My Surface RT Review After One Year

I've been using a Surface RT (1st generation) as my main computer for one year now, and I thought it might be a good idea to write about how well it stood the test of time, and in what ways the product has changed over the year. These are important aspects to the quality of a product, because nothing is worse than a good product that needs to be replaced after a year.

DOES IT STILL LOOK FRESH?

Although it's not surprising that a device that's heavily used on a daily basis shows some signs of usage on its shell after some time, I am a little disappointed that my Surface has lost its original clean look. The dark coating of the magnesium body has partly come off at the edges, unveiling the silverish grey colour of the magnesium itself. The back of the device has some scratches, which are only visible at certain lighting conditions. The felt coating of the type cover (1st generation) is rubbed off at the corners, giving it a sand blasted look. Apart from these imperfections, it looks great (no scratches on the gorilla glass).

HAS ANY HARDWARE BROKEN?

No, everything still works. The only hardware issue is the left speaker sounding distored, but that has been an out of the box issue with my Surface. The buttons feel a little wobbly now, but they still have a nice soft "click" and work perfectly fine.

ARE THE SPECS STILL UP TO DATE?

I would say yes. Performance is not the best, but certainly better than it was out of the box, now that the device runs Windows RT 8.1. The screen is not high res, but still looks colourful and contrasty, beautiful and readable.

HOW HAS THE OS CHANGED?

Since the 8.1 update, the Surface feels like a completely new device. It's faster and more usable in many ways. I can't pick out one specific change, it's all the small improvements that turned the Surface from a beta product for tech enthusiasts into an easy to use device capable of fulfilling its function as a versatile consumption and productivity device.

HAS APP AVAILABILITY IMPROVED?

I've never been an app junkie, but I think it's interesting to notice that I don't need to have any websites pinned to my start screen any more. The main improvements to me have been improvements to the preinstalled apps, which lessen the need for high quality alternatives (advanced photo editing in "Photos", local file explorer in "Skydrive", usable "Music" app, etc.)

OVERALL IMPRESSION

The hardware doesnt look as clean and fresh as on day one, but software-wise the Surface RT has gotten so much better and doesnt leave much to be desired. Better performance would be nice, but the Surface RT running Windows RT 8.1 does not feel "slow" in the sense that you have to "wait" for things to happen.

WOULD I UPGRADE?

From what I read about the Surface 2 it seems to offer a very similar experience to the first generation. The screen is higher res, performance is better, and kickstand angles are improved, but there's no reason for me to replace the Surface RT, since it still works perfectly fine and does exactly the same things as the Surface 2 - just a little bit slower.