Microsoft Surface review roundup: Attractive tablet beset by problems with Windows RT, apps and the Touch Cover

October 24, 2012

Here’s a brief breakdown of what it being said so far about Microsoft’s first own-brand tablet:

“The Surface is instantly more charming than any Windows device that's come before it. It's nearly the perfect size, and the form is almost beyond reproach. If you want a tablet, use it like a tablet. If you want a laptop, use it like a laptop.” Gizmodo’s Sam Biddle likes the tablet’s design.

"The actual interface — the tiled environment — is a joy to use. It's really, really cool. I found myself legitimately delighted by some of its functionality, particularly its multitasking and side-by-side apps concept." The Verge editor-in-chief Joshua Topolsky is impressed with the tiled layout of Windows RT (the ARM-version of Windows 8) running on the Surface.

“Nearly every app I tried crashed completely at least once while I was testing the tablet, third and first-party”. But Topolsky soon finds problems with apps on the tablet.

 “The Touch Cover is a letdown. It's a phenomenal engineering effort, and the most terrifically-integrated mobile keyboard ever 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. You'll feel clumsy. You'll write slowly.” The Touch Cover doesn’t feel business friendly in the eyes of Biddle.

“I like it. This isn’t a cheap iPad knockoff.  It’s a unique tablet, made of a type of magnesium with the feeling of quality and care”. Walt Mossberg, like many other reviewers, thinks the Surface is an attractive device.

“There is a downside to these keyboards: They are almost useless on your lap. There is no hinge to keep the screen upright and the kickstand works poorly on your legs”. Mossberg once again echoes the sentiment of other reviewers that the Surface isn’t great for being used on your lap.

"While Windows 8 is the version of Microsoft’s new OS that has split personality disorder, the Windows RT-powered Surface truly is a tale of two tablets. On one hand, it is an engineering feat with a design that is novel and functional.

“It really is the perfect combination of a tablet and a notebook thanks to the Touch Cover and the Type Cover, and I felt right at home with the Surface the moment I turned it on. On the other hand, the software experience does not feel like home. It’s new, and for many it will be scary.” BGR executive editor Zach Epstein has misgivings about Windows RT on Microsoft’s new tablet.

 “In time, maybe the Windows RT apps will come. Maybe the snags will get fixed. Maybe people will solve the superimposed puzzle of Windows RT and Windows 8.

"Until then, the Surface is a brilliantly conceived machine whose hardware will take your breath away — but whose software will take away your patience.” David Pogue of The New York Times says a lack of Windows RT apps is the Surface’s undoing.


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