A bit of advice?

Discussion in 'Microsoft Surface 2' started by Spiderless, Oct 15, 2013.

  1. Spiderless

    Spiderless New Member

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    Hello,

    I'm not sure if this is the place to post this, so apologies if its not!

    I'm looking to buy a Surface 2 for university, but I'm unsure if it will do what I want it to (I have no experience with tablets but a lot with Windows).

    Primarily, I want it as a smaller laptop capable of basic web surfing and copy-pasting lots of images/text from the web into a single document (preferably then save-able as a PDF or Jpeg) - and that then saved into folders, like a normal PC. Can the Surface 2 do this or is it all run on apps? Would I have to consider the too-expensive-for-me Pro?
    The Windows app store doesn't seem that popular either, is it all that bad or are people being over dramatic?

    Also when looking at the Touch Cover 2 on MS' website it doesn't seem to be available for pre-order yet, anyone have any idea why?

    Thanks for any help offered!

    Adam
     
    Last edited: Oct 15, 2013
  2. kristalsoldier

    kristalsoldier Well-Known Member

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    Based on what you have posted, the Surface 2 can do all that. Of course, if you have any specialized x86 programs that you use or that your university may want you to use, then the SP2 is the way to go. As for the Windows Store, it depends on what you are looking for and that varies from person to person.

    Take me, for instance, I have a few travel apps, some currency converters, basic calculators, e-book readers etc. from the store and all of them were free. But then again, my requirements are minimalistic, which is why the Surface RT works for me. Of course, I use the built in Office Suite a lot. In essence, the RT functions as a very light and mobile laptop for me. Whenever I use it for browsing, the preinstalled IE works just fine. I should add that more often than not, I use my RT in an academic environment.

    Just remember one thing: The Surface RT - 2 has both the Metro interface (which is dedicated to apps) and the desktop mode (where only the preinstalled Office suite works). I'd recommend planning accordingly.

    Can't comment on the Touch Cover2 on the MS website. Sorry.
     
    Last edited: Oct 15, 2013
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  3. oion

    oion Well-Known Member

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    ^What kristalsoldier said, and if you have any websites you need to access that require Java, Surface 2 won't work. Likewise more advanced Flash-based conferencing software like Adobe Connect for online courses aren't going to be 100% either because of the required add-ons, and IE on Surface 2 (Windows RT) doesn't allow add-on installation. For regular surfing, it's fine.

    As for the app store, people are being overdramatic when they spew numbers (see my signature). If you don't have any preexisting notions about "walled garden" app stores, you'll be fine, really, but if you're extremely attached to a couple dozen iOS/Android apps that don't exist (yet?) in WinRT, that's another story. Keep in mind that in iOS/Android environments, the reason why there are a lot of social/web apps is because the tablet web browsers are quite stripped down and often incompatible with advanced features on the original websites; Internet Explorer in Windows RT is a full web browser with certain limitations, but it's compatible with the official Facebook home page, for example. Granted, an official FB app is supposedly coming, but my point is you need not rely on a special Netflix app if the website works fine in the browser.

    For regular classwork----also depending on your major----the Surface (Windows RT) is fine for the majority of students. The killer apps on Surface RT are Word, Excel, Powerpoint, and very soon Outlook.
     
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  4. The White Falcon

    The White Falcon New Member

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    Silverlight is another big one. Even though it's being phased out, lots of education websites still use it. And AFAIK it doesn't work with RT.

    The Windows Store has a good selection. It's not bare shelves anymore. And there are some really high quality apps in it.
     
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  5. oion

    oion Well-Known Member

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    Ah yes, Silverlight. None of the schools I went to used that, but it's good know what one's own university uses. A popular one was... Blackboard? I believe that uses both Javascript and Java. Otherwise my last grad school used mostly Adobe Connect, which is Flash.
     
  6. The White Falcon

    The White Falcon New Member

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    Sadly, it's an IT related company that uses it. But I think they'll port everything over to HTML 5 soon. I know Pearson tried that and it was just a total disaster-the school pretty well dumped their entire program mid semester. Like 95% of the assignments didn't work.
     
  7. oion

    oion Well-Known Member

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    Ouch. Failed software implementations at that scale are pretty horrible on all fronts. While I think the Surface RT line is generally quite good for school, it's just not 100% due to the special internal university software that tends to be used now that more and more courses are going partially or entirely online. The best advice for any uni student these days is to find out what their school uses for course tech and go from there... :/
     
  8. Spiderless

    Spiderless New Member

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    Thanks for the help everyone.

    It seems the Surface 2 will do what I want it to, but no java is a bit of a deal breaker as the uni "learning space" appears to use it.
    Can anyone recommend any tablets that run Windows 8/8.1 rather than RT? Preferrably cheaper than the Surface Pro too.

    Thanks again :)
     
  9. BruceDTX

    BruceDTX New Member

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    While I can't speak from experience, you may want to consider getting a Surface 2 and trying it. If you get one from Best Buy, their usual return policy is at least 14 days. You'd know plenty before that if it's gong to work for you or not.

    Just an idea
     
  10. oion

    oion Well-Known Member

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    Yes, if any required website uses Java, it won't work on a Surface RT/Surface 2.

    As for full-fat Windows 8.x tablets,
    here's a more complete chart: http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/List_of_Windows_8_and_RT_tablet_devices
    Here's another chart: Best Windows 8 Tablet Comparison Chart 2013 - Windows Tablet
    And a coming lineup: http://winsupersite.com/windows-8/fall-2013-windows-tablet-preview

    I can't make any particular recommendations because besides hardware spec and price, a lot comes down to personal preference. You should get to a store somewhere to handle as many as possible, but barring that, look at user reviews when possible and make a judgment call (some are stupid and useless, but use case ones are always good).
     
    Last edited: Oct 16, 2013
  11. Spiderless

    Spiderless New Member

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    Thanks again for the quick advice the links were very useful, unfortunately I don't have the time to test drive a Surface RT, I'd rather be sure its right before a purchase.

    I've decided to up my budget and go with the Surface Pro 2 - I need something fast, with a USB port, very slim and I don't really want to cut corners. The touch keyboard and pen will be incredibly useful to me. Also one of the authors in oion's links was of the opinion that cheap Windows 8 tablets tend to be a bit pants.

    So that brings me back to one of my first questions; the Touch Cover 2 still appears as 'Coming Soon' on the MS store despite the Type Cover 2 being available for pre-order, does anyone know why? (I'm in the UK if that helps)
     
  12. oion

    oion Well-Known Member

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    I would say the Surfaces' build quality will definitely last for years, and you can be certain that it's compatible with all legacy (32-bit and higher) Windows software and all websites, as you can also install any browser of your choice. If you happen to have an extra external monitor and keyboard lying around, that will help with the usability for long-term use as well--the Surface Pro line are easily primary devices replacing laptop/desktop for many (with the right peripherals).

    Someone else also asked about keyboard availability for the UK, but I don't think anyone has an answer for that besides MS... You could try to contact them to see what's up with that. Otherwise a store near you will have them in stock for the official launch day.

    Edit to add: You'll have to get MS Office at student discount for any full Windows machine, of course, since only Windows RT devices come with Office RT.
     
    Last edited: Oct 16, 2013

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