Review

Review: Microsoft Surface with Windows RT

The Microsoft Surface is a product that Microsoft was able to keep secret right up until they pulled back the curtains on the tablet and when it was announced, it sent shockwaves through the industry. The tablet represents Microsoft’s first foray into the tablet market not only in software but hardware too.

The Surface also represents a strategic shift for the company as they are now competing with the vendors that made the Windows platform so popular. Seeing as no other company has been able to crack Apple’s dominance in tablet market, will the Surface running Windows RT be able to compete, or will it flounder like the competitors before it?

Hardware:

There is no doubt that the Surface is built to compete with the best of the best. The VaporMg case feels firm, confident, and smooth all the way around. Like all other metallic consumer goods, fingerprints do show up but a quick wipe with a micro-fiber cloth and it’s like they were never even there.

The front glass is smooth and runs right up to the edge to give you a seamless front panel for all of your swiping and typing action.

Around back there is a full-body kickstand that is confident and props the display up on a hard surface at the perfect angle if you are sitting in a chair. One qualm we do have is that the stand is not adjustable, so if you work outside the viewing range of what Microsoft deemed to be sufficient, you are out of luck.

Under the attractive exterior is an Nvidia T30 CPU, 2GB of RAM, two 720P cameras, 64GB of storage, Wifi, MicroSDXC slot, one 2.0 USB port, HD video out, and of course the 10.6in display. There are a few more goodies under the hood which you can read about here if you are interested

The one item that can’t be overlooked is the magnetic dock on the bottom of the device that allows you to easily attach a Touch or Type cover to the tablet. The dock works brilliantly and is easy to use and works the first time, every time. There is little hesitation about correctly attaching the covers and it will be interesting to see if Microsoft expands the port accessories to other peripherals in the future.

The entire package is lovely to hold in your hands from a quality perspective. Everything about the Surface screams premium and it’s clear Microsoft went all out on the materials as well as keeping tolerance levels tight.

We should note that the Surface does not include some features we thought it might have including GPS and 3G options. Neither are deal breakers as both can be augmented with WiFi location and cell-phone tethering but if you need either of these, you may want to wait until the Surface 2 arrives.

Display:

The 16:9 display comes in at 1366x768 and also uses Microsoft’s ClearType technology to make every pixel appear sharp and text pop out of the screen.

For the most part, we had few issues with the display but do lust for a higher resolution screen. Even though resolution isn’t the only metric to measure a display, resolution dictates how much content you can get on the screen. With an app snapped to the side (which we love to do), it feels as if a significant portion of your screen is taken up by the snapped app and leave little room for the primary app.

Outside of the resolution, the display is brilliant. Colors, viewing angle, and glare were all either matching or exceeding the primary competition and will present no issue to any user. In fact, if Microsoft will opt for a higher resolution, it would give any Retina display a run for its money. But, until they do go down that road, they will have to forgo the best in class moniker.

The display from an interactive perspective was accurate and responsive with scrolling and pinching working well.

Battery Life:

The battery life of the Surface exceeded our expectations with us achieving over 8 hours of use with a mix of email, video, web surfing and writing this review. It would be possible to use this device for an entire workday and have a bit of juice for when you get home. Most importantly, when using the Surface, you don’t feel as if you are always looking for your next ability to recharge.  

On the topic of the battery, the connector to charge the Surface is magnetic but it has a very weak magnet attraction and is a bit of a pain to attach. Trying to attach the power cord in the dark is a task that results in a lot of fumbling; we would have preferred that Microsoft made the cord have used stronger magnets to guide the adapter home.

Software:

The Surface, as a piece of hardware, is fantastic, where it falls short, is with the software. Now this is not a blanket statement that means it is a bad experience, far from it, but in a market where there are mature platforms, even the slightest hiccups are flaws to be noticed.

Windows RT is a new platform for Microsoft, so some may give them some slack for turning out the product so quickly, but there is optimization to be had.

Switching apps, scrolling and most other basic functions worked like a hot-knife through butter. Video playback, for the most part, minus some YouTube videos, was smooth and a pleasant experience. Our biggest issue came when launching applications.

Some apps will launch with a fluid motion while others would stutter a bit at times, especially the mail application. We had a few issues of lag when using IE, but they were few and far between.

The general feeling is that Microsoft core applications run quite well, it’s when you step outside this box that you begin to notice the hesitation of the platform. When compared to the iPad, it may come up a bit short but the Surface easily bests all available Android tablets in terms of functionality and potential.

We do question Microsoft’s choice to include a desktop icon as it offers up the traditional looking Windows interface but the problem is that it can only run a limited set of programs that includes Office, IE and a few other core Windows applications. You can’t download application from the web like you can on your current desktop and that may cause confusion among consumers.

