Why I Chose the Microsoft Surface RT Over the iPad

I had a lot of excitement towards the Surface coming up to the launch, but I was a little turned off to it due to the poor reviews it was receiving. Josh's especially surprised me, and I did disagree with his approach. However, there was no denying the device had some software issues.

Anyway, I started digging deeper into the iPad and looking at the cool accessories. I was especially interested in the third generation refurbished model. I came close to sealing the deal... I just couldn't find a real reason that it was totally better than the Surface for what I needed it to do. My intent was to have a device that functioned well for consumption, had a great cloud ecosystem, and (most importantly) could be used for note-taking at school (and the ability to use Remote Desktop natively).

The iPad just couldn't meet all of those standards as well as the Surface did. I knew the limitations Windows RT had, but they didn't bother me. [In case anybody's wondering, I didn't consider an Android tablet much, even the Nexus 10, simply because of my experience with it. Android just doesn't cut it in turns of quality or ecosystem. Nevertheless, that's totally subjective.]

So, I sit here typing on my Surface. My concerns with the software glitches were, for the most part, alleviated due to the update released on Tuesday. I'd read there were definite speed improvements, and things were looking a lot better already. Thankfully, I was right. There are minor hang-ups every once in a while, but the thing runs smoothly, and it does exactly what I need it do.

Funny thing is, I don't have one of the cover/keyboards yet. I've been using it as a tablet completely, then plugging my mouse and keyboard into it. That alone is just something that iPad is completely unable to do and do efficiently (specifically mouse functionality). I'd weighed the prices for accessories like the Apple keyboard and a case, and it just didn't seem worth it. Office is awesome. My printer works flawlessly with it. (Xbox Music is really nifty, too.)

I know the apps aren't there. It's growing pretty rapidly, and the ones I need are present, anyway. Even so, the fact that this thing works with peripherals so easily is great. I understand the issue reviewers have with going back into the desktop interface, but I really like having the full file management system at my disposal (particularly useful when dealing with USB drives for school work and such). Not to mention, the Task Manager's pretty cool.

I like the iPad. I really do. I'm not a blind Microsoft fanboy, and I know they've got some issues. Needless to say, I think they've really done a good job taking the concept of the iPad and combining it with the basic productivity features of a laptop. Having used it as my primary device now (replaced a laptop with Windows XP), I don't want to go back. Apple makes some great stuff. Lately, I've questioned the direction they're going, but I still admire their knack for great hardware and software optimization.

I've chosen the Surface RT well aware of the limitations it has (though I'm pretty sure it's less limited than any other ARM-based competition - correct me if I'm wrong). My Apple-loving friends think it's fascinating. My non-Apple-loving friends think it's fascinating.

I have my disagreements with some of the reviews for the device (though I really liked AnandTech's). I think some of them really missed the point on what the device can do compared to its competition. Instead, they compared it to Windows 8. That's not what it's made to be. That's not the platform it's meant to compete on.

I wholeheartedly recommend the Microsoft Surface to anyone looking for something more than an iPad, but something not as serious or as large as a regular laptop/PC. It's well worth the investment.