Microsoft Surface first reviews recap: the reaction is a mixed bag

Microsoft Surface first reviews recap: the reaction is a mixed bag
The Microsoft Surface reviews are out. This is a monumental moment for Microsoft as the company is making a PC of its own for the first time in its decades of history.

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.

Related phones

Surface RT
  • Display 10.6" 1366 x 768 pixels
  • Camera 1 megapixel
  • Processor NVIDIA Tegra 3 T30, Quad-core, 1300 MHz
  • Storage 32 GB

FEATURED VIDEO

47 Comments

1. absolete

Posts: 12; Member since: Apr 04, 2012

Yea.. I didn't expect much from the RT version, but wait for the win8pro i5 version... That will be much more useful than any tablet (for executive functions especially) and much more portable than a lot of laptops for it's price

13. MeoCao unregistered

I read a review which said Surface is laggy and that is surprise as Windows RT is supposed to be smoother than JB :(

17. edxlucero

Posts: 2; Member since: Oct 18, 2012

Surface RT's sunspider score is more than 2x than the current android tegra 3.

23. -box-

Posts: 3991; Member since: Jan 04, 2012

You are a known troll. Stop spreading lies.

44. MeoCao unregistered

I just say about the review I read in the Verge, have you read that 1? It's not me who is troll but that's you are a pity blind WP fanboy.

24. The.Dark.Knight.Rises

Posts: 72; Member since: Oct 24, 2012

See. I was right. The surface sucks balls. Ipad 4, galaxy note 10.1 and transformer infinity 700 are the best tablets available.

26. The.Dark.Knight.Rises

Posts: 72; Member since: Oct 24, 2012

Also add transformer prime, Xperia tablet S. this is the 9-10 inch category,

36. Whodaboss

Posts: 176; Member since: Nov 18, 2011

And similarly I read where it's NOT laggy. That said I'll be the judge for myself. Relying on someone else review it's like someone telling me how great a movie is and when I see it it's peice of junk.

45. MeoCao unregistered

well at lease the reviewer has played with the real thing and we have not. But of course you have the right to distrust some1.

21. -box-

Posts: 3991; Member since: Jan 04, 2012

Why the flying fudge do people want apps for stuff that is done ON THE INTERNET? Launching an app takes as much time as launching a link to the related website, but l, surprise, the website has even MORE functionality because it is a WEBSITE, not some poorly written program to mimic what the website does because the native browser of the device is incapable of working correctly with the website (looking at you, ios). The only "apps" one would have a desire for would be things to be used offline, like games and programs, like word processing (included) or a calculator (included), PhotoShop, etc, but even those are mostly unnecessary with online versions of the same (Google Docs, OpenOffice, online photo editors, etc) with the exception of those that need the full paid installable versions for their tasks (CAD programs, feature-film-length videos, etc). So whoever is complaining about no Facebook or Twitter apps, put a link yo their website on the Start screen and STFU.

22. Droid_X_Doug

Posts: 5993; Member since: Dec 22, 2010

Sounds like something of a work-in-progress. Maybe wait for the v. 2.0 (Pro) edition?

28. The.Dark.Knight.Rises

Posts: 72; Member since: Oct 24, 2012

That's more of a PC than a mobile device. It's really thick and heavy.

29. PhoneArenaUser

Posts: 5498; Member since: Aug 05, 2011

Interesting way for identification, brick is also thick and heavy so according to you brick is also PC...

33. The.Dark.Knight.Rises

Posts: 72; Member since: Oct 24, 2012

Dude you're ridiculous.

38. joseph98

Posts: 167; Member since: Feb 03, 2012

I am waiting for the surface with win 8 pro, but also might get samsung slate or other oem but sure win 8 pro is a winner with intel i5 cpu.

2. Non_Sequitur

Posts: 1111; Member since: Mar 16, 2012

Hm. Maybe we'd all be better off with the Pro version, lol. Hope Microsoft steps up the app game.

14. lubba

Posts: 1313; Member since: Jan 17, 2011

price of RT is already steep. pro version might be beyond average consumers budget.