Windows RT includes several stock applications like Bing News, Weather, Xbox Live, Microsoft Store among other but most notably, it comes with Office installed. Office coming on all Windows RT devices is a critical selling point for Microsoft as it is a significant value proposition when compared to other tablet devices.

The good news here is that the OS can be optimized and it’s not a major problem, we can’t stress this enough, but it is noticeable and it’s something Microsoft can fix with a software update.

Cameras:

The two cameras on the Surface are easy to use with the included camera application. The rear camera was mediocre, at best, with images being washed out consistently or color reproduction being far from natural. But, no one is buying a tablet as his or her primary point and shoot device.

The above image was taken with the Surface's rear camera and as you can see from the image quality, it is quite low. With poor color reproduction, the Surface's rear camera is a novelty, at best. 

The front camera works wonderfully well with the stand extended; Microsoft got the angle for the front positioning perfect and it makes using Skype for video calls a breeze.

Touch and Type Covers:

One of the best features about the Surface is the Touch and Type covers. These two accessories take the tablet from touch to tactical with a quick click. The Touch cover utilizes a membrane type material to act as a keyboard and the Type cover is closer to a traditional keyboard.

The Touch cover takes some time to get used to but is certainly useable and keeps the profile of the surface to a minimal. Think of the Touch cover as cover that conveniently works as a keyboard when needed but not as a primarily source of input. The Type cover is much easier to use for those who need to type significantly longer documents but does add a bit of bulk to the Surface's profile.

If you plan to use the Surface to crank out essays, the Type cover is for you, for those who only need to enter a web address or pen an email on occasion, stick with the Touch cover.

We had no issues using either cover but for us, the Type cover is a better choice as we used it to type this review. The best part is that you have a choice and depending on your typing needs, Microsoft has you covered.

One item to be aware of is that the back of the black Type and Touch covers is much softer than the colored Touch covers. The black covers feel like a cloth material where the colored covers are much firmer and feel like felt over stiff cardboard.

Using the device:

One thing Microsoft has done with the Surface is made it usable in many different situations. It’s a grab and go device but can also be a workhorse when needed.

The limitations of Windows RT do not burden the experience and it’s actually quite useful as long as your productivity is limited to Office and Windows Store applications.

Using the Surface on your lap can be done but it is not as comfortable as using a laptop. The kickstand on your legs keeps you feeling a bit nervous at times as if the device will tumble over at any given moment.

But the best part about the Surface, is that you can quickly remove the keyboard and go touch only, and from that perspective, using the tablet on your lap, plane, train or automobile, is an easy affair. Then, when you get to your destination, attach the keyboard, and you are good to go.

Using the tablet in portrait mode is an awkward as the weight distribution becomes uneven as your hands rest in the middle which makes them a pivot point like a teeter-toter. We rarely envision a situation where you would want to use the Surface in portrait mode as it uncomfortable to use. Additionally, when in portrait mode, your thumb lands directly on the Windows key which leads to many accidental clicks. 

We would question if the Surface is a true laptop replacement as it fills out the tablet category nicely but to ditch your laptop for this device is not a choice we would recommend. Is the Surface good? Certainly, but it is not an end-all solution to your computing needs.

Conclusion:

The Microsoft Surface is a story of stunning hardware and mediocre software. The good news here is that the software issues can be fixed with updates but this may not put early adopters at ease.

The Surface hardware is top notch as the VaporMG case is fantastic and the build quality is on par with the best in the industry. The software is where the Surface comes up short but Microsoft knows this and fortunately, Microsoft is an expert at optimization and pushing out software updates. We fully expect Microsoft to mend any performance issues in the near future and when they do, we highly recommend the Surface to anyone, without hesitation.

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strong magnet on powerplug: tablet is yanked off table when tripping over cable
weak magnet: tablet stays on table, but people complain...

sigh......

Ok,, I need some clarification. Windows RT needs specifically-made apps to run, correct? I can't just go and install something like Rome: Total War on it, right?

Also, what is the performance of the nvidia Tegra chip? I pretty much know what I would get with the Windows 8 Pro version but I'm not that versed on the Tegra.

I'd give it an 8.5. No performance issues here. Really, cameras. They are mainly provided for communication, my cameras take great pictures for a tablet. I wouldn't publish them, more than enough for sharing and FB.

I don't think there's desktop confusion. If you're using Office, you should be able to get around with relative ease.

I simply can't believe the way people complain about connecting the magnetic charger in the dark.

1 Not turning on the light to waken the girlfriend.! Do it in another room.

2 Fumbling in the dark ! How did they connect USB device to an under the table PC in the pre-front usb days? Even now how do you connect a PS2 keyboard whenUSB simply won't be recognised?

