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First Review Leaked - Micro-HDMI, Dualband-WLAN etc...

Mr.NK

Super Moderator
Staff member
Hi,

found this over sveral pages/forums/google-cache. It's a leaked pcmag-review, with some interesting facts about questions asked in numerous threads:

pcmag said:
Microsoft Surface with Windows RT
EDITOR RATING: EXCELLENT

BY JOEL SANTO DOMINGO
The Microsoft Surface with Windows RT ($699 direct) is Microsoft's first entry into the wild world of tablets. Priced to compete with the Apple iPad , the Surface tablet with 64GB of storage comes with a 10.6-inch, five-point multi-touch screen. As is, it's aimed at users that want to do more than simply consuming media and websites, with innovative keyboard covers that make some of the more expensive Windows 8 tablets' docking solutions look absolutely clunky by comparison. Plus, it has an ace in the hole that makes it feel like a "real computer": The Surface comes with a full copy of Microsoft Office 2013 (Home and Student Edition). The Surface has the same user interface as upcoming Windows 8 laptops and tablets, thanks to Microsoft's Windows RT operating system. However, since the tablet uses Windows RT and a more economical ARM processor, the Surface isn't compatible with the majority of existing software made for Windows 7 and XP. This is the conundrum we find ourselves in while we look at Microsoft's first true computing device.


Design and Features
The Surface certainly looks like the prototypical "Post-PC" device: Its tapered and squared off sides make it look more like a prop from the Avengers than one of the rounded tablets on the market right now. The Surface measures roughly 7 by 11 by 0.37 inches (HWD), making it smaller than the Apple MacBook Air 11-inch , but a smidge longer than the current Apple iPad. Our review unit is the $699 top-of-the-line version from Microsoft, which includes a Surface Touch Cover. The Touch Cover resembles an Apple iPad Smart Cover, in that it protects the screen, and also puts it to sleep and wakes its up by closing and opening the cover. It's made of a synthetic material that protects the screen from fingerprints and even small amounts of liquid. The big difference lies in the pressure-sensitive film keyboard on the inside of the Touch Cover. It will make you forget that clunky keyboard on the Atari 400 ever happened. The Touch Cover keyboard is one of the most responsive ones we've ever used and when installed, turns the Surface into the quasi-laptop. (The Type cover is a little thicker, but uses real keyboard keys for more tactile feel when you type.)


The Touch Cover and Type Cover both latch on the bottom of the Surface with a proprietary magnetic latching mechanism. The latch is both simpler and more intuitive than the latches we've seen on other convertible tablets like the one on the HP ElitePad 900 and Asus Transformer Pad Infinity TF700 . If you hold the bottom of the Surface about a half-inch from the magnetic latch on either cover, the built-in magnets complete the job automatically with a satisfying click. Like in Microsoft's videos, you can hold the Surface by the cover while letting the tablet portion swing in midair, and the latch won't come free. Though the magnetic latch is strong, it takes virtually no effort to remove the cover with a free hand. There's just enough force resisting the act of detaching the cover to make sure you know you really want to detach the cover and are not just tugging on it. This means you can pull the Surface across a table by its cover and still not have it detach, but then pick the combo up and remove the cover quickly with a quicker tug.

The cover is supplemented by a metal kickstand that spans the back of the Surface. It folds out easel-style, and props the Surface up at a comfortable angle. You can also use the kickstand when you don't have the cover installed, like on the $399 Surface base model. Unfortunately, the kickstand's angle is not adjustable. The Surface leans back at about 22 degrees from vertical (about 68 degrees from horizontal), which is fine for use while you're seated.

The kickstand swings out easily, but Microsoft molded a finger catch only into the left-hand side of the Surface to help pull out the kickstand. If you try to open the kickstand with your right hand, it will be more difficult as the kickstand rests flush on the back of the tablet. Under the kickstand is a microSDXC card reader, capable of doubling the internal 64GB of storage. The base and midpriced Surface tablets come with 32GB of storage, so you'll have to use the micro SD card slot sooner or later on those models.

The 720p HD front-facing camera is angled straight out, but the back panel camera (also 720p) is angled up 22 degrees to offset the angling caused by the kickstand. That way, you can capture whatever is behind the Surface when it is propped on a table or other horizontal surface. The angled camera lens also means that you'll have to tilt the tablet a bit if you want to take a handheld picture with the Surface.

