Microsoft's Surface tablet: worth it?

You could easily mistake it for the opening of another Apple store:  The bright lighting, the glass everywhere, the crowds.

But this store says "Microsoft" on the sign.  There are now 30 in the US, and the company is opening more all the time, as it attempts to get some of Apple's "wow" factor.

Surface Tablets Everywhere

The centerpiece of the new store is the company's new Surface tablet.

While it may look like a cool new iPad, it's not:  It's Microsoft's new tablet entry, which the company hopes will become the iPad's most serious competitor.

It uses the brand new Windows 8, which store customers told us took just a little getting used to. William Tan said "I think it's pretty cool, its definitely different, and a new start for Microsoft."

But while it has a bit of a learning curve, most customers we spoke with told us they liked Surface.

Taylor Gallinger said "I like it, I think it's a lot easier to use, than older Windows,  especially when you are playing games. You don't have to worry about the keys messing up, you just touch the screen, and it's easier."

Keyboard Biggest Selling Point

Perhaps Surface's best feature:  the way the keyboard snaps onto the tablet, turning it instantly into a Windows laptop computer, complete with Word, Outlook, and Excel. It also has a built-in stand, so you can prop it up easily.

"Unlike other tablets," store manager Bowers told us, "you can use this as a full fledged computer, doing all the same things you do with your keyboard and laptop mouse."

Will Consumers Want it?
The biggest question: whether consumers will be willing to shell out $500 for it, the same price as a new 3rd generation iPad.

Surface is no budget tablet, unlike the under-$200 Kindle Fire.

But from the snap-on keyboard to easy access to Word and Excel, Microsoft is betting that people will pay a premium for it.  And if you are more comfortable with Windows than with Apple's iOs, it Surface is well worth checking out.

As always, don't waste your money.

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