We here at B.I.T.S. are very excited about the upcoming availability of the new Surface tablet from Microsoft. You may be saying that we have already covered the surface, and this is true. However, in January, a new model is scheduled to begin shipping. Surface with Windows 8 Pro! At first glance, there isn’t much different here. You might notice that while holding one, it is a little heavier, by just .5lbs. What’s so exciting about a tablet that is heavier?
The Surface with Windows 8 Pro runs, well, Windows 8 Pro. Why is that a big deal? First, Surface RT is only able to run applications that were written for the RT platform and purchased from the Microsoft App Store. Surface with Windows 8 Pro can run anything a Windows 7 laptop can run today. You may want to take that last statement under advisement, as storage and other resources are limited. Imagine however a 10″ tablet that could run that program you have been wishing would someday soon have an app for your android or iOS based tablet. Well soon your wait will be over. Second, those IT guys who don’t want you to bring in your tablet to work will be thrilled to have you bring this one in. It fully integrates with a Windows network, just like your desktop or laptop, so IT can manage it and support it just like existing desktops and laptops. That is a big win for both teams!
Ok, time for some of the important specs. This tablet has 2 720p HD Cameras, a full-sized USB 3.0 port, a microSDXC card slot for additional storage, 802.11a/b/g/n and Bluetooth 4.0 Wireless, 1920×1080 Full HD Display, 4GB RAM, an Intel Core i5 processor, and comes with either 64GB or 128GB of storage. Reportedly, battery life is expected to be around 4-5 hours.
There are a few disappointments with the Surface. First, the operating system takes up a good bit of storage on the device. This loss of space can be dealt with by adding a 64GB microSDXC card or attaching an external hard drive to the USB port. Secondly, there is no support for cellular data. No Verizon or AT&T version to let you surf when there is no Wi-Fi available. With Wi-Fi to be found almost everywhere, this lack of wireless Internet connectivity isn’t the end of the world. Many smartphone data plans now allow you to turn your phone into a hot spot, and since there is a full-sized USB port, it might be possible to install a USB modem to the device. Third, is the cost. The 64GB model will be $899, while the 128GB model will be $999. Accessories like the type covers start at $120, upping the cost even more.
Microsoft Surface with Windows 8 Pro may, in our opinion, be the perfect solution for businesses looking to use tablets inside the office and out. This tablet has the support IT is looking for, the flexibility users need, and the power to run it all. Its steep price may be its only stumbling block; however, Microsoft views this tablet as a replacement for the laptop or ultrabook. This price point may just be worth it when you compare it to the price of the current ultrabooks and laptops Microsoft expects it to replace. Visit www.microsoft.com/Surface for more information about both the Surface with Windows 8 Pro and the Surface RT.