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Question about Surface Reviews (principally, the RT)

pwaggs

Member
Thanks guys. I am glad that at least some of us are adventurous enough to try new things and to appreciate the good while understanding that not everything can be resolved in a single shot. I do hope MS supports the Surface - both the RT and the Pro - and that we have fresh options to choose from for to satisfy our personal (and professional) computing needs.

On another note, Mary Jo Foley, who writes a regular column for ZDNet, reports that we (Surface users) may look forward to a performance enhancing updating of the Mail, Calendar and Contacts app shortly...maybe even by the end of this month. (Microsoft to update its core Windows 8 apps well before 'Blue' | ZDNet)
Mary Jo's rumored March core Windows 8 update will be a beautiful thing. I LOVE my RT. However, some of its basic Microsoft App limitations are infuriating. Music's handling of Podcast is simply unexplainable after MS finally had its music software working so nicely through the Zune interface. Xbox music really feels like it was rushed out to meet a deadline. There is a chance that MS simply wanted to encourage outside rev, but this really needs to be completely integrated and seamless within the W8 and WP8 ecosystem.
 

Russ

Active Member
The reviewers lack intellectual integrity.

Chatterbot --

You do have a gift for understatement.

Actually, what they really hate about the RT is the logo on it. Maybe if it was a peach, or a plum, . . . . or maybe an apple -- would they like it better?

:)

Russ
 

sashlon

Member
I think is pretty clear that a lot of 'reviewers' didn't really give Surface RT a real chance.

Once you do all the updates (vital!) and take the time to really master the nuances of the OS, it becomes a joy to use. Its not perfect of course, its a version 1.0 of a new operating system.
 

Jglnaz372

New Member
When I read the reviews of the Surface I am always curious if they mention how long they had the unit. Using it for an afternoon does not, in my opinion, give a good and accurate review. Just like a car, driving it a mile does not give the full picture of what it is all about. You can get a quick overview and form some ideas, but long term use to me is more balanced. Bias is the other problem, but using forums like this one helps you find out what is really going on with the Surface and its users. Many, like myself, have found the RT to be a great tablet, certainly not perfect, but has much going for it and hopefully Microsoft will continue to improve it.
 
OP
kristalsoldier

kristalsoldier

Well-Known Member
When I read the reviews of the Surface I am always curious if they mention how long they had the unit. Using it for an afternoon does not, in my opinion, give a good and accurate review. Just like a car, driving it a mile does not give the full picture of what it is all about. You can get a quick overview and form some ideas, but long term use to me is more balanced. Bias is the other problem, but using forums like this one helps you find out what is really going on with the Surface and its users. Many, like myself, have found the RT to be a great tablet, certainly not perfect, but has much going for it and hopefully Microsoft will continue to improve it.

Agreed! Of course, some reviewers claim that they use the unit for a few weeks and some for a month. Yet, as you point out, it is not enough. One point though with reference to your observation of the RT as a tablet. Yes, that it is. However, I have found the RT to be an excellent hybrid machine - part tablet and part ultra-ultra mobile laptop.
 
Thanks guys. I am glad that at least some of us are adventurous enough to try new things and to appreciate the good while understanding that not everything can be resolved in a single shot. I do hope MS supports the Surface - both the RT and the Pro - and that we have fresh options to choose from for to satisfy our personal (and professional) computing needs.

On another note, Mary Jo Foley, who writes a regular column for ZDNet, reports that we (Surface users) may look forward to a performance enhancing updating of the Mail, Calendar and Contacts app shortly...maybe even by the end of this month. (Microsoft to update its core Windows 8 apps well before 'Blue' | ZDNet)

Ziff-Davis cannot be trusted on anything. They are bought and paid for by Apple and will ALWAYS slam any competitors to Apple.
 
