Microsoft Surface Review

22 Nov 2012  1 Comment

Surface RT 01

I’ve been playing around with the a Microsoft’s Windows Surface tablet for more than a week now and I think it is more than enough time to get to know the system.

Surface RT 02

Hardware:

Surface RT Hardware

The device is very well made the build quality is of that what people associate with Apple products. Microsoft went all the way with this one. The Surface isn’t too heavy and comparable to the 10” Android and Apple tablets. The kickstand is a great idea but because it isn’t adjustable you end up adjusting your seating position eliminate any reflections or glare on the screen.

DSC04571

The 10.6” 1366×768 screen looks great and the touch sensitivity is on par with the top tier tablets already available in the market. The 16:9 screen also makes it great for watching videos on the device. There is just 1 USB slot on the Surface sadly, but that is 1 more than the iPad, but I would have loved it if there were 2 slots but I guess you can use a hub to get extra slots (haven’t tried it).

Surface RT Windows Logo

The Windows Surface has a front-facing camera which had very good quality. And the rear facing 5MP camera is nothing spectacular and is there if you need it.

 

Software:

Surface RT Software

The Surface uses a hindered version of Windows 8 called Windows RT and it is basically just the Tiles interface of Windows 8. The new Windows “Metro Style” or “Tiles” or whatever they want to call it is a very good tablet interface concept, much better than a grid of icons anyway. But the problem I had with it that it was very laggy. Launching apps was a slow and a painful experience both 1st and 3rd party apps alike. But after the app launches you can jump right back to it without any delay or lag.

DSC04578

Also, being a new ecosystem, the Windows store is very low on apps and is lacking in both quantity and quality of apps. But Microsoft is pushing this real hard so I think it will get there eventually. Especially that Windows 8, Windows RT and Windows Phone 8 all share almost the same kernel and porting apps to the other platform should be a breeze.

Surface RT Software 2

Gestures and swipes work great on the RT/Surface and the touch-sensitive windows button and the bottom of the screen jumps you to the home screen. A swipe from the right bring out the charms bar and a swipe from the left cycles through previous apps.

 

You can also make an app occupy one third of the screen and keep the other two-thirds fee to do something else. I used the Twitter app/browser combo and t was great. I wish both iOS and Android did this natively.

 

Keyboard and Touchpad:

Surface RT Touch Keyboard

There are 2 types of keyboards for the new Windows tablet. A regular physical keyboard that was really good and preferred it to the other touch-sensitive keyboard which I had a hard time getting used too but looks great. I couldn’t tell if I pressed the key or not and had to look at both the screen and keyboard as there is no button feedback. The issue is made worse by the slight lag in typing. It can be frustrating when backspace-ing when you hit it one time too many as the cursor takes a moment to catch up with your inputs. As for the touchpad, it works great. I didn’t experience any lag on it.

Surface RT Type Keyboard

Battery life:

Surface RT Power Brick

The Surface has very good battery life. I charged the device just twice in the week that had it with low to moderate use. I was very impressed with that but I didn’t do a lot processor intensive task such as gaming or video watching so that effect the battery life a bit more.

 

Conclusion:

Surface RT 01

The Windows Surface is a wonderfully built product that is being held back by the software and ecosystem. The latter will get there with time but I’m not sure about the performance of the tablet getting better with future updates.

Surface RT Boxed

My brother got his surface from Microsoft’s Store in Times Square in New York (where he actually stood in line to get his hand on one). The General Manager of Microsoft Surface Mr. Panos Panay was at the store and he managed to get him to sign hi Surface RT.

Surface RT Signed

About the Author

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  • http://www.zdistrict.com Marzouq

    Excellent Review! I know what you mean, I tried it at a Microsoft Store and it sort of felt weird! I’m going to install a full version of Windows 8 on a PC soon to try it out and see how it feels!

    But I wouldn’t but the Surface, and I think Microsoft need to catch up on their AppStore, they are very far behind!

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