Microsoft Surface

While Microsoft is launching a major new operating system, it’s also rolling out a major new piece of hardware: Surface.

Like the Xbox, Surface combines hardware and software developed by Microsoft. The company has taken full control over not just the operating system, but the physical device.

At first glance, it looks like just any other tablet, except this one has a 10.6-inch screen that displays 16×9 video beautifully.

Microsoft says a great amount of design has gone into developing the Surface. The batteries, which it claims can last a workday of use, are specifically designed for the Surface and are spread evenly through the device.The two MiMO antennas are designed for optimal connectivity and signal strength, helpful considering how reliant this device is on having a good Internet connection.

During my brief demo period with one, the Wi-Fi connection was being bombarded with traffic from others, rendering the device somewhat useless for connected apps and services.

The Surface feels really solid, however, as it has been made using VaporMg, a magnesium shell prounounced “vapour mag.”

Together with the Gorilla Glass screen, the Surface is the sturdiest consumer tablet out there. Surface team lead Panos Panay says it can be dropped more than 60 ways without the device breaking. I tried three – and had not so much but a scuff on a corner due to the Surface making contact with concrete.

Pricing – starting at $519 in Canada.

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