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Microsoft 21st Gen

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Michael Watts

Some of you may remember when Microsoft released the first computer, which was about the size of a television set. As years went by, Microsoft became more advanced in developing their products. Now they’ve recently introduced the new tablet, Surface RT on October 26. This tablet is the only Microsoft-branded Windows RT hardware. The tablet is touch-focused with an interface lately known as “Metro,” with an easy accessible menu system, effective search engine, and an awesome split-screen feature.

The Surface includes a 10.6 inch screen, which is about 0.5 inch larger than most regular tablets and 0.9 inch larger than the iPad’s screen. Thus, this large screen promotes a 16 to 9 aspect ratio at a screen resolution of 1,366×769 pixels. This aspect ratio allows for higher resolution for viewing movies and TV shows than the iPad. It also weighs 1.5 pounds, but doesn’t feel heavier than the iPad.

The front-facing 720 pixel camera is positioned in the top middle of the front bezel on the Surface allowing for picture or video taking and video chatting for a conference meeting. On the left of the camera sits the light sensor. Towards the bottom you will find the Windows Home touch sensor, which takes you back to the Start screen or to the last app you had open if you’re already at the Start screen. Running across the right edge of the tablet, from the top is a small speaker, a micro-HDMI port, a full USB 2.0 port, and the power port, which magnetically attaches to the power cord. If you take a look at the left edge you will find an additional speaker, a headphone jack, a volume rocker. The tablet also features a built-in, sturdy kick stand that allows it to be propped up. It’s easy to pull out from the groove found towards the bottom of the left edge.

The tablet also has a Touch Cover, which can be bought either separately from or with the tablet. The Touch Cover both serve as a screen cover and a physical keyboard and connect magnetically to the bottom of the tablet. When the Touch Cover is folded over the device’s screen, it automatically puts it to sleep. The keyboard on the Touch Cover is a more spacious area compared to other tablet keyboards and allows significant comfort for the hand and wrist. However, some may experience discomfort in the fingertips while typing on the keyboard because they don’t depress like many of the original keyboards we have sitting in front of our computer monitors. Still, buying the Touch Cover is essential to obtaining the complete Surface experience.

The tablet comes in both 32GB and 64GB varieties. Its microSD slot supports up to 128GB cards and the tablet includes 2GB of RAM. It supports Wi-Fi, Bluetooth 4.0, a gyroscope, an accelerometer, a built-in compass, but has no GPS. The Surface runs on Windows RT, which is split between two different interfaces: a tile-based interface (formerly known as “Metro”) that includes the Start screen and the usually interface called Desktop. Desktop is composed of most of the control panels and settings one would expect to find on any normal Windows operating system, in addition to a trimmed version of Explorer 10 made to look similar to 9 and a free preview of Office 2013. However, it doesn’t allow for additional apps to be installed on the Desktop.

The tablet has many other features, too. Share allows e-mailing info to be quick from the current app or share it to social networks via the People social app (which combines Twitter and Facebook). Also from the Settings menu, Devices is a list of hardware currently networked to the tablet that can interact with the current app you have open, including microSD cards and printers.

The Surface may not be for everyone. Those looking for tons of apps should consider dismissing this tablet. However, if you are looking to replace your laptop with something more technologically advanced and easily portable, then I would recommend considering it, especially for those students going into the field of business or marketing.