Reviews are Pouring in on the Microsoft Surface RT and though Mixed “Outlook not so Good”
Today there have been droves of reviews hitting the internet on the new Microsoft Surface tablet with Windows 8 RT. So far things aren’t looking so good for the much-anticipated product. Though its not quite clear why there are so many reviews hitting the net today, it may be that a news release embargo has been lifted, review units arrived to media reviewers, or the fact that the official release is only two days away on October 26th.
No matter why the reviews are coming in, many of the same dislikes and likes seem to be popping up. Let’s start with the likes; reviewers feel that the hardware design, fit, and finish are superb, the surface was definitely built well, with high quality and is not super easy to break, which shows in every facet of the device. The screen, though not retina, is quite pleasing and provides a more than adequate viewing experience, touch capabilities work well, and the battery life is on par if not better than the nearest competition with roughly 11 hours under normal use.
Many of the reviewers understood that this was a breakthrough device and is set to be more of a hybrid solution to the traditional tablet and notebook. This is where the real problems begin. Microsoft decided to ship the initial device with Windows 8 RT, the software is very limiting and does not own itself to a hybrid approach, but instead should be considered a completely tablet experience. Windows applications do not work in RT, even though a desktop mode is presented which will surely lead to consumer confusion. The keyboard cover that Microsoft has so cleanly engineered and touted has a high learning curve to type accurately and it took some reviewers up to three days of use to get comfortable enough with the keyboard to type speedily but not without error.
The Touch type keyboard is an upgrade to the upgrade of the basic keyboard cover and is said to be better option with an easier transition, but of course costs more than basic keyboard and adds more bulk to the device. Both keyboard options add an additional $100+ to the device, which already seems priced too high. Considering RT is designed to be a tablet, apps become very important. The current list of available apps is not even a fraction of what competitive app stores have, this will have to weigh heavily on early adopters; with the speed at which new technology is developed, the Surface 1 will most likely be well out of date by the time the available applications catalog becomes a robust marketplace.
Though it wouldn’t be fair to say that the Surface is a complete bust, it will take some definite magic for Surface to become a big hit with consumers. Microsoft may need to give this one some time to take off. If they can figure out the software limitations, price point, and available apps issues, they have a beautiful, well-built device that could be a great companion or replacement for Windows users. The bigger issue is all of this rides on Windows 8 and the reception Microsoft’s latest operating system will receive by consumers. The UI experience on the desktop side will determine whether consumers move in droves to the tablet. If consumers love the new desktop experience in Windows 8, getting a tablet with the same experience will be a no brainer.