Wednesday, October 24, 2012

Early Microsoft Surface With Windows RT Reviews

The new Microsoft Surface isn't due for a full public release until October 26, but of course, several of our favorite tech blogs like The Verge, Engadget, AnandTech and Laptop Mag have already had their chance to get hands on some of the new Surface tablets for review purposes. Keep in mind these are early reviews and might show a bit more bias that what you'll see from the general public or those that have to plop down their hard earned cash, But they will give you a good idea of what that $499 for the 32GB, $599 for the 32GB with touch cover, or $699 for the 64GB with touch cover, will get you.

We've coupled a few excerpts from each review along with the final thoughts. As you can see most reviewers thought the tablet was a good start for Microsoft but still lacked some of the polishing touches needed to make it a market leader.

Engadget: Microsoft Surface with Windows RT review

When combined with either of the keyboards that Microsoft offers at launch, this becomes a surprisingly capable laptop replacement. Or surrogate, at least.....

If gaming and music and movies and reading are what you're looking to enjoy, then we might advise sitting this one out for a few months just to make sure that all your bases will indeed be covered. If, however, you're looking for an impeccably engineered tablet upon which you can do some serious work, a device that doesn't look, feel or act like a toy, then you should get yourself a Surface with Windows RT.

Ars Technica: Microsoft’s first stab at a tablet: Surface reviewed

Surface is very well built and extremely well designed. It’s easily among the best built products I’ve had the opportunity to handle, and definitely puts a lot of earlier attempts from far more experienced companies to shame. I wouldn’t say that it looks better or worse than the iPad, it’s simply different. I talked about perspectives earlier, Microsoft’s perspective on tablets is a bit more utilitarian than Apple’s and Surface’s design reflects that reality.....

As a device, Surface is incredibly well executed. It makes sense that Microsoft’s OEM partners are feeling the pressure as there’s very little that I would change about Surface from a design perspective. The chassis is well built and the integrated kickstand is seriously one of the most useful features to ever meet a tablet. The optional Touch and Type Covers complete the package. While a full sized notebook is going to deliver a better typing experience, when paired with its Touch/Type covers Surface results in a more productive platform than any other tablet.

Laptop Mag: Microsoft Surface with Windows RT Review

Though it can't run desktop or "legacy" apps, Windows RT does have a desktop environment that looks just like the desktop mode in Windows 8, right down to its color scheme and default wallpaper. The preloaded copy of Microsoft Office 2013 (Word, Excel, PowerPoint and One Note) runs in desktop mode only. If you want to copy or manage files and folders, you'll need to use Explorer on the desktop. There's also a desktop version of Internet Explorer 10 that runs in a window, even though there's also a full-screen Modern UI version of the same browser.....

The Surface with Windows RT proves that Microsoft can beat its own partners on hardware. Between the build quality, kickstand, and truly innovative Touch Cover, this is a tablet whose design and fresh interface will turn heads away from the iPad. But for how long? For a flagship product with a premium price, Microsoft compromises on too many things by including poor cameras, weak speakers, slow internal memory and a screen that, while better than most, isn't as good as the iPad's Retina display.

Gizmodo: Microsoft Surface RT Review: This Is Technological Heartbreak

We hadn't looked forward to something this much in a long, long time. Now it's here. And it's been just as long a time since a gadget has been so disappointing. Surface is good, but Surface RT sure isn't the future. Not yet....

Should you buy it? No. The Surface, with an obligatory Touch Cover, is $600. That's a lot of money. Especially given that it's no laptop replacement, no matter how it looks or what Microsoft says. It's a tablet-plus, priced right alongside the iPad and in most ways inferior....As much as it looked (and even felt) like it for a bit, the future isn't here quite yet.

PC Mag: Microsoft Surface with Windows RT
So should you buy a Microsoft Surface instead of an iPad or Android tablet? If you use Microsoft Office for work or school, then it's a no-brainer: Get a Microsoft Surface (or one of the other upcoming Windows RT tablets). Even though Pages and QuickOffice are pretty good programs, you really can't beat a real copy of Office when your work is on the line. If you use Office programs constantly, the Surface is the tablet and laptop replacement your inner road warrior has been searching for. Discounting Office, the Windows Store's limited selection holds us back from giving the Surface an unequivocal recommendation, since the iTunes Store and the various Android stores have significantly more vast collections of apps. There's no doubt that the most popular apps will be ported over to Windows 8 and Windows RT, but when that will happen is still up in the air. If there's an app you can't possibly live without, then you should check if it's on the Windows Store before plunking down your money for the Surface. It's because of the limited selection in the Windows Store that we can't give the Microsoft Surface the tablet Editor's Choice over the Apple iPad or the Samsung Galaxy Note 10.1. But we see the potential. If you're a tech pioneer or someone who appreciates well executed design, then you probably have already put the Microsoft Surface on order. In that case, enjoy.

If these reviews sway you one way or the other we'd like to hear it in the comments below. I know I'm personally waiting to see some of the new Windows 8 Pro tablets and see if we can get them at as good a deal as we see with some of the RTs. If you are interested in either you can preorder the Surface to your specifications here. The tablet goes on sale October 26.

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