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What’s the Difference Between the Windows RT and Windows 8 Pro Surface Models?

by Brandon Russell | June 18, 2012

Microsoft - Surface 2.0 - High End vs Low End - ComparisonIt’s not what’s on the outside, but below the surface. Or Surfaces. Microsoft announced two versions of its Surface tablet line on Monday, which will undoubtedly lead to a confused Internet. Also: They look the same. Basically, there’s the Surface for Windows RT, and Surface for Windows 8 Pro. RT is for the everyman, average Joe, layman, and more importantly, the iPad demographic. The Pro is for, um, professionals, and probably enterprise customers, and will definitely cater to those eyeing up an ultrabook, especially with the Touch and Type cover thrown into the mix.

We’ve dug into the guts of each, and both tell a very different story.

Surface for Windows RT

  • Processor: NVIDIA-made ARM chip
  • Weight: 676 grams
  • Thickness: 9.3 millimeters
  • Display: 10.6-inch ClearType HD capactive touchpanel
  • Battery: 31.5Wh
  • I/O: microSD, USB 2.0, Micro HD Video, 2×2 MIMO antennae
  • Software: Windows RT + Office Home & Student 2013 RT
  • Accessories: Touch Cover, Type Cover, VaporMg Case & Stand
  • Capacity: 32GB / 64GB
  • Availability: “Around” the Windows 8 launch (fall 2012)
  • Pricing: To be determined; competitive with most tablets

Surface for Windows 8 Pro

  • Processor: Intel Core i5 (Ivy Bridge)
  • Weight: 903 grams
  • Thickness: 13.5 millimeters
  • Display: 10.6-inch ClearType Full HD (1080p) capacitive touchpanel
  • Battery: 42Wh
  • I/O: microSDXC, USB 3.0, Mini DisplayPort, 2×2 MIMO antennae
  • Software: Windows 8 Pro
  • Accessories: Touch Cover, Type Cover, VaporMg Case & Stand, Pen with Palm Block
  • Capacity: 64GB / 128GB
  • Availability: “Three months after” the Windows 8 launch this fall
  • Pricing: To be determined; competitive with ultrabooks

Physically, the RT model is both thinner and lighter, which is certainly something to keep in mind considering these are tablets and meant to be super portable. Those looking for the entire Windows 8 experience, though, will have to pony up for the Pro model, which also comes with a microSDXC, a whopping 128GB (and 64GB) of storage and USB 3. In addition, users who opt for the Pro model will get an Intel core i5 Ivy Bridge processor for increased speed and to handle that 1080p ClearType Full HD display. Unfortunately, Microsoft was very coy with pricing — and no, “competitive” isn’t a price — only to say that we’ll find out more in October when they are made available.


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Brandon Russell

Brandon Russell enjoys writing about technology and entertainment. When he's not watching Back to the Future, you can find him on a hike or watching...Brandon Russell enjoys writing about technology and entertainment. When he's not watching Back to the Future, you can find him on a hike or watching...