The Surface improves on the iPad (and most Android tablets) by having more I/O ports. A full sized laptop will of course have more ports, but the Surface comes with a full-sized USB 2.0 port, a headphone jack, and a micro HDMI port. Microsoft calls it a "Micro HD" port and sells a Micro HD-to-HDMI port adapter ($39.99 list), as well as a Micro HD-to-VGA adapter ($39.99 list). However, when we hooked up an off the shelf micro-HDMI-to-HDMI cable to the Surface, we were able to hook up to and use a HDMI monitor without any issues. The Surface supports extending Windows RT to the external screen, as well as mirroring the tablet's screen on the external display. This means you can use the Surface in a dual-monitor configuration, just like a desktop or laptop. The USB 2.0 port lets you use external peripherals like scanners, printers, keyboards, mice, and external hard drives. Speaking of mice, we were able to pair the Surface to a Microsoft Wedge Touch mouse and use it. The mouse automatically connected itself via Bluetooth after we woke the Surface from a sleep state or when we turned the mouse itself off then on again.

Surface for Everyday
Typing on the Surface while it sits on your lap does work, but only just. The keyboard flap may reach to and over your waistline, which may be awkward. The tablet and cover combo is pretty light, but the fact that the kickstand is effectively supported by the kickstand's two corners means that it digs into the tops of your legs. It's best to use the Surface and its keyboard cover on a flat table or desk.
Both the Type Cover and the Touch Cover are a little smaller than full size: Measure a standard laptop keyboard (like the one on a Lenovo ThinkPad X1 Carbon) , and it's about 7.5 inches edge-to-edge from Q to P keys. On the Surface Touch Cover and Type Cover, it's about 7.25 inches. You'll get used to the Surface keyboards fairly quickly, but there's a period of adjustment.

The row of function keys on the top of the keyboard are mapped to functions like Volume, Play/Pause, and the Home/Page Up/Page Down/Delete keys. Four function keys bring up the Charms bar, and functions including Search, Settings, and Share. The function keys are clearly marked with icons for each of the actions. The F1-F12 keys show up on the Type Cover, but not on the Touch Cover. For the Touch Cover, you'll need to hold down the Fn key to access the actual F1-F12 functions on some programs.

The included Touch Cover features a film keyboard embedded in a neoprene-like material. Since it is only 3.5mm thick, the keyboard on the Touch Cover doesn't have any tactile feedback. The Touch Cover activates the same audible feedback that you would get from the onscreen virtual keyboard, depending on the sound volume on your Surface (mute the sound, and you won't hear any "clicks.") Both covers feature a trackpad with areas marked off for left and right mouse clicks. Both trackpads are multitouch and feature gestures like two finger swipes and tap to left click.

The Type Cover has a set of physical keys that have an actual (shallow) travel. The Type Cover's tactile feel is a better bet for those who have tried and can't stand how the virtual keyboard feels on their fingertips when typing on a tablet's screen like on the Surface, Sony VAIO Tap 20, or the iPad.

While the Type Cover has actual tactile feel, the Touch Cover has better responsiveness. At first try, the Type Cover feels just a bit sloppier while typing than the Touch Cover, until you get used to it. Both are better than using the on-screen keyboard, partly because the screen has no "give," but mostly because the on-screen keyboard takes up a lot of space and will obscure on-screen elements like the browser or a Word document. You'll also welcome the fact that the Touch Cover has a softer feel than typing directly on the screen.

Switching keyboards is simple. The magnetic latches guide the cover into place. It takes only a few seconds to change the covers, and they're so light you could take both with you in a commute bag. The Surface slate weighs 1.48 pounds alone, 1.94 pounds with Touch Cover, 1.95 pounds with Type Cover, 2.20 pounds Touch Cover & AC adapter, and 2.22 pounds Type Cover & AC adapter. Basically, the tablet by itself works best when you're walking around at home; the Touch Cover is comfortable for about half an hour of steady work (or hours of IM and surfing); and the Type Cover (or an external Bluetooth keyboard) is necessary for serious writing (1,000+-word sessions).

