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An Introduction to the Surface Tablet

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This chapter is from the book

This chapter is from the book

This chapter runs through the functions of the Surface hardware, the basics of Windows RT, and explains some additional settings for your new tablet.

Congratulations on your purchase of the Microsoft Surface for Windows RT! The Surface for Windows RT is a unique device running a completely new version of Windows designed for ARM processors, the same processors that typically run in smartphones and some tablets. These ARM processors are specially designed for efficient power use, and because of that, you can expect to get many hours of use from your Surface between charges.

The uniqueness of Surface doesn’t stop there. In fact, the Surface offers several brand-new technologies, including a built-in kickstand for convenient viewing and a revolutionary cover with a built-in keyboard.

The Surface Device

The Surface device’s case is composed of magnesium, but it’s made using a special method involving liquification of the magnesium and then extremely rapid cooling. The result is what Microsoft calls VaporMg (pronounced vapor mag), and it’s extremely strong, light, and scratch-resistant.

Ports and Controls

Along the right edge of the Surface, you’ll find the right speaker, a micro-HDMI video port used for outputting video to an HD display, a full-sized USB 2.0 port, a microSDXC memory card port, and a proprietary port for the Surface’s power adapter.

By inserting a microSDXC card into the microSDXC slot, you can increase the memory of your Surface by up to 64GB. The microSDXC slot on the Surface is hidden behind the right side of the Kickstand.

On the left edge of the Surface is the left speaker, a 1/8-inch headphone jack, and the volume control. The bottom of the Surface contains the final port, a proprietary port for the Surface’s unique Touch Cover or Type Cover.

The Surface’s power switch is located on the top-right side of the device. If you press and release the switch, it turns off the Surface’s screen. If you press and hold the switch for several seconds, it turns off the device entirely.

The Surface is also equipped with two microphones, both of which are positioned along the top edge of the device.

The Kickstand

One of the features unique to the Surface is the built-in Kickstand. The Kickstand is convenient not only when you are using a keyboard with your Surface, it also perfectly positions the Surface for watching video. The Kickstand flips out from the Surface with a satisfying snap, and despite its thinness, it’s tough and solid due to the VaporMg construction.

The Kickstand also is convenient when using the Surface for videoconferencing. In fact, Microsoft expects that you’ll use it for that purpose, and that’s why the front-facing camera in the Surface is positioned in such a way that it’s aiming directly at your head when the Surface is tilted at a slight angle by the Kickstand.

Type Cover and Touch Cover

Another feature unique to the Surface is the Touch Cover and the Type Cover. These covers attach to the bottom side of the Surface using strong magnets. If you get the cover close to the bottom, the strong magnets pop it into proper position easily. When the cover is folded over the Surface’s screen, the screen is automatically turned off. When the cover is folded away from the screen, the screen turns on automatically.

The truly unique thing about the Touch Cover and Type Cover is that they both double as a quality keyboard, complete with a touch pad. The Touch Cover has touch-sensitive keys that are slightly raised from the cover’s surface. The Type Cover is slightly thicker and uses physical keyboard keys.

It is worth noting, however, that the Touch Cover and Type Cover only attach to the Surface at the bottom of the device. When you fold the cover over the display, it doesn’t attach in any way to the top of the device. Therefore, if you hold the Surface upside down, the cover will open. I don’t find it to be a problem, but it’s worth mentioning.

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