What's new

Shape and Size of the Surface


New Member
Is anyone else thinking that the Surface would be much more comfortable to hold in tablet form (without a keyboard) if it was the same size as the iPad.

The 16:9 ratio and larger size just doesn't feel comfortable to hold even in landscape mode. Portrait mode is how I would prefer to read, but that is even more awkward. I have not been able to use the Surface as an eReader because of the odd shape.

I almost wish that Microsoft would have mimicked the size used by Asus with the Vivo Tab RT.

Additionally, there is also no comfortable typing mode if typing without the keyboard cover. The kick stand positions itself at an angle that is too vertical.

Aside from not having enough Apps, the actual shape of the hardware continues to bug me. It just can't fulfill all my needs as a tablet because of its odd shape I put it down and actually pick up my laptop.

Part of it may be that I have been an iPad user since its release and have become accustomed to its shape and size. I sold my iPad to buy the Surface and have been continuing to have buyer's remorse...


Super Moderator
Wow, that is nit picky and really personal preference. First of all the Surface isn't an e-reader so that isn't a very good comparison for holding and shape purposes. There is a reason readers (even tablet readers) aren't usually larger than 7" and are very light. However, other than the iPad mini, they share the same 16:9 shape as the Surface and meant to be used primarily in portrait mode, so that is a counterpoint to your opinion that 16:9 portrait isn't a good reader shape.

I think you are also over exaggerating the difference in size and shape. The reality is that they aren't that physically different. iPad 3 vs Microsoft Surface, booting & size comparison » Phone Reviews



Also I think you misunderstand the function of the kickstand. While it will certainly work with the onscreen keyboard while seated at a desk, the point is the Surface is a tablet. Do you prop the iPad up at a vertical angle like that to use the on screen keyboard? Probably not you just set it in your lap or flat on a surface and type away just like any other tablet without a kickstand. There is no reason you can't type on the Surface on screen keyboard without the kick stand just as you would any other tablet.

It has been said may times, the apps are coming and the store grows by hundreds everyday. There is no excuse for not knowing the apps selection is limited compared to iOS and Android since it has been well reported. If you thought there were going to be more apps and you weren't going to have some patience for the market to mature you formed the wrong impression.

Perhaps you did get the wrong device but that is all based on personal preference of things like aspect ratio and app selection not on any technical specs or short comings. If you like the iPad design better and that is all that matters then stick with the iPad. You bought the Surface knowing the shape it has and nothing is going to change that if you don't like it.



If the Surface wasn't 16:9 I wouldn't have bought it, in my opinion a 4:3 tablet like the iPad is awkward and reminds me of old TV's. There is nothing I hate more than watching a widescreen movie on a 4:3 screen. Of course this is my opinion and everyone needs to find the device that works best for them.


New Member
I bought the Surface because I liked the OS. The Live Tiles interface caught my eye and really helps the OS stand apart from Apple's.

When playing with the Surface at the MS store it's impossible to replicate what it will be like to use the product every day in the house. The one decision I was able to make from playing with it in the store was which cover to buy. In my case, I bought the Type.

I am not sure how anyone can argue that the device is really useless in Portrait mode. The iPad and other Android tablets become pretty ideal to use in portrait mode for reading books. E-Ink readers are not able to compete with tablets when it comes to taking notes and highlighting when reading a book.

To the earlier point about typing angles- I rarely use the iPad on its own to type. Any 3rd party case, or the smart cover offers a typing angle/s. This becomes virtually impossible on the Surface since putting the tablet in a case will eliminate the kick stand functionality...

I am not necessarily giving up on the product, but I have some frustrations with the limitations resulting from the design decisions. Maybe I'll eventually learn to appreciate these design decisions which is why I decided to post this thread and see what other think about the screen size & shape of the tablet.


New Member
What does this have to do with not being a rubber stamp fan? The question is very simple, would the Surface be a better device if it was released in a more traditional 10 inch form factor?

MSFT is trying to capture the same consumer market as Apple with the RT.. So regardless of whether or not you are a rubber stamp fan the long term success of the Surface RT is dependent on mass sales.