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kristalsoldier

kristalsoldier

Well-Known Member
So...I revisited Ed Bott's "60 days with the Surface RT" (you can read the original article here: My 60 days with the Surface RT | ZDNet). I focused on the negative (in Bott's words "So what’s wrong/frustrating about the Surface?") points, which I am reproducing here:

•The selection of available apps is still weak. The number of apps is growing slowly, but it’s still a tiny fraction of what the Apple and Android ecosystems have to offer. And many of those apps, even some from Microsoft, have a “we’re still figuring out how to work with this user interface” feeling to them.
•This device, with its 16:9 display, works best in a horizontal orientation and is awkward (to put it mildly) in a vertical arrangement. There are benefits to this design, including the ability to snap one app (like a Twitter feed) into a pane on the side while you work with another app in the larger space alongside it. It also allows you to watch HD movies the way they were shot. But this design choice makes reading ebooks using Amazon’s Kindle app a two-handed operation. (To make things worse, the RT version of the Kindle app only shows a single page in landscape orientation, while the x86/x64 version can display two pages. Why?)
•Working in a world where Internet Explorer is your only browser can be frustrating or even infuriating. Some websites, for good reasons or bad, don’t work properly with Internet Explorer 10. For a ZDNet blogger like me, that’s a showstopper, because the ZDNet back end doesn’t allow uploading of images from Internet Explorer 10. The action simply fails. On a Windows 8 PC, I can just flip over to Chrome or Firefox. With Windows RT, the option to use an alternative browser simply doesn’t exist.
•The Office 2013 apps in Windows RT are almost but not quite the same as their x86 counterparts. For most tasks, that’s no big deal, but occasionally I run across a document spreadsheet that depends on Word or Excel macros. Oops! Macros aren’t supported on Windows RT.
•The lack of comprehensive driver support is an issue. A big theoretical advantage of Windows RT is that it allows connections to printers. Except there’s no RT driver for my printer, which means that advantage is still theoretical. Likewise, plugging in any USB device other than a flash drive is likely to be frustrating. I have yet to find a USB-to-Ethernet adapter that Windows RT supports, for example.

Summarized, these bullet points look like this:

  • App selection/ Store
  • Display orientation
  • IE being the only browser
  • Office 2013 RT not being the full version
  • Lack of driver support

None of this is or should be new to those of us who have bought and use the RT. But equally, my personal opinion is that none of these negative points are really that substantive. Let me address them one at a time:

First, the App Store. In my original post I have addressed this. Briefly, yes, the App store is relatively sparsely populated. Most likely it will take time to build up. And, MS should subsidize developers (perhaps by providing a time-bound income stream) to develop robust apps for the most common apps.

Second, display orientation. I am still not sure what the problem here is aside from the fact that Apple has apparently patented what may be the most optimal size and dimension that befits a tablet. Again, I am not sure about this. The landscape mode does have its advantages and it ends up being a question of trade-offs, which we do all the time.

Third, IE being the only browser. Well, yes, I can see that - especially because before I started using the Surface and Win 8 on my desktop, I was (and to some extent remain) heavily invested in Google's services. But I can understand MS's logic for pursuing this course of action. Unlike Google (who probably cares less what browser we use as long as it is able to go about its data mining and ad-related activities) MS and to a certain extent Apple (principally with the iPad) want to be our window to the web. Seeing that we live in the browser, MS and Apple would like us to see the web through their eyes. And one consequence of this is that both companies are increasingly becoming exclusionary (though they can't afford to do this on their respective desktop OSs). In effect, therefore, MS is asking us to make a choice - like Apple has asked and the singular browser is a manifestation of that.

Fourth, Office 2013 RT is not the full version. Yeah right! I thank my stars that at least I have a version of Office that does not break documents that I create in the full version in the first place - and yes, I have tried - as most of you must also have - to use the various clones that the Android world offers. Not having tried the Apple versions, I would not know.

Fifth, and lastly, the driver issue. Yes, this may be a problem where peripherals are concerned. But thus far, I have not really run into a problem. But definitely, MS needs to up the ante here because this is, again in my opinion, one of the key USPs of the Surface RT.

Ok...so why did I post all this? Just wanted to get this off my chest. And, of course, to invite your opinions!

Cheers!
 
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kristalsoldier

kristalsoldier

Well-Known Member
Here is an article that directly addresses the 'negative reviews' of the Surface - though the article focus on the Surface Pro, arguably, a similar case could be made for the Surface RT. The article is here: Surface Pro Sniping
 

oneniner

New Member
Well said. you echoed my thoughts. I replaced an Android tab with the RT. During my research I tried the RT and walked away. Each time I entered a store I would poke around some more on the RT, watched some YouTube tutorials and I was hooked. Many folks don't like change and do not want to try or learn anything new. I think it is the best tablet and UI available and Windows 8 is rich in features and capability. And believe me, I was no MS fan. Always had and still have Macs and the wife is an iPad user.
 

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