resolution. A small white LED indicates its status.
The main camera points straight when the Surface is placed on its kickstand.
The main camera points straight when the Surface is placed on its kickstand.
Colorful variety: the Touch Cover
Colorful variety: the Touch Cover
The Touch Cover (X-ray).
The Touch Cover (X-ray).
The on-screen keyboard can be optimized for use with two thumbs.
The on-screen keyboard can be optimized for use with two thumbs.
The panel of the Surface is soon covered by smudges and fingerprints.
The panel of the Surface is soon covered by smudges and fingerprints.
Not a great score in Futuremark Peacekeeper benchmark: a few Smartphones score higher.
Not a great score in Futuremark Peacekeeper benchmark: a few Smartphones score higher.
The stylish Microsoft Store has to fill up quickly for the Surface to be a success.
The stylish Microsoft Store has to fill up quickly for the Surface to be a success.
There is no border between the touchpad and the space key which clearly distinguishes the one from the other.
There is no border between the touchpad and the space key which clearly distinguishes the one from the other.
The Touch Cover has various special keys and menu buttons which prove quite useful.
The Touch Cover has various special keys and menu buttons which prove quite useful.
...and below it, we have the device details.
...and below it, we have the device details.
A slim figure - the first tablet from Redmond looks good.
A slim figure - the first tablet from Redmond looks good.
The bottom of the Touch Covers are covered with soft felt.
The bottom of the Touch Covers are covered with soft felt.
A small indentation on the left edge of the case makes it easy to open the kickstand.
A small indentation on the left edge of the case makes it easy to open the kickstand.
The interface on the bottom serves as a docking port for the Touch Cover/Type Cover.
The interface on the bottom serves as a docking port for the Touch Cover/Type Cover.
The Microsoft Surface offers USB 2.0 for USB sticks and hard disks. The two speakers...
The Microsoft Surface offers USB 2.0 for USB sticks and hard disks. The two speakers...
... are good for background sound.
... are good for background sound.
The power button switches the tablet on and can be used to put the device in standby. The device can only be switched off from the menu.
The power button switches the tablet on and can be used to put the device in standby. The device can only be switched off from the menu.
The small, 136 grams power adapter delivers 24 W.
The small, 136 grams power adapter delivers 24 W.

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Links

Price Comparison

Amazon.com

$235.00 Microsoft Surface RT 64GB

$225.00 Microsoft Surface RT (32GB)

$469.99 2014 New Microsoft Surface 2 Tablet - Windows RT 8.1, 10.6" 1920x1080 LCD Touchscreen, Front and Rear Camera Office RT 2013 Included (32, A Tablet Only)

Microsoft Surface RT 32GB
» 279.00 GBP (lowest price)
279.00 GBP Argos
297.99 GBP Amazon Marketplace UK

Microsoft Surface RT 64GB
» 299.00 GBP (lowest price)
299.00 GBP Amazon Marketplace UK

Microsoft Surface RT 32GB + Touch Cover
» 500.00 GBP (lowest price)
500.00 GBP Amazon Marketplace UK

The displayed prices can be up to one day old.

Pro

+Bright display with good contrast
+Very good workmanship
+Low temperature emissions
+Intuitive interface
+Touch cover increases productivity
 

Cons

-External monitors require an adapter which has to be purchased separately
-Display only has a HD-ready resolution
-Performance can be further increased

Shortcut

What we like

The good display and the fluid interface.

What we miss

A higher resolution and a lighter case.

What surprises us

Microsoft produces a good tablet on the first try.

The competition

The Microsoft Surface will compete against the Apple iPad, the Samsung Galaxy Note 10.1 and other upcoming Windows RT tablets, like the Samsung ATIV Tab. In addition, the stronger Microsoft Surface with Windows 8 Pro and Intel CPU will launch soon.

Rating

Microsoft Surface RT
08/05/2013 v3
Patrick Afschar Kaboli, Michael Moser

Chassis
87%
Keyboard
91%
Pointing Device
85%
Connectivity
53%
Weight
97%
Battery
97%
Display
85%
Games Performance
35%
Application Performance
52%
Temperature
93%
Noise
100%
Add Points
85%
Average
80%
87%
Convertible *
Weighted Average

> Notebook / Laptop Reviews and News > Reviews > Archive of our own reviews > Review Microsoft Surface RT Tablet
Author: Patrick Afschar Kaboli, Michael Moser, 2012-11-20 (Update: 2013-06- 6)