Impressions after prolonged use of Microsoft Surface RT

A few months ago, not that curiosity, not the desire to stand out from the gray crowd of iPad owners (although I was part of it myself), encouraged me to buy new items from Microsoft. Surface RT seemed an extremely unusual and interesting device, which in my opinion was worthy of attention. Now, enough time has passed since the purchase so that you can formulate an accurate opinion based on the real advantages and disadvantages of the device.
I actively used Surface as the main tablet for work and leisure, almost every day. By work, I mean working with documents and mail, by rest, watching movies and reading the news over morning coffee.

The first thing I did after buying the Surface itself was to buy a “Touch-Cover” keyboard case for it, because without it the tablet is completely useless. Using a desktop interface without a keyboard and touchpad (and especially an office suite) is simply painful. “Touch-Cover” has shown itself to be quite average - typing on it is more convenient than typing on the on-screen keyboard, since when typing the keyboard does not occupy half the screen, and tactilely is more convenient, but still it’s far from the keyboard’s convenience. In addition, after 2 months of use, the cover is worn out at the edges and bend near the connector. Buying Surface, I would still advise you to choose not “Touch-Cover”, but “Type-Cover” because of its greater convenience and reliability.
Let's go back to the pill itself. The case is made of extremely pleasant-looking, but terribly easily soiled metal in practice. It did not wear out much after long use - there are practically no scratches. Unfortunately, this metal wrinkles a lot during rough handling, so it is better not to drop Surface especially.
The tablet screen has a diagonal of 10.6 inches, as well as wide frames. After Surface, tablets with a diagonal of 9.7 and 10.1 inches seem small and compact. Such a diagonal is a plus when working with a cover-keyboard, but when you have to keep the Surface on weight, it seems too big. The home button and the camera’s eye are still located on the front panel - the touch button has medium responsiveness, and the camera is only suitable for talking on Skype.
On the side faces of the tablet is an extremely rich set of interfaces. In addition to the headphone jack and microSD card slot on the left side, there are Micro HDMI on the right side and one of the most important advantages of the Surface is a full-fledged USB port. Frankly, I liked the ability to charge a smartphone from a tablet. The battery on the iPhone discharges almost before our eyes, and the ability to extend battery life with a tablet is a pretty useful option. In addition to the charging already mentioned, USB greatly simplifies the matter of transferring files to the device (I know, I know ... cloud services are our everything, but simple flash drives are so useful in certain situations), and the ability to watch a movie from an external hard drive is also very pleasant. I almost forgot to mention one huge drawback of this product from MS - on the side faces are stereo speakers that sound just disgusting. They are quieter than the speakers of any tablet I've tried in recent times.
I will dwell on the software component of the device. As you know, this version of Surface does not work on a full version of Windows 8, but on a mobile tablet Windows RT. On RT, the only significant difference from the older version and the main drawback of the OS is the inability to run applications from previous versions of Windows. This means that in addition to the ones preinstalled in Desktop Office and IE10, nothing can be easily installed there, and the choice of software is limited only by offers from the Windows Store. In theory, this should not annoy the user, because the tablet is supposed to work with tablet applications, but the principle of the transformer device with a keyboard cover loses many advantages in this situation, and the number of metro (Microsoft UI) applications is still limited. The most unfortunate thing in this situation is that in a few months there was a minimum number of new metro applications. The only solution to the critical lack of software is to use web versions of popular services. Facebook, Evernote, VK - all this I had to use in a browser.
I would rate the overall performance of the system interface at 3 out of 5. When working with heavy applications (Excel or PowerPoint), the tablet is noticeable ... sorry for the expression - it lags. Irregular scrolling, slow response to pressing UI elements, long launch of applications are the most common problems when working with Windows RT. 
But enough about the sad. The advantage of Windows tablets, I consider their focus on creating content, rather than its consumption. I very often used Surface as a replacement for my laptop on trips, since the pre-installed Office allows you to comfortably work with almost any kind of documents. Flash-enabled IE10 is a nice addition to Windows RT, although the need for a flash does not appear often.
In my opinion, at the moment, Windows RT remains too crude. Even after a few months from release, the OS still remains a Surface RT weakness. Perhaps the situation will improve slightly with Windows Blue (8.1), but obviously you should not hope for radical improvements.


Despite the huge number of shortcomings, Microsoft Surface left me a positive impression. The idea of ​​a device that combines the convenience of a tablet with the functionality of a laptop seems very interesting to me. Such a concept could take up free space between multimedia tablets and ultrabooks. Unfortunately, I would not recommend Surface RT either as a tablet or as a replacement for a laptop for office work, since this device can cope with the tasks of both. On the other hand, I would recommend many people pay attention to tablets with full Windows 8 and Intel Atom. Comparing Surface RT and Atom tablets head-on, it’s easy to see that devices on the Intel chip demonstrate much greater smoothness and speed of the OS, and in the end, you’re not losing the opportunity to use classic Windows programs (the same Visual Studio on a tablet looks like a very interesting offer). Windows 8 is a huge step for MS in the OS market, but Windows RT still needs to be improved and I would not recommend spending your time and money on RT tablets. 

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