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  • enealDC - Tuesday, October 23, 2012 - link

    Any takers?? Reply
  • MonkeyPaw - Tuesday, October 23, 2012 - link

    Early adopter = heartburn. Reply
  • daar - Tuesday, October 23, 2012 - link

    Been using an Thinkpad X41 tablet for ages at work, will probably pick this up to replace it. I mean, this thing does have pen input yes? I didn't see much mention of it in the review. Missing a few benchmarks as well, which is kind of a shame as the Surface is the one of the most interesting computing device put out in the last while.

    Also would like to ask who makes the actual panel? I recall AT used to note this in reviews in the past but not as of late, I don't think I even saw mention of it in the iphone 5 review.
  • gardocki - Wednesday, October 24, 2012 - link

    No pen input on the Surface RT, just on the Surface for Win 8 Pro, which will likely be about twice the cost and won't be released for another 90 days Reply
  • gcoupe - Wednesday, October 24, 2012 - link

    I don't think this is correct. If you look at the "Help me choose" document published by Microsoft, then they state that "Capacitive pens available for purchase".

    True, these aren't active pens, with pressure sensitivity, but as far as I'm aware, WinRT will have handwriting recognition.

    It would be good to get some confirmation of this though, and a measure of whether it is as good as the handwriting recognition in Windows 8.
  • This Guy - Wednesday, October 24, 2012 - link

    All capacitive touch screens work with capacitive pens. In my experience capacitive pens write like crayons.

    Running an older tablet with a worse input array I have perceived capacitive hand writting recognition on win 8 as being quicker and more accurate compared to win 7. That said, I still find it painfully slow compared to the on-screen keyboard.

    So yes, Surface RT supports capacitive pens, but the experience of capacitive pens is generally so poor on other devices most people don't consider them as pen inputs.
  • nagi603 - Wednesday, October 24, 2012 - link

    Capacitive pen compared to an active pen is like comparing a baby tricycle and a jet airplane. Not even in the same league. But unless you have tried something remotely like the latter, you won't even know that.

    Trust me as someone who has actually tried both and has been using a wacom pen for years: throw that capacitive pen out the window!
  • SleepyFE - Wednesday, October 24, 2012 - link

    Most interesting computing device?????

    It's just a small laptop with all it's guts stuck in a poorly cooled space behind the screen.
  • owned66 - Thursday, October 25, 2012 - link

    ummm .... ?
    this is windows RT
    its using an ARM cpu
  • SleepyFE - Thursday, October 25, 2012 - link

    I know it runs on ARM, does that not make it a laptop, is a server using ARM not a server?
    No matter how u spin it, it either a tablet (of which there are many and 99.9% use ARM) or it's a laptop with less power and less headroom (regarding cooling).
    Thankfully a week laptop is at least sort of useful, but paying 100$ extra to get the keyboard? No thanks!!
  • Old_Fogie_Late_Bloomer - Wednesday, October 24, 2012 - link

    Don't get me wrong, Microsoft clearly did a lot of things right here in terms of the physical design. They made a product that part of me really wants to own. But as snazzy as the whole package is, I wouldn't be able to bring myself to buy this when the VivoTab Smart has the same price and an x86 processor.

    On a different note, what struck me most about this writeup was the very beginning. Contrast Sinofsky's attitude towards Microsoft's competitors to Jobs' attitude towards Android and Google. If you wanna attract me to your closed ecosystem, Sinofsky's approach is the one to take. :-P
  • mantikos - Wednesday, October 24, 2012 - link

    I am Reply
  • faizoff - Tuesday, October 23, 2012 - link

    Just skimmed through this review and it's excellent. There is the one typo I noticed last sentence.

    "consumption and prodcutivity device"
  • michal1980 - Tuesday, October 23, 2012 - link

    really? To me this review felt forced. Like Anand was forced to review it, not because he wanted too.

    Read some of the Apple reviews and you can feel the imagic seeping through. Here its like, bla, M$ released something, its alright, but you know thats all.
  • Boogaloo - Tuesday, October 23, 2012 - link

    Anand really really likes his Apple devices. Reply
  • N4g4rok - Tuesday, October 23, 2012 - link

    Nothing wrong with that, If anything i appreciate it. It may illuminate us to some things he notices right away whereas someone who's used a series of products for a long time becomes a tad bit more forgiving or accustomed to.

    For example, i'm glad he mentioned that bit about the type cover losing keystrokes occaisionally. I'll be sure to test that out before choosing between that one or the touch cover.
  • yourfather239 - Wednesday, October 24, 2012 - link

    Everything wrong with that and it has nothing to do with him noticing differences right away, but it definitely has everything to do with him being an Indian, trust me I have seen many Indians kissing Apple's butt for no obvious reason and after the release of the new iphone 5 they believe that this is how every phone is supposed to look like. It's shameful and biased thinking at its finest. Reply
  • melgross - Wednesday, October 24, 2012 - link

    What is wrong with you? Are you retarded or something? Reply
  • mgl888 - Wednesday, October 24, 2012 - link

    You, sir, are naive, racist, narrow-minded and pathetic.
    How about first searching your own comment for signs of bias?
  • MilwaukeeMike - Wednesday, October 24, 2012 - link

    Its not racism, its stereotyping. Racism would be if he said Indians were inferior somehow, prejudice would be if he no prior experience, but since he does and he's applying it to this example, its a stereotype. Can we ignore the fool and move on now? Reply
  • MilwaukeeMike - Wednesday, October 24, 2012 - link

    Its not racism, its stereotyping. Racism would be if he said Indians were inferior somehow, prejudice would be if he had no prior experience with Indians and Apple devices, but since he does and he's applying it to this example, its a stereotype. Can we ignore the fool and move on now? Reply
  • Mumrik - Wednesday, October 24, 2012 - link

    Why don't we have a report function?
    I don't even care if it's racism or trolling, he just needs to go away.
  • Sufo - Wednesday, October 24, 2012 - link

    Downvote him? Yes. Report him? No, that's ridiculous. Reply
  • kevith - Wednesday, October 24, 2012 - link

    Where is the downvote button when you need it? Reply
  • damianrobertjones - Wednesday, October 24, 2012 - link

    "but it definitely has everything to do with him being an Indian, " - Possibly the stupidest comment I've ever read. Ever. Reply
  • seapeople - Friday, October 26, 2012 - link

    I know... isn't Anand French-Canadian? Pretty silly comment. Reply
  • yourfather239 - Wednesday, October 24, 2012 - link

    Yeah, He really likes his Apple devices and so does every Indian pos out there, it's nothing new. Moreover, in that part of the world cast system is at its finest, and if you think that Apple devices are a status symbol in America then multiply that shit thinking with at least a 1000 and you have the Indian mind set at work. So whether its Anand or Patel or any other Indian pos, just keep this in mind that they love their Apple devices for a reason. Reply
  • magreen - Wednesday, October 24, 2012 - link

    What you have written is disgusting. You are not wanted here. Please leave. Reply
  • Sivar - Wednesday, October 24, 2012 - link

    An intolerant racist on the Internet, with such gems as "Indian pos" and "the Indian mind set" (because there's only one).
    As user "magreen" said, this is not welcome here. If you continue to spew vacuous racist drivel, neither are you.
  • PrajithNair - Wednesday, October 24, 2012 - link

    Well said sir, well said. Reply
  • Mumrik - Wednesday, October 24, 2012 - link

    Anand - you often keep an eye on the comments section for your reviews. Please get rid of this nonsense. Reply
  • scorpian007 - Wednesday, October 24, 2012 - link

    Um, I'm an indian and I am not a fan of Apple products at all. I've owned 2 iPhones, an iPod, and a Macbook Air and the only product I was wowed by was the original iPhone. So don't go around generalizing and being a racist idiot. Reply
  • krutou - Saturday, October 27, 2012 - link

    So you've owned a total of 4 Apple products and you're not a fan. Its not like there aren't any viable alternatives out there. Reply
  • PrajithNair - Wednesday, October 24, 2012 - link


    This is yourmother230 (yes, I had 8 before pushing you out)

    Not sure if you think these comments help you feel better cos your Indian father walked out on you cos you were an albino. You need to vent elsewhere son. This is a tech site - not KKK central.
  • Sam_d - Saturday, October 27, 2012 - link

    No possible sentence could be constructed that could possibly express how downright stupid this comment is. your comment fails every single stage of my mental common sense process so thoroughly that I can’t even fathom the type of twisted logic it would take to come up with it. Congratulations, sir. I have never been more serious than when I say that your comment was so mindblowingly moronic that the mere act of reading it has negatively affected my intelligence as a side-effect. It’s like, in trying to comprehend the crazy thought process that would’ve been required to come up with that coment, new paths were forged through my brain in an attempt to mimic your own – horrible paths that lead to logical fallacies and intellectual dead-ends. My head is actually physically in pain. I’m going to go take some aspirin and try to forget I ever saw this. Reply
  • B3an - Wednesday, October 24, 2012 - link

    WTF? Anand clearly likes the Surface and theres nothing bias here or forced. Examples:

    "As a device, Surface is incredibly well executed"

    "The chassis is well built and the integrated kickstand is seriously one of the most useful features to ever meet a tablet. "

    "Surface is the most flexible tablet I've ever used"

    "The Windows RT experience, in many senses, is clearly ahead of what many competitors offer in the tablet space today. Multitasking, task switching and the ability to have multiple applications active on the screen at once are all big advantages that Microsoft enjoys. For productivity workloads, Surface is without equal in the tablet space."

