Unlike most products we’ve seen this year, Microsoft’s Surface announcement was a bonafide surprise. In a market where tablets were merely playing catch up to Apple’s iPad, the Redmond company deviated from the norm while promising a Brave New World. Several months later and the future is finally here. The Surface with Windows RT is Microsoft’s shift in focus as it pledges to Windows 8. And it’s in our grubby hands.

There have been solid pieces of technology throughout the year, but nothing more exciting than the Surface. Where laptops failed in portability, the Surface came calling. Where tablets fell short in the ability to create content, the Surface fits neatly in that space, too. You don’t need both when you can just have Surface — a promise to do it all in beautiful new clothes.

Windows RT is colorful, vibrant, lively, while the device itself is a masterwork in engineering — a Hattori Hanzo in a landscape of molded plastic. The magnesium build is downright wonderful; its kickstand produces a satisfying click when snapped shut, while the touch keyboard likewise is a treat to attach — both unexplainable gratifications, but details Microsoft openly agonized over and subsequently got right.

There have been concerns over the Surface with Window RT’s screen resolution, and it can stand to shed some weight, if we’re honest. But lets focus on the good. This is one attractive piece of technology, a quality machine that Microsoft hopes will propel it straight into the tablet ethos as one of the premier contenders.

The patina is beginning to show on Apple’s crown as Tablet King. Is Microsoft’s Surface with Windows RT the device that’ll bring the iPad down to Earth? We can’t wait to find out.

Microsoft Surface with Windows RT specs:

  • Release: Available Now; 1-2 week wait
  • Price: $499 for 32GB, $599 for 32GB plus Touch Cover; $699 for 64GB plus Touch Cover
  • OS: Windows RT
  • Dimensions: 10.81 x 6.77 x 0.37-inches
  • Weight: 24 oz
  • Display: 10.6-inch ClearType HD display (1366×768) 148ppi, 16:9 aspect ratio
  • Battery: 8 hours of use
  • Processor: 1.3GHz Tegra 3 quad-core
  • RAM: 2GB
  • Internal Storage: 32GB or 64GB (expandable with microSD)
  • Cameras: Two 720p HD camera (front and rear)
  • Bluetooth/Network/NFC: 4.0/Wi-Fi only/No
  • Notes: VaporMg case; Integrated kickstand; USB 2.0 port; MS Office

Microsoft Surface with Windows RT Gallery: