Type Cover

If Microsoft’s Touch Cover is the perfect companion for occasional typing, its Type Cover is the professional counterpart. Thickness increases by roughly 2.2mm, enough to be noticeable while still maintaining the svelte profile of Surface, but in exchange for marginally more bulk you get a keyboard with actuating scissor keys.

The keys themselves are a little bigger than in Touch Cover, thus reducing the amount of empty space between each key, but overall the feel is very similar. Where Type Cover really delivers is in its use of scissor keys. If you want more of a notebook feel, this is the way to go.

Typing quickly on Type Cover isn’t fatiguing at all and it’s just as easy to write large documents or emails using it as it would be on a traditional notebook. There are very few tradeoffs that you make to enjoy Type Cover. There’s only one color (black), and of course there is some additional thickness. The keyboard itself isn’t perfect but it’s good enough to write this review on.

I actually wasn’t bothered by the relatively shallow keystroke depth on Type Cover, although I am very used to the relatively shallow feel of most ultraportable keyboards by now. If you’re expecting the same sort of keyboard as you’d find on a thick mainstream notebook, you will be disappointed.

Type Cover’s trackpad is marginally better than what you get with Touch Cover. The trackpad is actually a tiny, top-hinged clickpad, which makes clicking a bit easier. Tap to click and two finger scrolling are both supported. The trackpad surface isn’t particularly smooth, and it isn’t all that large of a surface which work together to make scrolling nice and frustrating. The lower right section of the trackpad serves as a physical right mouse button.

Type Cover sells at a $10 premium to Touch Cover. At $129 it isn’t cheap, but it’s likely the option anyone who is going to do a lot of typing will need to take to get the most out of their Surface RT tablet. 

My only complaint with Type Cover was that it would randomly stop accepting keystrokes in mid sentence, sometimes even in the middle of a word. I’m not entirely sure what’s going on, whether I’m hitting performance limitations and the platform  is just dropping keystrokes or if there’s a physical problem with my unit (or Type Cover in general), but it was annoying. Even with the occasional dropped keystrokes I was still able to type faster and better on Type Cover than I could with Touch Cover. If you write for a living, you can live with Touch Cover, but you’d probably rather have Type Cover. Neither is as good as a traditional notebook keyboard, but both are light years ahead of typing on a glass screen.

Thing aka Touch Cover Display: Not Retina, But Still Good
POST A COMMENT

235 Comments

View All Comments

  • PeteH - Wednesday, October 24, 2012 - link

    I disagree. I think what you're seeing as "forced" is genuine uncertainty, which I think is to be expected from any reviewer when a device doesn't fit well into an existing category.

    I know my feelings on the Surface can be best described as intrigued, but uncertain.
    Reply
  • Ryan Smith - Tuesday, October 23, 2012 - link

    Noted. Thank you. Reply
  • JumpingJack - Tuesday, October 23, 2012 - link

    "Application launch times are another thing entirely. Nearly every application I launched took longer than I would’ve liked on Surface. I can’t tell if this is a hardware issue or a software optimization problem, but application launches on Surface/Windows RT clearly take more time than on an iPad. I timed a few just to put this in perspective:"

    And then there is nothing after the colon -- just the next paragraph.
    Reply
  • andykins - Tuesday, October 23, 2012 - link

    On the chassis and construction page:

    'A Focus on Flexibility
    Surface’s design began with a simple concept: a Moleskine notebook. Microsoft wanted to emulate the convenience, ergonomics and overall feel of carrying around a well made'

    then there's nothing. What is it that's well made? You're killing me haha! Otherwise enjoying the review!
    Reply
  • Kevin G - Tuesday, October 23, 2012 - link

    Perhaps he was using the type cover? Reply
  • Ryan Smith - Tuesday, October 23, 2012 - link

    Unfortunately the timing of this week has been against us. Between Vishera, an Apple event, and Surface, we're stretched thinner than ever before. In this case Anand wasn't able to complete some of the charts on time, which is why it looks like stuff is missing.

    Anyhow, Anand is currently enjoying a well deserved nap at 35,000 feet. Once he's back down on the ground we'll get those filled in. Our apologies, and please pardon the dust.
    Reply
  • JumpingJack - Tuesday, October 23, 2012 - link

    No apologies needed. Great review. Reply
  • Kevin G - Tuesday, October 23, 2012 - link

    I was wondering where the next podcast was and then everything had their NDA's lift today. AMD CPU's, new iPads, and Surface reviews all in one day? That's a lot of content all at once. Then you have Google and MS making more noise later this week too. Reply
  • MilwaukeeMike - Wednesday, October 24, 2012 - link

    Yeah, we know... i was very surprised to see this review today. Your intelligent readers know that there are sacrifices required to get a review out as fast as this one. The iPhone 5 review didn't come out for weeks after it was released and Surface isn't even for sale yet. Reply
  • Dug - Tuesday, October 23, 2012 - link

    At $699, which is the version I would want to get, it just too close to something like an 11" macbook air.

    As far as trying to get work done on a tablet, this is obviously a better solution than Android or Apple's efforts, as they are geared more to a consumption devices.

    But I don't think the Surface will be able to snag enough users without something faster than the tegra. The killer app for it will be Office, but without full compatibility of the x86 version I don't know if this will be a hindrance for RT.
    Reply

Log in

Don't have an account? Sign up now