    "I’d say in terms of smoothness of UI, Windows RT on Surface is much more like the iPad (or Windows Phone 7.5) than most Android tablets. Jelly Bean does complicate things as it really fixes a lot of the UI performance issues that hampered Android. Even then I’d say Surface’s UI responsiveness is among the best."
  • Krysto - Wednesday, October 24, 2012 - link

    The difference between biased and objective, is that a biased person would try to make it sound as if Surface works basically as fast as Jelly Bean, as Anand did here, even though it's clear he thinks Jelly Bean works a lot better on Tegra 3 if you read between the lines.

    An objective person would've admitted JB works better not just with animations, but during using it and opening apps as well.
  • This Guy - Wednesday, October 24, 2012 - link

    Reading the review he noted that Surface loading times where far slower but he also noted that multitasking was far better. He backed up his analysis with data.

    How is this not objective?
  • The0ne - Wednesday, October 24, 2012 - link

    Yes, but read the conclusion again. Reply
  • yourfather239 - Wednesday, October 24, 2012 - link

    So does any other indian pos, Indians love to kiss Apple's butt because it makes them look better than millions of others in their country who live in slums. Reply
  • vedye - Tuesday, October 23, 2012 - link

    Wow. No idea how u got that impression. Especially after reading the opening. You must have a strong imindpower. Reply
  • anomaly597 - Tuesday, October 23, 2012 - link

    Yeah, you definitely have no preconceived allegiances or anything. Reply
  • MadMan007 - Tuesday, October 23, 2012 - link

    Are you aware of the name of the website you're reading? It's ANANDtech, Anand started it himself years ago and runs the show. He's not sold off control to any media conglomerate or other company. There is no way anyone can truly 'force' him to do anything on his webiste. Reply
  • krutou - Saturday, October 27, 2012 - link

    Doesn't mean he's not biased. Reply
  • tviceman - Tuesday, October 23, 2012 - link

    Did you really just say "Apple" and "magic" in the same sentence without being sarcastic??? Reply
  • Gradly - Wednesday, October 24, 2012 - link

    Yes this is true. It feels like this:
    The software sometimes buggy yet that's OK, the display is not perfect or retina but its OK, Its not a competitors to iPad or Androids but a completely new species and that's OK, the kickstand may break if you pressed hard on it and that's OK, the classic windows interface may be not suitable for touch but against all odds its OK, you need time to get used to the keyboard and I read some of reviewers had troubles pressing lightly or hard in order to type but however its OK, lack of applications and this is OK, etc

    Overall Its totally OK
  • michal1980 - Wednesday, October 24, 2012 - link

    Lets see:

    Ipad 2012 review - ~20 pages

    iphone 5 review ~20 pages

    Ipad keyboard review - 3 pages all by it self

    Iphone 4s review ~15 pages

    Galaxy note 2 review - ~10 pages

    Brand new product, with a brand new os, from a major player in the market

    gets ~11 pages of a review.


    Just rename the site appletech.

    Said that it has swung so much into an i-love website.
  • michal1980 - Wednesday, October 24, 2012 - link

    I meant sad, not said. Reply
  • Anonymous1a - Wednesday, October 24, 2012 - link

    @Michal1980, your comments are rather absurd! What do you mean he was forced to do it? If he didn't want to review it, he can easily return the device. Secondly, what magic is losing out of Apple devices? He me mentions potential flaws in them just like he mention them in the Surface. Haven't you even read the review? Yes, he pointed out some of the flaws in the device, but he also said that this was one of the best tablets on the market right now and a very well executed effort.

    And, for those who claim he is biased, how can you ask your views on such absurd comments, like Michal's? They have nearly no substance to them - oh, and far worse are those who are accusing him of favouring Apple because he is Indian. This is levels beyond ridiculous.
  • michal1980 - Wednesday, October 24, 2012 - link

    I meant oozing out of apple devices.

