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New tablet redefines meaning of laptops

Published: Tuesday, February 26, 2013

Updated: Tuesday, February 26, 2013 09:02

Surface

Courtesy of anandtech.com

The new Surface RT offers an array of features that bridge that gap between tablets and laptops. It has two cameras, touch display, wifi, bluetooth, speakers and a microphone.

We all have probably seen glimpses of the Surface tablet/laptops during the commercials of our favorite shows. The commercial draws you in with fast-paced music and choreographed dance all while using the Surface. There are two versions of the Surface and we will be looking at the cheaper Surface RT. 

First of all: This chimera of a tablet looks sleek and has a lot of new features that bridge the gap between tablets and laptops and even new gadgets that we haven’t seen. 

Among these features are what we would expect from a tablet: two cameras (front and back), touch display, wifi, bluetooth, speakers and a microphone. It also boasts features regularly found on laptops, such as an HD video out port, full size USB port and an attachable keyboard with touchpad. Running the Windows 8 operating system, this device looks modern and even futuristic. 

The Metro interface, as it is dubbed, has all the apps you would want in a smooth and colorful layout. Held in your hands it feels and performs like a tablet, but thanks to a thin fold-out keyboard, which in itself is breathtaking, and a small, sturdy kickstand, this “tablet” transforms into a laptop. Although, trying to keep it on your lap is a bit hazardous and it feels much more natural on a table or other hard surface.

There’s less than half an inch of casing and, with a look at the hardware that whirs inside, we can tell how this tablet will perform. In order to be fast it needs a processor that can handle a lot of multitasking. Since its so small, there were some doubts that it would support a good processor, but not only does it have a good one, it has a great one. The Surface has a Quad-core Nvidia Tegra 3 processor, which is arguably the best processor for mobile platforms in the market. It also has 4 GB of RAM so you don’t have to worry about running out of memory. Basically, the Surface will have no problem handling all of your multitasking needs.

The answer to the second question becomes clear after only a few minutes of holding it. This is not a laptop. With the Windows 8 Metro interface and the touch screen it just feels way better as a tablet than a laptop. 

Instead of manipulating a mouse pointer around the screen, although the keyboard does have a seemingly residual touchpad, you just touch the app you want to open like any other tablet. It also has storage more associated with a tablet as well, only holding 64 GB of data, and it’s about the size of a tablet with a 10.6-inch HD screen, roughly the same size as the new iPad. The screen is clear and text and pictures are crisp too, rivaling the Retina display that Apple puts on their products.

Is the Surface trendsetting? With all of the new tablets and laptops coming out, the goal has changed to constantly blurring the line. We see tablets acting more like laptops and laptops acting more like tablets. The Surface is setting the bar high by plunging right in the middle of the grey area and coming out as a beautiful, well performing piece of technology.

But what about the Surface Pro, the Surface RT’s more expensive counterpart? Well, it’s even better. Slightly bigger and slightly heavier, you get what you pay for if you decide to splurge for the extra features. With a bigger hard drive holding 128 GB, higher resolution, and a third generation Intel Core i5 Processor with Intel HD Graphics 4000, this tablet becomes a beast of machinery. 

The only question here is “why?” Windows 8 doesn’t support any “hardcore,” graphic-intensive games and the Surface RT seems to perform fine. If you want more power, there’s no point in arguing. It is likely we could be seeing the games we play on our smartphones and tablets becoming more strenuous on old hardware, and it’s good to see that new devices are upgrading their hardware accordingly. 

With the Surface Pro you’ll likely have less of an issue of it becoming obsolete as the world of technology continues to change.

The Surface RT and Pro are some great gadgets with a price range of $599 to $1,399. It’s also good to see Microsoft setting the stage for the future, especially when companies like Apple and Google have eyes on bringing us the next big thing.

 

twrig2@brockport.edu

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