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Summary:

Along with Windows 8, Microsoft’s Surface RT tablet is here. The slate uses chips that typically power smartphones but Windows runs quite well on it and the hardware is extremely well made and — dare I say it — sexy? See for yourself in this early look.

Microsoft Surface RT

After spending most of the day at Microsoft’s Windows 8 launch event, I spent about 30 minutes with a Microsoft Surface RT tablet and then received a review unit. I’ll be using it full time for the next week — in the place of my Chromebook and MacBook Air — and I’m already impressed by the build quality. Here’s a quick video overview of the hardware so you can get a first impression.

The thin Touch Cover seems accurate and effective after just a few minutes of typing, and of course, the the Type Cover is better as it’s more like a real keyboard. The hardware is thin and despite some early misgivings some may have had with a 1366 x 768 display, it’s bright, vibrant and clear. Have I seen better? Sure, but I’ve seen far worse as well. Now it’s on to set up the software and services to see what I can, or can’t, do with this Surface RT tablet!

  1. Yup, better make sure that color doesn’t affect keyboard performance (face palm).

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  2. Who did the digitizer?

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  3. Would love to see a full day with the tablet, did you catch the supported devices, almost all printers, disk drives scanners,

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    1. Today will be my first full day with it, so stay tunes. Yup, 460m hardware peripherals supported.

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  4. Alamgir Tamboli Thursday, October 25, 2012

    I’ve actually read the opposite from most reviews with respect to which keyboard they like more.. most like the touch more than the type.. Interested to try both myself

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  5. Nice video.

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  6. Kevin, I would encourage you not to forget emphasizing how the RT version PROHIBIT you to use any app now on the MS store … specifically preventing you e.g. to use Chrome, etc.
    MS could have adopted an open approach and let us consider Apple as the only empire of evil. Alas they go the wrong path, and personally I have no intention to get into a close eco-system.
    I would have switched to MS – really I would have. But currently Android is the only way for me.

    P.S. PLEASE allow to login with a google ID to GigaOM.

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    1. Oh give it up already. Go play with your Linux and let the rest of us enjoy something new.

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      1. By the power invested in me (whatever that is that you are looking for), I hereby let you enjoy something new!
        Win8 is nothing less that cool. But to think that by now companies still think that the right strategy to succeed is by locking up their eco-system is just sad.

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    2. Tal, what’s even sadder than evster88’s brain dead response is the fact that M$ is trying to rip off the crApple ecosystem and force feed an entire market sector a walled in garden when it has been using M$ for so long because it WAS wide open!

      Looks like I get to be a M$ Luddite in the end! Yay me!

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      1. Brain dead response? That’s pleasant of you.

        There’s nothing particularly wrong with the walled garden approach, so long as the curating body isn’t leaving out genuinely useful things. Part of the problem with Android is too much stuff is allowed in with all the 3rd party marketplaces, sideloading apps, etc that piracy is rampant and viruses are starting to pop up now for the platform.

        So, I reiterate. If you want a completely unmitigated experience, go play with your Linux.

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    3. Tal, you’re spot on about the app compatibility and that’s a message that Microsoft and partners will have to convey else risk many consumer expectations unmet. I’ll raise your Google ID suggestion to the right folks as well. Thanks!

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  7. Love at first sight, feel… I will be more excited at the final stage, that is, the bite (conclusive reviews). A very impressive , energetic presentations!

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  8. Just wish the video was more stable and easier to watch on the eyes. I hope the actual screen is a lot better in actual usage.

    Hardware looks impressive but still a bit confusing marketing message. Is Microsoft’s tablet called Surface and other OEMs will name their own or will all products have Surface name and logo? Is this the beginning of Microsoft Hardware company or just a continuation and move towards Xbox model or just a reference design for OEMs?

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    1. Sorry about that, Paul, I was in a makeshift studio and a bit out of sorts from my travels. :( I’m using the machine right now and the screen is quite good. Not “retina display” quality, but still nice. I agree with you: the marketing message may be the biggest challenge here. Other OEMs, however will be creating Windows RT tablets, not Surface tablets.

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  9. windows RT : Surface RT ; new apps & office 2013 [win7 apps wont work]

    windows 8 : Surface PRO : new apps & office 2013 & win7 apps

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  10. Surface PRO comes after 3 months

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  11. Fernando Miralles-Wilhelm Friday, October 26, 2012

    Good video Kevin, thanks. If this baby had pen support, I’d be all over it. I’ll sit and wait for the pro which has pen and hopefully pen-enabled software (like OneNote and MS Journal).

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    1. Pretty sure this does have pen support, although I don’t have a pen to currently test it with.

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  12. Can I use your Chromebook for the next week? Mine is on back-order with no estimated ship date… ;-)

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  13. Richard Fieldhouse Friday, October 26, 2012

    If this works consistently well, probably a good time to consider selling those Intel shares!

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  14. Meta comment:

    The bitrate on this clip is so low it’s almost unwatchable.

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  15. Windows 8 pro maybe a better fit for most people. Recommend trying out the Surface at gizmotakeout first.

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  16. 1366×768 is a great setup for a 10″ screen. I’ve been working with that on my netbook for the past two years and it hasn’t been hard on my eyes at all, never mind the extra productivity it gives me when doing work. Holding off on this though – wanna see what the surface pro version is like.

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