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Hands-on with Microsoft's Surface tablet (pictures)

CNET gets a spin with Microsoft's new tablet.

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Josh Lowensohn, Kent German
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1 of 18 Josh Lowensohn/CNET

Presenting the Microsoft Surface

LOS ANGELES--Microsoft debuted a new tablet today, or rather a tablet family based on its upcoming Windows 8 operating system. We get a behind-the-scenes tour at some of the tech that went into making the device, which arrives later this year.

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Rear view

On the Surface's side there's a Windows logo and a seam that goes across its full width. What's the seam for? Keep on clicking.
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Two models

The Surface will come in two versions: one is powered by Windows RT and the other running on Windows 8 Pro.
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On display

The Surface has 10.6-inch ClearType HD Display (or a "Full HD" on the Pro model) with a 16:9 aspect ratio and a 1,920x1,080-pixel resolution.
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In profile

The Surface is just 9.3mm thick and weighs 676 grams/23.85 ounces.
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USB

The Surface has a USB 2.0 port on one side.
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A nifty stand

The Surface also include a nifty stand; that's the seam you saw earlier. It's a convenient option when watching movies.
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A nifty stand

You also can use the stand when typing on the keyboard using the innovative cover.
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A nifty stand

Here's another shot of how the stand flips down from the rear side.
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A cover and a keyboard

Indeed, one feature that's particularly intriguing is the magnetically attached, 3mm-thich Touch Cover that folds down and functions as a full touch-screen keyboard. They come in a choice of colors.
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All in a row

No matter which color you choose, the Surface is pretty eye-catching.
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Flip out

The cover will flip down to expose the keyboard.
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Or get a trackpad

The thicker 5-mm Type Cover has a built-in trackpad. The keyboards power down when they're folded back against the tablet, thanks to a built-in accelerometer.
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Giving it a go

Press conference attendees were eager to try the keyboards.
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How it works

Inside the keyboard is a thin mat with the contact points for the keys.
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A look inside

Here you can see the Surface's frame.
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On the side

A close-up look at the side of the frame shows the holes for the various ports.
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And around back

Microsoft also showed us the Surface's rear cover.

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