Microsoft launched its first tablets in 2012, offering two different models: the Surface With Windows RT and the Surface With Windows Pro. The main difference between the two is the operating system and the fact that the Pro version has a more powerful processor and more memory. Both are about the same size and include a touch screen with an ambient light sensor, as well as an accelerometer, gyroscope and compass built in. If you are looking for a lighter, more mobile tablet, the RT version may be more to your liking, whereas the Pro version accommodates more applications, including those you might have used on your Windows 7 desktop.
The RT and Pro versions of the Microsoft Surface have the same VaporMg case in dark titanium color. The RT version is slightly smaller, measuring 10.81 by 6.77 by 0.37 inches. The Pro version measures 10.81 by 6.81 by 0.53 inches. The RT weighs 1.5 pounds, while the Pro weighs 2 pounds. Both models have a 10.6-inch touch-screen display with a 16-to-9 widescreen aspect ration. The Pro version has better resolution – 1920 by 1080 pixels, compared to the RT’s resolution of 1366 by 768 pixels. The Pro version also comes with a pen for use on the touch screen, a feature the RT does not have. Both come with front and rear cameras, microphone and stereo speakers. The RT model has an HD video out port, and the Pro has a Mini DisplayPort.
Under the Hood
The Windows RT Surface comes with a quad-core NVIDIA Tegra 3 processor and 2GB of RAM. For storage, you have a choice between a 32GB or 64GB hard drive. The Pro Surface packs more power with a third-generation Intel Core i5 processor and an integrated Intel HD Graphics 4000 graphics card. The Pro has 4GB of RAM and either a 64GB or 128GB hard drive. Both come with Bluetooth 4.0 and Wireless 802.11a/b/g/n built in.
The Windows RT Surface comes with the Windows RT operating system, which only works with apps available from the Windows Store. It also comes with the preview edition of Microsoft Office Home and Student 2013 RT. This includes Microsoft Word, PowerPoint, Excel and OneNote. The Windows Pro Surface comes with Windows 8 Pro operating system, which can run any applications you used with previous versions of Windows. The Pro version also includes Windows Mail and Messaging, Internet Explorer 10, SkyDrive, Bing and the XBOX application.
With both models, you have a choice of keyboards that double as covers and essentially change the tablet into a laptop with a touch screen. You can get a touch cover, which uses a touch-sensitive keyboard without moving keys, or a type cover with keys that do move. Protective sleeves and silicone-coated screen protectors are also available for both models. As a bonus, the AC adapter on the Pro model has an extra jack for charging USB devices, a feature not present on the RT model.