    And my comment is based on reading all of the reviews. Theres a far different tone in apply articles then this one.

    Like I said before, the article reads like it was forced. Go back and read an apple review, and the tone is far different. While no one can 'force' Anand to do anything, this article IMHO reads like he only wrote it because its part of his job.
  • 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.
  • 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.
  • 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!
  • 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.
  • 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.
  • jonyah - Tuesday, October 23, 2012 - link

    That's where Surface Pro comes in. I think pretty much everyone would go for the Pro if it were available day one, which is why they've delayed it. Core i5 power (though less battery life) and x86 compatibility will make it a winner.....i think.

    I hate windows 8 for any normal machine, though it may be nice in a tablet form. I'm still waiting to be able to actually play with one first.
  • Zink - Tuesday, October 23, 2012 - link

    $900+ is too much for most people. Ultrabooks are amazing but sales numbers are poor. Sales are much higher on $500 laptops and tablets. The Surface Pro is also a bigger fan cooled device that won't offer the same battery life so the experience suffers there.

    I think the killer devices are the Atom tablets at $500. x86 and faster than ARM but with the same form factors and price. Asus is pricing at $600 for their VivioTab RT with battery/keyboard dock. I'd like to see 1080p too but maybe another product or manufacturer.
  • shompa - Wednesday, October 24, 2012 - link

    *hint* Ultrabooks sell well: Macbook Air.
    PC can't compete with Apple at the same price. Today's ultrabook are priced same as Apple (but usually with larger SSD and/or faster processors).

    That is like a BMW priced same as a Skoda. Most people buy BMW.

    That is why Android tablets can't compete at the same price point as Apple.
    That is Surface will have a hard time.

    The rumour where that the Surface would cost 199 dollars, and that would have been a hit. (But OEMs would hate MSFT even more). The 199 price would work since people have to buy apps from MSFT paying them 30% on each app. MSFT subsidise Nokia phones and Xbox360 when it was release. This is a tactic they used many times before.

    And I believe that Surface will head that way. We will see a 50% price cut within a year.

    I really want to use Surface. But from the looks of it: its a nerd/corporate machine. The usual MSFT market. Wont sell 100 million.
  • Hoekie - Wednesday, October 24, 2012 - link

    Why? Get the cheaper 32GB version and pop in an SD card if price is an issue.

    Looking at the first reactions from people around me, Surface will be hot selling.
    Office + Multiuser + Light + batterytime+ touchcover+port connections. Actually a no brainer. In fact the 32GB no cover version is sould out everywhere including Germany.
  • vision33r - Tuesday, October 23, 2012 - link

    MS will have to give away Xboxes again to move this after the initial batch of early adopter orders are filled. Reply
  • N4g4rok - Tuesday, October 23, 2012 - link

    Care to elaborate? Reply
  • MadMan007 - Tuesday, October 23, 2012 - link

    translation: "I don't like MS and/or Windows 8 but don't have anything useful to say." Reply
  • LancerVI - Tuesday, October 23, 2012 - link

    That was an extremely accurate translation. Bravo to you sure and thanks for the lulz. Reply
  • shompa - Wednesday, October 24, 2012 - link

    MSFT have given away many Xbox360 so sell Windows phone. MSFT have done similar things many times spending tens of billions to take market share and then start to charge more money.

    Surface wont fly of the shelves. After the first batch MSFT needs to do something. Giving away Xbox360 is cheap for them

    Later we will see a price cut. Up to 50% within a year. It will also be intresting if MSFT follows Apples "1 year" bump cycle or a more aggresive "pc/Android" bump cycle. iPad4 have 400% faster CPU and at least 800% faster GPU. A6 is as fast as Intel per clock cycle. (and yes: I understand that A6 is dual core and intel is quad + clocked much higher. But the fact is that A6 is as fast per clock cycle. ARM will replace X86)

    Surface is not a mass market product. It cant compete with the sub 300dollar 7 inch tablet market. It will have a hard time compete with Ultrabooks and Ipads.

    A MSFT product that cost the same as an Apple product have never sold.

