Windows RT is fat -- so what?

The blogosphere is lit up with a factoid painfully obvious to anyone who's used Windows: The OS takes up a big chunk of space

I don't get it. I'm seeing breathless headlines all over the ether about the way Surface RT tablets only have half the advertised space available for consumers' use. If you buy a 32GB Surface RT, there's only 16GB available to store your stuff. On a 64GB Surface RT, only 46GB remain.

This isn't news, people. Three weeks ago, Microsoft released hard drive requirements for Windows RT and Office 2013. The Geekorb site, among others, did the math and published the results.

Like it or not, Windows RT shares some of the, uh, corpulence of its namesake. While Apple can stick iOS in 4GB or less, and Google's minions take about 3GB for an Android installation, Windows RT and Office 2013 RT together aren't exactly svelte. Remember, they're from the company that invented fatware.

Together, Windows RT and Office 2013 RT take about 8GB of space on the drive. Toss in 5GB for system recovery tools (can you spell "bloat"?), and that 32GB SSD suddenly has 16GB left, give or take a binary-to-decimal conversion. Microsoft has the details in its Surface disk space FAQ.

Now let me clue you in on another secret that'll hit the fan in due course. The overhead on an RT tablet is going to be the same, no matter what the tablet. If you're outraged at Microsoft scalping 16GB off your Surface RT tablet, you better be prepared to show equal signs of angst when you find that your Asus or Dell or Samsung RT tablet specs led you astray.

There's a redeeming Surface social value. At this point, adding memory to your Surface RT is simple and cheap: A MicroSD card (up to 64GB) goes in easy, and it can soak up a lot of rich media. Try finding a slot for that on an iPad.

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