16. MeoCao unregistered

And the Pro is way too heavy and big to be used comfortably as a tablet.

41. Non_Sequitur

Posts: 1111; Member since: Mar 16, 2012

Yeah, probably so. I have to say, I like the Asus Vivo Tab a lot better.

42. blattlaus

Posts: 75; Member since: Dec 12, 2010

You can get Atom powered Pro versions for the same price as an RT.

34. Commentator

Posts: 3722; Member since: Aug 16, 2011

Samsung's pricing its WP8 tablets at $1000+, I wouldn't expect much less from Microsoft. Let's face it, not too many people are going to shill out $1000 for what will basically be a $700 laptop with a touchscreen... although that's what people do with Macbooks, so I could be wrong...

3. StreetNerd

Posts: 870; Member since: Dec 08, 2010

Topolsky is a MS hater nuff said

8. Muhannad

Posts: 455; Member since: Sep 20, 2011

I noticed that too, its like he doesnt want to like it just like his Lumia 900 review. It seems he hates the damn thing.

10. StreetNerd

Posts: 870; Member since: Dec 08, 2010

its known that the verge are apple fanbois

43. CannedKarma

Posts: 19; Member since: Oct 22, 2011

Did you read the same review I did? Josh said plenty of good things about the Surface, and all his complaints were legitimate ones. Why would he praise software that has a pitifully small ecosystem, apps that don't run anywhere near as well as they should, and an OS that provides an inconsistent experience? That has nothing to do with hating Microsoft and everything to do with common sense.

4. scnix

Posts: 41; Member since: Jul 01, 2010

Whose bright idea was it to say that Windows Surface RT was meant to replace the laptop? 'Cause it's not suppose to. Windows Surface Pro on the other hand....

31. KingShango

Posts: 89; Member since: May 16, 2012

I totally agree. All the negative reviews seem to review it as a laptop replacement where it clearly comes up short. While all the postive reviews treat it as a tablet with some added desktop features. Either way that lack of apps is disapointing but with a brand new OS thats to be expected. They'll come with time.

5. pongkie

Posts: 663; Member since: Aug 20, 2011

nah i'll pass till the intel haswell version

6. schinnak

Posts: 116; Member since: Oct 26, 2011

RT was never meant to replace laptops. Its the more economical version of the two to compete with other lousy tablets out there. Yes, I mean really lousy! If you have a high end android phone with a big screen, why would anyone buy a tablet that offers you the same? Its just a smart phone with a big screen. Beats me! Which is why I am eagerly waiting for surface pro. The specs are on part with competent mid range laptops today. If pro clicks, it will not just be an ipad killer; its gonna be a laptop killer and thats what I am waiting for!

7. sony_timescape

Posts: 4; Member since: Jun 27, 2012

Surface will win against other tablet in the foreseeable future especially the Pro version where we can install and use most of our daily used real software on laptop & desktop not the apps version. The most important factor that will make Surface (pro) will win at the end against iOS & Android is that people can use their software which normally installed on their Laptop or Desktop on Surface too. There are always software we use them frequently and we cannot find them on apps stores neither we want to use alternatives because for example we use them in our daily computer usage in home or in work, so Surface will not be only a tablet but also a normal (High Ultra) computer with strong hardware relatively. As a web developer I just need to use my FTP client software plus the Sublime editor, maybe some other adobe products like InDesign for other purposes, so I can have control on my job wherever my Surface Pro will be with me. The Big advantage for Microsoft against their competitors that with Surface Pro they can use the very big library of software which have been produced originally for Computers. Other tablet could be useful for fan, chatting, bla bla bla, but not really for business & production environment. This argument is based on the ability to install normal software on the Surface Pro which I think it is possible. Good job Microsoft.

Latest Stories

This copy is for your personal, non-commercial use only. You can order presentation-ready copies for distribution to your colleagues, clients or customers at https://www.parsintl.com/phonearena or use the Reprints & Permissions tool that appears at the bottom of each web page. Visit https://www.parsintl.com/ for samples and additional information.