Search This Blog

Monday, March 11, 2013

Microsoft Surface Windows Tablet Review- Does this Microsoft product have the right "touch"?

My brother-in-law is something of a gadget hound. He is the family's go-to computer guy and whenever my college daughter has problems with her laptop at her faraway school, my wife and I often tell her "Call your uncle". 

So, it was no surprise to discover he had recently taken delivery of the newest "it" tablet of the year so far- The Microsoft Surface Pro Windows 8 Pro 128 Gb Tablet. This awkwardly named product is one of the first originating from Seattle since the demise of the barely-known and underrated Zune HD media player- still selling for nearly full price two years after going out of production. 
The Microsoft Surface
A kind-of answer to the latest iteration of the iPad, the Surface takes a slightly different tack and uses a full-on version of the new Windows 8 optimized for touch users but with a dual personality . Although MS won't fully admit it, think of the Surface as a small-ish laptop with a removable keyboard. The guts of the tablet have a memory that ranges from 32Gb to 128Gb on a SSD hard drive- no spinning disc means lightning quick access to stored memory plus much of the tablet's content is stored in the cloud anyway. The tablet boasts a full-size-computer-worthy i5 Intel processor, at least 4Gb of cache memory and high quality construction. It looks like pretty much any other tablet- black shiny glass with a keyboard/case cover. 

But how well does it work? One user said,  "I've had multiple downloads going, Netflix streaming HD movies, and MATLAB and Excel running all at once, and I didn't notice any significant lag." 

Also available for download is Microsoft Office 365, a full load software package with Word, Excel, Power Point, etc. that stores almost everything in the cloud. Both my brother-in-law and other user report no issues and great results with this program. I also saw my brother using a video editing program- notoriously taxing on any computer- without a hiccup. Also, because it is a tablet, many- if not all- of the thousands of Window tablet apps are also available for use.

There are two levels of the Surface: the Sufrace Pro and the Surface RT. has a video that explains the differences in great detail: 

Low quality audio, high quality review

Is this a replacement for the traditionally powerful desktop computer? No, not yet. Desktops still offer more of everything, including ports for peripherals like cameras, external drives and other options. Plus, there's the convenience of using a 21-27" desk monitor that makes computing easier and less tiring for older eyes like mine. 
Is it a laptop or a tablet? Yes it is.

But, for those seeking out a laptop, the Surface tablets are hard to beat. It can do anything else a good laptop can do, plus it can become a lightweight tablet with heavyweight capabilities. 

But...there's a catch. There had to be, didn't there? The price. Although entry level Surfaces cost no more than a full-sized iPad, the Surface Pro RT climbs north of $1,100. For that money, the Apple MacBook Air becomes a possibility and that complicates things somewhat as the Air is a fine computer on its own with a better, permanently attached keyboard. But for enterprise users committed to the Windows platform or for those used to Windows -based software, there is no argument. The Windows Surface wins, hand down. 

To see Amazon reviews of the Microsoft Surface RT, go here

For the Microsoft corporate website on the Surface, click here