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Shiny new Surface

After a long wait and much anticipation, it is just about here, and I might add it’s no coincidence that it’s right around the holiday season.

What am I so excited about? Microsoft’s newest member to the family, the Surface. The Windows RT device is priced competitively with the iPad, which is cheaper than I was expecting and it is in fact the same price as the entry-level “new iPad” but with 32gbs of storage it has double the flash memory.

The new commercial shows off the device’s signature hardware features – the kickstand and touch keyboard cover which I must admit is very well designed and without a shadow of a doubt is the best looking keyboard accessory to date – may be because it was actually made by the manufacturer and was not an afterthought like most of the others.

The kickstand is nice touch too, and well is also needed because the keyboard also doubles as a cover. It’s not very ridged so wouldn’t be able to support the Surface on its own.

Now at this point it would make sense for me to go on to tell you about Surface RT’s ARM CPU, of it’s beautiful magnesium alloy chassis or even its 10.6 inch HD display. I could even go on for days about the dual microphones, microSD, one USB 2.0 port and Micro HDMI, but all of that is nothing when compared to the absolute monster which is Surface Pro.

Just as sleek and just 227g heavier, the Pro will have a few major differences – full-fledged Windows 8, USB 3.0 support, DisplayPort and a Desktop grade i5 CPU.

What is also a surprise to me is the fact the Microsoft is shipping Surface with a Microsoft Office bundle, which will ramp up your creativity. But this brings into question one thing, how readily available will the apps be. Without a doubt the Appstore is still the superior means of getting apps on your mobile device, but how will the Microsoft Store measure up?

I can say that growth hasn’t been by leaps and bounds but it has been steady with the Microsoft store since its original revamp with Windows Phone. So this is a very good sign, and if the steady growth continues, I believe iPad will have a real genuine threat on its hands.

Add to the fact that although I didn’t much like the tiles of Windows 8, they have grown on me and have somewhat become home now. A lot of work has gone into the operating system and it is very solid, although there could be a steep learning curb. Most impressive to me was the native Internet Explorer, which is currently the fastest browsers I have used to date.

My concerns with the Surface, though few, are pretty big ones. The battery life of Pro, how will Microsoft manage to put out that much power without quickly draining the battery? How hot will the i5 CPU run? And how often will updates and new features be added?

I can’t wait to get my hands on Surface RT and Surface Pro, and with prices starting at US $499 without the Touch Cover, I’m sure one might very well be under the tree for some of us come Christmas Morning.

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