3. How many have damaged their micro / mini usb ports in the dark ?

4 Weak magnets ! If they will hold well enough in normal use that should be good enough. I have seen my daughters damage their laptops as well as the chargers when tripping over the wires of conventional coaxial charger connectors. I have paid enough for laptop repairs AND replacement chargers. HP and Compaq are the worst culprits in this regard. I have also had to dump one because the LCD cracked due to this kind of tripping. I will take so called weak magnets any day.

5. How lazy can one be to not get out of bed to handle the device in the manner it is supposed to be - gently and carefully.

#5 You definitely don't have to treat this thing gently and carefully. It's got great build quality. I'm not sure what was going through the author's head on this point.

I purchased the 32gig with the bundled black keyboad and I returned it the next day for a couple of reason. First I'd like to say the hardware and build felt great and I've been using windows 8 for a while but not the RT version. So let me tell you why I returned it. It dose not sync with zune music and movie library like my phone does. There is a file system where you can transfer your music but if your like me and have tons of music and videos than it is not optimal to do so. I thought maybe I was doing somthing as I was told it would sync just like my phone. That was not the case I confirmed this at the store with their tech guys. They said you can use a external device or upload everything to sky drive to transfer. I like to change my play list alot and change movies out for the kids like I do on my phone and it sync's wirelessly when I'm on my home network. I understand that if this was a laptop I would not expect it to do these this but its not its a tablet. The second thing was not a deal breakers but all my favorites organized by folder do not come over in IE when using the mordern UI version. As a mater of fact if you import them it just places them in some random order all jumbled togther. I'm going to wait now and see if they can improve before I buy now.

Matrixsig said,
It dose not sync with zune music and movie library like my phone does.

It does for me. I just added my account to xbox music and all of my videos and music synced from my pc to my surface.

mrdeezus said,

It does for me. I just added my account to xbox music and all of my videos and music synced from my pc to my surface.

I have more music and movies than I would like to put on a tablet. So your aying that your entire zune collection is now on your tablet? Does it need to have an internet connection to play or did it transfer all your files? Xbox music doesn't work the same as when you sycn a windows phone from zune, its not even close.

I agree with the power connector but maybe it was by design to come out easily. My main issue is the way it attaches. I do think the reviewer left out a lot of features like, ports, micro sd storage, xbox video and music, cloud syncing. So, the negatives about software are not just. And backwards compatibility is not a negative because its not a FEATURE!!!! I have not had one hardware issue or performance issue so I would like to know 2hat issues you speak of. I will say that some of the gestures take a little getting used to especially when you have fat fingers like mine but once you do it all makes sense.

mikeyx12 said,
No GPS or 3G?? What????

Damn.

The $499 iPad doesn't have GPS or 3G either. But I agree, there should be a version with GPS and 3G/4G.

I have already a laptop and I am used to it but time demands now the touch line products so I am planning to buy one surface in near future.

Has anyone tried using a wireless 360 controller on Surface, using the USB wireless controller adapter (that is already available for PC)?

Note that the Touch cover does not label Function keys so you will have to count them from the Esc key! Also, Function keys (F1 to F12) must be pressed along with the Fn key. So close a program using the keyboard, you must press Alt+Fn+(count from left) F4. If you get the Type cover, it has tiny Function key labels at least.

MsftGaurav said,
So close a program using the keyboard, you must press Alt+Fn+(count from left) F4. If you get the Type cover, it has tiny Function key labels at least.

Sure, but trying to close a WinRT app - even with just ALT-F4 - is pointless when you can do it so easily by just dragging down from the top.

desitunez said,
thanks for the review , can you please advise if VPN is allowed on RT? CISCO or Juniper/Junos?

I haven't seen any apps/support for this yet.. I did tweet cisco, hope to get a response eventually.

desitunez said,
thanks for the review , can you please advise if VPN is allowed on RT? CISCO or Juniper/Junos?

Judging by how long it took to get Cisco VPN support on Android devices, I wouldn't hold your breath..

What's with all the confusion about Surface RT and Surface Pro?

People simply need to compare the two and do some research themselves.
Nobody gives cars negative reviews simply because one version of the same car has a feature that the other doesnt.

MidTxWRX said,
What's with all the confusion about Surface RT and Surface Pro?

People simply need to compare the two and do some research themselves.
Nobody gives cars negative reviews simply because one version of the same car has a feature that the other doesnt.

Well when I bought mine yesterday, the Microsoft employees don't even know. Luckily I was there to test them.

My girlfriend asked the Microsoft employee "Can this replace my laptop?" He answered yes and I answered no. He asked what do you do on your laptop that the Surface can't do? So I said iTunes for my iPad Nano and Excel.

