Surface falls short of Microsoft’s promise to change the PC experience
Published: Wednesday, November 14, 2012
Updated: Wednesday, November 14, 2012 17:11
“Surface is designed to seamlessly transition between consumption and creation,” read an initial press release for the new Microsoft Surface. But despite having capabilities characteristic of both laptop and tablet, the Surface falls short of being a truly functional hybrid.
A 32GB Surface starts at $499. It has twice as much storage space and more capabilities than the comparable iPad at $100 less.
Weighing 1.5 lbs., the Surface is the first to boast hardware made by Microsoft itself. The ARM device boasts a more angular style than the iPad, though no less appealing.
Made out of durable VaporMg—magnesium alloy—the casing is three times lighter than aluminum, and has a built-in kickstand that opens and shuts like a luxury car door with a satisfying click.
Spec wise, the Surface’s CPU is a quad-core NVIDIA Tegra 3 with
2GB RAM, and the five-point multi-touch, 10.6” widescreen ClearType HD display is easy on battery life.
The Surface is more compatible than the iPad with other deviceswith a full-sized USB port, microSD card slot, HD video out port, two microphones, two cameras, stereo speakers, standard audio jack, and Bluetooth and WiFi capabilities.
One of the most unique qualities of the device is the magnetic dock connector, which can be easily snapped onto either a touch or type cover. Touch covers come in several vibrant colors and sense gestures to reduce typing time, while type covers provide a more traditional typing experience with actual keys. Both ‘keyboard’ attachments serve as a case which shuts off the display and disables keystrokes when closed.
The Surface’s primary disadvantage is its OS: Windows RT, which is for mobile devices. Of all Microsoft software, it runs only Word, Powerpoint, Excel, OneNote, and Explorer. This limitation could create adjustment problems for die-hard Microsoft users.
Other disadvantages include sluggish game performance with some games, and slow-loading apps, which work smoothly once they’ve loaded.
In true Apple style Microsoft has created durable, stylish hardware for the Surface. But to be truly comparable to the iPad, the Windows RT software capabilities need expansion.