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Microsoft Surface RT Review

Posted: , by John V.

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Functionality:

Navigating through the unfamiliar set of organizer apps in Windows RT, there’s no denying the that the style and presentation seemingly employs the same foundational design properties seen with the interface formerly known as Metro for Window Phone. With the People app, we’re able to connect our various accounts (Microsoft, Facebook, Twitter, LinkedIn, etc). Naturally, it’s the one-stop shop for all your social networking needs, since it aggregates content all in one place, which is rather dizzying since it appears disorganized – then again, there’s a filter option to specify what content you want to see. No doubt a hindrance to us, there’s no way of posting stuff to multiple accounts simultaneously, and even worse, there isn’t an option of attaching photos with our posts.

With the People app, we’re able to connect our various accounts - Microsoft Surface RT Review
With the People app, we’re able to connect our various accounts - Microsoft Surface RT Review
With the People app, we’re able to connect our various accounts - Microsoft Surface RT Review
With the People app, we’re able to connect our various accounts - Microsoft Surface RT Review

With the People app, we’re able to connect our various accounts


As for the other core organizer apps, they don’t deviate from the usual functionality we see with other devices. In the Calendar app, appointments are color coded according to the account. Likewise, the Messaging app is nothing more than a hub where we can view all of our social networking chats. Microsoft includes some other noteworthy and useful organizer apps that are all Bing related – such as News, Finance, Reader, Sports, Travel, Weather, and Bing Search.

Calendar app - Microsoft Surface RT Review
Microsoft Surface RT Review
Messaging app - Microsoft Surface RT Review

Calendar app

 

Messaging app


Bing related organizer apps - Microsoft Surface RT Review
Bing related organizer apps - Microsoft Surface RT Review
Bing related organizer apps - Microsoft Surface RT Review
Bing related organizer apps - Microsoft Surface RT Review

Bing related organizer apps


Making sure to keep in mind that we’re dealing with a tablet OS here, Microsoft employs a three-panel layout in landscape with its Email app. The farthest to the left is our listing of accounts and its various folders, the middle pane displays the inbox of the selected account, and the last one shows the actual content of the email. All in all, it’s practical to use and keeps us at a good workflow, however, it’s not as comprehensive as we’d like with its features. Moreover, there’s no select all function, which means we’re left to individually opening each one and deleting them.

We’ve mentioned already that the Touch Cover can be a challenge for typing, and instead, we find ourselves having better luck with the on-screen one. Spacious in its layout and employing the same distinct typing sounds in use with the Windows Phone keyboard, we’re able to casually type at a reasonable pace with few nagging problems along the way. In portrait, our thumbs are able to encompass the entire layout – thus, making it easy as well to knock out a few passages of text.

Email - Microsoft Surface RT Review
On-screen keyboard of the Microsoft Surface RT - Microsoft Surface RT Review
Microsoft Surface RT Review
Microsoft Surface RT Review

Email

On-screen keyboard of the Microsoft Surface RT

  


Processor and Memory:

Being a tablet made for the modern times, the Microsoft Surface, which is running Windows RT, is being powered under the hood by none other than an ARM Cortex-A9 based 1.3GHz NVIDIA Tegra 3 processor coupled with a healthy 2GB of RAM. Aside from the random lock ups and freezes we experience once in a while, due to software glitches most likely, the performance of the tablet is smooth and fluid – similar to what’s seen with Windows Phone. Not a shocker in the very bit, It’s no slouch when it comes to executing complex tasks – like playing graphically intensive games. Ultimately, it exhibits responses that are tastefully well executed to instill that it’s a speedy competitor.

On the packaging, the $500 base model of the Microsoft Surface is mentioned to have a storage capacity of 32GB, but in reality, it translates into approximately 20GB of free memory after all is said and done. Luckily, that tally can be supplemented since the unit has a microSD card – or better yet, you can connect external hard drives or flash drives to its USB 2.0 port.


Internet and Connectivity:

For what it is, Internet Explorer 10 gets the job done for everyday normal web browsing. In fact, it has all the qualities we’d want to experience – like proper renders and fluid navigational controls. To be perfectly honest, there are two versions of it on the Surface. One is the touch-friendly version found within the tablet’s main experience, and with the other, it’s access within Desktop mode. Of course, we prefer the former mainly because it’s easier to navigate with touch – whereas the other one is the same exact thing you find on a PC. In case you wonder, none of them supports Adobe Flash.