The Microsoft employee proceeded to say that I can download iTunes from the App Store and the Surface comes with Microsoft Office. I told him I know that it comes with Office but it can do Macros which I use heavily in some of my projects. He said, what I see on here is just a preview version. When I bring it home and run Windows Update, it will give me the final version which will do it. I didn't argue with him to tell him he was wrong because it was already my intention to buy it to try it out and return before my 14 days were up.

Anyway, I returned it today. When asked why I was returning it I told them the story and how I didn't get the results I was expecting. They asked me who I talked about that and I pointed out the sales guy. Hopefully the managers do a better job training these sales guys.

It was really cool though, Microsoft told me I can keep the 1 year Xbox Music and they gave me a 13 Month Xbox Live Gold card.

WalterEgo404 said,

Well when I bought mine yesterday, the Microsoft employees don't even know. Luckily I was there to test them.

My girlfriend asked the Microsoft employee "Can this replace my laptop?" He answered yes and I answered no. He asked what do you do on your laptop that the Surface can't do? So I said iTunes for my iPad Nano and Excel.

The Microsoft employee proceeded to say that I can download iTunes from the App Store and the Surface comes with Microsoft Office. I told him I know that it comes with Office but it can do Macros which I use heavily in some of my projects. He said, what I see on here is just a preview version. When I bring it home and run Windows Update, it will give me the final version which will do it. I didn't argue with him to tell him he was wrong because it was already my intention to buy it to try it out and return before my 14 days were up.

Anyway, I returned it today. When asked why I was returning it I told them the story and how I didn't get the results I was expecting. They asked me who I talked about that and I pointed out the sales guy. Hopefully the managers do a better job training these sales guys.

It was really cool though, Microsoft told me I can keep the 1 year Xbox Music and they gave me a 13 Month Xbox Live Gold card.

Yeah, that I can side with you on.
The employees should know more than I do about the product.

This has never happened to me though... Any time I buy any kind of gadget or tech device, I do tons and tons of research about it. So when I go to the store to buy it, I already know more about it than the employees. Then they try to tell me things that arent true and I just blow them off.

MidTxWRX said,

Yeah, that I can side with you on.
The employees should know more than I do about the product.

This has never happened to me though... Any time I buy any kind of gadget or tech device, I do tons and tons of research about it. So when I go to the store to buy it, I already know more about it than the employees. Then they try to tell me things that arent true and I just blow them off.

I get it all the time. It doesn't matter if it is a Android, iOS or a Microsoft product. Oh well. Such is life.


I'm not sure what most people's expectation is of Windows RT, but anyone going out to buy one with the expectation to install iTunes or run Macros, has the wrong idea. Most people don't buy an iPad with the expectation that they will have a full blown Macbook Pro.

Windows RT's sole purpose is to compete with iPad, Kinda and Nexus 7 and not be a replacement for a laptop. If I were to buy Windows RT, I would use to consume rather than be productive. For anything more, wait for Surface Pro.

WalterEgo404 said,

Well when I bought mine yesterday, the Microsoft employees don't even know. Luckily I was there to test them.

My girlfriend asked the Microsoft employee "Can this replace my laptop?" He answered yes and I answered no. He asked what do you do on your laptop that the Surface can't do? So I said iTunes for my iPad Nano and Excel.

The Microsoft employee proceeded to say that I can download iTunes from the App Store and the Surface comes with Microsoft Office. I told him I know that it comes with Office but it can do Macros which I use heavily in some of my projects. He said, what I see on here is just a preview version. When I bring it home and run Windows Update, it will give me the final version which will do it. I didn't argue with him to tell him he was wrong because it was already my intention to buy it to try it out and return before my 14 days were up.

Anyway, I returned it today. When asked why I was returning it I told them the story and how I didn't get the results I was expecting. They asked me who I talked about that and I pointed out the sales guy. Hopefully the managers do a better job training these sales guys.

It was really cool though, Microsoft told me I can keep the 1 year Xbox Music and they gave me a 13 Month Xbox Live Gold card.

Sorry you have low expectations of people. iTunes will be a big thing. How am I supposed to shuffle my music on my iPod Nano? Please Explain?

How am I going to work with Excel like I normally do? Please Explain?

Are you telling me that the Surface is not a Desktop/Laptop replacement that the Microsoft Rep would have you believe? Are you saying then that the Surface would be a waste of money and a useless device?

WalterEgo404 said,
Are you saying then that the Surface would be a waste of money and a useless device?

If Surface is a waste of money and a useless device, what does that make the iPad? And incredible waste of money and incredibly useless?

There is a use for the iPad. There is a use for a Surface. And there is a use for a Surface Pro. But if you want a very powerful device, you'll want a Windows 8 powered (not Windows RT) powered device like the Surface Pro.

