Microsoft RT Vs. 8 Pro: Their Key Differences

Microsoft RT Vs. 8 Pro: Their Key DifferencesMicrosoft has made quite a splash on the tablet market scene with the maiden voyage of the Microsoft Surface. Like any new piece of highly anticipated technology from a major player in the industry, it’s got its fair share of proponents and naysayers.

The problem is that there is some confusion about the operating system that’s employed on the Surface. A lot of casual fans thought that the Surface would be running Windows 8 Pro, but it turns out that the tablet out now is running Windows RT. It is still unknown when the model that is running Windows 8 Pro will come out.

Since a lot of casual fans do not even know what Windows RT is, here are some of the key differences with Windows 8 in regards to Microsoft Surface:


Unlike any other Windows-based tablet, the Microsoft Surface RT version does not have an Intel chip inside to power it. Instead, it will run on ARM CPUs. The plus side of this information is that ARM CPUs are very efficient when it comes to power, which is why you can expect a longer battery life from this tablet. The downside, however, is that the chip is designed for tablets, so if you are expecting a tablet version of your desktop PC, you might be disappointed. If you want an Intel-run Surface tablet, you will have to wait for a couple of months and pay a few more dollars when Microsoft releases the version that is running on Windows 8 Pro. It will be running an Intel Ivy Bridge chip that is found on many laptops and Ultrabooks.


As said above, the Microsoft Surface currently runs the Windows RT on an ARM CPU, and as a result, it is not a tablet version of your desktop PC. A direct effect of this is that you will not be able to run legacy applications that are not optimized for tablet use on the Surface. Your only choice is to get the apps from the Windows App Store, which in comparison to iOS and Android stores, is still lacking in terms of numbers. It doesn’t even have a RingCentral app version yet, so subscribers of the service will not be able to have this device as an option yet. If you want more freedom on the apps that you will be running on your tablet, you may have to wait for the one running on Windows 8 Pro or choose another Windows-based tablet like Acer Iconia.

Digital Inking

A feature that is not on the Microsoft Surface running RT, but will be featured on the Windows 8 Pro run version, is Digital Inking. Through this feature, you can write on the tablet with a stylus. The main difference is that using a stylus on the Surface will feel more natural because it will feel like you are writing directly on the page. Because of this, you can expect less jagged lines when you use a stylus.


Both versions will feature a 10.6-inch Clear Type screen, but the difference is that the RT version will have an HD Display (1,366 x 768 pixel), while the one running Windows 8 Pro will have full HD display (1,920 x 1,080 pixels).

Have you taken a look at the current, RT version of the Microsoft Surface, or are you waiting for the Windows 8 Pro version? Drop us a comment below and let’s converse!

Image: Microsoft

Article Written by

Leiden Johnson is a photographer by trade but loves all that geeky, tech stuff and the outdoors. If she's not working or going out, you can see her in front of her computer either writing about anything or playing MMORPGs, which helps her to be more creative in her photoshoots.

  • Lewis

    Thanks for explaining the differences, I was wondering about this while watching Chris’ unboxing videos. I like the idea of replacing my laptop with a tablet+keyboard but it obviously depends on the price bracket and if it can do everything I need it to do.

  • pcnerd37

    I have an iPad 2 so I am not really looking for another tablet at this point but I do find the Surface with Windows 8 Pro worth looking at. After having seen some videos of the RT version, I am not very impressed with its performance and the idea of not being able to run my normal Windows apps because they are not sold through the Microsoft store (mainly because they aren’t compatible with ARM), makes me not really interested in the RT version. It makes it feel like a crippled version of Windows and the UX in Windows 8 is already bad enough, I don’t want it to be any worse than it already is.

  • Ray

    I currently own an iPad 2 and a Motorola Xoom. I wanted a surface RT tablet but no at $500. I’m willing to pay $300 for it. I say this because the software is still buggy and there’s no apps yet. I would be a dummie to pay for a device that just has good hardware. I hope there will be a price drop. I’m sure there will be when current owners start returning their tablets.

  • Bharat Kumar Gupta

    again its not the specs, we have huge expectations from this product but the UX that it delivered was not upto the mark, dear ms it has potential u can do it.

  • Cameron Campbell

    I think i would get the pro if it below 1k $

  • Piotr Rewucki

    Definitely waiting for Pro!

  • Mike in Abita Springs, USA

    Getting a Windows 8 Phone but will probably just go with Windows 8 Tablet/Ultrabook by Lenovo. If I do buy it will definitely be Surface Pro!