Internet Explorer 10 gets the job done for everyday normal web browsing - Microsoft Surface RT Review
Internet Explorer 10 gets the job done for everyday normal web browsing - Microsoft Surface RT Review
Internet Explorer 10 gets the job done for everyday normal web browsing - Microsoft Surface RT Review
Internet Explorer 10 gets the job done for everyday normal web browsing - Microsoft Surface RT Review

Internet Explorer 10 gets the job done for everyday normal web browsing


Currently, the Microsoft Surface is being made in 802.11 a/b/g/n Wi-Fi Wi-Fi form only. Beyond that, it’s anyone’s guess if we’ll be seeing cellular connected versions before the end of the year. Complementing that is Bluetooth 4.0 and aGPS, but strangely, it’s lacking other modern conveniences like NFC.

40 Comments
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posted on 31 Oct 2012, 08:58 20

1. mercorp (Posts: 971; Member since: 28 Jan 2012)


This is awesome!

posted on 03 Nov 2012, 10:10

36. Nadr1212 (Posts: 741; Member since: 22 Sep 2012)


Yeah, I'll kinda be waiting to get the 2nd version of this tablet just bcuz I want more of the typical features like delete all emails or search bar on its app store

posted on 11 Nov 2012, 14:24

42. enterthemax (Posts: 7; Member since: 04 Sep 2012)


Are you kidding? Search is the most complete feature in windows RT, and the store DOES have it!!
Delete all emails? What? If you're talking about SELECTING multiple mails and delete them, there is this "feature" too (obviously)...

posted on 31 Oct 2012, 09:00 17

2. mydi.maus (unregistered)


well this one is the one to be mine,..wishlist..

posted on 31 Oct 2012, 09:03 13

3. Android4u (Posts: 456; Member since: 16 Aug 2012)


take my money damnit!!!

posted on 31 Oct 2012, 09:17 3

4. darkvadervip (Posts: 331; Member since: 08 Dec 2010)


What's the megapixel on the pro before version

posted on 31 Oct 2012, 09:18 6

5. darac (Posts: 2156; Member since: 17 Oct 2011)


You will be able to get a Nexus 10 with FAR better display and processor for less price so..

Still i won't say this isn't a good product per se..but a low res screen is just a no these days

posted on 31 Oct 2012, 11:14 4

11. Eingild (Posts: 203; Member since: 19 Apr 2011)


for far less functionality too.

posted on 31 Oct 2012, 11:52 2

15. darac (Posts: 2156; Member since: 17 Oct 2011)


Just wait when it gets Android 5 and 6 ;)

Still, you think serious, heavy windows users will pick an RT over the full version?

For the "light ", media, entertainment and internet centric majority Nexus 10 does the job more than fine trust me

posted on 31 Oct 2012, 12:23 7

16. chaoticrazor (Posts: 2347; Member since: 28 Aug 2012)


well for light use many are gonna go for the ipad, its sad but true.

anyway by the time of android 5 or 6 im sure windows would have evolved too

posted on 31 Oct 2012, 12:49 1

21. darac (Posts: 2156; Member since: 17 Oct 2011)


Well, that is what I have serious doubts about actually..how frequent are major new releases for windows?
Even if they seriously step up their pace, Google is simply in another level of speed with android development.

posted on 31 Oct 2012, 21:25

28. Zero0 (Posts: 583; Member since: 05 Jul 2012)


What less functionality? The RT is limited to the Windows Store, which has a pretty small selection of apps at this point.

Now, if we were talking about the Pro, that would be a whole different story. The Pro is basically a Microsoft-built, touchscreen laptop.

posted on 31 Oct 2012, 09:22 9

6. Kronic (banned) (Posts: 321; Member since: 11 Sep 2012)


Nexus 10 and ipad 4 blow this out of the water.

posted on 31 Oct 2012, 09:44 11

8. McLTE (Posts: 711; Member since: 18 Oct 2011)


depends on your target audience..

I'm looking at either a laptop or pad for my kids for Xmas.. I was going laptop only because there is very little in the Apple and Android tablets for school productivity.. can't easily create word docs, power point presentations.. etc.

This RT tablet COMES with the full blown office suite.. so the kids can do the Pad thing, but also do some school things as well.

Are the screens better on the Nexus 10 and the Ipad.. YES.. will my kids notice? NO.

The most compelling tablet to me is the Surface Pro.. full windows in a tablet.. mmmmmmm

posted on 31 Oct 2012, 10:04 2

9. Kronic (banned) (Posts: 321; Member since: 11 Sep 2012)


iWork exists! And with all due respect tablets are not made for kids.

posted on 31 Oct 2012, 10:11 4

10. arsenaljimenez (Posts: 139; Member since: 03 May 2012)


And what is the ipad for then? Games, for kids.
its not good enough for anything else, when I see people using it at school they mostly use that notepad
give me a breakk
get yourself an actuall laptop, or a surface, just as good

posted on 31 Oct 2012, 12:46 1

19. Kronic (banned) (Posts: 321; Member since: 11 Sep 2012)


You don't own it and so you don't know how capable it is.

posted on 31 Oct 2012, 12:50 4

22. haseebzahid (Posts: 1831; Member since: 22 Feb 2012)


well indead Pro version is all the way better then any thing known as tablet to date if u dont agree u dont know what pro version is

posted on 31 Oct 2012, 21:26 1

29. Zero0 (Posts: 583; Member since: 05 Jul 2012)


So I presume that you own a Surface?

posted on 31 Oct 2012, 12:49 2

20. haseebzahid (Posts: 1831; Member since: 22 Feb 2012)


lol u are so corecct ipad seems like a toy nothing else

posted on 31 Oct 2012, 14:01 2

24. btdvox (Posts: 1; Member since: 31 Oct 2012)


Your kidding right? I know your an apple fanboy but iWork is the worst office like program out there and pages, keynote and numbers suck butt.

posted on 01 Nov 2012, 00:56

30. Kronic (banned) (Posts: 321; Member since: 11 Sep 2012)


I use them on a daily basis so I know just how awesome they are.

posted on 31 Oct 2012, 11:22

12. TrainFromUkraine (Posts: 63; Member since: 26 Mar 2012)


You may want to consider Dell RT tablet for your kids. It can be purchased with a keyboard dock that has actual keyboard/touchpad plus a secondary battery.

posted on 03 Nov 2012, 20:11

37. okiwa002 (Posts: 3; Member since: 09 May 2011)


You could put Polaris Office on your Android based tablet to create M$ Office-compatible documents/presentations.

posted on 31 Oct 2012, 12:32 1

17. Whodaboss (Posts: 176; Member since: 18 Nov 2011)


So, you're telling me you own a Nexus 10, an iPad 4, and a Surface therefore you know which one is better? I think that's what I understand you to be stating when you mention "Nexus 10 and iPad 4 blow this out of the water." You have first hand knowledge? Hmm... must be nice.

posted on 31 Oct 2012, 12:37 2

18. remixfa (Posts: 13933; Member since: 19 Dec 2008)


dont mind taco... a troll will be a troll.

I will revisit when they get a software update or 2. I have some hopes for the platform, but they need to light a fire under it, especially with Goog really stepping up the nexus game.

posted on 31 Oct 2012, 09:22 4

7. snowgator (Posts: 3233; Member since: 19 Jan 2011)


Nice review. The Surface is a ground floor, start the ball rolling device. I would sure suggest waiting until other Windows tablets are on the market before jumping on one. But, it is nice to see the general decent (though not glowing) reviews on the Surface.

posted on 31 Oct 2012, 11:38 2

13. Joshing4fun (Posts: 1047; Member since: 13 Aug 2010)


Thank you for not listing "no legacy apps" as a con since this is a TABLET at the end of a day. Good review.

posted on 31 Oct 2012, 11:49 1

14. ahhxd717 (Posts: 318; Member since: 08 Dec 2011)


Good review. I think that once windows 8 becomes standard, the lack of apps will be less of an issue, and with software updates, the tablet will run better. I think this is a great start for Microsoft, they just need developer support and consumer support to make those the ultimate ARM tablet that can fully compete with others.

