Surface RT Reviewed: Takeaways

After reading quite a few reviews on the Surface RT, here are some takeaways:

1. Build quality and finish are really good.

2. Only Josh complained about the tablet feeling "clunky" due to its dimensions. Personal preference?

3. It is possible to break the kickstand, but you have to really try to break it. The reviewer at Wired said he had to put almost all his weight on top of the tablet to break it. For reference:

Surfacebeak_medium

via www.wired.com

4. The Touch Cover works better than the touchscreen keyboard, but not quite as precisely as a good ol' physical keyboard. The Type Cover is pretty much as good as any physical keyboard.

5. The software is not fully cooked yet. This is pretty much a consensus among reviewers.

  • The built-in apps are buggy: Crashes, inconsistent performance.
  • The operating system experiences slowdowns, still some glitches.

6. Considering the fact that it is a new platform and a version 1.0 product, this one is obvious and perhaps even irrelevant, but the reviewers have to consider the competition. There are too few apps in the Windows Store, and those that exist are not very high quality.

7. Like on every tablet and laptop ever, the camera is barely adequate, on both sides.

8. The screen is good, but falls short of the best-in-class iPad Retina Display.

9. The choice of Tegra 3 proves a hindrance with regards to performance, let alone the fact that it's deficient when compared to the current competition.

10. Office RT isn't a dumbed-down version of Office. It's quite full-featured and you can be very productive with it, provided you don't use Macros or other power-user features.


Conclusion:

This is a version 1.0 product. It has many redeeming qualities but still has quite a few flaws. The good news is that most of these flaws are software-related and can be corrected throughout the course of the release cycle. Sinofsky has already promised there will be many frequent updates to the platform, as opposed to MS's approach to earlier versions of Windows.

With regards to apps and the condition of the Store, you'd have to be extremely pessimistic to deny that it has nowhere to go but up, and the pervasive nature of Windows will incentivize developers to jump in and create apps for it.

Now, that is just one side of the equation with regards to the "app problem". There is no guarantee that we will get apps with the quality that we're used to seeing in iOS. At this point it's really early, but if the current contents of the Windows Store are any indication to go by, this might be one of Windows RT/8's biggest hurdles to overcome.

In all, it seems that to buy and own a Surface RT at this point is to be an early adopter. As such, you'll have to put up with the platform's growing pains, and it's all just a matter of how much you're willing to endure.