If anything, MSFT has made a living on being the rubber stamp brand... windows, office, etc... I get that we are the early adopters here, but the success of any product is really determined when it can appeal to the larger mass market.

I also don't think anyone would accuse Apple of being the rubber stamp company. They have never cooperated on the pricing of a device so that it becomes more affordable... Consumers have chosen their products for the design and build quality. If anything, the Surface RT is taking a page out of Apple when it comes to building a premium device... This is exactly what also attracted me to the product (I.e., the videos where they talk about how they spent months on capturing a certain sound when the kick stand opens, or when the keyboard is connected.)


New Member
When using the Surface sans-cover (without a keyboard), I've personally found it an excellent form factor. Typing on a screen is always going to be a trade-off, regardless of manufacturer. In a widescreen format, you have to have pretty big hands to reach the middle keys if you are also using both hands to hold and support the device, otherwise, you have to hold with one hand and type with the other. I guess that's part of the reason why Microsoft included the option to 'split' the keyboard so you can just type with your thumbs. This is a very useful feature and one that really lets me use the device the way I want.

When I'm relaxing and just need to type occasionally (entering search terms, URLs etc) then I'll use the keyboard in split mode. If I'm doing more typing, or if I'm sat upright with the device flat in my lap, I use the 'normal' onscreen keyboard. Finally, I do have the touch cover to attach when I take my Surface to work and use it to take notes in meetings.
Essentially, I've found the best ways of working with the device.... For me

Finding the best way of working with a device when you've been used to something else however, is another matter, as it will naturally highlight in your own mind the differences between what you were used to before. Personally, I would say that this doesn't mean the iPad form factor is 'better' - but nor is it worse. It's just different.

That said, in both scenarios there is a trade off. In these heady new days of touch and hybrids and tablets, many manufacturers love to talk about 'no compromise' computing experiences. However there are always compromises. Apple made a conscious decision to go with a 4:3 layout, knowing full well that it would deliver a less than stellar experience for watching movies. Microsoft have made the choice to go widescreen, and that could be argued to compromise comfort when using the device in certain ways. Do I think Microsoft have done enough to compensate for that? Personally, yes.

I think you should perservere with the device and try out different on-screen keyboard layouts, and just pick the one that makes the most sense, adapting as you go, and factoring in that a way of working that makes sense when lounging on your sofa might not be applicable for sitting at a desk. This is the beauty of Surface - you can quickly adapt to different situations.

Of course, the other great thing about all of this Windows 8 stuff, is that there are a whole boatload of different devices to choose from, but I'm happy with my Surface!

For disclosure - I have never owned an iPad, so I've never had to get used to Surface having previously used something else.


Ok - I use my Surface everyday and recently I've been catching the train to work so I've been using the Freda eBook quite a lot and I'm now on my third book. I've set the page to display 2 pages and this mimics how I would read a book. I've found that I've been resting the tab in the crook of my arm and it seems really natural and easy. I don't think I'd have been able to read 2 1/2 books in a week and a half if it wasn't. Reading in portrait mode seems fine too when at the platform. I can't see a problem with it's size at all and neither can my girlfriend .... but then again she's used to 10.6" - sorry couldn't resist. But seriously maybe you need to buy an iPad if you can't handle the size or man up
Sent from my Windows 8 device using Board Express Pro


Well-Known Member
What does this have to do with not being a rubber stamp fan?

It's just my opinion. My point was that I'm happy to see Microsoft didn't make their tablet the same size as the iPad. Now calling windows and office a 'rubber stamp' brand.... I find that very funny.


Staff member
10.6 was carefully picked by the designers for two reasons, screen splitting with the Modern UI offered the best functionality and also it offered the best experience in Thumb Typing. 11.6 and Thumb Typing is very uncomfortable and 10.1 with the screen splitting feels to small.


Active Member
10.6 was carefully picked by the designers for two reasons, screen splitting with the Modern UI offered the best functionality and also it offered the best experience in Thumb Typing. 11.6 and Thumb Typing is very uncomfortable and 10.1 with the screen splitting feels to small.

Also, my understanding is that the wider format allowed for nearly full-size touch/type keyboards.