The two versions of Surface tablet launched by Microsoft are much similar in looks but differ in hardware configuration and name. While one depicts the “lighter” version of Windows OS, other runs a “full-blown” version of Windows 8.
The siblings have been named as:
- Windows Surface RT
- Windows Surface 8 Pro
You can see the specifications of each here. Click on the image to see the larger version.
As mentioned, the two tablets differ in hardware configuration and therefore come in two different flavors. The former has an ARM processor and runs Windows RT, while the latter is much like an ultrabook equipped with a 22nm Intel Ivy Bridge Processor, running Windows 8 Professional. Although Surface RT is equipped with a powerful processor, the lower end model is much lighter and portable as it weighs just 676 grams and is only 9.3mm thick. The higher end model (Surface RT) weighs 903 grams and has a thickness of 13.5mm.
Like Apple, Microsoft has an innovation of its own, which comes in the form of built-in kickstand. Both Surface tablets include an inch-long groove that allows you to easily pull out the kickstand and support the tablet against a solid surface.
Also, there are two types of cover and keyboard attachments:
- Touch Cover – has flat, pressure-sensitive keys that can detect when you’re typing
- Type Cover – features mechanical keys and a multi-touch click-pad.
These covers have the ability to function either as a cover for the screen or as a full keyboard when attached magnetically to the edge of the tablet. When flipped back, an accelerometer recognizes the action and shuts off the keyboard automatically. You can see the images here.
One cool feature about the touch covers is that when the cover is connected to the tablet, the color of the screen background in the Metro UI changes to reflect the color of Touch Cover. Truly innovative!
That said, let us discuss in brief the factors you should consider while buying a Surface tablet of your choice. Also, we will check the details worth knowing.
Windows Surface Tablets comparison
Windows RT will be running Windows RT – the lighter version of Windows 8. The model won’t feature the full desktop version of Windows 8. It will run only the Metro apps available through the Windows app store but will include a version of Microsoft Office at no additional charge. On the other hand, Windows 8 Pro will offer a full Windows 8 experience.
CPU Speed and storage capacity
The Pro version will run on an Intel Ivy Bridge CPU (the same chips found in ultrabooks and other laptops) so it will offer good speed in comparison to lower end model that will be powered by ARM processor. Moreover, Windows 8 Pro Surface Tablet will have twice the storage capacity of Windows RT Surface (Max. 128 GB instead of 64 GB).
Pen with Palm Block
As mentioned, Surface Pro will include support for digital inking and so the inclusion ‘Pen with Palm Block feature’. The feature will prevent you from accidentally swiping over the screen and therefore avoid undesired operations while you’re trying to write or draw.
Both, Surface RT and Surface Pro will sport 10.6″ ClearType HD Display protected by Corning Gorilla Glass but the pro version will have a ‘Full HD’ display, meaning a display with a resolution of at least 1920 by 1200 pixels improved contrast, and reduced screen glare. Also, Surface for Windows 8 Pro supports digital inking.
Portability, availability and pricing may be regarded as the only areas where Windows Surface RT may beat Windows Surface 8 Pro tablet. Surface RT tablet weighs just 676 grams and is only 9.3mm thick in comparison to its higher end model (Surface Pro) which weighs 903 grams and has a thickness of 13.5mm.
Pricing and Availability
The pricing of both the tablets are yet to be determined and as far as the availability is concerned Windows Surface RT tablet is expected to hit the store shelves first, sometime in 2012 Q4. Windows Surface 8 Pro will be released 3 months later after the launch of Windows Surface RT.
So in conclusion, I would like to say that if you are looking for powerful Tablet for working hard, choose Windows 8 Pro. But but if you are looking just for a basic tablet, for doing day-to-day casual work, the Windows RT version may serve you just fine.
You can read more about Surface Pro and Surface RT here and maybe also download this Help Me Choose PDF document prepared by Microsoft.