Windows 8 Surface RT: Need to know

We give you a rundown of all the key features about Microsoft's first 10.6in tablet.

Performance

Microsoft has used an NVIDIA Tegra 3 quad-core processor to power the Surface RT. This has been found in high-end smartphones such as the HTC One X and tablet such as the Google Nexus 7. The chip will be supported by 2GB of RAM.

With a 32GB or 64GB SSD available, boot times and search times will be faster than traditional laptops. We've seen a Samsung Windows 8 tablet boot up in eight seconds flat - so the Surface should be able to replicate this.

Whilst performance shouldn't be a problem, this is the first time that the desktop Windows platform has been shipped on ARM-based architecture, so it's not going to be perfect.

Tegra 3

Connectivity

Being a Windows-based device the Surface RT includes a few ports which are found on Ultrabooks. The device has a full-sized USB 2.0 connection, microSDXC card reader and HD video out port.

The 9mm chassis doesn't have enough space for an Ethernet port though so you'll have to rely on Wi-Fi connectivity. The device also supports Bluetooth, so you can connect up peripherals.

In total, 420 million existing hardware peripherals including mice keyboard, displays and printers will be supported by RT.

Battery life and price

Microsoft hasn't given concrete figures about the battery life, preferring to use terms such as "all day" usage. We expect the Surface RT to offer between 8 10 hours. The firm has noted that it will have ultra fast charging times too with Panay noting that the Surface will charge in 2 hours, even it is being used.

Prices start at 399 for the 32GB edition, which is the same price as the 16GB Wi-Fi only iPad. This rises to 479 if you want the Touch Cover and 559 for the 64GB edition (with Touch Cover).

Verdict

Microsoft has taken a bold move by launching the Surface RT. However, Panos Panay, head of Surface put across a compelling use case for the device during his presentation. If the Windows Store can grow quickly to provide apps, Microsoft could have the making of a successful product.

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