Interested in Microsoft Surface? Should you get Surface RT or Surface PRO?

Microsoft Surface

There has probably never been a better time to get a tablet than now, thanks to the shear amount of great choices on the market today. From the iPad to the Nexus 10, there is plenty of options out there, that much is clear. What if you are considering the Microsoft Surface? Should you get the Surface RT or wait for the Surface PRO?

This is a good question, and one that is really hard to answer until we have exact pricing and other information. That being said, we’ll do our best to compare the two models and help you figure out which is right for you.

Microsoft Surface RT

The newly released Microsoft Surface RT is the first Microsoft-made tablet and one of the first Windows tablet that uses an ARM chip instead of an X86 Intel/AMD processor. The Surface RT has a quad-core NVIDIA Tegra 3 processor, 2GB of RAM, a 10.6-inch display with a 1366×768 resolution, 32GB (base model) storage and has a battery that should withstand about 8 hours of use.

Due to its ARM processor, it has access to the desktop but it doesn’t have the ability to run any traditional desktop applications due to the architecture difference. In a nutshell, that means you won’t be able to use existing Windows programs and will only have access to the newer Windows Store apps.

Surface Pro

In early 2013 Microsoft will release the Surface PRO. What’s the difference? Under the hood is an Intel Core i5 CPU, a better 1920 x 1080 display, 64GB and higher storage options, and even a pen input ability.

The Surface still has the same size of display and looks/feels about the same though it is slightly heavier at two pounds.

What makes the PRO so different?

Besides a sharper resolution and a few other perks, what really is different with the Microsoft Surface Pro is that an X86 processor means you don’t have Windows RT— instead the PRO has the full version of Windows 8. With its touch cover, the Surface RT can double as a PC for things like typing and other productivity, but it truly can’t be a real desktop/laptop replacement for most users.

With the Surface PRO model you get the ability to run all your legacy Windows programs, which opens the door to a true laptop replacement experience. There is a lot more processing, graphics and application power with the Surface that makes it more than just a consumer device.

Microsoft Surface

Should you get the Microsoft Surface Pro or the RT Model?

To answer that question, ask yourself what you are using the tablet for. If you want a device for multimedia consumption and entertainment that you might occasionally use for typing and light productivity, the Microsoft Surface RT model will probably fit the bill.

If you plan to no longer use your laptop for business and productivity purposes, the Surface RT model probably just won’t cut it for the vast majority of users. With the Surface PRO you have a no compromise device that is highly mobile and has all the great Windows Store apps, but also has the non-touch optimized desktop apps for when you want and need them. If you are a gamer that wants the ability to use the Surface as a way to play desktop apps, the PRO is the only choice as RT won’t work with any game that isn’t directly from the Windows Store.

Are there other differences that we didn’t mention? Probably, but the bottom-line is if you want to have a full business solution that can truly replace a laptop or desktop— get the Surface Pro. If you own a desktop or laptop that you can use for legacy applications, the Surface RT will do the job and save you a little green.

How much will the Microsoft Surface PRO set you back? We don’t 100 percent know yet but it is believed that the Surface PRO will price competitively to an ultrabook, so expect a starting price around $1000 and launch date of around January 24th. In contrast, the Surface RT starts at just $499.

So are you interested in the Microsoft Surface? If so, which model do you think you will pick up?


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13 Comments

  1. Larry says:

    Like the RT. Wouldn’t buy one because of lack of backward compatibility.

    The Pro satisfies 90% of my needs. Like the size and weight. Keyboard and trackpad essential. Want more RAM and Memory or the ability to upgrade it. I hate touchscreens so W8 is not a must. May go with a Samsung series 9 with W7.

    I’d love to see a version of this without the touch screen and with a hinged attached real keyboard with a real track pad running windows 7. That would make it a very nice ultrabook. It is a less than shining tablet in all versions. Why not cut a few bucks on the display and OS and give us a compact, light Ultrabook?

  2. GrandPoobah says:

    Brought an RT and LOVE IT but since I use OneNote, the handwriting capability is key for me. So I will return it and get a Pro. Outside of that, Outlook is my life. RT doesn’t come with Outlook. Love what MSFT has designed. Are they becoming cool? Will have to wait and see.

  3. Surface RT. Less weight, lower entry cost, no Malware/Spyware to worry about, less system noise, less heat…and it does everything I want a tablet to do PLUS run office and the occasional productivity app that’s not from Microsoft. Expand the storage to 96 GB…hook up blue tooth keyboard and mouse…connect my Sony A200 camera to the USB connector… I’m good.

  4. Tim says:

    Neither, since it appears that neither have GPS. That’s a deal breaker for me :(

  5. Anonymous says:

    I opted for the RT now, and the Pro later. I’ll give the RT to the kid, or wife at that time. Having the RT so far has been a real treat though. If the Pro is anything close to usability of the RT it will be probably the best portable computing device on the Planet, hands down.

  6. TK says:

    Definitely getting the pro. @ author you forgot to mention that the pro has the igpu Intel HD 4000 which has vastly greater graphics performance than the GMA found in RT tablets. Essentially even for those who like PC games, it can definitely run most pc games with playable fps with low/med settings

  7. Luc says:

    I want the pro at $400. That means I might have to wait a decade or so

  8. LS says:

    Will buy surface RT for Christmas and hope my husband will ditch it for the PRO in 2013–then I can have the RT ;)

  9. gar99 says:

    Surface RT. I want a tablet, not a laptop. And at about $1000 bucks, for a tablet? No way, you could get a Mac for that price.

  10. Ethan says:

    surface pro ftw 100%

  11. Graham says:

    No Doubt the Surface Pro – windows 8 and no need for a laptop – what apleasure

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