updated 07:47 am EDT, Wed October 24, 2012
Surface RT tablet gets snaps for hardware, but not overall experience
Early reviews of the Microsoft Surface with Windows RT tablet have started to hit the web, and the verdicts vary widely. While nearly all have found something positive say about Microsoft's first piece of computer hardware, most of the complaints center on the Windows RT OS and the dearth of available applications for the new platform. The Wall Street Journal's Walt Mossberg found many positives, although The Verge argues that far from being better than the iPad and other tablet competition, the Surface RT tablet is not even on par with them.
Mossberg said that he has been testing text the Surface RT tablet daily for the past three weeks and that he likes it. "It's beautifully and solidly built and it's the purest expression of Microsoft's new Windows 8 touchscreen operating system," said Mossberg. However, he criticized its lack of apps, poor battery life, weak cameras and a very buggy OS. David Pogue of The New York Times argued that as a piece of hardware, "Microsoft has succeeded brilliantly." However, he found it ironic that as a software maker, Microsoft's Windows RT and Office applications let the device down, as "little inconsistencies and bafflements are everywhere."
Joshua Topolsky of The Verge was the most scathing of the reviews in to date. "The whole thing is honestly perplexing. If this device is not as good as (or better than) the best tablet, and not a complete alternative to a laptop -- who is this for? What is it supposed to be?" he questioned. Matt Buchanan of FWD could not recommend it saying "[The Surface RT is] just another tablet. And not one you should buy." Gizmodo was likewise nonplussed and called the Surface RT a "technological heartbreak" and said that it is "in most ways inferior" to the Apple iPad.
The Surface RT tablet pre-orders, which have sold out in the US, are due to ship this Friday to coincide with the official launch of Windows 8 and Windows RT. The Surface RT tablet comes in 32GB and 64GB capacities. It centres on a 10.1-inch ClearType HD display with a resolution of 1366x768 pixels and supports 5-point multitouch gestures. It is powered by a quad-core Nvidia Tegra 3 processor matched with 2GB of RAM, while it weighs in at 1.5 pounds. It is priced starting at $499.