WalterEgo404 said,
Sorry you have low expectations of people. iTunes will be a big thing. How am I supposed to shuffle my music on my iPod Nano? Please Explain?

How am I going to work with Excel like I normally do? Please Explain?

Are you telling me that the Surface is not a Desktop/Laptop replacement that the Microsoft Rep would have you believe? Are you saying then that the Surface would be a waste of money and a useless device?

Lol

wivelden said,
Whats the maximum capacity memory card you can add? Is it 64gb or 128?

Technically, or practically? Technically it can support cards up to 2TB, but cards that large aren't on the market yet.

For the most part, we had few issues with the display but do lust for a higher resolution screen. Even though resolution isn't the only metric to measure a display, resolution dictates how much content you can get on the screen. With an app snapped to the side (which we love to do), it feels as if a significant portion of your screen is taken up by the snapped app and leave little room for the primary app.

What does that have to do with resolution? Wouldn't that only have to do with actually screen dimensions? Not resolution. Even if it was 1920x1080, the content size would be exactly the same - only slightly clearer. The size of the primary app when another is snapped to the side doesn't change unless you have a bigger screen.

Did a fine job for their first tablet. More than a fine job, a great job!
But I hope the performance problems will be fixed in a update.

man. this is more like a propaganda brochure they fly and throw over the microsoft fanboydom than a review. but just keep convince yourself it's not so and all will be ok. lmao.

I just want to add one more thing to this review. Resetting this tablet is very slow for when you want to return it. I'm not trolling here as I did buy the Surface myself yesterday. I spent the day and night playing with it and decided it is not for me. http://i.imgur.com/9WumI.jpg

It's a shame really because the build quality is very nice. I would have kept if it were cheaper in price. Hopefully the price will come down at least by another hundred dollars. I may consider it again.

Anyway, I bought mine form a Microsoft Holiday store in Roosevelt Field Mall (Garden City, NY). They have plenty of them there available to buy. http://i.imgur.com/XTwSZ.jpg I'm going back this afternoon to return mine and to enter a raffle for a Surface. If I can get one for free, I won't complain about price anymore.

I'm sure what I have to say here angered some of you. But before you reply with hate, Stop and think of how foolish you may sound. Did you help build this? Did you help design this in any shape or form? Are you heavily invested in Microsoft that you think my opinion will have any affect on sales? So please be wise with your words. This is only my opinion and I am entitled to it.

After looking at the touch cover/ type cover, I wonder if it is possible to capture the screen on Surface RT? I heard that it is not possible to do so without plug-in a keyboard (via USB/ Bluetooth) which has PrintScreen button.

alxtsg said,
After looking at the touch cover/ type cover, I wonder if it is possible to capture the screen on Surface RT? I heard that it is not possible to do so without plug-in a keyboard (via USB/ Bluetooth) which has PrintScreen button.

You can use either the screen clipping functionality of OneNote or the Windows Snipping Tool

alxtsg said,
After looking at the touch cover/ type cover, I wonder if it is possible to capture the screen on Surface RT? I heard that it is not possible to do so without plug-in a keyboard (via USB/ Bluetooth) which has PrintScreen button.

home button + volume up

Software glitches do not affect useablitly, just an annoyance. However I have had the Bing News app dissappear on me a couple times. It will be interesting to find out if that happens with an open Word document for example.

I'm glad they got it out the door, bug fixes will probably come week to week instead of service pack to service pack. The slow moving behemoth that was Microsoft has been left in the dust. Kudos on this tablet, a winner.

An attractive piece of hardware which will certainly appeal to consumers who enjoy having the latest gadget or toy to show off to their friends. It can't even come close to replacing a laptop or desktop. The big risk Microsoft is taking is abandoning the laptop and desktop marketplace, which coincidentally includes businesses and serious consumer users.

Ahmed Alrasheed said,
i am disappointed by the battery life....
the RT goal was to achieve all day battery, and what we are left with is about 2 hours more than x86...

Just 2 hours? That's awful.

Ahmed Alrasheed said,
i am disappointed by the battery life....
the RT goal was to achieve all day battery, and what we are left with is about 2 hours more than x86...

Its competitive or better than every other tablet out there. What were you expecting?

Ahmed Alrasheed said,
i am disappointed by the battery life....
the RT goal was to achieve all day battery, and what we are left with is about 2 hours more than x86...

Most benchmarks show it lasting longer than the new iPad which has a far larger battery. As already said, what did you expect? The battery life on Surface is very typical for a tablet.

I guess its hard to cover everything with this device, short of writing an essay seems to be hit and miss, overall not bad Brad like all the pics of the surface in the article.

Wish MS had have included proper inking/digitiser on these, I woulda been all over it.

