My Review of the Microsoft Surface – 24 hours later

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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.

Please retweet and share on FaceBook if you find this article valuable!

Enjoy!

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  • Sean Brown

    Great commentary, thanks. Based on performance tests and videos I’ve seen the Tegra chip is probably too underpowered to allow for a good docking experience/enterprise desktop replacement, though. Maybe Generation 2 or 3?

    • http://www.windows8update.com/ Onuora Amobi

      Oh I don’t know about that. Docked with a power supply I don’t see why not.

  • Avns

    why is it not in Denmark !!! ): been in love with it from the beginnig and then… Denied

    • http://www.windows8update.com/ Onuora Amobi

      Order online?

  • Charles

    Thanks for taking tie to share … Great to hear that Microsoft got this one Right!

    Charles

    • http://www.windows8update.com/ Onuora Amobi

      It sure seems so…

  • Charles

    Thanks for the review … Does Excel in Office RT do “macros”?

    Charles

    • voleheart

      sadly no

    • http://www.windows8update.com/ Onuora Amobi

      I haven’t checked…

  • http://twitter.com/biglovedaddy phillip bailey

    I’ll wait for the price to be cut.

    • http://www.windows8update.com/ Onuora Amobi

      You might be waiting a while. I think they’re doing good numbers…

  • 123321

    nice one ;)
    i really like the surface as well… but i need to be able to run CAD-Applications on my laptop… so i’ll wait for the next surface with more GB of RAM … i hope microsoft will come with a new version of surface pro next year. more ram and better processor please. i need this for some programs… that would be THE perfect device… :)

    • http://www.windows8update.com/ Onuora Amobi

      Yeah as long as the price is right…

  • http://gplus.to/Tarkus Tarkus

    Love the review! Makes me even more optimistic to see a skeptic won over so much. Makes me really want one even more now. I’d rather have the Pro, but the RT would be pretty awesome too.

    • http://www.windows8update.com/ Onuora Amobi

      Yeah the pro will be more expensive BUT you’ll be able to run Photoshop on it so…

      • http://gplus.to/Tarkus Tarkus

        Guess it just depends on what you want to use it for. As a pure consumption device, the RT should be plenty good. Not sure I’d want to run Photoshop on a 10.6″ screen anyway, unless that was my only computer.

        • Mayanktaker

          hmmmmm

      • Mayanktaker

        Photoshop :O Then I will buy pro for sure … A very useful .. Can I replace this Pro with my laptop needs.. ? I don’t have a laptop yet and i was waiting for Surface ..Should I look for this one or go for a lappo ? :)

        • http://www.windows8update.com/ Onuora Amobi

          I think you should wait to see what the Surface Pro brings in the new year

  • philnolan3d

    Interesting. Last night I watched a video of Chris Pirillo (Locker Gnome) doing an unboxing and first impression. After setup was finished he was fairly pleased with how it ran and very pleased with the hardware. A couple of spots really failed though, he opened Cut the Rope and it was extremely sluggish and laggy. Also in the Desktop resizing windows was very sluggish too. I’m curious if others are experiencing this.

    • http://www.facebook.com/profile.php?id=776853135 Dan Benge

      Thats because Chris Pirillo didnt do a system update as soon as he turned it on. That improved overall performance, including Cut the Rope for me.

      • http://www.JVE.biz/ Rug Ratz

        This may be a stupid question, but RT for “runtime” (right?) allows upgrades to a certain extent? I thought it would be locked down per version like many PDA mobile OS versions and only the the later PRO would upgrade with Microsoft updates?

        • http://www.windows8update.com/ Onuora Amobi

          Not a stupid question.

          Yes it does.

    • http://www.windows8update.com/ Onuora Amobi

      I just installed and ran Cut The Rope. I have no idea what he’s talking about. Ran just flawless for me…

  • Ricardo Peralta

    Great review. I upgraded my ASUS ultrabook to Windows 8, and let me tell you, first impressions are incredibly positive. I was a downright skeptic from the start. As more and more info started to flow, though, I kept my expectations low, so as not to be disappointed.

