1. Computing

Is the Microsoft Surface Right For You?

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If you are mainly wanting to use your tablet for work and want to completely replace your laptop with your tablet, the Microsoft Surface may be your best bet. The Surface comes with the touch-enabled version of Microsoft's popular Windows operating system and comes preloaded with the Microsoft Office suite, so right out of the box it should be compatible with most of your documents.

Similar to the iPad and the Google Nexus, Microsoft has two versions of the Surface tablet: Microsoft Surface RT and the Microsoft Surface Pro.

The Surface RT uses a scaled down version of Windows 8 designed to run on the tablet architecture, and while it does come with Microsoft Office, it isn't compatible with all Windows software. In fact, it is only compatible with a small subset, though many popular apps are available for the Surface RT. The Microsoft Surface RT starts at $499 for the 32 GB version, though with the operating system and pre-installed apps taking up roughly 16 GB, you only get 16 GB of space to use on apps, music and movies.

The Surface RT tablet is great for those who want to use Microsoft Office, but don't need to run any proprietary software from their office and don't need much more than Office to get their work done.

Compare Prices for the Microsoft Surface RT

The Surface Pro won't be released until January 2013, but it does feature a full-fledged version of Windows 8 and will be compatible with virtually all Windows-based software, though not all applications will be optimized for touch. The Surface Pro will be similar to the Windows 8-based tablets now arriving on the market, though for those that can wait, the Surface Pro promises to be among the best of the fully-featured Windows 8 tablets.

The Surface Pro is for those who truly want to replace their laptop and need access to proprietary software or applications that aren't yet available for Windows 8 RT. While no price has been set for the Surface Pro, we can expect it to be priced well above the $499 entry-level price of the Windows Surface RT, perhaps in the $900-$1200 range.

In the meantime, Sony's Vaio Tap 20 is a good alternative to the Surface Pro. Compare Prices for the Sony Vaio Tap 20

Is the Microsoft Surface not right for you? Find out which tablet is...

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