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Win 8.1 and RT 8.1 Impressions


Hmm, well there is always the possibility of specific hardware error but this has been an ongoing problem with my Surface Pro. I swipe back to a prior page and the little dots get going and it just sits there sort of grayed out for 10 seconds or more. Also, I'm not experiencing lag anywhere else, just in Metro IE.

Hmmm, just tested a relatively graphics-heavy website Product reviews and prices, software downloads, and tech news - CNET and yeah, when I swipe back each page takes 2 to 3 (or more) seconds to refresh with the little dots running across the bottom. I am guessing they are having the server reload the page which really is unnecessary; it should just be cached and load instantly. They should at least give us an option of how we want that to behave - reload or just go to cache.

Also sometimes I swipe back and the prior page momentarily appears grayed out then the page I swiped from reappears and I don't go back to the prior page at all.

** Ok, I turned off all the privacy settings that might have been slowing things down some and it does seem a bit faster. I notice a website like MSN that is optimized for Windows works very quickly, but others do not.

Ah ok. I don't back swipe a lot and never noticed if it was site specific. I just went to a couple open sites and tried to swipe back. All went fast, less than a second. I will play around with some others over a couple days and let you know if I encounter any of this lag. Which "privacy" settings? I just browse at defaults, probably a bad idea, but maybe that is one reason. I use "in private tab" sometimes but haven't noticed any lag but I will try that too. Well either way good luck, hope it sorts itself out for you.


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Maybe, but I'd rather just simulate my average work conditions!

This is always the best, yes. The reason why I suggested a Youtube playlist is because that would still use wifi, whereas I don't know if other traditional video loop tests only use a locally stored file, and I expect battery behavior to be a bit different between the two scenarios.

Edit to add about the IE website refresh issue: My desktop Opera browser has both Javascript and Flash disabled for regular browsing, which significantly decreases all load times. If IE would put toggles for those on the UI, that would make me so very happy...
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I'm happier with 8.1 than 8. The addition of outlook allows me to access all my email servers. The time lag I experienced typing before has not been experienced since the upgrade. I'm really pleased with the upgrade.


New Member
now that everything is sorted out, I am really happy with 8.1 everything is noticeably faster, even the boot time is faster! so far everything is working flawless and also I read in another forum you can have 4 rows of tiles now with no hacks! (SHWEET!) and I find it MUCH easier to arrange the tiles how you like, I can only surmise that 8.1 will just keep getting better as the rollouts of updates keeps coming. I gotta say well done MS for a very good improvement!
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While I continue to think that 8.1 is a massive improvement over 8.0 especially on the RT platform, however, I also find - now after some very unscientific testing - that there is definitely a hit on the battery. I estimate that the hit is to the tune of about 15%. Now, I am not sure why this is happening. The following is my scenario:

Surface RT running 8.1 (updated from 8.0 via the Windows Store)
WiFi on; BT off
Screen brightness between 40-45%

I have been testing - if you can call it that - the battery life in the following conditions:

Mail app - installed and uninstalled 3 times. Continuously syncing 3 accounts (including one Gmail account with over 4GB worth of mails)
IE 11 running all the time (with a minimum of 3 tabs open all the time)
Frequent dipping into the Store to check for apps etc.
SkyDrive App open all the time
One Word document open all the time.

With this, I seem to be getting a cumulative battery life of about 6 hers 30 mins, which is less than what I normally used to get when I was running 8.0.

There is one point, however, on which I should probably pay a bit more attention: The screen brightness. I don't quite remember whether I had it up as much as I do now. Maybe I'll reduce it a bit and see what happens. Also, when I was on 8.0, the Mail app was not syncing all the time - maybe it did when originally set up, but later, when everything had stabilized - which is what I am comparing to - it was not. So, maybe it could be these two things that are reducing the battery life to the extent that it is.

There are some noticeable improvements that I can see now after the first couple of days.

First, typing (using the Type cover) has become more fluid - this is both in the browser (like on this site) and in Office. Most welcome!

Second, something has happened to the font - I can't exactly explain what, but it seems crisper and more clean - again this is both in the browser and in Office. Again, most welcome!

Third, IE 11 has proved to be a mixed bag for me - at least as of now. The problems with how results etc. are rendered on Google remain - but I expect that is a Google problem; Some sites seem to lag heavily - I have no idea why? The same sites performed quite smoothly on IE10. I have tried mucking around with the security and permissions, but to no avail. All in all, IE11 still is a bit rough around the edges for me. Perhaps updates from MS over the next few weeks may fix certain things.

Fourth, the Modern UI seems smoother. The ability to customize the tiles, sync across devices etc. gives, if nothing else, an illusion of control and personalization, which I like. My Surface looks a hell of a lot more elegant now. And, THAT I like.

Fifth, while I have mentioned this before, I continue to remain amazed by the SkyDrive integration. I also learnt how to mirror-save local files, which is going to be a big help when I travel, which will be in the next 12 days!

So, this leads me back to the question on which I have been droning on and on for the past few weeks - Will I now opt for the Surface 2?

First things first. If I do, then I will buy it in later November or early December (after I get back from my travels). I can only imagine what the experience of using the Surface 2 will be given that it will come with 8.1 preinstalled + having the Tegra4 Soc! That said, there are now three basic attractors that the Surface 2 has for me. In order of importance: (1) Battery life (and the possibility of extending the same later next year with the Power cover - leaving aside the added weight issue for the moment); (2) The 2-step kickstand; (3) Lighter weight/ higher res screen (these two issue sties with each other - but if I had to single out one reason, I'd probably point to the weight issue rather than the screen because the current Surface RT's screen is not bad at all at least for my purposes).


Well-Known Member
Hopefully we'll get a lot more evidence of battery life changes, anectodal or scientific both, in the next week.

So, this leads me back to the question on which I have been droning on and on for the past few weeks - Will I now opt for the Surface 2?

Just buy and be done with it. Sheesh. :p You're exhibiting some extreme PRE-buyer's remorse, that's for sure!


Well-Known Member
Hopefully we'll get a lot more evidence of battery life changes, anectodal or scientific both, in the next week.

Just buy and be done with it. Sheesh. :p You're exhibiting some extreme PRE-buyer's remorse, that's for sure!

Easy for you to say... But I have to do the packing when I travel. For example, for my upcoming trip, I am carrying 4 tablets, 3 phones and I wonder what the Customs Officers at my destination are going to think about it. While I have valid reasons, I am not sure they would understand and/ or appreciate it.

If I get the Surface 2, I'll have valid reasons, and then there will be 5 tablets!!! Can't sell or give them away (I think I have posted some of the reasons why so no point going over those reasons again).

I always seem to agonize over these decisions!!!! But this is, in a sense, the ecstasy of agony...!!!!