tablets
  • Editors' Choice

Microsoft Surface Tablet Review

It may look the part, but the Surface RT has a long way to go before it can compete well.

October 26, 2012
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Conclusion

To its credit, the Surface RT by Microsoft has a lot of intriguing design and user interface features that are truly notable and will appear in other tablet models. The kickstand, touch cover and some of the operating system elements are laudable for their ingenuity, but they are shining dots in a sea of bad.

From a hardware standpoint, it's baffling how badly Microsoft screwed up when they made a unit that is not only awkward to hold, but doesn't quite sit on your lap either. Additionally, about the only hardware advantages the Microsoft Surface RT 32 GB offers over competing tablets is an extra GB of RAM and a rather good battery life. The screen is terrible, the product is heavy, and the hard drive space is misleading at best, a bait-and-switch at worst.

It's difficult to be completely fair to the Surface RT as it's the first unit of an entire line that is brand new to the market, and Microsoft's first tablet. There are bound to be rough edges, just like when Android first came out, just like when iOS first became a big thing. These things happen; it's understandable. However, Microsoft has a huge disadvantage as it came into the market so late when other product lines have already worked out most of their kinks.

Windows RT simultaneously is a hindrance and a boon to the tablet, as many of the features are actually quite good, but the operating system is huge and a bit of a resource hog. Additionally, there is no uniform interface, which leads to some rather perplexing inconsistencies. RT also does not give Windows users the support they're used to; for example Office 2013 is not the full version, and there are no plans to give RT users the full version currently.

Our editors review and recommend products to help you buy the stuff you need. If you make a purchase by clicking one of our links, we may earn a small share of the revenue. Our picks and opinions are independent from any business incentives.

Sections

  1. Introduction
  2. Product Tour
  3. Screen
  4. Battery & Controls
  5. eReader
  6. Music & Audio
  7. Movies & Video
  8. Internet Apps
  9. Conclusion
Our editors review and recommend products to help you buy the stuff you need. If you make a purchase by clicking one of our links, we may earn a small share of the revenue. Our picks and opinions are independent from any business incentives.
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