Microsoft Surface review

The Microsoft Surface RT is the brand's flagship Windows 8 device

What is a hands on review?
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Microsoft Surface review
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Microsoft Surface review
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Microsoft Surface review
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Microsoft Surface review
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Microsoft Surface review
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Microsoft Surface review
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Microsoft Surface review
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Microsoft Surface review
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Microsoft Surface review
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Microsoft Surface review

For

  • Battery life
  • Expandable storage
  • Multitasking

Against

  • Not lap-friendly
  • Slow loading times
  • Lack of apps

The Microsoft Surface RT is the brand’s flagship Windows 8 device, but does it bring enough to the table to take on its iOS and Android rivals?

Officially announced alongside Windows 8 , the Microsoft Surface is set to be the lead device for Microsoft's new OS, along with the likes of the Asus Vivo RT and the Samsung Ativ Tab.

We managed to get our mitts on a demo sample to give it the quick once-over - we'll bring you more details as soon as we have a finished model in our possession.

Microsoft Surface: Build

The Surface uses an alloy known as VaporMg which makes it three times lighter than aluminium but also manages to retain all the strength. This definitely came across in the short time we were able to hold it. In fact it's probably one of the nicest materials we'eve ever seen on a tablet, that said we have no idea how well it'll survive scratches and scuffs so hold on for the full review to find out.

A fingerprint-resistant coating helps keep it looking flawless while the matte effect adds a real premium feel to the Surface. Of course the Surface also has a built-in Kickstand, something which at first glance seems very risky.

We were quickly proven wrong however, the action is sturdy and despite numerous attempts it is frankly idiot-proof. OK, it's not the magic bullet of the tablet world but it's certainly a solution to the problem of wanting a keyboard as well.

Microsoft Surface: Screen

It's not Full-HD. Right, now we've got that out of the way we can focus on the positives. The 10.1-inch display boasts a resolution of 1366x768, add to that ClearType HD Display technology and we honestly couldn't see individual pixels on the display.

Text looks crisp and defined while colours are bright and pure. While it may not have the Retina-quality display of the new iPad and iPhone 5, it still packs a punch.

Microsoft Surface: Keyboard

While the Surface gives you a onscreen keyboard we'd actually recommend you go with one of the Covers as your main input for text, in particular the Touch Cover, wafer-thin (at just 3.25mm) and much more practical than either the screen keyboard or the more bulky Type Cover.

Microsoft Surface: Windows 8

With the current Surface you get Windows 8 RT, a version of the Windows 8 operating system which has been optomised for ARM tablets. It also gives you a more tablet-friendly streamlined version of Windows 8.

You won't be able to install programs that run on previous Windows editions or indeed the non-ARM normal Windows 8, instead however you get full access to the Windows Store and all the games and apps that are available.

You'll also get Office Home and Student 2013 RT Preview, which despite the ridiculous name gives you a touch-friendly suite of Office all for free.

Microsoft Surface: Performance

The Surface is no sloth. Under the hood is a quad-core NVIDIA Tegra 3 processor along with 2GB of RAM which we found was more than ample with the Surface breezing through.

Microsoft Surface: Verdict

While we only got a brief spell with Microsoft's flagship tablet it's clear that there is definitely a market for the Surface. By staying touch-focused the Surface looks to be a brilliant tablet, however by adding a truly usable keyboard cover you can then switch and use the keyboard and mouse for the only apps that matter in that regard, Office.

We'll let you know more as soon as we get a proper looks at a full review sample at T3 Towers.

Microsoft Surface release date: Available now

Microsoft Surface price: From £399

What is a hands on review?

'Hands on reviews' are a journalist's first impressions of a piece of kit based on spending some time with it. It may be just a few moments, or a few hours. The important thing is we have been able to play with it ourselves and can give you some sense of what it's like to use, even if it's only an embryonic view.