Microsoft Surface

Verge Review

The Microsoft Surface is no minor thing to review, especially when you consider the stakes for this product. The tablet / laptop hybrid — which was announced at a surprise event in Los Angeles back in June — is not just a unique product in the market, it's also the first of its kind for Microsoft. The company's foray into designing and building its own hardware is not exactly unheard of, but competing directly with partners on PCs certainly is. Adding fuel to an already-crackling fire,...

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Basic Specs

Thickness 0.37 inches
Weight 1.5 pounds
Screen size (diagonal) 10.6 inches
Operating system Windows RT
CPU brand Nvidia
CPU family Tegra 3
RAM size 2 GB

Tech Specs

Hardware

Height 10.81 inches
Width 6.77 inches
Thickness 0.37 inches
Weight 1.5 pounds
Color Black
Speakers Stereo

Display

Screen size (diagonal) 10.6 inches
Technology LCD
Resolution (X) 1366 px
Resolution (Y) 768 px
PPI 148
Touchscreen type Capacitive
Multitouch Yes

Software

Operating system Windows RT

Processor

CPU brand Nvidia
CPU family Tegra 3
Cores 4

Memory

RAM size 2 GB

Storage

Internal size 64 GB, 32 GB
External storage support microSD

Connectivity

Wi-Fi Yes
Wi-Fi support 802.11n, 802.11g, 802.11b, 802.11a
Bluetooth Yes
Bluetooth version 4.0

Front Camera

Video resolution 720p

Rear Camera

Video resolution 720p

Ports

Video out Yes
Headphone 3.5mm
Data connections USB

Sensors

Sensors Ambient Light, Gyroscope, Compass / Magnetometer, Accelerometer

Battery

Capacity 31.5 Wh
Quoted use time 8 hr

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  • 9.0
    Show all User reviews

    Reviewed by whiteshirtonly (Currently owns)

    DESIGN: Pretty small and handy, excellent form factor (16/9 screen ratio) and built quality. The kick stand is unique, the touch cover useful. Surface is not a copy, it has an improved form factor.

    DISPLAY: despite its "low resolution", the quality of the panel is very high. It's a joy to use it.

    CAMERA: nothing special to add here. Do the job perfectly.

    SPEAKERS: 2 speakers on the sides. Loud enough to watch a movie or a show.

    PERFORMANCE: the CPU, a NVIDIA Tegra 3, works fast. The multitasking is handled easily by the tablet, jumping between Office apps and multimedia apps, side by side apps, ... Tablet has 2Gb of RAM, which helps a lot maintaining apps open.

    SOFTWARE: This is almost a true Windows. If you forget "legacy" apps, understand x86 apps, it's a true Windows, a full PC. The OS authorizes you to manage files, to manage external storages and external peripherals (like display, Xbox controllers, USB hubs, printers, camera, ...). The new design of Windows RT/8 sets a new standard of GUI. It will be better as long as developers develops new apps. Microsoft will put all its strength to maintain and improve the platform.

    BATTERY LIFE: on par with the competition. That's all we need to say. Between 8 to 10 hours on average usage.

    ECOSYSTEM: hardware ecosystem is huge. Software ecosystem is getting bigger and bigger. Office is already complete and operational. Microsoft web services are among the best in the industry: cloud with skydrive, email and calendar with outlook.com, music with XBox music, games with XBox, ... Using a Windows Phone leverages all those services.

    DOCK: Touch and Type Cover, full-size USB port, mini HDMI: the Surface can be turned into a full desktop PC / multimedia station in the living room very easily.

    FINAL SCORE: the average is 9. I am surprised how the Surface is reviewed big tech websites. Compared with Android tablets and iOS tablets, Surface has less flaws and more qualities.

    This is probably the best tech product I bought. So much capable. You can be 100% computer independent with one Surface. It's incredible to have a powerful Windows right in your hands. The beautiful hardware is among the best and the price in the average.

    The Breakdown

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    • Design 10
    • Display 9
    • Camera(s) 9
    • Speakers 9
    • Performance 9
    • Software 10
    • Battery life 9
    • Ecosystem 7
    • Dock 9
    Show the rest of this review and the breakdown
  • 7.0
    Show all User reviews

    Reviewed by redleader (Currently owns)

