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Quick Surface RT review roundup

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Hey guys,

Thought I'd post a quick roundup of the reviews that came out tonight of the Surface RT (ordered from what I perceived to be the least to most favorable). Disclaimer: I'm one of you MS fans, and plan on picking up a Surface Friday morning, so I promise when I highlight some negative things below, it's not the product of some terrible bias....

The Verge

  • Takeaway: "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." Very mixed review, 7/10.
  • Pros: the Verge liked the build quality, the ability to use Office, the performance of the Touch Cover, and the Windows RT OS generally.
  • Cons: They didn't like the form factor, finding the size/aspect ratio somewhat awkward, and the hinge/touch-cover combination difficult to use on your lap. They found some performance slowdowns, even in native apps, most notably when playing in-browser video.

Ars Technica

  • Takeaway: The Surface is most competitive when it includes a Touch Cover, but at the $600 price, the value proposition becomes "trickier." The biggest determining factor is the app selection - "as the store grows, so too will the value of Windows RT systems, and so too will the value of Surface."
  • Pros: Loved the build quality, performance was generally good, terrific WiFi reliability/connectivity, Touch Cover works, bright and easily-readable display
  • Cons: Tablet stuttered a little when switching back and forth between video and non-video, touchpad wasn't particularly usable, low-res screen
Engadget
  • Takeaway: "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."
  • Pros: Love the build quality/design, very nice display despite the resolution, Touch covers are surprisingly good, very good battery life, speedy webpage rendering,
  • Cons: Some slowdown in app switching, video playback support is limited in terms of formats until VLC is ported over, page-turning in Kindle app can be slow, lots of major apps missing (for now)
AnandTech
  • Takeaway: "[O]verall the device is easily in recommendable territory. The biggest issue I have with recommending Surface is that you know the next iteration of the device is likely going to be appreciably better, with faster/more efficient hardware and perhaps even a better chassis... If you've wanted a tablet that could really bridge the content consumption and productivity device, Surface is it."
  • Pros: Great build quality, transitions between modes of using it feel seamless, Touch/Type covers are generally very good, flexibility in ports/storage options, great UI responsiveness
  • Cons: Type Cover occasionally dropped keystrokes, charge port is annoying, app launching is slow, Atom tablet used for comparison was noticeably quicker.
ZD Net
  • Takeaway: "For a first-generation product, the Surface with Windows RT is astonishingly polished. It’s not a replacement for a full-strength PC, but as a companion device that offers light weight, excellent entertainment options, and the ability to use full-featured Office apps, it’s irresistible... Enthusiastically recommended."
  • Pros: Very good battery life and fast charging, very bright and attractive display, able to use kickstand/touchpad combo in the lap, video/audio applications worked stutter-free
  • Cons: Not many... makes me a little suspicious of this review...
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