    I think you hit all the major points here in this review, regarding Win. 8. Great stuff, dude. Keep it up.

    • http://www.windows8update.com/ Onuora Amobi

      Thank you sir.

  • Bolo

    Shocked for days… who are you and what did you do with the real Anoura?… I never thought I’d hear you praise MS this much.. anyway a good review

    • http://www.windows8update.com/ Onuora Amobi

      Hahahahha I know right??

  • http://www.facebook.com/profile.php?id=1178420447 Raynor Schiene

    Any idea how much surface pro would cost?? estimate!

    • http://www.windows8update.com/ Onuora Amobi

      My ballpark would be $699 to $1199 (Just my guess)

      • John

        Steve Ballmer said $300-$800.

        • http://www.windows8update.com/ Onuora Amobi

          I think he meant the Windows RT model – not the Windows 78 Pro model.

  • http://www.facebook.com/lewisvinod Vinod Lewis

    Very good. Looking forward for pro version and wanna be a proud owner of one.

    • http://www.windows8update.com/ Onuora Amobi

      You won’t be disappointed…

  • Fjn

    Sold my macbook pro yesterday. Surface seems awesome, will wait for the x86 version of surface with windows 8 pro for silverlight support.

    • http://www.windows8update.com/ Onuora Amobi

      Good call…

    • xinu

      So Windows RT does not support silverlight? I wonder if Microsoft will discontinue its support to push greater adoption of RT over Pro…

  • kane

    thanks for the review.

  • xinu

    @Ammalgam:disqus Hey I have this question I was wondering whether you could answer. I think the surface is a fantastic product, and Microsoft have done a great job. However, if I was a consumer I would be looking at the iPad and Surface side by side. The downside of the surface is that its not powered by the windows we know it, its an entirely new ecosystem with Microsoft almost starting from scratch (its true as native apps don’t run, and the Windows Store has still to establish itself), and the iPad on the other hand has a well established app store with thousands of apps. Both devices run apps full screen, and whilst you can multitask on the surface, I question this features usability beyond 1 or 2 apps such as twitter (which is great for techies but many might not care about). Microsofts touch cover is amazing, but you can get an Apple Wireless keyboard to work with the iPad (which costs $69.00 (less than the touch cover) and is one of the best keyboard on the market) which may be thicker, but is still thin enough to be portable but not as cool. At the current moment, the single biggest merit of the surface is that it runs Microsoft Office, and I see this as the primary reason why people will be buying this. The second “killer feature” would be that it syncs apps with the cloud better than the iPad, however I would imagine people carry their tablets with them and will not end up having to move between devices too much.

    I was wondering what your thought is on my concerns.

    • http://www.windows8update.com/ Onuora Amobi

      I think that it depends on what you want. If you just want a tablet to play and will NEVER want to do any Office work on it, the iPad may win simply because of the similar price.

      If you want to have a tablet that you can also use for work documents and typing out long documents and using Office. This wins hands down.

      I see this as more of a laptop replacement.

      I have an iPad and I love them both. I will now carry around my iPad and my Surface. They do different things.

      • xinu

        Yes but I think Microsoft Office is hardly a live without software. There are plenty of alternatives such as google docs which are sufficient even for technology professionals (unless your are very specialised, such as accountants are) and whilst leaving office at first might seem daunting, its not so bad. There are also rumours that Microsoft will release office on the iPad next year ( which I think could be very damaging to Microsoft ).
        As I said, Office is the killer application on the surface, otherwise I think the iPad is a good productivity device, and the surface does not offer much more. Im trying very hard to love the surface, but Im just not convinced its ready. I think that surface will become more compelling over time as the platform matures.

        • http://www.windows8update.com/ Onuora Amobi

          That might be true as well. If you want to wait, you can but for a first gen product I am VERY impressed.

          Yes Microsoft would be STUPID to release Microsoft Office on the iPad.

          • xinu

            I dont have a need for it right now, but I would be interested to read a long-term use review once you have used it for longer.