    Surface +
    -its more of an PC. It could be the only computer
    -the covers are great
    Surface -
    Pricey 600 dollars for ancient hardware.
  • maximumGPU - Wednesday, October 24, 2012 - link

    i would love to borrow your crystal ball some day! Reply
  • sviola - Wednesday, October 24, 2012 - link

    Care to source the claim that A6 performs the same as x86 core processors per clock cycle? Reply
  • blandge - Wednesday, October 24, 2012 - link

    "A6 is as fast as Intel per clock cycle. (and yes: I understand that A6 is dual core and intel is quad + clocked much higher. But the fact is that A6 is as fast per clock cycle. ARM will replace X86)"

    This simply isn't true. The A6 scored 908ms on the SunSpider browser benchmark and a 2700k scores about 135ms (Lower is better). That's about 6x better, and SunSpirder is a SINGLE CORE benchmark.
  • Brainling - Wednesday, October 24, 2012 - link

    Are you serious with this about the A6? The A6 is NO WHERE NEAR as fast as full on Intel silicon. It's not even in the same ballpark. Maybe if you're comparing it to Atom?

    An Ivy Bridge full silicon CPU is in another league over the A6. Of course, they aren't meant for the same purpose. Even taking the faster clocks in to account (~4x the clock speed), the Ivy Bridge regularly scores 6-7 times the execution scores of an A6 in synthetics. That's not pure clock speed, that's also a flat better CPU.

    I swear...some of this stuff is just mind blowing. What in the world would have ever made you think an A6 was "clock for clock" as fast as Intel's best offerings? Also, the XBox 360 doesn't use an Intel CPU or an x86's a Motorola PowerPC. Might wanna check your facts next time.
  • Kevin G - Tuesday, October 23, 2012 - link

    A typo: "Microsoft offers Touch Cover in six colors black, white, magenta, cyan and red." Not sure if a color is missing or you meant five (though five pictured).

    Anand, you've been taking the Surface around judging the examples in the article. Any chance it was with you during the iPad mini event? I can image the looks being worse than when you tried to make a call at the iPhone 5 event.

    "Simply typing quickly in Microsoft Word maxes the single threaded performance of Tegra 3’s ARM Cortex A9 cores." It does seem odd that one of Surface's biggest selling points on the software side is a self inflicted wound. Office should be the premiere application for MS to show case, not bloatware that'd deserve to sit in the sloth exhibit at a zoo. Was Office even usable?
  • Ryan Smith - Tuesday, October 23, 2012 - link

    Apparently we can't count today. It is indeed five colors, not six. Reply
  • ssiu - Tuesday, October 23, 2012 - link

    Finally, some objective Windows RT versus Windows 8 Atom tablet performance comparison on the net -- thanks anandtech. Definitely no reason for me to consider Windows RT. Reply
  • Zink - Tuesday, October 23, 2012 - link

    Yep this is silly. The only reason for RT is to let OEM's compete <$500 with Apple and to emulate other walled garden ecosystems.

    Atom should have been launch hardware for a better user experience. Hasn't Apple success shown that UI is #1?
  • dagamer34 - Tuesday, October 23, 2012 - link

    Basically it seems like Microsoft built a rather competent product, and when we see Windows RT tablets with stronger hardware like Tegra 4 or S4 Pro, it should be a great experience.

    Considering this is Microsoft's first hardware computer, they could have done a LOT worse, and there are some things you only learn by actually shipping a product. For a 1st gen release, that's pretty good.
  • shompa - Wednesday, October 24, 2012 - link

    Thats is one of MSFT problem. Since they control the hardware, we wont see the crazy Android/PC hardware wars. How long time for MSFT to write drivers/support Tegra4 or any other fast SoC?

    Just look at Windows Phone. Nokia have the killer "Pure View" and MSFT don't support it.
    (And thats is why Nokia will die with only MSFT support)
  • notanakin - Tuesday, October 23, 2012 - link

    "Microsoft’s talents not as a software developer nor as a parts assembler are what make Surface great here, rather its design and manufacturing intuition."

    Er, so what is it that makes Surface great here? Almost sounds like the less talent you have, the greater the product. (In that case, please contact me for insanely great product designs.)
  • 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.
  • 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.
  • 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.
  • 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.
  • 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!
  • 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.
  • 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.
  • 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
  • tipoo - Tuesday, October 23, 2012 - link

    AFAIK they built it ground up in their existing hardware division. Reply
  • shompa - Wednesday, October 24, 2012 - link

    The rumour is that Steve Jobs ghost work at MSFT.

    Press, that are "Apple" nerds have been to MSFT labs and looked at their stuff. They have amazing laptops, computers and other stuff that they would buy direct. And these are people who are fanatical about beautiful design, liberal arts and that stuff should work.

    The sad thing for MSFT is all the politics. They have great products in their labs and cant release them because it makes OEM angry. Surface is for example a compromise. The 600 dollar price is ONLY because of OEM. MSFT cant price Surface aggressive since OEM would stop building RT stuff.

