Important Facts about Microsoft Surface answered at Reddit AMAA

Microsoft opened up the online store for pre ordering Surface, the awesome tablet running, Windows RT starting at 499$ for Australia, Canada, Deutschland,  France and UK. There are three versions of Surface as of now, the basic version is 32 GB with no cover + keyboard but if you are ready to pay 100$ extra, you get the touch cover. In case you think 32 Gb space is pretty less, there is a 64 GB Surface which costs 699$. Check out more details here


Surface Windows RT



Some Interesting Facts about Surface :

Surface team yesterday answered to tons of questions to users who wanted to pre-order. This was done in the AMAAsession on Reddit, led by Panos Panay, GM of Microsoft Surface.  There were some important info shared which many of you might be looking forward to and I have just bought the most important piece together.

Q) How much space is left on Surface after the install of Windows RT ?

  • How big is the install of Windows RT? Meaning if I get a 32gb unit, how much free space will I have?
  • Can I save downloaded Apps to the SD card so it doesn’t take up primary storage space?

A) I am Ricardo Lopez, Test Manager for Surface RT. After the OS, OfficeRT and a bunch of apps, you will still have more that 20GB. As you say, you can always add an SD card and while you cannot add apps there, you can get music, movies and photos there.

Q) Why is there no 3G/4G option for the Surface?

A) BrettO – We made what we feel is World Class WiFi connectivity. For 3G/4G we looked at several elements when deciding on what features to include. We knew that the primary use was going to be in the home, we looked at tablet sales data 2/3 WiFi, 1/3 Mobile Broadband. Of the 1/3 sold, 1/2 were activated. Phone hotspot / tethering use was also a consideration.

Q) Does the Keyboard gets disabled when you flip it back and keep on your lap

Quick question regarding the cover. If you flip the cover back, say to rest the tablet flat on a surface or to hold it, is there a mechanism that disables the keyboard so that it’s not randomly typing? (This would be when the cover is flipped to the back of the device) permalink

A)  Hey this is Stevie, yes absolutely. Both TouchCover and TypeCover have sensors that understand orientation relative to Surface… in fact the Type and Touch Covers talk to Surface to figure out their relative position no matter the orientation of gravity of the device (pretty neat!). There are 3 positions modes: Closed (keys and mouse are off), Open to 180 degrees (keyboard and mousepad on), beyond 180 degrees to the back (keys and mouse off). That way you can flip back the covers and feel secure you are not pressing keys by mistake

Q) USB Port, Battery Life, Flash Support, microSDXC

  • What kind of devices I can or can’t use with the USB-Port. Can I connect a printer? A regular keyboard? Can I connect a cell-phone to charge it?
  • For how long have you been using one? Are there things that you used to do with your desktop PC or notebook that you now almost exclusively do with your Surface?
  • Up until now it has been my understanding that there will be whitelisted flash-support in IE10 on Windows RT, is this information correct? Can you name a few sites that will be supported? •
  • At the keynote you guys said Surface with Windows RT will support microSD and Surface with Windows 8 Pro will support microSDXC, today I read that both will support microSDXC.. has this been changed?

A) BrettO here – Thanks for the excitement! We certainly feel it. Lots of questions so let me do my best.

  • USB support – Numerous reports of 100’s of millions existing USB devices supported. Printers, Keyboards, Cameras – yes.
  • Can I charge a phone – yes.
  • How long have I been using one – >> 6 month
  • microSDXC for both. It is behind the kickstand, and hidden. Pretty cool place to store info right?

Q) Why did you and your team chose USB 2.0 instead of USB 3.0?

A) Pavan: The full size USB 2.0 port on Surface supports hundreds of millions of devices that are out there… We chose USB 2.0 based on capability of the ARM SoCs during our development timeframe.

Q) Why is there no mention of NFC or GPS on the Spec Sheet? Are either there? If neither are present… why?

A) Pavan: There isn’t a NFC feature in Surface RT; We use Wi-Fi based location services, the device doesn’t have a physical GPS sensor.

Q) iPad 3 Resolution vs Surface Resolution

I noticed that the Surface has a resolution of 1366×768 vs the iPad3 2048×1536. Do you think this will affect users considering the Surface vs the iPad ?

A) Screen resolution is one component of perceived detail. The true measure of resolvability of a screen called Modulation Transfer Function (MTF), not Pixels. MTF is a combination of both contrast and resolution. There are over a dozen subsystems that effect this MTF number. Most folks just focus on one number out of dozens that effect perceived detail without good contrast resolution decreases.

Check out contrast sensitivity of the human eye graph  and if you want more see the links below. Basically, as resolution/DPI increases the eye has becomes less sensitive. So as a result, the amount of light in a room and the reflections off the screen have a huge effect on the contrast of the display.

In fact, a small amount of reflection can greatly reduce contrast and thus the perceived resolution of the display. With the ClearType Display technology we took a 3 pronged approach to maximize that perceived resolution and optimize for battery life, weight, and thickness.

  1. First prong, Microsoft has the best pixel rendering technology in the industry (cleartype 1.0 and 2.0) . These are exclusive and unique to Windows, it smooths text regardless of pixel count.
  2. Second, we designed a custom 10.6” high-contrast wide-angle screen LCD screen.
  3. Lastly we optically bonded the screen with the thinnest optical stack anywhere on the market, something which is more commonly done on phones we are doing on Surface.

While this is not official, our current Cleartype measurements on the amount of light reflected off the screen is around 5.5%-6.2%, the new IPad has a measurement of 9.9% mirror reflections (see the displaymate ). Doing a side by side with the new iPad in a consistently lit room, we have had many people see more detail on Surface RT than on the iPad with more resolution.

Some more links to share if you want to know more ( Also This is a great book to read if you really want to get into it: or more here

Q) Battery Life, Missing NFC

  • How did you calculate the 8hr battery life estimate? What were the test conditions?
  • Why is there no NFC integration when WP8 is pushing it heavily?
  • What was the toughest challenge you faced when designing the Surface?

A) Pavan, HW lead: We conducted testing across a variety of core scenarios such as local and streaming video playback (watching movies!), audio playback, wireless web browsing and productivity scenarios such as using Office and mail.

We tested using different Wi-Fi networks with pre-production hardware and software. Hence the battery life numbers started early in the program as a model with calculations and then get verified with actual device HW and SW.

For the product design experience we were aiming for with Surface, the Mg metal enclosure, including the back case, was critical. This made good antenna design for NFC a trade-off in our development process.

Q) How fast can you (personally) type on the Surface Touch keyboard? How about the Surface Type?

A) I am Yi-Min and I am on the User Research team. I can type about 86 wpm on the Touch Cover and I am typing on a Pink Touch Cover!

Disclaimer : This is as I found in the forum linked above. I did merge some common stuff together but there is nothing I have included to mislead or add wrong info about it.


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