Microsoft Surface RT ReviewMicrosoft Surface RT 8.5
Since we’re talking about a tablet here, we’ll reiterate it again that we’re not too keen when it comes to snapping photos with them – mainly because its size doesn’t make it convenient. Nonetheless, if it’s the only thing around, we’re certain that some people would be willing to use it.
With the camera UI, it’s barebones as it can get, since the majority of the real estate is made for the viewfinder. However, there are a few icons perched towards the lower right hand corner that allow us to change the camera, go into video, set a timer, and access the options menu. In order to snap a shot, all you need to do is tap anywhere on the screen – and just like Windows Phone, we can quickly access the camera roll by swiping to the right. Camera aficionados, you’ll be horrified with its zero shooting modes and manual settings!
Before snapping our first pictures, we were already prepping ourselves with the quality of its 1-megapixel rear camera. First and foremost, the camera itself is placed on an awkward angle, which requires some adjustment on our part to get the shot we want. So how’d they come out? Fittingly, they’re nothing worth boasting about, since fine details are pretty much out the door. To its credit, though, the overall shots are tolerable enough for a tablet, since it has a neutral color reproduction and balanced exposure, but when pitted against the quality put out by smartphones, they’re terrible.
shoot videos in up to 800p, which results in giving us a 16:10 aspect ratio, its quality is hardly worth being attached to the term “high definition.” Lacking any serious details , combined with its heavy artifacting, the quality is forgettable in more ways than none. Though, it so happens to record smoothly at 30 frames per second and captures clear audio.
Microsoft Surface RT Sample Video:
Looking through the photo gallery, we’re most saddened that we’re unable to share images with our linked social networking accounts. Rather, if we download a third party app, like Tweetro for Windows RT, we can select it as an option to share, but there’s not a native one. As expected, we can glance at photos by swiping left/right – while using pinch gestures enables us to see more/less photos simultaneously. Yet another strange occurrence, the app syncs our social networking photo albums, giving us quick access to them. And yes folks, there are a few minor editing functions at our disposal.
No longer attached with Zune branding, the Microsoft Surface opts to integrate XBOX MUSIC with its music player. Visually, it has the characteristic elements of the UI intact with its presentation – while also giving us access to purchase additional tunes. At the same time, we love the dynamic look of the player as it’s playing a track, seeing that images of the respective artist are displayed on-screen and a short bio is accessible as well. Blessed with stereo speakers, its volume output is very pleasant to the ears with its neutral tones – though, we would’ve liked to hear a stronger volume output.
Out of the box, the Surface supports the usual set of video codecs to warm our hearts (DivX, H264, MPEG-4, and Xvid). Obviously, the 16:9 aspect ratio of the display combined with its bright looks make it an ideal choice for watching high definition videos on the go – and it helps that it doesn’t struggle for a moment with its playback.
So you’re probably wondering how we’re supposed to get multimedia content to the Surface when it doesn’t come included with a USB cable to connect to a PC? Well, we’re starting to see that Windows RT is ditching the model of having to rely on a computer for content storage. Yes, it’ll sync with certain things in the cloud (like our Facebook photos), but we’re simply able to copy music and videos on our computer by copying them to a flash drive, and then connecting it to the Surface’s USB port. Going into the desktop, we’re able to use the File Manager to copy and paste content to their respective folders a la the usual Windows desktop experience.
History has shown us that the survival of a new platform is contingent upon the amount of quality apps that are available for it. At the current state, the Surface isn’t winning in this category yet, as the fairly limited offerings in the Microsoft Windows Store don’t have the star appeal to capture our attention. Sure, you have big named ones like Netflix and Skype on there, but it doesn’t claim anything more advantageous over other versions of the same apps.
Bing Maps experience is yet another example of an elementary offering with the Windows RT platform. Needless to say, it pales in comparison to the defined features and fuller offerings that rival maps services have to offer. Yes, you can get directions to a point of interest, but it doesn’t have voice-guided directions, nor does it offer transit directions. Slim pickings and all, Bing Maps is a far cry from everything else out there.
As much as we adore Internet Explorer 10 for being able to provide us with the full fidelity of the YouTube web site, it would’ve been nice to see a dedicated app on board with the platform. However, for all of you movie buffs out there, the Video app on the Surface provides us access to purchasing movies and television shows from Microsoft’s Windows Store – giving us the option to rent or buy.
The Video app on the Surface provides us access to purchasing or renting movies and television shows
When it comes to gaming, hardcore XBOX gamers will surely appreciate the integration of XBOX Live. Moreover, we can also elect to purchase games for the XBOX 360 home console, which are tagged as “on-demand games” – in addition to the usual ones meant to run on the Surface itself that are in the Windows Games Store front. Playing real-time strategy game ARMED, the hardware inside of the Surface shows its prowess in handling graphically intensive processes.
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
42. enterthemax (Posts: 8; 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)...
2. mydi.maus (unregistered)
well this one is the one to be mine,..wishlist..
4. darkvadervip (Posts: 360; Member since: 08 Dec 2010)
What's the megapixel on the pro before version
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
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
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
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.
28. Zero0 (Posts: 592; 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.
6. Kronic (banned) (Posts: 321; Member since: 11 Sep 2012)
Nexus 10 and ipad 4 blow this out of the water.
8. McLTE (Posts: 745; 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
9. Kronic (banned) (Posts: 321; Member since: 11 Sep 2012)
iWork exists! And with all due respect tablets are not made for kids.
10. arsenaljimenez (Posts: 153; 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
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.
22. haseebzahid (Posts: 1853; 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
20. haseebzahid (Posts: 1853; Member since: 22 Feb 2012)
lol u are so corecct ipad seems like a toy nothing else
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
18. remixfa (Posts: 14255; 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.
7. snowgator (Posts: 3346; 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.
13. Joshing4fun (Posts: 1063; 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.
14. ahhxd717 (Posts: 332; 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.
23. downphoenix (Posts: 2689; 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...
34. -box- (Posts: 3964; 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
25. lubba (Posts: 1313; 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.
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...
27. DatabaseMX (Posts: 19; Member since: 27 May 2009)
Exactly what problem does this device solve ?
32. darkknight (Posts: 20; 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 ;=).
33. frydaexiii (Posts: 1339; 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...
35. _Bone_ (Posts: 2148; 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.
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.
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.