Sales staff demonstrate the Microsoft Surface during the opening of Microsoft's retail store in New York's Times Square (Photo : Reuters)
The Microsoft Surface has arrived, and the tablet-laptop hybrid is receiving mixed responses.
Common criticisms include an underdeveloped app ecosystem, expensive accessories, and an inability to keep up with traditional laptops for work-related tasks. However, critics praise the Surface as an inviting, lively tablet that encourages experimentation. While its build is sturdy, it remains to be seen whether or not community support can elevate the device further and create a flourishing app market. Check out snippets of the reviews below.
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"The tablet's build quality is generally good, but there are annoyances, mostly to do with ergonomics. The fixed-angle kick-stand is a deal-breaker for me as far as keyboard-based productivity is concerned, for example. The keyboards themselves - especially the basic Type Cover - are on the pricey side, too. Also, we'd like to see a snappier magnetic power connector next time around.
As far as the Windows RT experience is concerned, we have no problem with the 'modern' tile-based UI and clean-looking touch-friendly Windows Store apps. The vestigial Windows desktop, however, is another matter. It's there to accommodate the bundled Office 2013 suite (which we appreciate), but only serves to confuse because you can't install any other 'legacy' Windows applications. The only place you can get Windows RT apps, Microsoft's Windows Store, is currently a long way behind rival platforms in terms of the number of apps available.
This is a decent tablet with plenty of good points, but there are enough downsides to make caution advisable. The hardware platform and the Windows RT ecosystem will undoubtedly improve, so we'd suggest giving version 1.0 a miss unless you're an avid early adopter."
"Surface makes you want to pick it up and play, pleases you with the delivery of Windows RT and the live tiles make it feel personal and alive.
Performance is a real issue, but since Tegra is at the heart of high performing tablets, we hope that RT can be tweaked to iron out slowdown issues.
Microsoft's hardware designers should be applauded for delivering a solid tablet which delivers a great experience, but now it's down to the fortunes of the Windows Store to decide whether Microsoft Surface is remembered in history."
"Is the Surface worth its price? I think a more useful question is this: if on a business trip, could I replace my laptop with the Surface? The short answer is no. The longer answer is also no, but these are the reasons why. The overall sluggishness and bugginess in the interface, especially when using IE10, are disappointing. Flash support for IE10 is currently lackluster. Also, more pointedly, IE10 isn't yet compatible with CNET's content management system (the tool we use to publish articles). There aren't nearly enough apps to support my entertainment social-networking needs when I'm not actually working.
Until Microsoft addresses these issues, the Surface isn't quite ready to take over as my one and only device. Your needs may be different, though. Paired with a keyboard cover, the Surface is an excellent Office productivity tool (the best in tablet form) and if your entertainment needs don't go far beyond movies, TV shows, music, and the occasional simple game, you're covered there as well. Especially if you like to multitask; the split-screen feature is incredibly useful and cool."
Maybe I say this too often, but I wanted to love this device. Actually, I wanted to love the Surface when I first saw it, before I even got my hands on the review unit. It made Windows 8 make sense in a way other products had not, and I could see a world where this kind of device was the only one I carried with me. Once I did get the review unit, I wanted to love it even more. And truth be told, there is a lot here to love. Plenty - but not enough for me right now.
The promise of the Surface was that it could deliver a best-in-class tablet experience, but then transform into the PC you needed when heavier lifting was required. Instead of putting down my tablet and picking up my laptop, I would just snap on my keyboard and get my work done. But that's not what the Surface offers, at least not in my experience. It does the job of a tablet and the job of a laptop half as well as other devices on the market, and it often makes that job harder, not easier. Instead of being a no-compromise device, it often feels like a more-compromise one.