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One man's surface RT experience journal


New Member
Hello all,

I picked up a surface RT Dec 24th and I have until January 24th to return it. In the meantime I will attempt to use the surface RT exclusively instead of my laptop to decide if I wish to keep it or return it.

Firstly, I should outline my typical usage scenario for my old laptop.

  • random web browsing and research
  • remote administration of my various Linux / windows boxes using ssh and rdp
  • listening to music
  • instant messaging with friends and family
  • watching movies/tv series that are mkv encoded
  • recipe reference while cooking

Basic familiarization with the surface and the windows rt os. Was pleasantly surprised that I had no issues setting up my insanely old brother laser printer to print wirelessly from the surface rt. Amazed at the speed and finesse that it handles pretty much everything I've thrown at it considering it's only a tegra 3 arm processor. MS has done a fantastic job optimizing the widows rt operating system to run on arm. My biggest issue so far is the odd flimsy nature of the touch cover and the inability to use it on my lap while I relax in my recliner.

I've also noticed some issues with the touch cover. It seems that if you type very fast it simply does not want to register some of the keystrokes. Also it seems that some keys require a tad more pressure than others to register and it has become a chore to type anything of great length on this. regardless I will carry on.

A note about the touch pad. It seems there is a bit of lag between the time you use it as a two finger scroller and the time it will register as a standard cursor. Example: use two fingers to scroll down a web-page the immediately try to use it to move the mouse cursor. There is a 1-3 second lag time before it will register the cursor movement.


I dug out an old Belkin foam wedge for resting your laptop on in order to remedy the situation with using the surface on my lap. This seem to have fixed any comfort issues there and can now comfortably use the surface in my recliner.

The touch-cover issues persist

I have a new issue to add to my list of shortcomings. There simply is no way to do google-talk style video/voice chat on the windows rt operating system at this point. There are several ways to do text-style messaging but that is all.

IE10 sound: it seems that if you want to stream some audio from a web page such as amazon's cloud music player and then switch ie to the background it will silence the audio. So unless there is a "modern ui" app for the music you wish to stream you're out of luck with multitasking.

I continue to be impressed with everything about windows rt and the surface. I feel if I am going to keep this past the 30 day mark I will have to switch to a type cover.
Thanks for sharing your experience. I must say that I haven't experienced the issues you describe with the touch cover, so far.

There is an app called Trackpad Settings which might be of some help to you with that issue. As for the keys, I find them very responsive so perhaps you got a defective Touch Cover? Just a thought.
For video chat, I don't think you will see Google Talk since Google doesn't want to support their apps (other than search) on Windows 8, try Skype.
I'm able to login to my Sirius Radio internet account and listen while doing other things with no problem. I'm doing it right now.
I have the same touch cover probs - but in fairness I seldom use it as I haven't yet tried my surface for real work. I really like the online keyboard for basic tablet use.
I've had some issues with the touch screen refusing to acknowledge the tapping of the letter "u." The auto insert is a big plus.
get the type cover, you wont regret it. I have both and never use the touch anymore. The difference is night and day if you type much.
Stream Amazon on desktop IE, you can then multi task while music keeps playing. I hope MS does fix Metro IE to stream in the background and while the Surface sleeps, it would nicely fill in for missing music streaming apps.

Firstly, thanks for the feedback so far. It's odd how the desktop IE10 will play music in the background but the "Modern UI" version won't. As much polish as this product has there still some relatively unfinished features. My newest thing on the list of problem areas is the IE10-Modern Favorites functionality. I'm not sure how all of you use your favorites, but I keep all mine organized nicely into folders. The IE10-desktop still keeps the folder formatting but in IE10-Modern it becomes one endlessly long stream of bookmarks, completely useless.

I've hit a few minor hiccups in some software compatibility, I suspect this will all be remedied over time as developers get up to speed. Another thing to note, I have my phone Bluetooth paired with the surface and have Bluetooth tethering turned on but the surface simply errors out when trying to use it. All my regular win8 machines don't have an issue using the Bluetooth tethering.

Pleasantly surprised with the battery life, yesterday I used the tablet on/off for my regular usage patterns the entire day (8am-11pm) without charging once and ended @ 40% battery life. This makes me wonder if my battery dependency for regular usage is as much as I thought. I may end up going to the Pro if I continue to have 40-50% battery left at the end of each day.

The form factor keeps getting in the way as I try to use the surface on my lap, I continually find it flopping forward on it's face despite using a lap-desk. The kickstand is priceless when I want to use it as a tablet while cooking or something, but I can't help but wonder if a true keyboard dock might not have been the way to go. Perhaps in the future we will see a different version of the type cover with a spring loaded hinge of sorts. I wonder if MS will allow 3rd parties to produce accessories as Apple has done with the "I" product line.

At this point I'm about 60% for keeping it on some form (RT or Pro) and 40% for returning it. I'll have another update tomorrow, and keep the feedback coming.
The reason that the Modern UI version of IE won't continue to play is that all Modern UI Apps get suspended when they lose focus, this conserves battery and CPU/Memory. This is true with any of the Modern Apps, with the exception of small codes snippets that you approve to run in the background.