It needs the positive reviews to get the attention of people, so does it get them? Well, not exactly. Most reviewers agree that the Surface is likeable, but not all would recommend it and even those who do, do so with a couple of words of caution. Summing the Microsoft Surface all up in one phrase would be “it is different.”
Here is the feeling we got about the tablet from reading all sources with their different perspectives: from the businessy Wall Street Journal, the techy AnandTech, the fun and concise Gizmodo to the gadget lovers from TheVerge.
First, everyone admits that design is beautiful and build quality is extremely sturdy on the Microsoft Surface. Also, get the type cover. Both the touch and type covers snap quick and easy, but with the tactile keys on the type one you can reach almost your regular typing speed.
Hardware performance is mostly okay, not stellar. The screen is a mixed bag - good for watching movies, but not so good for reading. The cameras are crap, but they are there.
In software, Windows RT is misleading with its extremely limited destkop mode, Microsoft didn’t explain well what it really is. The Windows app store is a ghost town with no basic apps like Facebook or Twitter.
Finally, the Surface can’t replace your laptop but comes the closest from all tablets. It’s not all that comfortable for media consumption, but it’s great for typing and for Office guys. Hit the slideshow below for all the juicy details, spicy metaphors and more conclusions.
Microsoft Surface first reviews recap
"Nearly every app I tried crashed completely at least once while I was testing the tablet, third and first-party."
"The whole thing is honestly perplexing. If this device is not as good as (or better than) the best tablet, and not a complete alternative to a laptop — who is this for? What is it supposed to be?"
“It’s a tablet of both compromises and confusion. It is a true hybrid — neither fully a desktop nor mobile device."
“The Surface’s 10.6-inch display has a 16:9 aspect ratio. That’s fantastic for watching movies when it’s in landscape mode … but it’s also lousy for reading when you hold it in portrait mode”
“Surface is the most flexible tablet I've ever used.”
“From a distance, without using one, Surface is easy to judge. It’s a Windows tablet that doesn’t run most Windows applications, that doesn’t have most of the same new mobile apps that iOS and Android have, and it’s not priced aggressively enough to make those facts disappear. After living with Surface however, I understand the appeal. It’s worth a discussion, perhaps even consideration as it does some things better than any tablet on the market, and it does others worse.”
“But more importantly, Surface is handsome. That ineffable Hey, this thing feels good quality is lacquered all over Surface. You'll appreciate it every time you pick it up and turn it on. It's a simple, joyful experience.”
“In the end though, this is nothing more than Microsoft's tablet. And a buggy, at times broken one, at that, whose "ecosystem" feels more like a tundra. There's no Twitter or Facebook app, and the most popular 3rd party client breaks often.”
“Still, there are rough edges to the Surface. The biggest is a paucity of apps for the new touch interface.”
“Mediocre battery life.”
“It's in the other half of the equation, that of the content consumption and entertainment, where the Surface is currently lacking. It needs a bigger pile of apps and games to make up for that and, while we're sure they're coming, we don't know when.”
“When combined with either of the keyboards that Microsoft offers at launch, this becomes a surprisingly capable laptop replacement. Or surrogate, at least.”
“Paired with a keyboard cover, Surface is an excellent Office productivity tool (the best in tablet form) and if your entertainment needs don't go far beyond movies, TV shows, music, and the occasional simple game, you're covered there as well.”
“The Windows Store currently looks like a ghost town, after the apocalypse. Also, though I've come to really dig the interface and appreciate its elegance, there's a high learning curve here if you're used to iOS and Android.”
“The Surface RT is a product of unfortunate timing. The hardware is great. The Type Cover turns it into a small convertible tablet powered by a promising OS in Windows RT. That said, there are simply more mature options available right now.”
“The Surface RT isn’t a tablet. It’s not a legitimate alternative to the iPad or Galaxy Note 10.1. That’s not a bad thing. With the Touch Covers, the Surface RT is a fine alternative to a laptop, offering a slightly limited Windows experience in a small, versatile form. Just don’t call it an iPad killer.”
“The Surface RT's 1.4GHz quad-core Tegra 3 processor and 2GB of system memory handle their workloads without drama. Gesturing through the OS itself is fast and fluid. Ditto browsing in Internet Explorer.”
“The Windows Store inventory is alarmingly short of high-profile apps. The U.S. version of the Store is still well below the magic 5000-app plateau, and at this point you won't find official apps for CNN, Dropbox, Facebook, Hulu, IMDb, Twitter, and YouTube, among numerous other big-name stalwarts of the mobile world.”
“The Surface is full of potential, but until its software performance and apps are as strong as its hardware, I, unfortunately, will still drag both a laptop and an iPad through security.”
“With its 1.3-GHz, quad-core Tegra 3 processor and 2GB of RAM, the Surface with RT had enough power to take on all the tasks we threw at it. However, we often ran into small delays while apps launched. On several occasions, the touch screen was less than responsive when we were trying to swipe to change apps or tap on charms; rebooting usually fixed these problems.”
“Surface is so different from any tablet I’ve used before that it took me a few fays to fully warm to it, but now I like it — quite a bit. Part of this is because I am a Windows user with a Hotmail account and Xbox Live at home. This is a Microsoft ecosystem and the Surface fits it like a glove.”
“There’s no doubt that Surface will appeal most to Windows users. In fact this is the tablet for Windows fans.”