Osiris said,
I guess its hard to cover everything with this device, short of writing an essay seems to be hit and miss, overall not bad Brad like all the pics of the surface in the article.

Wish MS had have included proper inking/digitiser on these, I woulda been all over it.

If you're interested in that, take a look at the Thinkpad 2 tablet, or just wait for the Surface Pro which has a digitiser

By this and other reviews I think that I will pass on this generation, waiting for more responsive hardware and more mature and refined software paradigm (any metro app is an island)

fehu said,
By this and other reviews I think that I will pass on this generation, waiting for more responsive hardware and more mature and refined software paradigm (any metro app is an island)

Hardware is extremely responsive, I'm not sure they reviewed the device under normal use or while it was download and installing updates and apps..

It isn't bad, but I would like it better if apps resize in a better way on side mode, and if some can autostart a process in background on windows load, or keep it active when paused
At this point I prefer a more mature and flexible platform like android

The power connector is actually reversible. After connecting it a few times, I no longer have to look at the machine at all to connect it. I agree with xendrome about the strength. I don't want it so attached that this lightweight thing goes flying when my dog trips over the cable. It isn't awkwardly placed. Just don't hook the thing up with the cable going down and it is a lot easier to attach.

My biggest problem with surface is that I sadly was under the impression that Metro = RT Capable. That is not true, and Microsoft is the worst offender of this. Many of their "Metro" games don't support RT. Minesweeper, Solitaire, Toy Soldiers...all don't support the RT tablet. Why wouldn't Solitaire support RT? It doesn't require that much power does it?!!? Just compile for RT and call it a day Microsoft! If Hydro Thunder can run on RT, just about any application should be able to run on RT if compiled.

It is just so odd to finally have a machine that can run a version of Windows that doesn't require a fan to keep the computer cool. I love a quiet PC.

Hook this thing up with a $5 Micro HDMI cable from amazon to an external monitor and you get dual screens for running Office (the only time two screens matters with this device). Or hook it up to your TV and push the screen entirely to your TV and use an XBOX controller to play games on the big screen.

They should have done two things to really make this a hit...
1. Bake in the receiver to allow XBOX controllers to pair with the tablet.
2. Ship it with a version of Halo 4.

The Microsoft games such as solitaire are coming to ARM soon, it's written in the app details when you download it. And for Halo 4 on Surface RT you can forget about that. The RT and even the pro are far from being powerful enough to run any Xbox 360 game

KSib said,
I imagine the Pro would be able to run some 360 games. The 360 isn't that much of a powerhouse

No. Never. The pro is an underpowered i5 with a Intel gpu. Xbox exclusive games would have to be rewritten to work on x86 and a standard GPU so you're better off just playing the pc version of it.

Edited by PmRd, Oct 28 2012, 4:24pm :

What is it a 7.5 measured against? Score is way to meager and ignores some of the coolest features.. no coverage of usb peripheral support, hdmi dock, office 2013 performance, web browser speed/touch sites, Xbox music selection/sync, heck its the only multi user tablet that ties into homegroup easily to access all your existing content and systems. Not mentioned once, and I've only had my surface about 15 hours lol

gregalto said,
All reviews are opinions, i would never read just one before purchasing.

Obviously it is an opinion, but its one that hasn't even scratched the surface of what a surface can do, its another review limited to iPad or android limitations rather than a personal review of everything hat is surface.

I'm quite bullish on Windows 8 and Windows RT for that matter but the software is what's holding the Surface back. Based on user experience, the software holds back all of the hardware features.

As i said in the review, give it a software update, and I'd recommend the Surface w/o hesitation.

bdsams said,
I'm quite bullish on Windows 8 and Windows RT for that matter but the software is what's holding the Surface back. Based on user experience, the software holds back all of the hardware features.

As i said in the review, give it a software update, and I'd recommend the Surface w/o hesitation.

I don't think you make that clear in your article. You say the software is mediocre but only provide a couple of examples.

In regards to the rating, I don't think that sort of thing is terribly useful as it's so subjective and unscientific. Most websites are moving away from a rating system because it's ultimately meaningless and I think you should to.

jakem1 said,

I don't think you make that clear in your article. You say the software is mediocre but only provide a couple of examples.

In regards to the rating, I don't think that sort of thing is terribly useful as it's so subjective and unscientific. Most websites are moving away from a rating system because it's ultimately meaningless and I think you should to.

Most websites? Please do list them.

bdsams said,
I'm quite bullish on Windows 8 and Windows RT for that matter but the software is what's holding the Surface back. Based on user experience, the software holds back all of the hardware features.

As i said in the review, give it a software update, and I'd recommend the Surface w/o hesitation.