Performance
The ARM architecture meant that our normal Windows-based benchmark rests like PCMark 7 and 3DMark 11 wouldn't run on the Surface. The Surface's 2GB of system memory, 1.3GHz quad-core Nvidia Tegra 3 processor, integrated Tegra 3 graphics, and 64GB SSD are decent components for a tablet. For example, the Nexus 7 uses the Tegra 3 processor to great effect, and so does the Microsoft Surface. On Rightware's Browsermark benchmark test, the Surface performed a bit slower than the New Apple iPad.
More important is the Surface's battery rundown numbers, which are good. The Surface eked out 7 hours 45 minutes in our video rundown test. That's not bad compared with ultrabooks like the Asus Zenbook Prime UX31A-R5102F , which barely managed to top 6 hours (6:11) on the same test. The iPad's battery rundown was more impressive at 10:54 on the test, but the iPad has a higher-capacity 42.5 WHr battery (compared with the Surface's 31.5 WHr battery). All in all, the Surface is pretty good and certainly powerful enough for day-to-day use.


Conclusion

In terms of its hardware and operating system, the Microsoft Surface with Windows RT is a very good product. It's very light, and powerful enough to run a version of Windows, so it's very attractive to Windows early adopters as well as business users who have plans to migrate to Windows 8. It's powerful enough to be a daily carry device for work, always with you on your commute across the state or across the country. It shares some programs and its main interface with Windows 8, which is a boon, provided you get used to using the new Windows UI. Users who haven't yet tried Windows 8 will have to get used to the new way of doing things, but since Microsoft has mandated that all new PCs come with either Windows 8 or Windows RT, you'll have to start using the new UI on new Windows PCs and tablets eventually.

So should you buy a Microsoft Surface instead of an iPad or Android tablet? If you use Microsoft Office for work or school, then it's a no-brainer: Get a Microsoft Surface (or one of the other upcoming Windows RT tablets). Even though Pages and QuickOffice are pretty good programs, you really can't beat a real copy of Office when your work is on the line. If you use Office programs constantly, the Surface is the tablet and laptop replacement your inner road warrior has been searching for. Discounting Office, the Windows Store's limited selection holds us back from giving the Surface an unequivocal recommendation, since the iTunes Store and the various Android stores have significantly more vast collections of apps. There's no doubt that the most popular apps will be ported over to Windows 8 and Windows RT, but when that will happen is still up in the air. If there's an app you can't possibly live without, then you should check if it's on the Windows Store before plunking down your money for the Surface. It's because of the limited selection in the Windows Store that we can't give the Microsoft Surface the tablet Editor's Choice over the Apple iPad or the Samsung Galaxy Note 10.1 . But we see the potential. If you're a tech pioneer or someone who appreciates well executed design, then you probably have already put the Microsoft Surface on order. In that case, enjoy.

PROS
Comes with a full version of Office 2013 (Home and Student).
Good battery life. MicroSDXC slot.
USB 2.0 port.
Compact.
Includes Touch Cover.
Touch Cover sleeps and wakes the tablet.
Micro-HDMI port.
No fans.
"Always connected." Dual band Wi-Fi (2.4GHz and 5GHz).

CONS
Kickstand assist only on left face.
Only one angle on kickstand.
Requires flat surface to use with Touch and Type covers.
Speakers are very soft.
Few apps on Microsoft's Store.
Not compatible with existing Windows 7 and XP programs.
Proprietary charger port.

BOTTOM LINE
The Microsoft Surface with Windows RT bridges the distance between tablet and laptop for many users, particularly if you use the Web or Microsoft Office constantly. The Surface has very good hardware and some innovative design, but Microsoft Office RT is the killer app that comes to the Surface and makes it shine.
Sounds nice :)
 

J515OP

Super Moderator
Great find, very clever checking the caches. It will be really nice to see these reviews coming flowing out in just a couple of days. The cons are pretty minor and the speakers (most likely) and apps issues can be overcome with software. Pretty short list of things that are wrong with it and of course Surface is just MS's version. The other hardware manufacturers will likely have hardware that addresses those con points in various ways to find what you need (kickstand angle, charging port, etc.)
 
OP
Mr.NK

Mr.NK

Super Moderator
Staff member
As for today, the net is full of reviews. After reading 4 of them, i think i managed to get a picture and that i'm quite ok with most of the drawbacks.
My main concern remains the ecosystem, using a WP 7.5 i'm aware of that problem ;)
 
OP
Mr.NK

Mr.NK

Super Moderator
Staff member
AnandTech was definitely the best review i''ve read so far. Not too enthusiastic and going into some interesting details.
 

MHC48

Member
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