          • http://www.windows8update.com/ Onuora Amobi

            Good point. Well I am taking it to the BUILD conference. Hopefully I can use it to blog while I am there…

          • xinu

            great!

  • http://reflectionspn.wordpress.com/ Pratyush Nalam

    TL;DR Onuora, is it an iPad killer?

  • Daniel Gray

    Thanks for clearing up the mystery when I told you in another blog of yours that this RT was made for business and would not allow you to just install stuff on it like the regular windows pad after Jan 1st would. I know it was a bit difficult for you to understand why MS would do this, and believe me it was difficult for me as well considering that people are their biggest buyers and not businesses, but hey, neither one of us have any say in how they do this…lol. All we can do is suggest. Now one correction, according to marcus (my beta test supervisor/contact) MS is still panning on using a “home” version for the upcoming pad. Still with a lot of bells and whistles just not their top of the line version as Pro is. And I agree with you, as I said way back in September, this pad will seriously hurt the sales of all but the most die hard Apple fanboys as this is cheaper, and made just as good if not better, and does a whole lot more then the iPad does. And has a larger array of programs to boot.

    Now you know why I like my RT version I have had since Sept.

    • http://www.windows8update.com/ Onuora Amobi

      Yeah but to clarify, this is NOT made for business. This is more of a consumer device.

  • http://www.facebook.com/john.a.scaduto John Scaduto

    I also bought a Surface tablet. In my personal opinion, I think it I great. For work I do a lot of training and this is perfect for using Powerpoint. ! I already sold my iPad.
    Yes, the MAIL app could be better, but I don’t think it is hard to acclimate.
    Don’t forget there is also storage upgrade, there is a micro SD card slot underneath the kickstand. You can increase up to another 64MB I believe. I already ordered another microSD card. :)
    Other than the lack of apps, I think this is such a solid tablet. I love it!
    Just remember if you purchase a Surface, make sure the first thing you do is download the updates. THEN you can download all the apps, etc. and they will work correctly.
    Great review!

    • http://www.windows8update.com/ Onuora Amobi

      Thank you sir!!

  • http://twitter.com/chavsraul chavsraul

    so when will this website have a windows 8 app? how ironic for a windows 8 update website not having a windows 8 app.

  • Charles

    Thanks again for the review and pictures.

    I am looking really hard at the Asus VivoTab RT … near field communication and a free keyboard/battery dock from Asus.

    So, Surface RT vs Asus VivoTab RT — what do you think?

    Charles

    • http://www.windows8update.com/ Onuora Amobi

      To be fair, I haven’t used the ASUS but I played with it at Best Buy. Just by the look feel and touch, the Surface wins. It already feels like it’s mine.

  • RudyGr

    Not sure why you’re even trying to compare this to a Macbook Pro. Maybe with the upcoming Surface Pro that is one thing, but even that to me this is comparing apples to oranges. The screens , processors, memory, keyboards, etc., are vastly different that it is not even worth trying to compare them side-by-side. I understand the argument about cost and whether one can get by solely with just a tablet (e.g., Surface, iPad or Android tablet), but that is another story and depending on the individual may or may not work. But even going down that path, why pick the Macbook Pro — you could have easily used any PC laptop or other. Certainly, price is one thing, but why knock Apple if they want to use higher quality materials and invest more in design. I don’t see lots of folks bashing BMW or Mercedes because they do the same even though these vehicles function identical to a cheaper named model.

    • http://www.windows8update.com/ Onuora Amobi

      Well here’s why. I paid nearly 2000 for a MacBook Pro 2012. I now have something that can do the things it does (at least for my specific use case) and it costs $1400 less.

      I have to spread the gospel in case there are others out there who might want to save money too.

      • RudyGr

        This makes absolutely no sense at all. The cost difference is arbitrary. You could have picked a $1200 Macbook Pro or even a $2500 Alienware PC. The bottom line is you get what you pay for. If you want to try to compare something almost similar, go with the high-end Surface RT which is $699 and compare with the low-end Macbook Air for $999. Both have a similar size screen and same memory, but that’s about it. Of course, the MBA has a superior back-lit keyboard and full OS where you might want to look at multiple windows at the same time or edit photos in Adobe Photoshop or Lightroom.