    And that is a huge threat to Windows. Surface was rumoured to cost 199 dollars. HP/Dell and other OEMs have started to look for alternative to windows (Unified Android). Valve have ported steam to Linux(and later Android).

    That is probably the feature.
    MSFT continues with their new integrated approach. Same as Apple.
    OEMs will start to use "open"/fragmented Linux/Android.
  • kyuu - Thursday, October 25, 2012 - link

    Except not, since the only OEM who can make a profit on Android is Samsung. Reply
  • Stas - Monday, November 05, 2012 - link

    You're delusional, if you think an open source platform can become dominant in the computer market. Reply
  • ol1bit - Tuesday, October 23, 2012 - link

    One word describes Microsoft and all their ideas.... LATE.

    They had a good lead in the smartphone arena and gave up. They couldn't see what the next big thing was going to be. iPhone took off, then Goggle really jumped on Android, pushed changes at a blistering pace. Microsoft lost the phone race...So go keep Nokia alive and try to catch up, doubt they will.

    Tablet are the same way. Market already lost. A gazillion apps for both iPad and Android Tablets.

    Everything MS does is 2 steps behind. I know they hope to catch up, but I have 3 Android devices, and Love it. All my apps carry from device to device as it should. Goggle keeps pumping out great enhancements, same with Apple.

    Oh well.
  • sunflowerfly - Tuesday, October 23, 2012 - link

    "Tablet are the same way. Market already lost. A gazillion apps for both iPad and Android Tablets."

    Actually Android has very few tablet apps. I believe Microsoft will take over and become the number 2 tablet within a year. Google is giving away tablets at cost because the public is not buying them (not that a few million sold to geeks is a bad gig).
  • PubFiction - Wednesday, October 24, 2012 - link

    people said the same thing about netbooks when they were all launching with linux, what you forget is that yes MS is late but they have won even though they were late to many parties. Vertical integration and supply chain control are huge factors. To most people office cost $100 and any of these devices shipping with free office means it is $100 cheaper. Now you get vertical integration, MS is going to leverage office to muscle into the tablet space, and what is so nice is that rather than just sit on office / windows and let that win the game they are actually going a little above and beyond by bringing the surface keyboard to the market and bringing out what is mostly a high quality well built device. Reply
  • DukeN - Wednesday, October 24, 2012 - link

    How the fuck is Microsoft late wrt to ideas?

    Microsoft had a tablet OS out about 10 years ago, couldn't execute it with their partners so it languished.

    Maybe they can't execute but they definitely aren't LATE.
  • xSauronx - Tuesday, October 23, 2012 - link

    Last year work gave us all ipad2 32gb units as part of the christmas bonus. i dont love ios, and prefer android for a phone and tablet, but i understand why people like it, and it was definitely a great tablet. sold it for an android, however.

    id love to get one of these this year...i'd be very interested in trying one out for a week. hopefully there will be apps a plenty for this, or at least a good ecosystem for the full windows 8 tablets in the future. i could see me moving away from android for this...maybe
  • OVerLoRDI - Tuesday, October 23, 2012 - link

    I really am impressed with this offering from MS. As a long time PC user and one who types a lot, tablets were absolutely out of the question for me, typing on glass has and always will be a fail.

    That being said, I don't love it enough to pony up that much money.

    I'm also curious to see how Win8 works on smartphones, it seems like it could be a great OS.
  • MadMan007 - Tuesday, October 23, 2012 - link

    Nice article, but something struck me as odd after getting a bit into it - why do you refer to this device as 'Surface' as if it's a person instead of 'THE Surface' like every other device? Are we going to start seeing reviews saying 'I like Macbook's new screen'? Reply
  • melgross - Wednesday, October 24, 2012 - link

    Apple does the same thing with the iPad, simply referring to is as iPad. I don't understand this either, but it's their choice. Reply
  • jjj - Tuesday, October 23, 2012 - link

    pushing the positive spin quite a bit on this one.
    NO ecosystem, buggy software ,can't be used with the keyboard on your lap like the Transformer or any laptop,poor keyboard , high price,the software takes a lot of the advertised storage,access to only one app store and bulky hardware.
  • guidryp - Wednesday, October 24, 2012 - link

    Yeah. I read several other reviews (Verge, Wired, Tech Crunch) and this one seems like a whitewash in comparison.

    Most point out that there is very little software and most of it is buggy. They also mention how uncomfortable it is to use as a tablet.

    Half assed as a tablet.
    Half assed as laptop.
    Very little software...

