As it stands I have owned a Microsoft Surface RT with black touch cover for a little over 24 hours. This blog is going to be my first extensive typing with the touch cover. To boot I am typing this on my lap because one of the initial reviews that I read said it was unusable like this. I have to say that is simply wrong and laptop use is much much better than I had expected. This is going to be a pretty quick and overall review instead of being super in depth. I hope to write a more in depth review after more use.
The Good Software
The Microsoft Surface is super easy to setup and beautiful to see all of your data instantly synced up on your first login. This is of course assuming that you take advantage of the services offered by live.com, which if you do not then you should check them out. The built in apps are pretty basic but beautifully done and very fast. The app store also has a decent amount of useful free or cheap apps already which was a nice surprise. Angry Birds space, I have to say is quite fun and got me hooked unlike the others in the series. The gestures take a little bit of practice but when you get them down they become quite natural. The task switching swipe from the left is just unparalleled. Having a full on Windows machine is a small and sleek package is pretty cool. You still have the full on familiar control panel, desktop, task manager (actually improved), and of course a file manager. The new task manager is awesome on Windows 8 with a much better breakdown of what exactly is going on and where. The software keyboard is nice with the multiple configurations which work nearly perfectly for the different ways you might interact with your Surface.
The Good Hardware
I had a live account for about 6 years before I looked at what it actually had to offer. And it gets better by the day. The touch cover is super thin, comfortable, sleek, and actually a joy to type on. I use a clunky Logitech wave which has pretty hard keys so I was worried that I would not like the touch cover at all, I was wrong. I equate it to the switch from Palm Treo and Blackberry to my iPhone 3gs. The magnet on the keyboard and on the power cord are nice but the keyboard one is much better. It has already come in handy to have a usb port to charge my phone in a pinch. Surface’s lowish resolution screen still looks beautiful. I did have my doubts on that and I have yet to hold it next to a New Ipad but I think it is much less of a deterrent than I thought that it would be.
Software Fails So Far
For whatever reason the people and message hub will not sync my facebook and twitter accounts fully with my live account but it works fine with my girlfriends live account, TweetTRO doesn’t load at all, and Xbox Music has had problems on some songs. I feel like the switch to portrait/landscape is a little too sensitive sometimes. Lastly, moving tiles around on the homescreen with touch took a little bit to figure out and can feel a bit bulky when trying to move a tile from one end to the other.
The camera quality is pretty low, which I knew and didn’t really care too much about, but it could turn some people off. Also the speakers are not really all that loud but of course can be taken care of with speakers or headphones.
Overall Take Away After One Day With Surface
The hardware is extremely nice with only the camera quality being something that I could see being a deal breaker to some. The software is nice but the apps will certainly benefit from some more development. The touch cover is insanely good for typing on lap or on a solid surface.
If you are wondering, I did one type test with the 10 fingers fast test on this touch cove and got 57 words per minute with 6 errors and 55 correct words. I am not a super fast typist but I have hit as high as 89 or so on that test in the past.