Way back in June I profiled a new tablet from Microsoft called Surface. These innovative looking devices looked like they had the potential to become a popular travel or expedition device thanks to their small size, lightweight and versatility. Surface was able to stand out from the crowd of other tablets on the market, such as the iPad, by including a soft touch keyboard and having the option to run a full blown version of Windows 8, both of which intrigued a number of people that I spoke to who thought they might be great for staying connected while in remote parts of the world.
At the time of the initial announcement, Microsoft kept a lot of information about Surface to themselves. We did know that they would come in two varieties, the RT and Pro models, which would each run slightly different versions of the OS. The Pro model is the one that will actually have a touch-enabled Windows 8 operating system. But we didn’t know when they would be released, how much they would cost or just how they would perform in the field.
At least two of those things has now been revealed, as we now know that the first Surface RT tablets will be available starting October 26. Pricing will start at $499 for a basic 32GB model that does not include the snazzy keyboard. A 32GB version with keyboard will set you back $599, while those looking for more onboard storage can jump to the 64GB model at $699. There is no word yet on pricing or release dates for Pro models, but we do know they’ll be more expensive and come after the first of the year. For more information, checkout Microsoft’s Surface page.
What remains to be seen however is just how well the Surface will perform. It looks like it will be a fantastic device to take with us on the road, offering up laptop like functionality in a smaller and lighter package. But until we get them in our hands and can actually test them, just how functional they are remains to be seen. Still, it looks like a worthy competitor to the iPad, which hasn’t been challenged much, in terms of performance, from the plethora of Android tablets that are available. Perhaps the Surface will make a great companion for our adventures. I’m looking forward to finding out.
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