    For MS/Windows fans, at least get yourself an x86 so you can run real Windows software to cover the deficiencies.
  • doobydoo - Wednesday, October 24, 2012 - link

    Did I miss the CPU / GPU benchmarks section, which generally come with every tablet review? Reply
  • tipoo - Wednesday, October 24, 2012 - link

    There probably aren't that many that can be run outside of a web browser for it, the app store is pretty sparse right now. Reply
  • michal1980 - Wednesday, October 24, 2012 - link

    Anand is showing that he cares far less about MS now then apple. Reply
  • kyuu - Thursday, October 25, 2012 - link

    Nope. But there's not much benchmarking software that can be run on WindowsRT, outside of web-based ones. Plus, Tegra 3 is a pretty known quantity at this point. Reply
  • trexpesto - Tuesday, October 23, 2012 - link

    one heck of a drop test 30,000 feet! Reply
  • glynor - Tuesday, October 23, 2012 - link

    So... I'm seeing mixed information out there. The port looks like a regular micro-HDMI port. But Microsoft seems to call it a proprietary port in their marketing, and they sell the adapter.

    But PC Mag says they used an off-the-shelf micro-HDMI adapter and it worked.

    But then, you got terrible (I'd call it unusable) quality out of their adapter.

    What's going on here?
  • kyuu - Tuesday, October 23, 2012 - link

    Agreed, I'd like some clarification on this as well. I certainly hope it's a simple micro-HDMI that can be used with off-the-shelf adapters. Reply
  • ervinshiznit - Tuesday, October 23, 2012 - link


    You mention that you would have liked to have seen the surface with x86. Is Windows RT only compatible with ARM or does it support x86 also? I realize it's just a compilation issue but I was under the impression that only ARM builds of Windows RT would ever be released by Microsoft.
  • MadMan007 - Tuesday, October 23, 2012 - link

    Don't connect the hardware branding name 'Surface' and software. You are correct that WinRT=ARM only. But there will be Microsoft Surface devices using x86 hardware running full Windows 8.

    Will there be a budget Atom-based x86 Surface, in the same form factor as this one? I'm not sure off the top of my head, but that's probably what Anand meant.
  • ervinshiznit - Tuesday, October 23, 2012 - link

    There have only been plans announced for the Surface Pro, which would include a Core i5 and run full Windows 8.

    I bring up the Windows RT=ARM only because Anand brought up the performance issue in the context of MS Office, and he said that he would have liked to see an Atom in the Surface instead of this ARM core. But then it wouldn't be able to run RT. And that would also mean no free Office 2013 since it's not included in full Windows 8
  • Ryan Smith - Tuesday, October 23, 2012 - link

    Whether or not to include Office is basically arbitrary. Microsoft could include it with Surface Pro, as it's entirely up to them..

    The point to take home is not that RT doesn't run on Atom, but rather that Office on Surface is currently unusually sluggish. A SoC with better performance in lightly threaded situations (such as the Atom) would handle Office better based on what we're seeing.
  • Kevin G - Wednesday, October 24, 2012 - link

    Reading through this review and others seems to point the problem at Office being sluggish and not necessarily the Tegra 3. Even on the PC side where far higher performing hardware exists, Office doesn't give the impression of a speed champion. I'd love to see Office compared on the Surface, Surface Pro and a decent laptop. Yeah, the deck would stacked in favor of the laptop winning but it'd be a good reference point for users as well as reviewing the idea of usability on each device. For example, I can see the utility of viewing and making a quick and simple change to an Excel spread sheet on a tablet but for heavy Excel use restricted to an on screen touch keyboard would likely result in levels of frustration that'd have me snapping the tablet in two. Reply
  • kyuu - Thursday, October 25, 2012 - link

    That's the reason for the Touch/Type Covers... Reply
  • ervinshiznit - Tuesday, October 23, 2012 - link


    You say

    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 after the : I expected a chart or something but there's nothing there.
  • JumpingJack - Tuesday, October 23, 2012 - link

    I asked the same question, Ryan said they were overwhelmed with the iPad announcement, the 8350 launch, and his... He said Anand will fill in he info a bit later. Reply
  • michal1980 - Wednesday, October 24, 2012 - link

    apple products didn't get short changed reviews... I wonder why. Reply
  • kyuu - Thursday, October 25, 2012 - link

    Apple reviews came a week or more after the product was released, not pre-release. Also, they're doing a separate review of WinRT. Unlike Apple, the OS and hardware do not go hand-in-hand (i.e. there are OEMs), so reviewing the hardware and OS separately makes sense. Reply
  • amdwilliam1985 - Tuesday, October 23, 2012 - link

    Where is the thumbs up button when you needed one.

