Windows Surface

Windows Surface
Developed by: Microsoft
Ranked: 7th
Overall rating:
Best price: $576.88
Purchase:

Stephen
Qualtrough

Reviewer

Technology should make our lives easier

Review summary

Good points Windows Surface review good points

• Great hardware and & quality

• Impressive screen

• Solid battery life

• Keyboard

Bad points Windows Surface review bad points

• Small app selection

• Windows 8 sluggish experience

• Awful camera

Our verdict

The Windows Surface is Microsoft’s first shot at making hardware and software, and we must say for first timers it is pretty impressive. We just find that in a few years, this product would be a lot better, with more apps and a better user interface experience.

Screenshot of Windows Surface 1 Screenshot of Windows Surface 2 Screenshot of Windows Surface 3



Full review

Design & Display

For a company that hasn’t actually brought out a single hardware product, Microsoft have impressed us all with the Surface hardware and design.

If you can remember the mass-amounts of Android tablets that didn’t manage to sell well due to them all looking the same, you will notice that the Windows Surface looks and feels like a different tablet completely.

Microsoft have shown how strong the Surface is, by having it as a skateboard and dropping it during their live event. They have not only shown that the durability is more than any other tablet, they have set a new bar on how strong a tablet should be.

We don’t know the precise pixels-per-inch of the device, although at a glance we can tell it isn’t as much as the new iPad. Surface doesn’t have a lot of glare and the brightness is good, we found viewing angles surprisingly good.

Operating System

Windows RT may be one of the most complicated operating systems on the market, simply because not many people know the difference between RT and Windows 8.

In short, Windows RT is a pure-tablet experience, meaning it won’t run very complex and heavy applications like CS6 and Minecraft. Instead, it will run things like Instagram and Figure.

We found that sometimes, when using Surface a little too much, the operating system would downgrade performance and there would be a lot of stops while opening different apps and typing.

The operating system is really unique and nice, we find the live tiles and new design to be a lot different from Android and iOS, although it will be up to you to decide if you like it or not.

Apps

This is one of Windows’ main downfalls, their app selection is very dry and we really cannot see any user finding it acceptable after years on the Apple or Android app store.

Twitter, Facebook, Instagram, these are all apps that aren’t available, although there are poor clients. This is pretty unacceptable, considering these are the basic apps and are integrated onto i.OS6.

Even though it is early days for the tablet, we suspect that not many developers are rushing to make their apps compatible with Windows 8. In fact, we are still awaiting some of the key apps that we would take for granted on the iPad.

Keyboard Functionality

Microsoft make a big deal out of not being able to be productive without a keyboard, so they’ve invested heavily in making a brilliant tablet-styled keyboard.

There are two versions of the keyboard: touch-cover and type-cover. The touch-cover is a new design that tries to recreate what touchscreens do, but with a larger keyboard. Your hand presses and noticed but there are no keys, instead, it is fully touch-integrated.

We find the touch-cover works very well and you will start to enjoy the feel of it after a couple of days, just like BlackBerry users got used to that small keypad on the old phones.

The type-cover is an actual keyboard with a trackpad, it cost a bit more than the touch-cover and in all honesty we found the touch-cover to be more than adequate for taking notes and e-mailing clients.

Camera

We still question why a tablet must have a rear-camera, as only the very vain must use them. Surface is no different, it takes quite awful pictures and even in daylight you will find noise and pixilation.

That being said, if you want to use Skype on the front-facing camera, it is rather fantastic and very responsive, this is one area where performance doesn’t seem to be sluggish at least.

Battery Life

Surface will perform solidly on this front, with up to 10 hours battery life even when you are using heavy apps; if you can find any.

Like all hardware and components on Windows Surface, they are very good at performing to the level we expect.

Storage

Microsoft is offering two options of storage: 32GB’s and 64GB’s. We guess this is fair, although we would’ve welcomed a cheaper 16GB version.

They have also bundled in a lot of keyboards and different little accessories that you can purchase. If you are an avid fan of Microsoft, you could go as high as $1,000 on Surface.

Overall

The only real thing we see keeping the Surface from becoming a great tablet is the fact it has a very poor app selection. In the coming years, we suspect that Windows will grow and grow until it matches Apple.

Right now, you have a very good hardware product that, in our view, beats any Android tablet out there at Surface’s price-range. But you will be left pleading for more apps.


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Ratings breakdown

Overall
 received a rating of 4 for Overall
Display
 received a rating of 5 for Display
Design
 received a rating of 5 for Design
Operating system
 received a rating of 4 for Operating system
Apps
 received a rating of 1 for Apps
Features
 received a rating of 4 for Features
Connectivity
 received a rating of 3 for Connectivity
Camera
 received a rating of 2 for Camera
Battery
 received a rating of 4 for Battery