    For starters, why are 4/8 of the previous reviews by people who have only been on The Verge for less than a week and all 9s with similar sounding reviews? Hmm....As for the Surface, it's good, but for a tablet there just aren't many applications to choose from because this device DOES NOT RUN WINDOWS APPS. So the ecosystem is kind of infantile compared to other tablets and other laptops. Does it run x86 apps? No. Does it have as many apps as the iPad? No. Office is good and all, albeit being a bit laggy, but overall good enough for working on. Not a good LAPtop as it doesn't sit on your lap but on a desk it works fine. In portrait mode it is essentially useless unless you are reading a large amount of text on a website. Then again if I want to read a large amount of text I would have preferred a screen that has a higher pixel density, such as the one on the Nexus 10. The design of the device it is excellent. In fact, for a laptop it is fantastic. For a tablet it is also excellent. My main problem with this is that this device just seems to be unsure of just what it wants to be in my life. Is it my go to work device for things and can replace my i7 laptop? Well no, of course not. But can it be a portable, mobile entertainment device capable of satiating my app needs and acting as a veritable utility belt of different functions that the tablet has come to serve as. Kind of, if by utility belt, I meant solid, black, leather work belt. It has Microsoft Office. That alone does not make it better than a tablet without Office or a laptop without the tablet features. It sits in the valley between the great tablets, iPad and hopefully Nexus 10, and the great laptops, Thinkpads and Macbook Pros. Does it bridge the void? No. It spans 80% of the gap but makes you constantly leap over the 20% in between the two worlds of tablets and laptops. Unfortunately, this directly effects the available software. It does not run my Windows programs, and it seems to be, as of this review, unsatisfying of the traditional tablet apps that I have grown accustomed to. I can use the Surface for typing emails and word documents, browsing the web (just not flash sites unless I want to experience nastiness) and using a few tablet apps. I want to use this as a laptop but it falls very short. I then try and use it as a tablet but nope, not going down that road anytime soon. It feels like a product with the genes for greatness, but it received the ugly recessive genes by chance. Can Windows 8 best iOS, yes, just not on the Surface.

    The Breakdown

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    • Design 9
    • Display 7
    • Camera(s) 7
    • Speakers 7
    • Performance 7
    • Software 7
    • Battery life 8
    • Ecosystem 3
    • Dock 7
    Show the rest of this review and the breakdown
  • 8.0
    Show all User reviews

    Reviewed by golf1052 (Currently owns)

    I love the Surface. Great build quality. Runs Windows 8 RT which is a great OS besides the fact that you can't run desktop applications. Since the store is lacking in apps there really isn't much to do with it however the Microsoft ecosystem is great. Microsoft's ecosystem would probably get a 9 or 8 but the app selection would probably get a 5 or 4.

    The Breakdown

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    • Design 10
    • Display 8
    • Camera(s) 7
    • Speakers 8
    • Performance 8
    • Software 8
    • Battery life 9
    • Ecosystem 6
    • Dock 9
    Show the rest of this review and the breakdown
  • 7.0
    Show all User reviews

    Reviewed by Ty1361 (Currently owns)

    Hey, look I got a "7" too.

    Seriously, I love this device but I am reviewing it for what it is.

    HARDWARE: The hardware is great! The VaperMg casing feels great in the hand and feels very premium. The kickstand opens with confidence and I am not worried I am going to break it unintentionally.

    DISPLAY: Microsoft did a great job the the clear type display. When you look at it from 16+ inches away it really looks close to the retina display on the ipad in my personal opinion. At a closer look, you can definitely make out the pixels.

    CAMERA: Video is pretty good, pictures are "meh" but who takes pictures with their tablet.

    SPEAKERS: The speakers are surprisingly good. I had no issues that I have seen others review about.

    PERFORMANCE: Performance is mostly good, streaming HD video can slow down occasional but will catch up in a few seconds and animations can be choppy while fast app switching.

    SOFTWARE: The software is still buggy. Many of the stock apps crash on me pretty consistently. I found that sometimes when I open an app the arrow to go back just doesn't show up. At first I had no idea how to navigate an app. I was forced to close the app and restart before I realized that the arrow to move back (in an app) had been missing the whole time.

    BATTERY LIFE: Amazing, with casual web browsing on the device I made it about 2 1/2 days before the device died on me.

    ECOSYSTEM: Not a huge selection, but with Microsoft pushing metro so hard I am sure it is only a short matter of time. Also the store is comprised of mostly free apps, although the games are extremely expensive. $5 -$10

    DOCK: The touch cover is pretty amazing. Works very well, although it takes a few days to get used to.

    The Breakdown

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    • Design 9
    • Display 7
    • Camera(s) 6
    • Speakers 8
    • Performance 7
    • Software 7
    • Battery life 9
    • Ecosystem 3
    • Dock 8
    Show the rest of this review and the breakdown
  • 9.0
    Show all User reviews

    Reviewed by kasey.linden (Currently owns)

    Great design and the app store will develop and then the system will really shine. The ability to use a keyboard as great as this one raises the bar for all tablets. Being able to actually mutlitask is also great. The addition of Xbox music is also a great comparison since you have to pay for Spotify on mobile devices.

