8 Days Until Surface 2 – A Look At Surface RT, Part 3

Written by on October 14, 2013 in Blog, Review, Surface, Tablets, Windows 8 RT with 1 Comment

Screen Shot 2012-10-16 at 9.07.10 PM

Intro

Goodbye, Surface RT. You’ll be missed… but not for long. Surface 2 is just over a week away. I was planning to focus on the negatives this week, and the Surface seemed to know it. Although still my favorite tablet to date, the flaws came through this week.

Usage

I used the Surface daily with the AT&T Beam LTE dongle when at work and on WiFi when at home. TeamViewer, Tweetro+/Twitter and Hyper were my most used apps. Office RT was used to view Word and Excel files. Either Nokia Music or Xbox Music was usually active. The device was used either used in my hands, lap or desk.

Experience      

Same Device: Surface RT 32GB running Windows 8* (no blades)

Those darn apps! They are so good when they work well. However, once a day one at least one app would stop working properly. Twitter would give a “bad user auth” error. TeamViewer would be less responsive than usual. Hyper would not playback the SurfaceGeeks video podcast. When it did playback videos, quality was definitely lacking. SkyDrive is abysmal at playing back videos uploaded from my Lumia 925. It is basically a slideshow. The screen would not sleep if the LTE connection was active, even when pressing the power button. However, sometimes the device would put the display and LTE connection to sleep, as it should. I could never figure out what made it not work properly.

Lapability zero. At least for me, the Surface RT cannot work in my lap. I need to cross my legs and keep everything stable. The angle of the stand is far less than perfect. On a desk, it is even worse. At 6’5” I have to hunch over to use it. At lying flat is not ideal, so I typically use my Lumia 925 to prop it up a bit. I know the Surface 2 will help here, but I really wish they added a third position for typing (aka iPad Smart Covers and Samsung Book Covers). However, I am sure the Touch Cover 2 I ordered will have me typing on the screen less and less.

Feels good, looks good. Battery life is pretty much 2-days of usage for me. I hope to see that hold on the Surface 2, as I assume I will use it even more. The Surface RT in the case with my few accessories is fairly easy to take around the office and to and from work. It always feels good in the hand, and looks great on the desk. I am hoping to see more app updates and new apps alongside Windows 8.1. Windows Phone 8 is growing everyday, and I hope to see Modern UI apps do the same. But the apps of today look great on the Surface RT. It all makes for one attractive experience.

Verdict

“Let’s Do This… Better.” As I stated above and in previous posts, I enjoy how the Surface RT makes me feel. I can’t wait to have that elevated when I get to touch and hold a Surface 2. Playing with a Surface RT has made me more and more excited for Surface 2, and confident this is the right mobile computing platform for me. The new Chromebooks seem to compete with Surface RT more than Surface 2 in specs. The Samsung tablets are still full of bloat. No new Nexus 10 rumors have emerged, although I expect it to be announced before month’s end. We can all guess what the new iPads will offer. And although the iPad is one of the best devices ever made, it is targeted at consumption. I need consume and produce. This makes the Surface family my choice both for today, and very likely for tomorrow.

* I am still running Windows 8 as the 8.1 Preview has ended and Microsoft won’t let me download it.

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  1. Shah, Malaysia says:

    Hi John,

    I'm actually thinking of buying Surface Pro 2, but there are some things that make me want to skip it:

    1. Stylus doesn't have proper storing slot.
    2. Camera quality inferior to Surface 2 (even though i might not be using it that much).
    3. Doesn't come bundled with Office, need to purchase separately.
    4. Quite pricey, because I think there are other cheaper Windows tablet that runs full Windows 8/8.1

    So, I'm thinking of getting just the Surface RT for now and wait what the later Surface Pro 3(?) will bring perhaps next year. But before that, I'd like to ask you a few things about Surface RT just to be sure before buying it:

    1. I understand that with Windows RT, you can't install legacy programs in desktop and can only use Office RT there (Outlook, Word, Excel, PowerPoint). But does it have programs like notepad, paint, etc in there, things you would find in 'Accessories' in conventional Windows 7?
    2. Does it able to read PDF files? Is there any regular document type files that can't be opened in Surface RT?
    3. Is there any media type files that can't be opened in Surface RT?
    4. Can you zip/unzip files in Windows RT?
    5. Can we install apps in SD card? Or the SD card is only to put media/doc files?
    6. Do you think there are any other windows tablet out there that can do what Surface RT can do, but have some slight edge over the Surface RT in something (e.g. lower price than Surface RT, can run full windows 8/8.1 [Acer W510], better battery life [Samsung ATIV Tab]) that is worth looking at? And what does Surface RT have that are better over them?

    Thanks :)

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