Did Microsoft Do The Impossible: Surface RT Review

When Microsoft unveiled Surface, I was excited again. First time in over a decade of time, I was again expecting something really great from Microsoft. The tablet / laptop hybrid — which was announced at a surprise event in Los Angeles back in June — is not just a unique product in the market, it's also the first of its kind for Microsoft. The company's foray into designing and building its own hardware is not exactly unheard of, but competing directly with partners on PCs certainly is. Adding fuel to an already-crackling fire, Microsoft is making two distinct versions of the Surface available: the $499 (and up) Surface with Windows RT, which runs a scaled back version of Windows for ARM chipsets, and the yet-to-be-released Surface with Windows 8 Pro, a full-on, Intel-based Windows machine with all the power you'd expect from a modern laptop. Its snap-on keyboard made all laptops look immediately old fashioned. And it promised The Future of Computers.

Surface is a direct answer from Microsoft to Apple's iPad. iPad gained a huge market share and looked inevitable when Android Tablets came to break its fort. But nevermind looks like Surface will also fail at this point. Still Microsoft fanboys will buy the product blindlessly but for a average consumer owning a Surface RT tablet would have too many compromises. 

When Microsoft said it was made without compromises, they didn't really mean that. 

I love how Mat Honan pokes fun at Surface RT tablet: 
Nobody asked me about my Surface. I tried flashing it all over the place. But despite my best efforts, no one seemed curious.
At Victrola Coffee Roasters in Seattle, I sat in the front window, with a hot pink Touch Cover attached, intentionally conspicuous. Nobody mentioned it. At the airport, I broke it out at the large open-air counter of a crowded bar. I sat in a seat at the gate, facing the walkway, pounding away at its keys on my lap. On a Virgin America flight, crowded with techies, I sat up front and kept it on my tray table the entire time, swiping from app to app. On San Francisco’s Muni transit system, I tentatively typed in my seat, afraid it may be snatched on the crowded train. But no one said a word.
The only person to comment on it was a TSA agent at the Seattle airport, who told me I didn’t need to take my iPad out of my bag.
The last line shows how we see tech today. Every Consumer thinks every big screen device is an iPad. That's what has restricted growth of other tablets in the market. Person A walks into a store asks for an iPad and Game over for other tabs. Every consumer (most of) thinks tablets are iPads. 
But here is the Microsoft's turn. With over 1 Billion dollars of budget Microsoft wants to teach every household, there exists an iPad competitor (and not every tab is iPad). 

Now about the software, Windows RT which ships with Surface RT is not so capable as Windows 8. There is a big difference between the both. 8 can run legacy apps which RT cannot and therefore Surface RT have a poor selection of Apps. All the collection of apps you made for all those years will be unavailable when you get Surface RT. And when I say Poor selection of apps in Microsoft store, I really mean that. It lacks even the big names which every single user uses in basic daily work. And you can't even use Virtualbox kind software to run other Windows version because it doesn't exist in Windows store. All you can do is get a Surface Pro Tablet which ships with Windows 8 on board and can run all the Apps. But bad news is, it still is under some testings and will not be available until next year. 

Hardware is pretty. Even though Microsoft is a software company I really love how they nailed Surface's hardware. The Vapor Mag looks good and feel the same in hand, exceptional. The kickstand is fairly good and can make Surface transform into Laptop with ease. If I were asked which tablet has a better hardware I would pick iPad. Instantly. Because whatever Microsoft does they cannot reach the fit and finish of Apple products, at least not now. I am not being offensive on Vapor Mag or how it is made, sure it is made with extra precision but the real problems are mentioned below.

Even though Kickstand is a fair good concept but you'll get annoyed with it in time. Imagine every time you want to readjust the screen you have to take your hand at back of surface and one on the front. Plus imagine if you are in a class or anywhere where you just have a chair and no table. Others will put their laptops on lap and you'll ogle at others with a big question on your face, how to use your surface as laptop. Sure you can with some careful measures and precautions make it rest carefully on your lap but with a bit of pressure here and there it can put your legs on bleeding (Kickstand puts scratches on wooden board so you can imagine what will happen on you legs). Furthermore,  if you are charging your surface and using some more ports like USB etc. how  impractical it would seem when you look at screen and just at right and left side there are some blinking lights, cables etc. It can distract you from work and overtime it can annoy you. 