    The Breakdown

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    • Design 9
    • Display 8
    • Camera(s) 7
    • Speakers 6
    • Performance 8
    • Software 9
    • Battery life 10
    • Ecosystem 7
    • Dock 10
    Show the rest of this review and the breakdown
  • 9.0
    Show all User reviews

    Reviewed by abrahamvivas (Currently owns)

    The surface is an incredibly piece of hardware. It take a little getting used because of its aspect ratio and because it's made to be used in landscape mode (something that feels weird, especially if you are an iPad user). However, it is evident that they have put a lot of thought in the design of the software in the landscape mode as I am able to navigate through the OS without ever moving my hands; easily accessing the charms with a swipe in with my thumb or switching through apps with another swipe of my thumb from the left. It is very well thought out.

    The display is actually quite impressive. It has an incredible viewing angle and I have not been disappointed with the resolution or the brightness. The colors are vivid and bright and it's just a joy to use.

    Performance-wise with the windows updates that I installed right away, I have not had any performance issues. However, if you do have multiple user accounts, the account switching can take a little bit and that is a small complain I do have.

    The battery life is incredible, giving me up to two days without a charge, and up to 11 hours of heavy usage. The best part of it is that the charger is incredibly quick and plugging it in for 1.5 hours almost charges it up completely.

    I love the keyboard. it really bridges the gap between content consumption and content creation and it is truly amazing. There is a little bit of getting used to the pressure and distance between the keys, but within a couple of times you use it, it really feels really nice.

    Sure, the ecosystem is lacking, but the store just launched, I gave it an 8 because I feel that the apps that it currently has are great, and I am confident that the app selection will increase.

    Overall, the Surface is a great product and I'd recommend it above any other tablets.

    The Breakdown

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    • Design 9
    • Display 9
    • Camera(s) 7
    • Speakers 8
    • Performance 8
    • Software 9
    • Battery life 10
    • Ecosystem 8
    • Dock 9
    Show the rest of this review and the breakdown
  • 9.0
    Show all User reviews

    Reviewed by misterxmedia (Currently owns)

    Well, it is a revolution here.

    Surface and Windows 8 represent shit in paradigm we use our devices - from app driven expirience to data flow driven expririence. The result is - your get thing done more quilcky with less clicks here and there. And now Windows 8 is as beautifull as Apple products. And for me Windows 8/RT have more fetures and functions.

    Everyone i show my Surface wanted to own one. It is a lot better that other tablets/ultrabooks.

    The Breakdown

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    • Design 10
    • Display 9
    • Camera(s) 8
    • Speakers 8
    • Performance 10
    • Software 10
    • Battery life 9
    • Ecosystem 9
    • Dock 10
    Show the rest of this review and the breakdown
  • 9.0
    Show all User reviews

    Reviewed by RobsonJobs (Currently owns)

    The Surface surprised me positively.
    I'm with him three days (bought on launch day) and I am very satisfied with the purchase. It is a very nice tablet, lightweight, thin and very comfortable to wear. Windows RT is very beautiful and touch-friendly .
    The Windows Store is still a baby, so do not have many apps. But nothing that hinders the experience. A Touch Cover is a little strange at first, but once you get used to it. Anyway, Microsoft really did a good job with the Surface.

    The Breakdown

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    • Design 10
    • Display 9
    • Camera(s) 7
    • Speakers 8
    • Performance 8
    • Software 9
    • Battery life 9
    • Ecosystem 7
    • Dock 10
    Show the rest of this review and the breakdown
  • 9.0
    Show all User reviews

    Reviewed by charbar13 (Currently owns)

    The Surface is what I'd call the best launch product ever. It does absolutely everything I need it to for day to day stuff and then some. The hardware is so smooth, not to be too glamorous but not to be too simplistic. The kickstand is super clever. I can't believe no one hasn't figured to do this yet. On top of that, the ClearType display is absolutely thin (feels like I'm actually touching all the tiles) and looks amazing, even in well lit areas. For the money, Surface is great. I can see some improvements for the camera and speakers, and OCCASIONALLY Windows RT gets a touch slow, but it's not often and never debilitating. A 2nd generation Surface has the potential to knock it out of the park. In the meantime, this is the device to own for me, after neglecting Android tablets and iPads. I encourage everyone to try to get a feel for this device. It's hard to resist!

    The Breakdown

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    • Design 9
    • Display 9
    • Camera(s) 7
    • Speakers 7
    • Performance 8
    • Software 10
    • Battery life 9
    • Ecosystem 10
    • Dock 10
    Show the rest of this review and the breakdown
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