But why is it 7.5? when this device still performs pretty awesome? I mean is quite more features than any other tablet available out there and for that should get some points. I didn't think it would receive this low score on this site since I thought that should have been fair because of the so called "performance issues" and a 9 or more would have been on par with what it should have been receiving should this "performance" issue been corrected. Again, considering that this tablet has so many options and it's a consumption and creation device this should have gotten a better score.

Other than that... Great Review on most of the areas since you didn't cover some of it's advantages.

spudtrooper said,
What is it a 7.5 measured against? Score is way to meager and ignores some of the coolest features.. no coverage of usb peripheral support, hdmi dock, office 2013 performance, web browser speed/touch sites, Xbox music selection/sync, heck its the only multi user tablet that ties into homegroup easily to access all your existing content and systems. Not mentioned once, and I've only had my surface about 15 hours lol

Yeah it's an odd review. Misses out all the great features and advantages. I mean, Android has had performance issues and lag for so many years, but Android tablets will often score higher than this when they have lower performance and less features. As for the iPad, thats even more limited than Android, although the OS runs smooth, but what does that matter if the device cant do much. The Surface runs almost as smooth as an iPad, yet has way more advantages than both iPad/Android tablets. Even with these small performance issues it should still score higher. The reviewer completely misses the big picture here.

Richio said,
To be honest, the ipad camera is rubbish as well, so it shouldn't really be such a negative.

That's the thing about it, most reviews have been judging the camera and putting much weight on it but then if anyone have used an ipad, the camara is horrendous yet has been getting raving reviews.

Can we have a very detailed video about the Desktop, is there a desktop version of Internet Explorer? (I know it won't have plug-in support).

And do Metro apps update silently or do they have to be updated manually? And how does MS Office in the desktop update? Microsoft update?

And if you're in the desktop and you click the physical start button it takes you back to Metro and if you click it again does it take you back to the Desktop?

thealexweb said,
Can we have a very detailed video about the Desktop, is there a desktop version of Internet Explorer? (I know it won't have plug-in support).

And do Metro apps update silently or do they have to be updated manually? And how does MS Office in the desktop update? Microsoft update?

And if you're in the desktop and you click the physical start button it takes you back to Metro and if you click it again does it take you back to the Desktop?

Yes there is a desktop ie. Metro apps update through app store, manually right now and windows update keeps the os and office 2013 up to date. Start button will open start page or return you back to last used app. Hope that answers your questions, answered from my surface

spudtrooper said,

Yes there is a desktop ie. Metro apps update through app store, manually right now and windows update keeps the os and office 2013 up to date. Start button will open start page or return you back to last used app. Hope that answers your questions, answered from my surface

Does desktop I.E. look and function like IE9? If you plug in any standard usb keyboard or mouse from the past does it just work?

thealexweb said,

Does desktop I.E. look and function like IE9? If you plug in any standard usb keyboard or mouse from the past does it just work?

It functions just like ie10 with mouse and keyboard, yes

Windows RT looks and operates almost exactly the same as Windows 8. The ONLY substantial difference I have come across is that it can't run x86 apps. That's it. You can fire up File Explorer on the desktop, manage your files, access other networked computers, and set up folders in Windows RT to be shared with other devices (by starting up the Server service). You can plug in BitLocker-encrypted drives (though I don't think you can encrypt/decrypt from Windows RT, only lock and unlock). You can use the desktop or Metro Remote Desktop client to connect to other RDP-enabled computers. It could be VERY close to a laptop replacement for someone who primarily uses email, social networks, and Office, and it works beautifully as a secondary device for more professional users and developers.

Timan said,
Good review brad, now feel free to ship it my way... you know for dev reasons.

I have two on pre-order, you can have none of them

Maybe Microsoft will release a quick updates for the RT, or maybe with the next version of os, will perform better. Anyway, great review!

minoskid said,
Maybe Microsoft will release a quick updates for the RT, or maybe with the next version of os, will perform better. Anyway, great review!

They have already released some updates. As for performance, I haven't experienced any performance issues myself, but had device less than a day so far, will keep neowin forums updated with anything I run across.

minoskid said,
Maybe Microsoft will release a quick updates for the RT, or maybe with the next version of os, will perform better. Anyway, great review!

I read somewhere else that MS are preparing a patch to address performance issues that should be released shortly.

The power connection is a weaker magnet, cause if it were stronger and you tripped over the cord it would pull the tablet down with it. So that isn't really fair to add that to the "Negative" comments since it's by design and actually a positive thing.

bdsams said,
Attaching the cord is still a PITA, nearly impossible to do when it's dark.

Don't need to be so fragile, just slide and click. Its built tough.. award at first indeed, but seems to click fine once you just click it there.

bdsams said,
Attaching the cord is still a PITA, nearly impossible to do when it's dark.

