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Cons: Selection of third-party applications is small. Barnes & Noble lacks wide range of content. Lacks cameras and option for wireless broadband.

Microsoft Corp.’s Surface:

_ Price: $499 for 32 gigabytes of storage, $100 extra for keyboard cover. $699 for 64 GB version, includes keyboard cover.

_ Screen size: 10.6 inches diagonally

_ Screen resolution: 1366 by 768 pixels, 148 pixels per inch

_ Weight: 1.5 pounds.

_ Cameras: Front and back cameras

_ Battery life: 8 hours.

_ Operating system: Microsoft’s Windows RT.

Pros: Storage can be expanded with microSD memory cards. Comes with free Microsoft Office software. Models running full version of Windows 8 coming soon, offering compatibility with programs available for traditional Windows computers.

Cons: Operating system lacks good track record on tablets. Selection of tablet-adapted third-party applications small. No option for wireless broadband.