Microsoft Surface RT review

Microsoft heeds its competitors' lessons with its Windows RT tablet

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Battery life

If you need one good reason for Microsoft developing Windows 8 for ARM processors and possibly creating mass consumer confusion with Windows RT it's battery life - so the benefits need to be immediately apparent.

Fortunately, battery life was a huge success on Microsoft Surface, with fantastic longevity which puts it among some of the longest-lasting tablets money can buy.

We looped a 1080p WMV video in the built-in app that ships with Windows RT until the battery died, a test we run on every tablet that graces the TechRadar testing lab. Under these conditions Surface lasted an impressive 450 minutes, equaling a gob-smacking 7 ½ hours. This is nearly two hours longer than the iPad 3, which suffers from powering that glorious Retina display.

To put the benefits of Windows RT in perspective, the Sony VAIO Duo 11 lasted just 2 ½ hours under the same conditions. This is thanks to its power-hungry Intel Core i5 processor, which is the same you'll find at the heart of full-sized Ultrabooks.

It's also impressive in everyday use, with a standard day of use barely making an impression on the meter, and Surface can easily last for three days on a single charge, with moderate use.


In terms of processor performance, the results backed up our initial observations regarding general performance.

Sunspider, which tests Java performance, logged a result of 1060 ms which is strong, but the more graphically-intensive PeaceKeeper returned a score of 337, which puts it way behind the iPhone 5 (907) and Samsung Galaxy SIII (680).

Interestingly, the Google Nexus 7 also stormed ahead with a score of 489 despite featuring the same Tegra 3 chip.

Sound quality isn't great from Surface's in-built speaker, and it's worth investing in a pair of headphones. It's not as loud as the iPad and the sound is tinnier, with the single speaker grill located on the top right, leading to a poor balance of sound.

SunSpider 1060.7 ms

PeaceKeeper 337


Tech Specs

Product TypeTablet
Flash Memory Capacity32 GB
Processor ManufacturerNVIDIA
Graphics Controller ManufacturerNVIDIA
Wireless LANYes
Optical Drive TypeNo
Graphics Memory AccessibilityShared
Maximum Battery Run Time8 Hour
Product FamilySurface RT
Front Camera/WebcamYes
Operating System PlatformWindows
ColourDark Titanium
Operating SystemWindows RT
Brand NameMicrosoft
Form FactorSlate
Processor Speed1.30 GHz
Processor TypeTegra 3
Screen Size26.9 cm (10.6")
Screen Resolution1366 x 768
Standard Memory2 GB
Weight (Approximate)680 g
Processor CoreQuad-core (4 Core)
Memory Card ReaderYes
Display Screen TypeActive Matrix TFT Colour LCD
Display Screen TechnologyClearType
Wireless LAN StandardIEEE 802.11a/b/g/n
Bluetooth StandardBluetooth 4.0 + EDR
Multi-touch ScreenYes
Rear Camera Resolution900 Kilopixel
Height172 mm
Width274.6 mm
Depth9.4 mm
Screen ModeHD
ManufacturerMicrosoft Corporation
Product NameSurface RT Tablet
Product LineSurface RT
Aspect Ratio16:9
Manufacturer Part NumberJ5Z-00005
Manufacturer Website Address
Marketing InformationSleek. Slim.

Ultra-thin and light, Surface RT is on-the-go tablet. With 8 hours of battery life, it lasts the whole day. Or the whole flight.

Always. Connected.

With Connected Standby, you are always connected even when you Surface is asleep. See social networking posts, emails and text messages on the lock screen and keep up with all the people you care about most.

Get yours

Now's the time to buy your Surface RT. Pick a cover colour, personalise your Home Screen, and take it places you never thought you could go.
Package Contents
  • Surface RT Tablet
  • AC Adapter
Limited Warranty1 Year