Microsoft wants you to buy a half baked product at full price

These are some of the compromises which Microsoft want you to do, with their no-compromise tablet. How ironical it is.

Want to use Surface RT as a laptop? Sorry, the Touch Cover is a letdown. It's a phenomenal engineering effort, and the most terrifically-integrated mobile keyboard ever. It doesn't compare to the junky Bluetooth options you can slap against your iPad. Microsoft's keyboard cover is perfectly integrated with the device, and touch typing on it is actually possible. You can't say the same for the iPad's glass.

But it only approximates a real keyboard—the buttons are pressure activated, barely buttons at all, and spaced in such a way that typos are inevitable and constant. Unlike the first time you pinched an iPhone or gazed at E-ink, there's zero that's instantly intuitive about the Touch Cover. And in order for this to be a brave new computer, Touch Cover had to be instantly intuitive, an immediately responsive thing to touch and work with. But rather than feeling like you've instantly grown an extra brain lobe just by using it, Surface's mega-hyped keyboard cover feels like it requires one. You'll feel clumsy. You'll write slowly. I tried writing this review on the Surface, but I would've missed my deadline by a week. You'll get better—it will probably take weeks to hit a stride—but this thing was supposed to be a breakthrough. A perfect interface. Instead, it's just a half-broken death march up the learning curve. The trackpad, sludge-like and jerky, is even worse—particularly galling compared to the super-smooth touchscreen—and unlike the keyboard, will never get better with practice.

Gizmodo Says:
In the end though, this is nothing more than Microsoft's tablet. And a buggy, at times broken one, at that, whose "ecosystem" feels more like a tundra. There's no Twitter or Facebook app, and the most popular 3rd party client breaks often. The Kindle app is completely unusable. There's no image editing software. A People app is supposed to give you all the social media access you'd ever need, but It's impossible to write on someone's Facebook wall through the People app, Surface's social hub; the only workaround is to load Internet Explorer. Blech. Something as simple as loading a video requires a jumbled process of USB importing, dipping in and out of the stripped-down desktop mode, opening a Video app, importing, going back into the Video app, and then playing. What.  

The app selection, overall, is worse than the already pathetic Windows Phone app fare, looking like the software equivalent to a barren Soviet grocery store. The difference is that Windows Phone, used in quick, informative bursts, skates by on the strength of its excellent with integrated features. At the moment, there's just not that much to do with Microsoft's √ľber-tablet. Surface is weak because Windows RT is weak; a tepid tablet OS pretending to be a computer's.

You can do work, yes. But productivity is limited to a "preview" (beta) version of Microsoft Office. It also hurts that Office requires plunging into Windows RT's Desktop mode, where users of actual Windows 8 are able to install a decade's worth of legacy software. Normally, this would compensate. But RT users can't install any of this older software. None of it. Desktop mode is entirely worthless in RT, a cruel tease of non-functionality. It'll only remind you of how much you can't do with your Surface, and is going to confuse the living hell out of most people who buy one—especially when Surface Pro, built on x86 architecture and perfectly compatible with all of those legacy programs, steps in a few months from now.

I pity Microsoft's retail staff.

Yup Microsoft Did The Impossible: A software company makes an appealing hardware. But Irony lies in the fact that its Software is a piece of Crap

I really wanted to love Surface as of it is the only true contender of iPad in the market right now. But Windows RT ruined everything. Every single hope is shattered. If it was to be shipped even with stock Android it would sell like a hot product but truth is, it comes with a crappy Windows RT which isn't a step forward but a one backwards. Surface wanted to give best of both worlds but instead it is an oversized tablet which is super bulky and can't be used as a laptop. There may be a time in the future when all the bugs have been fixed, the third-party app support has arrived, and some very smart engineers in Redmond have ironed out the physical kinks in this type of product which prevent it from being all that it can be. But that time isn't right now — and unfortunately for Microsoft, the clock is ticking.

Should you buy : NO

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