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
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  • Mumrik - Tuesday, October 23, 2012 - link

    As someone who picked up a 32GB HP Touchpad for $149 and slapped ICS on it via CyanogenMod, I still don't understand the appeal of this kind of tablet.

    To me, it physically looks absolute great, and blows any iPad out of the waters (but, to be fair, I never liked Apple's designs), but I still don't know why one would buy a $5-600 high end tablet. Why not a compact laptop at that point? We're clearly far beyond a few mobile games, youtube/720P videos and ebooks. Don't tablets make more sense at the lower end?

    For $149, I've gotten a hell of a lot out of my tablet, but these are on the edge of ThinkPad X-series territory.
    Reply
  • Zink - Tuesday, October 23, 2012 - link

    That was a fire sale for way bellow cost so it doesn't really apply to current pricing.

    Tablets don't replace portable laptops, just another option. Both have their trade offs and fit different users, for example my Mom. Many users also have a tablet in addition to a laptop.

    Tablets offer multi-touch for games and relaxed use, battery life, portability, simplicity, and screen quality to name a few benefits.
    Reply
  • Mumrik - Wednesday, October 24, 2012 - link

    The firesale was part of my point, but that general price bracket also now exists as a regular part of the tablet market.

    The things you mention at the end are what I see them do as well, but where does the 500+ dollar tablet fit into that? Unless you want some ultra high definition on that screen, those needs are filled quite well by cheaper tablets.
    Reply
  • PubFiction - Wednesday, October 24, 2012 - link

    I would agree with you but at $499 or higher apple is moving millions of tablets so clearly other people do not seem to think that way. Your comments are basically neither here no there. The usefulness of slate tablets is a side arguement, I do not own them as you said because I would rather just have a real functional laptop. But part of the greatness of windows 8 is that it will finally push vendors to not so much jump into the tablet market but actually functionally merge the laptop and the laptop to a point where they become one device and no one needs to make a decision about one or the other or carry both. Reply
  • shompa - Wednesday, October 24, 2012 - link

    Do you really think its a mass market to hack tablets?

    This is a product for non-nerds and Office.

    (Hint: When you get older you will stop caring about hacking stuff. You want thing just to work. After working 8 hour with computers you want to come home to a computer setup that works. Including that all you family and friends have working stuff since you are support 24/7 for them. Many IT professionals like me solves this by just buying a bunch of macs and hand them out. "now it works. Don't call me for support".
    Building you own PCs are meaningless. You have 1000 dollar extra to buy an Alienware. You also will be interested in pussy. Beautiful designed stuff (like Apple stuff) attracts pussy. And I like pussy even if I am married. (*hint2* never get married). Hacking stuff is a pussy repellant. If they see a home built PC or strange Tablet with strange OS. *poof* pussy gone.
    Reply
  • blandge - Wednesday, October 24, 2012 - link

    This may be the dumbest thing I've seen somebody say on the internet. Specifically the last paragraph. Reply
  • superflex - Wednesday, October 24, 2012 - link

    Or the most brilliant.
    I concur with the OP. Who has time to fuck with flashing ROMs and installing modded OS's. Would you rather OC your CPU and memory with a new BIOS or be hitting some strange?
    I've built plenty of PCs but now the last thing I want to do is go home and fuck around with making sure my OC temps are stable or I have the highest benchmark score.
    Get a life dude. Pussy rules!
    Reply
  • kyuu - Thursday, October 25, 2012 - link

    Yeah, because women just love the sort of person who says "pussy" repeatedly. In the comments of an article on a tech blog.

    Seriously, if you don't like tech, then what the hell are you doing here? Go annoy some people on some pussy blog somewhere.
    Reply
  • Stas - Monday, November 05, 2012 - link

    You sound like you didn't get out of your mom's basement until you hit 21 when your friends eventually got you out to a bar. They hooked you up with a drunk broad so you can finally lose your virginity. Now you're a self-proclaimed frat bro with mad game.
    Hint: normal, developed adult males don't act like a 12-y.o. girl getting the new Justin Beiber CD at the sight of a frisky female. "Pussy" is just something that happens, they get it like they get their coffee in the morning - it's a normal occurrence or even convenience. Remember how, a couple of years ago - in high school, you couldn't stop bragged in class about your dad's sick new Mustang? Well, it's not like that. Bigger things excite grown-ass men - hobbies, jobs they love, personal projects... shit, even politics. And to some, computers and electronics are one of those things.
    But, anyways, you'll get it. Eventually.
    Reply
  • kozlowski - Tuesday, October 23, 2012 - link

    Anand, do you know if Microsoft organically grew the hardware unit that built Surface, or did they buy a hardware team and integrate it into MS? Reply

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