To be honest though, who in the world attempts to attach a power adapter to their electronic devices in the dark. This is a rather unfair thing to place onto the device considering that any plug is going to be a pain to plug-in in low light conditions.

Personally I do not usually attempt to plug my micro USB into my Nokia Lumia 800 in a condition where I cannot actually see where I'm putting it. I say usually because I have attempted this in the past while lying in my bed, because I already turned the lights out and my charger was just right there on my nightstand. Yes it's a pain, but it's not something that you would pin onto the device as being something that you would expect it to be able to do.

xendrome said,
The power connection is a weaker magnet, cause if it were stronger and you tripped over the cord it would pull the tablet down with it. So that isn't really fair to add that to the "Negative" comments since it's by design and actually a positive thing.

Isn't the actual reason there because MS didn't want the bottom dock magnet to attract or detract from the magnet in the connector port? I'd imagine that would cause some issues.

Ad Man Gamer said,
To be honest though, who in the world attempts to attach a power adapter to their electronic devices in the dark. This is a rather unfair thing to place onto the device considering that any plug is going to be a pain to plug-in in low light conditions.

I do, regularly. My phone and/or tablet (when I've had one in the past) will get docked in the dark because I'd wake my girlfriend if I turned the light on, so it has to be done blind. Having the charger be a PITA to connect in the dark would definitely be a negative.

bdsams said,
Attaching the cord is still a PITA, nearly impossible to do when it's dark.

Dark? Is this a 3rd world problem? Try turning on a light to help you out

Majesticmerc said,

I do, regularly. My phone and/or tablet (when I've had one in the past) will get docked in the dark because I'd wake my girlfriend if I turned the light on, so it has to be done blind. Having the charger be a PITA to connect in the dark would definitely be a negative.

Although it may be a negative, it is one of those negatives that are a circumstantial oddity. This is kind of like doing a review and then pointing out that the device finds it hard to charge from a low-power source such as a portable inverter. Yes this would be a negative for the odd person here and there, but it's not something that you will actually hold against the device itself for it is something that is not expected from it.

Any one directional charging adapter will be a pain to attach to a device in the dark without practice. And taking this as a basis to throw it on as an overall negative of the charger is quite perplexing. I am now more than capable of plugging in my charger into my phone in the dark. But this is mainly down to the fact that I have been using it for a long time.

If I wrote an initial review on my Nokia when I first got it, and then point out that I tried to charge it in the dark and that the experience was not satisfactory. Is that really a reason to than say that the adapter was a negative? If so, does that practically mean that micro USB is badly designed?

Edited by Ad Man Gamer, Oct 28 2012, 5:53pm :

Ad Man Gamer said,

Although it may be a negative, it is one of those negatives that are a circumstantial oddity. This is kind of like doing a review and then pointing out that the device finds it hard to charge from a low-power source such as a portable inverter. Yes this would be a negative for the odd person here and there, but it's not something that you will actually hold against the device itself for it is something that is not expected from it.

Any one directional charging adapter will be a pain to attach to a device in the dark without practice. And taking this as a basis to throw it on as an overall negative of the charger is quite perplexing. I am now more than capable of plugging in my charger into my phone in the dark. But this is mainly down to the fact that I have been using it for a long time.

If I wrote an initial review on my Nokia when I first got it, and then point out that I tried to charge it in the dark and that the experience was not satisfactory. Is that really a reason to than say that the adapter was a negative? If so, does that practically mean that micro USB is badly designed?

Absolutely, it's an oversight in the design of the device. A good review is supposed to include an objective summary of the reviewer's day-to-day use of the device. If the charger socket it poorly designed, then it should be included in the review of the device. Not including such a note would indicate bias on the part of the reviewer to make the product sound better than it actually is. Do we really need to end every review with "YOUR MILEAGE MAY VARY" at the end?

Honestly it's easier than an iPad because it's easier to feel, there is a magnet to guide you, and it's reversible. I agree it's not as easy as the dock connector, but it's vastly superior to anything else out there.

xendrome said,
The power connection is a weaker magnet, cause if it were stronger and you tripped over the cord it would pull the tablet down with it. So that isn't really fair to add that to the "Negative" comments since
t's by design and actually a positive thing.

Just got my Surface yesterday, couldn't be happier. Was expecting power connector issues having read this. Not sure what the original poster is talking about, it's very strong, not problem connecting it without looking (who would do this in the dark, and have an issue I don't know) but it's very strong, difficult to pull straight out. It is however, quite easy to remove if you pull from the cord, actually feels weak, I believe this is properly by design. If the cord is nagged the connector will easily come out. Try to pull it off with hand straight out, not so at all. (You do know you can connect it in either direction right? Just askin').

Just waiting on more apps, but there are some good ones and with Office 2013 and SkyDrive, I'm good.