2 Weeks with the Microsoft Surface RT

Hey all,

So in my previous blog I mentioned that I had bought a Surface RT and the only reason why I bought it was because I managed to get it for 350$ new sealed in the box.

I never planned to buy the RT because I was waiting for the Pro version to be released, also, I need the backwards x86/x64 functionality.

So anyway fast forward 2 weeks….

There is a lot of mixed feelings about the Surface RT out there on the inter-webs. All sorts of complaints about number of apps, low screen resolution, performance, oh and BTW there is also just a lot of hate out there in general about Windows 8 IMO.

With that being said….here are my thoughts after 2 weeks.

surf

First off I’ll just start by saying, I like it.

The thing is very well built, no doubt about it, it’s a unique design made out of magnesium and feels nice and solid in your hands while keeping a light weight (1.5 lbs)  and truly feels like a premium device. The integrated kick stand is awesome BTW, my only beef with the kick stand is you can only set it in one position, but I don’t find that much of a big deal because it sits at a perfect viewing angle on top of a desk. Holding it in your hands is mostly O.K, it can get a little awkward at times because of its 10 inch wide form factor. Really, for anyone to have beef against it’s build must just hate MS.

Windows RT, I thought I would have some beef with it, but I don’t really have any to be honest. Yes, the eco-system (number of apps and available media) is not there yet, I agree, this should come in time. What’s awesome about  Windows RT is that it comes with Office 2013 Home and Student (Word, Excel, OneNote, Power Point) pre-installed and ready to go out of the box, however you will have to use office in desktop mode.

Internet Explorer is very fast and is a good overall browser in RT, it supports flash (depending on the site) and is very simple to use. People nowadays live in web browsers so this is obviously very important, I haven’t had an issue using IE so far, it has handled every website I visit regularly with ease and speed.

Screen resolution is great, Microsoft has implemented a technology called “Clear Type” and even though the RT “only” sports a 1366×768 display, the O.S, icons, text, images and video look great, crisp and sharp, colors are rendered well and really stand out. I absolutely have no problem with the screen resolution/quality, and I have no clue why this is an issue for some reviewers.

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Clear Type

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Display

 

My most loved feature about Windows RT/8 is the syncing functionality across my different Microsoft/Windows 8 devices (Laptop , PC and XBOX360) all this being controlled by my hotmail (Microsoft) account. With Windows 8/RT you don’t need to login to the system using a local account, rather, you could use your a Microsoft account (Hotmail, Live, etc…). The advantage here is that you can sync certain settings across different devices, I love this functionality. If I make a change on one device, it will automatically make that change on my other devices, and of course, if need be you can turn this off.

Performance? I haven’t come across any major issues, there is a slight slow down sometimes when playing games (JetPack Joyride) but nothing that really takes away from the experience. The Surface RT runs on the ARM processor, a Quad Core NVIDIA Tegra 3 to be exact. ARM isn’t really known for performance, rather it’s mostly known for amazing battery life, which the Surface does have (around 8 hours of use).

I received the Surface RT when I was with some friends, they were awed by it, they loved the live tiles and its build. When I showed them the snap feature, it blew their minds ( two apps on the screen at the same time). Windows RT is fun to use, and it may take some time to get used to the touch gestures (swiping from the sides, top and bottom of the screen) but once you get the hang of it it’s awesome.

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Snap Feature – Messaging and CTV news app.

I’ve been enjoying the Surface RT a lot, so much that I have almost completely forgot about my Google Nexus 7 (which I also love). Windows RT is a great O.S however right now it still leaves some to be desired, mostly because it’s lack of a great app eco-system.

If I were to rate it right now: (based on the way The Verge rates devices)

Design: 9  – Not much to say here, it’s solid and obviously not a rip off of anything else out there.

Display: 8 – I don’t see any issues, reading text is great, videos/pictures look good, color is nice.

Camera: *6 I don’t care much for camera’s and I haven’t used it much. I had a Skype session with my cousin and he said it was decent. I’m going to give it a 6 because that’s what The Verge gave it.

Speakers: 7 – They are OKAY, they don’t get too loud, decent sound, nothing to go crazy over.

Performace: 8 – No major issues, apparently performance was an issue before the first firmware update, decent performance, fast enough.

Software: 8 – Office saves the day here, without office, desktop mode would be completely useless, and lack of ecosystem hurts.

Battery Life: 9 – 8 hours? good enough for me!

Ecosystem: 6 – Has some of the big name apps, but nowhere near iOS and Android

Overall: 7.6 /10

Thanks…

Vinny

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4 responses to “2 Weeks with the Microsoft Surface RT

  1. I don’t entirely agree with your ratings, I think you were a little too nice 🙂 Lets be honest, the ecosystem/software are more like a 3, since most of the popular apps from iOS are absent. And honestly, I am more of a camera guy, and I think the camera is pretty horrid :/ I would have given the camera a 4 (front and back).

    • Hi Jason,

      I think the rating I gave for ecosystem/software is pretty fair, I also do mention that there is a lack there of. I don’t agree with 3, I think 3 would be more like the BlackBerry Playbook’s eco system. Office alone is huge and if I’m not mistaken Office is the most asked for app for iOS. As for the camera I will have to go with your expertise here, but for us regular camera using people I think it’s just fine.

      Thanks for commenting.

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