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Sunday, January 27, 2013

Surface Pro & Latitude 10 Full Windows 8 Tablets

CES 2013 was the first time anyone has been able to go hands-on with the soon-to-be-released Surface Pro from Microsoft. This tablet is not the Surface released months ago running a limited Windows 8 RT edition, but the full desktop version of Windows 8 with support for all of the hardware & software of a traditional laptop. 

Surface Pro Specs
  • 10.6″ 1080p IPS Multi-touch Capacitive Screen
  • 2lb Vapor Magnesium Case with integrated kickstand
  • 64GB or 128 GB of storage space
  • Ivybridge Mobile Core i5 Processor
  • 4GB DDR-3 Ram
  • Pressure Sensitive Pen
  • USB 3.0, Micro SDXC, Mini Display port & Headphone jack
  • 802.11 G/N & Bluetooth 4.0
  • Starting Price: $899
  • Availability: Early 2013 (no exact date announced)
So what were the impressions from the hands on demos? This is the tablet for people looking for a full fledged computer in a tablet form factor. While the price is high, $899 for 64GB or $999 for 128GB not including the touch cover, the device offers the fastest tablet experience and widest variety of software & hardware.

Now if you’re sticker-shocked at spending so much money for a tablet, then Dell may have the answer for you. The Latitude 10 featuring a full version of Windows 8 has a starting price of only $499 and offers quite the bang for the buck. 

Dell Latitude 10 Specs:
  • 10.1″ 720P Gorilla Glass IPS Multi-Touch Screen
  • 1 lb 7 oz soft touch casing
  • 32GB or 64GB of storage space
  • Intel Atom Z2760 Processor
  • 2 GB DDR-2 Ram
  • Pressure Sensitive Pen
  • USB 2.0, Secure Digital Slot, Mini HDMI & Headphone jack
  • 802.11 G/N & Bluetooth 4.0
  • Starting Price: $499
  • Availability: $599 64gb model Immediately, $499 32gb model coming soon
The Latitude line has been traditionally aimed at business customers, and while Dell officially states this is the primary customer type for this product, it would make a fantastic tablet for anyone. The full Windows 8 allows you to run any software & hardware that you would on a traditional laptop, and the dock connector offers a docking station (sold separately) which gives you 4 more USB 2.0 ports, full size HDMI, gigabit Ethernet and audio outputs.

So which should you buy?

That’s a rough question because I wouldn’t feel right without mentioning Intel announced the 4th generation of its CPU designed for ultrabooks and windows tablets. It offers impressive power savings and increased performance. Having mentioned that, the question comes down to one of performance and price.

If you’re looking for a second device/iPad/Android competitor: Latitude 10 offers you a bit better than netbook performance with a fantastic display and full copy Windows 8.

If you’re looking for a primary computing device on the cheap: If your looking for web browsing, e-mail, document creation and basic photo editing, Latitude 10 can serve as a primary computer. $500 more for a Surface Pro is hard to justify. I’d highly recommend purchasing the dock to connect keyboard and mouse when using it as a traditional desktop.

If you want the most performance today: The Surface Pro is the way to go. From the i5 chip to the faster ram, USB 3.0 expansion and higher resolution screen you do get what you pay for. The touch cover ($139 extra) is an obvious accessory along with a mini display port to VGA or HDMI connector (for connecting the Surface Pro to projectors or larger monitors) along with a USB 3.0 hub.

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