Skip to comments.Microsoft Surface Tablet: 10 Coolest Features
Posted on 06/25/2012 8:17:09 AM PDT by SmokingJoe
Microsoft believes a stand should be an integral part of a tablet's design. (Take that, iPad!) The Surface's built-in kickstand is made of the same sturdy VaporMg material--more on this later--that encases the slate. "The hinge design is like that of the finest luxury car," said Microsoft's Steven Sinofsky, sounding a bit like a car salesman. The stand does look ideal for landscape-mode viewing. But how well will it work in portrait mode?
You've gotta be thin to compete with the iPad. The Surface for Windows RT is 9.3 millimeters thick--or "thin," as the marketing folks are fond of saying. That's 0.1 millimeters thinner than the new iPad, not that you'll notice the difference. The Surface's edges are beveled back at 22 degrees, making the slate appear even slimmer than its specs might suggest. Surface is the first PC with a full magnesium case, making it light yet rigid, Redmond says.
Cover + Keyboard: The Surface's coolest feature isn't its 10.6-inch display or ultra-thin design, but rather the clever Touch Cover that's both a screen protector and a multi-touch keyboard. Just 3 millimeters thick--the Surface with Touch Cover attached measures a still-svelte 12 millimeters--the cover has a magnetic connector that secures it to the tablet.
The keyboard doubles as a track pad with left and right buttons, and has special keys for Windows 8's Metro interface. "On average, typing is twice as efficient as typing on glass," said Sinofsky. True? We'll have to wait a bit longer to find out.
(Excerpt) Read more at informationweek.com ...
Spot on statement. This is my third year using iPads, from when they first came out. Definitely a great leisure tool. Easy web browsing on the go anywhere, not just from room to room in the house. One goes with me on every plane flight (just got back yesterday on a 4 hour flight, whizzes by with this tool). Loaded up with books, movies, photos, music and apps. Quickly slides away in the seat back storage on a plane. I use it every day to listen to radio broadcasts over the internet while I'm working. Thousands of radio stations around the world.
For non-leisure use: Definitely handy for taking snapshots or movies with the camera for documenting purposes. Viewing PDFs and schematic diagrams. Taking it next to my workshop tools for reading manuals or watching how-to video tutorials. There's no way I'll leave my laptop next to dusty sawtables or drillpress with metal shavings flying around, or next to greasy auto parts.
It's not just the portability, but also the ruggedness and ease of use of the tablet versus laptop that make it a great tool to have. Regardless of what brand you buy.
Summary of remaining 7
The Surface's keyboard has a few more tricks up its sleeve. You can rest your hands on top of the keys, something you generally can't do with an onscreen keyboard. Microsoft invented a fast, pressure-sensitive digitizer that enables this feature; an algorithm helps determine whether you meant to press a key or not. Microsoft calls this feature “tap detection.”
Surface Pro For Power Users
The iPad and other tablets are targeted primarily at consumers, but Microsoft is casting a wider net. While the Windows RT-based consumer model uses an ARM processor, the powerful Surface for Windows 8 Professional is designed for power users and enterprises. Featuring a 3rd-generation Intel Core i5 CPU, the Pro model runs Windows desktop apps, has full HD (1080p) graphics, supports digital ink for pen input, and even has a nifty magnetic-charging connector for a stylus.
Microsoft is very proud of its VaporMg manufacturing process that enables the Surface's sturdy shell, smooth finish, sleek design, and intricate angles. The complex procedure begins with an ingot of magnesium, which is melted down to a molten state and molded to 0.65 millimeters thick; by comparison, a credit card is 0.75 inches thick. The resulting VaporMg case is thin yet strong
Full-Sized USB Port
The Surface may be ultra-thin, but it's thick enough for a full-sized USB port. Surface for Windows RT supports USB 2.0, while Surface for Windows 8 Pro supports the speedier USB 3.0 spec. The benefit here, of course, is that you won't have to cough up more cash for an overpriced proprietary cable to connect your USB-based peripherals. Are you listening, Apple?
Tuned For Skype
Keeping It Cool
The Surface for Windows 8 Pro, powered by a speedy Intel Core i5 CPU, can run demanding Windows desktop apps that generate a lot of heat. So how does Surface stay cool? Microsoft's solution is “perimeter venting,” a groove that extends around the outside of the case. The design allows air to be uniformly distributed across the entire tablet. Your hands won't block the airflow, either.
The 10.6-inch ClearType HD Display has a 16:9 aspect ratio and a wide viewing angle. Its optically-bonded design benefits stylus users by eliminating layers between the cover glass and the screen. “It feels like you're inking right on the page,” said Angiulo. “The distance between the stylus and where I see the ink is only 0.7 millimeters. That's the thinnest and closest distance of any tablet PC—any inking tablet—ever.” Good digital-ink capabilities will help Surface Pro’s chances in the enterprise.
