Microsoft made its first foray into tablets on Monday, showing off two versions of its Surface tablet. One version comes loaded with Windows 8 Pro, the other with Windows RT.
The back of the tablet, above, displays a Windows logo on a magnesium case coated using a vapour-deposition process — a finish dubbed 'VaporMg' by Microsoft. The seam at the bottom is the tablet's fold-out stand.
Both tablets have a 10.6-inch ClearType-brand display with a 16:9 aspect ratio. The Windows RT model has what Microsoft calls an 'HD Display', which suggests it will be a 720p with 1,366x768 pixel resolution. The Windows 8 Pro Surface is described as having a 'Full HD Display', which means it is probably 1080p with a 1,920x1,080 pixel resolution.
The Windows RT Surface tablet will only run apps with the Metro interface; however, it comes pre-loaded with the Home & Student 2013 RT edition of Office 15. It weighs 676g as opposed to the 903g of the Windows 8 Pro tablet. Apple's third-gen iPad, by comparison, weighs in at 652g.
The Surface RT is 9.3mm thick, while its Surface Pro brother is 13.5mm thick, compared with the iPad's 9.4mm.
The Surface tablet comes with a fold-out kickstand. USB and HDMI ports mean you can attach standard PC accessories and use it more like a traditional laptop.
Speaking of accessories, the Surface also comes with a range of exceedingly colourful Touch Covers. The Touch Cover is a 3mm-thick keyboard that attaches to the tablet magnetically. It has a sheet of sensors inside that respond to keyboard presses — though not, apparently, to random brushes of the arm.
The chunkier 5mm Type Cover, for the Windows 8 Pro version only, comes with a trackpad and keys for more heavy-duty typing. A built-in accelerometer means that both keyboards close down when they are folded up.
The Surface tablets will initially be sold online in the UK, with the Surface RT tablet set to launch alongside Windows 8, and the Pro version three months later. Timing for the UK release has not been announced.