posted on 31 Oct 2012, 12:51

23. downphoenix (Posts: 2357; Member since: 19 Jun 2010)


Disappointing that Flash doesnt work in the Modern UI version of IE. I mean, it makes sense on this tablet, since it is more basic. However, in the DESKTOP version of Windows 8, on the same modern UI, it doesnt either. Very troubling that Microsoft went this route. Hopefully its just an oversight on Adobe's part for not supporting it yet, otherwise...

posted on 01 Nov 2012, 11:26

34. -box- (Posts: 3820; Member since: 04 Jan 2012)


With the widespread adoption/deployment of Silverlight and HTML5, Flash is less and less necessary. I'm sure there'll be a way to install it on the desktop version eventually

posted on 31 Oct 2012, 14:56 1

25. lubba (Posts: 1310; Member since: 17 Jan 2011)


My own review will be worth more than any of these early reviews. I you have to use the surface at least a month or so to get to all w8 functionalities before posting any reviews.

posted on 31 Oct 2012, 18:30 1

26. LeoChase (Posts: 1; Member since: 31 Oct 2012)


John V., the share charm is available and you can share your photos through that charm. You can even share links and html5-based youtube videos through that share charm...

posted on 31 Oct 2012, 18:34

27. DatabaseMX (Posts: 19; Member since: 27 May 2009)


Exactly what problem does this device solve ?
===

posted on 01 Nov 2012, 03:37 1

31. AeroPrime (Posts: 156; Member since: 21 Feb 2011)


I want the Surface Pro

posted on 01 Nov 2012, 05:48

32. darkknight (Posts: 17; Member since: 06 Apr 2012)


Well, I am not a tablet man, tablets are always and almost a mobile with large screen and no calling apportunity. I prefer much more laptops spec ultrabooks, But with microsoft I hope they will change my mind in the next edition ;=).

posted on 01 Nov 2012, 09:34

33. frydaexiii (Posts: 1236; Member since: 01 Dec 2011)


I've heard from my friend that it's pretty bad...few app choices, unresponsive at times, for now maybe the RT isn't the best choice...

posted on 01 Nov 2012, 12:45

35. _Bone_ (Posts: 2135; Member since: 29 Oct 2012)


Must say it looks pretty good, but at ~720p to start at $500 where the 32GB 1600p Nexus 10 sits it's no contest for the Samsung device. I'ma buy the $400 N10 surely, it's a stunning offer.

posted on 05 Nov 2012, 14:49

39. Spence (Posts: 1; Member since: 05 Nov 2012)


As beautiful as this machine is when you first see it, there are a few very serious problems when it comes to normal use.

1) Hard to hold and heavy when holding it in the wide format
2) Ships with IE 10. IE 10 no longer supports Java. Or Flash. Or any other similar add-ons. That's very serious. Being unable to connect to high security websites makes this a dead machine. Might as well be using an iPad instead. It's lighter and generally better behaved.
3) The Microsoft Store is a misery to "walk" through. Everything is in very broad categories, and then when you access the category then you find a disordered jumble of apps. AND there is no Search Tool. It's a misery to sift through nearly a hundred apps looking for something.

Basically, Windows 8 / 8 RT is a disaster. They need to allow for IE9 if it is to survive as a meaningful and useful product.

As of now with IE 10, it's literally worthless.

posted on 06 Dec 2013, 14:36

43. techadd (Posts: 1; Member since: 04 Dec 2013)


I have to say that if you are a MAC brained, nothing is going to change your perception, why bother. however if you are open enough and smart enough this win 8.1 is not a useless big phone to browse the web.

The surface has a lot of advantages over the other big iphones. the first one is that you can replace a computer with it. Just add the keyboard and there you go. It has USB port that it a great advantage and the device comes with Office software for free.

I highly recommend it as the best value for money.

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Display10.6 inches, 1366 x 768 pixels (148 ppi)
Camera1 megapixel
Hardware
NVIDIA Tegra 3 T30, Quad core, 1300 MHz, ARM Cortex-A9 processor
2048 MB RAM
Size10.81 x 6.77 x 0.37 inches
(275 x 172 x 9 mm)
24.00 oz  (680 g)

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