Since most productive/creative work is done in landscape mode(as in normal laptops and desktops), that is not a shortcoming.
“There are times when one wishes to type while in portrait mode”
On rare occasions maybe.
This is where a wireless keyboard comes in handy, as it can be used in either orientation
The surface comes with a full USB port, you could plug in a full keyboard/mouse and use it in portrait mode if you like. You don't have to use the 3 mm Microsoft provided cover/keyboard if you'd prefer a “normal” keyboard or use any of the doubtless plenty of 3rd party special “tablet keyboards” that will no doubt appear for/launch with Windows 8 hybrids/tablets.
Thanks, some of those look like some pretty good features.
Bizarre reply. A shortcoming is a deficiency in ability - look it up. Just because sometimes one will work in landscape mode, and not always in portrait mode, does not relegate a need for the keyboard to exile. There are many publishing houses that require editing in portrait mode. A lack of a keyboard for them is definitely a shortcoming. I do a lot of edits in portrait mode. Same with one of my daughters, who is a magazine editor. Sure you can plug in a secondary keyboard and edit in portrait mode. However, the built-in keyboard cover would then be proven to not being up to the task, and is therefore a shortcoming.
Your fervent love affair with the Surface has clouded your ability to see facts, and has caused you to spew nonsense.
You see, I LIKE what I've heard about Surface. I'm frankly very interested in its proposed characteristics, especially since as the Director of System Admin at my company which makes its living writing software for Windows-based (and other) devices, the likelihood that I'll get to work with a bunch of the MS tablets is pretty much 100%, and probably as soon as anybody not actually working directly for Microsoft. It's very much in my interest to get ahead of this particular juggernaut before it hits.
Personally, I'm very pleased that Microsoft is finally taking the bull by the horns and making a product whose hardware design isn't driven by the bottom-feeder PC hardware market where lowest-price is all that matters. I have been a computer hardware system design engineer for nearly 40 years, including some aerospace flight and industrial gear, and I like to see good hardware design appear on the consumer market. Apple has held the design high ground for a long time, and it's good for all, that they get challenged by more than their own occasional missteps.
But I'm burning out already on the deluge of substance-challenged Surface hype. In the absence of new information, the same few proposed characteristics are being beaten to smithereens. It's almost (note: almost) as bad as the barrage of silly speculation that always precedes a product announcement, usually from Apple, but in this case Microsoft as well. (The only thing sillier than hyping a device which you've seen but can't purchase, is wild-ass guessing about a device you haven't even been told about yet.)
BTW, when I call something "vaporware" I don't mean it doesn't exist as a prototype or engineering model. I've designed devices intended for commercial markets, where the prototype run was also the final run, because somebody in marketing changed their mind or thought better of it later. Those devices, promised to customers and then canceled, were "vaporware" as products even though some hardware existed for a time.
Anyway, the only real point of my little rant was that I hope the excitement about Surface doesn't burn itself out in the 3-6 months before devices are actually available for purchase and customers can find out whether they like them or not. I'd like this product to succeed, and compete well against the iPad. That competition will do all parties -- and especially the consumers -- a lot of good.
So post whatever you like, and I'll probably give it a look, and a solid read-through if it looks like it's got some substance. And I'll hold a hope that the buying public retains some interest for when Surface appears in reality later this year.
Silly, but still funny! If you rotate the Surface to portrait mode, I guess that picture is pretty accurate. Anyway, reading and typing regular correspondence is one such use. Letter documents are generally 8-1/2 inches by 11 inches. Portrait mode allows one to see a full page document, and to type away with more of the text visible. It's just nice having the luxury to switch between landscape and portrait mode, as needed, and not limit your options.
> Those devices, promised to customers and then canceled, were "vaporware" as products even though some hardware existed for a time.
And even if the product was NOT canceled, it was still "vaporware" while in prototype/demo phase. It's not "product" until the customer can buy it. That's the definition of what a product it.
By your definition, "Duke Nukem Forever" was a "product" for the 15 years it took to develop it. There was plenty of code written, tested, and played with during that time; presumably there were demos and so forth. Yet until it was released for sale, it was the very definition of "vaporware". Surely you remember that.
So you can save yourself some embarrassment, if you wish. Allow Surface to become a product when it's released for sale. Until then, it's a neat prototype, suitable for demos and generating buzz. In other words, vaporware. That's not a pejorative -- it's just what it is, until it's a product.
If they could, they would.
One polite reply back to you to point out that your implied equivalency was not the same, with no insults or personal slurs or attacks, results in vitriol... I see. This pattern has been repeated over and over again with Windows fans against Apple users.
And you proudly proclaim your use Android products, MS products, an HTC Evo phone, and only buy Apple products for your "brain-damaged niece" and that somehow qualifies you as being open minded about Apple products? I am glad you did not inflict an Android tablet on your niece.
