On the day that Apple unveiled it’s iPad Mini, the tech sites released their mixed reviews of what I consider one of the more exciting tech stories of the year: The Microsoft Surface.
Here are the highlights and wrap-ups of the big 3 reviewers:
The Microsoft Surface with Windows RT’s $499 starting MSRP means those thinking about making the investment here will be carefully cross-shopping against same-priced offerings from Apple, ASUS and others. Where does this one rate? Very well — but very differently. While those devices are primarily targeted at content-hungry consumers, the Surface is a slate upon which you can get some serious work done, and do so comfortably. You can’t always say that of the competition.
It’s in the other half of the equation, that of the content consumption and entertainment, where the Surface is currently lacking. It needs a bigger pile of apps and games to make up for that and, while we’re sure they’re coming, we don’t know when. If those apps arrive soon, then early adopters will feel vindicated. If, however, the Windows RT market is slow to mature, not truly getting hot for another six months or so, holding off will prove to have been the smarter option.
So, 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.
- Ambitious new software
- Solidly made, handsome hardware
- Full Office suite with no compromise
- Excellent battery life
- Performance is hit or miss
- Weak ecosystem
- Buggy software
- Doesn’t live up to hybrid promise
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.
That could change. Maybe there will be a new Touch Cover that retains the original’s terrific physical qualities while actually allowing good typing. Maybe the quasi-vaporware Surface Pro, which eschews Windows RT in favor of the real-deal Win 8, will make all the difference, opening itself up to the open seas of PC software (for several hundred dollars more). Maybe the app store will look different in a month, or a year, and have anything to offer. Maybe. But remember that Windows Phone—which has swelled from mere hundreds, to tens of thousands, to over a hundred thousand app offerings over the past two years—is still a wasteland compared to iOS and Android. Poor precedent. Maybe Windows RT will be different. Maybe.
But those maybes aren’t worth putting money on. As much as it looked (and even felt) like it for a bit, the future isn’t here quite yet.
My 2 cents so far:
Meh. To be honest this is pretty disappointing. I always tend to pull for the underdog (minus Blackberry) when it comes to technology. I loved the Palm Pre, and still think Androids are superior to iPhones, but I just don’t see this turning out well for Microsoft. Until I can actually get my hands on one of these, I’ll just have to go by what the other sites say, but not holding out hope.