        • http://www.windows8update.com/ Onuora Amobi

          We just disagree. My point is, for the casual user, a $2000 MacBook now has competition – Lots of it.

          Competition it didn’t really have months ago.

          • Ben Symington

            I Agree with you Onuora

  • GJN26

    Thanks for a very informative review. I’d like to see your thoughts on the 32 Gb vs the 64 Gb versions. I’d also like to know how well memory expansion with SD cards works out.

    • http://www.windows8update.com/ Onuora Amobi

      Yeah I might do that down the line. :-)

    • garak0410

      I put in a 64GB MicroSD card but I’ve not used it yet. I’ve heard from Windows Super Site that the “Metro” interface will not recognize media from the MicroSD without a mild workaround.

  • Nick

    Great review Onuora!

    I’ve been using Windows 8 since the CP and I couldn’t believe I could ever praise an OS more than I did with Win7 but that OS is just amazing… I am really glad MS got the Surface right as well! We already have an IPad 3 in the household so I guess I might get the Surface Pro once it is released.

    • http://www.windows8update.com/ Onuora Amobi

      I am hoping those are even better!!

  • http://www.facebook.com/jshofner1 Jack C Shofner

    How will 32GB hold all of the profiles for the different users logging into the Surface RT? I can see it eating up the memory very quickly!

    • http://www.windows8update.com/ Onuora Amobi

      Well if you stream music and stream videos, your hard drive should hold plenty?

  • Kichae

    I was very, very excited about the Surface RT until I realized, a few days ago, that it doesn’t have a dedicated stylus digitizer! Now I’m still excited in a this-is-good-for-the-industry way, but I had had visions of the Surface RT being my perfect satellite tablet.

    But I NEED the refined (that is, not-a-plastic-finger) stylus, the likes of which comes with the Galaxy Note 10.1 or which will ship with the Surface Pro.

    I was at Best Buy today, playing with a touch screen laptop. The thing blew my mind – I thought the concept sounded so gimmicky, but when I stood there and realized that touching the screen *WORKED*, and that it worked just felt so natural. It instantly fit into my three-screen plan – desktop, laptop, tablet became desktop, touchscreen laptop, tablet.

    That tablet was supposed to be a Windows RT device, but it doesn’t look like anyone’s shipping Windows RT tablets with a dedicated stylus. That’s likely going to add another $300+ (and 3 months) onto my wishlist.

    If I’m getting a Windows 8 tablet, it’s either going to be a 12″ convertible, or the Surface Pro, which is going to be something like a $300-$600 premium over the Surface RT :(

  • http://profiles.google.com/dearmond84 Andrian Hendrawan

    i tested a demo unit at microsoft indonesia and it was awesome. i know metro isn’t totally new ( remember windows media center?) although it won’t be sold in here. i would like to see samsung or asus transformer with windows RT, also i wonder if adobe creative suite will be available for ARM/RT tablets. if so it will be awesome, i don’t like macbook because the lack of compatibilities.

    • http://www.windows8update.com/ Onuora Amobi

      Probably not. I think Adobe software would kill battery very fast.

  • EB2

    I was surprised to also see that it has a 2 year hardware warranty…nice!

  • JPFJr

    I still have my white Macbook. After years of reloading windows and dealing with the blue screen of death, multiple iterations of expensive OS revisions and difficulty with integrating different software packages, I have become the ‘expert’ on windows that I did not want to be. When I bought the Macbook, I have never needed to bother with any of that, and I spent the time with my family or doing fun things on the computer. This Macbook is going on strong six years after I bought it. When i bought it, it turned on quickly and turned of quickly too. It did not come with bloatware. The only thing I did to rejuvenate it was to add memory. If I ever feel the need ill add an SSD. Right now there is no need. By not having to buy a boatload of computers and expensive software updates, I have saved a sizable chunk of money. THIS is the history Microsoft is up against. I think I will wait years until they prove themselves to me again. Im not closed to the possibility. Ill stick with my Xbox.

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