As for me, I am a cross platform consultant who works regularly on Windows PCs and I recommend them where they are called for... and have grown to hate them with a passion over almost 30 years of working on them and the unnecessary problems they bring to my clients. Unfortunately for my clients, I make a lot of money from my clients fixing those problems for them! Too many times I see frustrated clients who are sick and tired of their computers getting in the way of getting their work done. That seldom happens on a Mac or any Apple product. I can tell you that once I have been able to switch a client to a Mac, I stop making anywhere near as much money from that client!
You’re correct I missed you saying portrait mode. Who uses there tablet in portrait mode? Especially in a typing situation? I never ever use my tablets in portrait mode except when I play words with friends or scramble, other than that it doesn’t provide much use. If you are going to use it, say as a student, or a doctor, then yeah you would use portrait mode for note taking...which is why they offer a stylus(MS One Note is second to none out there), other than that like all tablets they are primarily designed to be used in landscape.
Well I guess people will have to purchase a wireless keyboard if for some weird reason they need to use it in portrait mode. If you don’t know what purchase means, that is you take funds and obtain goods with it. Oh wait you are an Apple fan, you know exactly what that means.
It’s not my fault the recommended device for children with developmental problems is the iPad due to it’s ease of accessibility for people with issues. I most certainly want her to have the best chance and using an android device tends to have a sharper learning curve, and far less kid friendly apps.
You don't get out much. Just because you have never enjoyed using the full range of what a tablet can offer, you will deny the existence of a useful feature. Take the blinders off and live a little.
As I said, publishing houses use portrait mode. So do artist studios. Portrait display monitors have been available for decades. People use these features on large scale machines, and naturally come to expect them on smaller portable platforms. When one of my daughters attended the SF Art Academy, lots of artists used portrait mode (incidentally, most of the machines were Macs). She went on to become a magazine writer and then editor working for a large publishing firm. Lots of portrait mode editing in the publishing business.
As for me, I use the Zinio app on my iPad to read dozens of magazines. It's simply easier to read magazines in portrait mode, as that is the form factor of magazines. The digital magazines are interactive, sometimes requiring input from the reader and that means using a keyboard. Another app is Goodreader where I have hundreds of PDFs and technical notes, most of which are used in portrait mode. Same for dictation apps, reference apps, education apps, medical apps and finance apps. By the way, I also use a stylus on my iPad, for use in some apps. I have 200 apps on my iPad. You, being a Microsoft bigot, have none, because you are waiting for Microsoft to sell a tablet like the iPad. Only then, will you extoll the benefits of using a tablet in portrait mode.
Again with rude insults, the mark of scoundrels who can't handle debating points. Unbecoming.
I have worked on many platforms, believing in using the widest range of tools available to get the job done. You believe in using a narrow range of tools, unfortunate for you. I was an engineer working on IBM mainframes, as well as many mini and micro platforms. Also a network engineer having to connect different platforms to each other. Also was a Windows and NT administrator with a team working under me to build, roll out and support hundreds of servers and desktops. My use of PCs goes back to the beginning days of DOS, and I have worked with every version of Windows and NT. I have a copy of OS/2 sitting right in front of me. Did stints writing code for Wang, IVPhase and other platforms. Also administered Cisco routers since they first came out in the early 90s.
So what have you worked on, other than insulting others?
I work on people who pick something minor, exaggerate it as a down fall, then surreptitiously point out that iPads you have to purchase the keyboard separately as well..after you try and insult my intelligence nonetheless. That’s what I do.
In real life I am a microbiologist,CLS, Army Veteran(82C,88M), been building and selling PC’s for years as a hobby and for extra income to fellow soldiers, family and friends and on the internet. I started out a huge Apple fan but hate and I mean hate the closed nature of their desktop offerings. I don’t mind them in the personal conveyance space, it is very beneficial for any company to keep a homogenized ecosystem for hardware for stuff like phones and tablets and even laptops, but PC’s would simply lose innovation at it’s core when.
OK I guess I should quantify something, I do read in portrait mode..completely escaped my mind. However I never feel I need to prop it up or set it down, it’s just fine in my bed. Thats the Asus Transformer Prime..an android tablet. I am excited about the MS Tablet because I like the idea of being able to potentially seamlessly move between my home PC, XBox 360 which I use as a media hub and media player and a portable device. That’s my hope. If it doesn’t work out no hair off my chest, but I do get worked up over what I consider either uninformed guesses or exaggerations over minor things that are actually common across every platform right now. I do know one thing my lab will definitely be looking at these for COAs, tracking, test result and dispersal. MS is the only company that had people who were able to get our scales, BioControl DNA systems and customers integrated without a hiccup.
I forgot to mention the rest of your post.
I obviously neglected the commercial and industrial usages of portrait mode for publishing and art, obviously they are using desktop solution 90% of the time and the rest of the time a lap top. Nobody I know who are writers use the iPads for that. It’s simply not that productive for the most part(and that goes across every platform right now in the tablet space)