Microsoft Surface - my take

Posted on 6/18/2012 @ 10:28 PM in #Non Techie by | Feedback | 2297 views

Okay so the news has sunk in. Microsoft talked about two tablets, one that runs WinRT, the other than runs full Win8 pro.

I thought I’d compare the two, and put on my clairvoyance hat to predict where this will go.

In fairness I think, you can compare the WinRT Surface to iPAD, and Win8Pro Surface to Macbook Air. So here is a bang by bang comparison,

WinRT Surface

iPad

Verdict

676 grams

652 grams

Equal

9.3mm

9.4mm

Equal

WinRT OS

iOS

We have to sit back and see how this pans out. It is unclear how many normal Windows apps will work on WinRT, and how many metro apps there will be. As of now, iPad is ahead. I wouldn’t jump to conclusion that WinRT apps will quickly catch up – just look at windows phone. So, for now, iPad wins this round.

But, Surface does come with MS Office.

32G/64G

16G/32G/64G

Same

10.6” HD display

Retina display

Equal – yeah really! HD resolution may be lower than retina, but it really doesn’t matter. 1080p is high enough. Also, Surface is 10.6” wide screen.

Kickstand, touch keyboard etc.

Much bigger accessory market

Equal

Ports

Apple seems to have a wireless equivalent to everything Surface offers

Equal

Battery life – unknown

10 hrs.

This will be a big differentiator. Consider that iPad has no problems eking out 10hrs, and Windows will typically overclaim it’s battery life.

Price unknown

$500-$839

Again, this will be a big differentiator

Verdict – If the battery life is decent > 7 hours, and the price is a tad lower than iPad, we may have a real winner on our hands. Lets not forget the many other OEM manufacturers who will also introduce impressive tablets.

Next, lets compare Win8Pro surface with MBA.

Win8Pro Surface

MacBook Air

Verdict

903 grams

1.08KG

Surface wins – 100 grams lighter is a lot.

Keyboard/Tablet form factor

Laptop form factor

Surface wins

Win8 Pro

Some sort of cat Mac OS

This will boil down to personal choice. I’m not a big fan of the keyboard/mouse experience on Win8, but the tablet experience is awesome. On the other hand, you have die hard mac fan boys. This will boil down to personal choice.

64G/128G

Up to 512G

MBA wins, yeah you have ports, USB sticks, but nothing beats the convenience of inbuilt storage. And how much of 128G will be eaten up by Win8Pro and Office?

Deal breaker!

Memory unknown

8G

MBA wins because I haven’t seen an ultra book > 8G, and frankly I doubt Surface will top that. But if surface tops at 4G – MBA wins.

Battery life – unknown, though I’d be shocked to see a good battery life on this. With a 42WH battery, I’m guessing 3-4 hours of proper usage.

MBA battery life sucks too :)

Equal

Ports

MBA seems to have more here

MBA wins

Display – Full HD

Display – less than Win8Pro

Surface wins

Price unknown

$999-$1499

This will be a differentiator

Verdict – Win8 Pro surface does pack a punch here. There is no denying that. But 128GB? That’s it? C’mon Microsoft! And how much of that will be eaten up by the OS, and MS Office?

Summary

Surface is a good product. But, so was Zune 2.0, but MSFT killed it due to their poor execution, or perhaps a plan to roll it into Win Phone 7. Either way, there are the following unknowns,

a) How MSFT executes this space – but the start is encouraging.

b) How well does software catch up with iPad app store. Frankly a windows metro experience with equal to iPad app market beats the pants off the icon based UI that Apple is stuck with since 2007 (and into iOS6 – very disappointed). If it wasn’t for a choice in apps, Win8 tablet UI beats iPad TODAY!

c) Battery life and price – two unknowns, and let me throw in the charger size as well while I’m at it.

Long story short, the battle is far from over. I don’t think this will be an iPad killer, but it gives iPad reason to sweat a little.

Either way, great time to be a techie. This increased competition will force Apple to innovate more, or lower their prices. The biggest thing Apple needs to be worried about, their refresh cycle is 1.5-2 years, while the OEMs in Microsoft space will out-surface surface by Win8 pro release.

I’m excited. Woo!

Sound off but keep it civil:

Older comments..


On 6/18/2012 10:33:11 PM Sahil Malik said ..
I forgot to add something - surface also means no iTunes! iTunes is AWFUL AWFUL AWFUL AWFUL AWFUL AWFUL AWFUL AWFUL AWFUL AWFUL AWFUL AWFUL AWFUL AWFUL AWFUL AWFUL AWFUL AWFUL AWFUL AWFUL AWFUL AWFUL AWFUL AWFUL AWFUL AWFUL AWFUL AWFUL !!!! Huge win for Surface.


On 6/18/2012 10:45:21 PM Josh Einstein said ..
One more *big* unknown... availability date.


On 6/19/2012 1:31:06 AM Sunjay said ..
how can factory fitted port be equal to buying "seem to have" wireless devices? sorry not good.


On 6/19/2012 3:15:44 AM Robert Seso said ..
Hi Sahil, as far as I understood, the WinRt version does not have the 1080p full HD resolution, only the Intel version does, right?


On 6/19/2012 10:34:39 AM Alex said ..
First up, I'm no Apple fanboy; I can perform my job in the IT industry on both OS X and Windows (or Linux) and I firmly believe only a poor trades person blames their tools.

Another differentiating factor is the companies behind the products. The first thing that came to mind reading about the MS Tablet was:

Surface; brought to you from the makers of Zune. iPad; brought to you from the makers of iPod.

Love or hate iTunes and iPods, they did to digital music what 3 years of other MP3 players couldn't; they brought the shiny tech to the people that don't give a crap about tech, and just want something they can use.


On 6/19/2012 10:38:01 AM Christol said ..
Flash player!


On 6/19/2012 12:51:57 PM tony said ..
I disagree with your summary comment regarding Apple's icon based ui, that is one of the reasons iPod and iPad products are winning the market. The general population does not want to learn a new interface every few years. Icon's work fine and there is no reason to change, especially in the mobile market.


On 6/26/2012 4:16:03 AM Tracy said ..
Hi Salik

Would you be interested in considering a career at Microsoft in sunny tax free Dubai :-)