My Review of the Microsoft Surface – 24 hours later

So it’s 24 hours later and I wanted to give you my impressions of the Microsoft Surface RT.

First of all here’s what I bought:

The 32 GB Windows RT Surface Tablet ($499) and and optional Black Type Cover ($129).

To recap, Microsoft has two versions of their new Microsoft Surface Tablet.

  • Surface RT (available now – what I got)
  • Surface Windows 8 Pro (available early next year)

The difference (from Microsoft)

Windows RT is a new version of Microsoft Windows that’s built to run on ARM-based tablets and PCs. It works exclusively with apps available in the Windows Store.

Windows 8 Pro runs current Windows 7 desktop applications. It can also use the programs and apps available in the Windows Store.

These tablets have 2 covers that are available for them and depending on what unit you buy, you may or may not get a type cover included.

The two covers:

  • A Touch Cover
  • A Type Cover

The Touch cover which is very thin and light and comes in several colors. That cover feels like you’re typing on a flat surface (no pun).

The Type Cover is black and is a compact, flattish traditional keyboard cover. That’s the one I picked up. I wasn’t feeling adventurous.

So let’s get to it.

I’m not a big fan of the Microsoft bags. I simply don’t think they are upscale enough for someone who just payed $690.

It’s a minor thing but it all adds up. I would rather have a bag that costs $5 to make as long as it makes me feel like I got something wonderful.

Microsoft shopping bag

Microsoft shopping bag

The packaging was cool but I thought that the tape that is used to keep the outer packaging together for both the keyboard and Surface was a little cheap looking.

Tape on the packaging

Tape on the packaging

Opening the Surface is not as dramatic as opening an Apple product. I still think that Apple have the whole “this is going to be a special experience” thing down.

Once you have the package open though, it’s REALLY beautiful.

It’s running Windows RT and has the standard Windows 8 setup with the “instructional” video and setup we have all come to know and love (slight sarcasm).

It takes you through Wi-fi install and the setup is REALLY quick and easy once you have a Microsoft account.

Once you’re in, it has the same desktop background and apps your roaming cloud profile carries with you. THAT was cool.

In fact, the longest part of the setup was the OS bring my applications in from “the cloud”.

Once you’re in, it feels incredibly light and breezy and it’s not slow at all.

The Type cover is incredible and they HAVE perfected the difference between being able to hang on to the tablet with a magnet and being able to apply a little more force to disconnect the two.

I imagine that it was a very tricky thing to perfect but they actually have. The keyboard is PERFECT. Everything I hoped it would be.

Easy to type and I can see myself typing many a blog post into that thing.

The Office applications run great and the Windows Store loads fast. I love the way the device changes from landscape to portrait. It’s done very beautifully – almost the way you would expect a futuristic device to make the switch.

Surface in Portrait mode

Surface in Portrait mode

The one thing I have noticed though is that the Vapor Mag definitely attracts finger oils and I could see my fingerprints all over the front and back after one day. However I only saw them when I took it outside to go try and take some photos of it.

By the way, hats off to The Verge for their photos. That stuff is WAY harder than it looks. 🙂

The tablet and keyboard do come together with a little click and the way that it’s done is so simple, you wonder why no one ever thought about that before.

It also will easily be the go to device for working on a plane. The right shape and size for an airline forward tray.

Once again, the execution of these little flourishes is VERY well done.

The screen quality is gorgeous. I like the quality of the movies and the desktop.

It’s not Apple clear (by the dpi stats) but if I told you I could notice after going back to an iPad 3, I’d be lying.

It has a really solid feel to it but it’s not too heavy at all. Once you add the Type Cover, it still feels JUST RIGHT.

Let me be very clear, I gave the Microsoft Store guy (Levi) a lot of crap and he bet that I would end up keeping it. You were right Levi!

So I have Office 2013 RT on here and once I find a photo editing application I can use, it’s a wrap. I only use my laptop for email, surfing, blogging and editing photos so as soon as I can do all that, once again it’s a wrap.

If you need to run a lot of desktop programs then wait for the Windows 8 Pro Surface coming out early next year.

The Microsoft Surface vs The iPad

Here’s the problem. I think that because of the volume of apps and the head start that Apple have, for the same price, it’s hard to justify a Surface RT or Surface Pro (which will be more expensive).

If this was priced at $399, it would have been a slam dunk, $499 is just a little high.

Here’s where I think this will KILL Apple. Who the hell needs a MacBook Pro? This thing can do all the things I need from a Laptop and is a part time tablet as well.

The sales pitch is, why have a laptop and a tablet? Have a Tabtop (I think that phrase may have come from Mary Jo Foley).

I am getting rid of my 2012 MacBook Pro because of this thing because that price point has immediately stopped making sense. As soon as people handle these (and the Windows 8 Pro version), the advantages will immediately be clear.

It also has another MAJOR advantage over iPads. The fact that one family can SHARE one and have different profiles on the same device.

It’s hard to share an iPad with someone else. Do you want them reading your stuff, getting access to your mail or Kindle reading list?

Well with this, you login and logout. They login and logout. Never do the two ever meet.

Beautiful.

In addition, this is the future of the enterprise.

In my post 24 hours in a Microsoft world, I wrote about a world where you could carry your tablet to work, dock it, work, take it to a meeting, work, take it home, play etc

This is the first iteration of that device and Microsoft is off to a GREAT start.

I can see companies using these and scrapping desktops. Just monitors and a docking station.

Imagine saving the cost of 50,000 desktops – the business case for Windows 8 starts to make itself. (Sorry desktop OEM’s)

The downside for OEM’s is, they really have to step their game up.

Microsoft came to play with this one. It’s competition for desktops, laptops, ultrabooks and tablets all in one.

Now that Microsoft have knocked tablets out of the park, they HAVE to step up and build a phone and they will. We all know there are no OEM’s who can put together a unit as sexy as they can now.

Imagine that – I’m saying Microsoft make sexy hardware! A first for this blog.

Surface from the back

Surface from the back

I also see students using this tablet as well. This would be perfect for students as long as that darn Microsoft Store gets some MAJOR apps developed ASAP. I’m still looking for a good image editor and there are very few in there.

Anyway, that’s my take after 24 hours.

Now are there more down sides to it that I haven’t mentioned? Probably but I just haven’t mentioned them because I haven’t found them.

So far it does what I expect and I am officially a Surface fanboy. As most of you know, I went in a very cynical skeptic and have come out a fan.

The Surface is available at the Microsoft Store online, Microsoft Stores in your area or select pop up stores.

Go try one, I bet you’ll be hooked too.

Here are a bunch of images of the Surface.

I tried to take em from every angle so you get a good feel for the device.

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Enjoy!

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