    It's been a while since I've enjoy Anand's writing(too much Apple lately). Read every single word in this great article. My emotion was like a roller coaster reading through the pages. I was sure I'm going to get one at the beginning of the article. And then reading about the "good enough" screen, the power/battery connector, the HDMI port, I was like, maybe next generation. Then moving on with software integration and office, I have my hopes up again. Finally seeing Atom performance preview and the upcoming core x86, I'm definitely holding my horse/breath.

    Thanks again for an hour of great reading. I'm in NYC, so I'm planning on seeing the surface on the launch day/evening with my girlfriend.
  • thomas-hrb - Tuesday, October 23, 2012 - link

    I wonder what the maximum size MicroSD card the surface can handle. 32/64 GB is a bit small for a device that I would like to replace my laptop with. But if it could take a 64GB MicroSD like then that resolves my issues.

    Although I intend to hang on for the pro version, as I have a lot oc x86 software I would like to run.
  • Chris-Simmons - Wednesday, October 24, 2012 - link

    All Surfaces use microSDXC so they can take up to 2TB as per the microSDXC spec. I believe the largest microSDXC card available currently is 128GB but that is only for commercial customers, 64GB is the largest for retail. We are just waiting on larger cards to become available. Reply
  • jibz - Tuesday, October 23, 2012 - link

    Quick question I didn't see answered in the review: how easy is it to use as a multi user device? One thing that has always bothered me with an iPad or any other tablet is that I can't have different accounts for different family members. So if I install GTA, it'll be available for the kids, I don't have my own bookmarks in my browser, etc. How is Surface/Win RT doing from that point of view? Reply
  • WP7Mango - Wednesday, October 24, 2012 - link

    I can give you a detailed answer...

    Firstly, setting up for multiple users is very easy. The main user is the administrator and the administrator can add further users in the Settings page. Once a user is added, then it's just a case of that new user logging in using either a password, a PIN, or a picture password.

    Each user has their own settings, their own apps, their own Start screen layout and background image, their own email accounts, their own contacts in the People hub, their own social network accounts, their own app data, their own bookmarks, etc etc. When one user installs an app, if another user subsequently wants to install the same app then it doesn't get downloaded again - instead, new seperate app settings are created for the new user. So if you are playing a game for example, then your saved games will be seperate from another user's saved games. If you delete a user, only their data is deleted and yours remains intact.

    Bottom line is that multi-user works very well.
  • kyuu - Thursday, October 25, 2012 - link

    Thanks for the detailed answer on that! Reply
  • karasaj - Tuesday, October 23, 2012 - link

    You mentioned that typing speedily on Surface could bring up some heavy CPU usage: do you think that this really hampers Surface's user experience (would it be an issue) or is it merely an example of MS office 2013 nearly taxing Tegra to its limits?

    I.E. when typing speedily did CPU usage go up but it remained smooth, or was there a noticeable slowdown? The only things I can imagine doing with Surface are MS office, netflix (HD video), and youtube/IE. Do you think any of those feel too slow/laggy to be detrimental?
  • VivekGowri - Tuesday, October 23, 2012 - link

    Based on my experience with the VivoTab RT (nearly identical hardware/software - Tegra 3 + Windows RT) it's the latter - I saw weirdly high CPU utilization, but no typing lag. Anand mentioned getting some with the Surface, but nothing too drastic if I remember right. Reply
  • karasaj - Tuesday, October 23, 2012 - link

    Fantastic. I'm not too worried about high cpu usage as long as there's no lag, although it does seem like that establishes a "lower limit" for RT hardware. Do you think this high cpu usage would have a worse effect on battery life than say the wifi browsing battery life test for example? (I feel like no, but cpu usage shouldn't be too too high there) Reply
  • sungman - Tuesday, October 23, 2012 - link

    I'm sorry but could you test if a usb-ethernet cable would work on the surface RT? Reply
  • mike55 - Wednesday, October 24, 2012 - link

    Do you know if the Surface supports the Logitech Unifying Receiver? It would be neat to have your own mouse and keyboard to use with it at home.

    Also noticed some missing info in the article: "The power cable is nice and long at around m."
  • xype - Wednesday, October 24, 2012 - link

    How does using Office actually feel? What about other apps? Photos, music, ebooks, magazines?

    It would have been very surprising if Microsoft made a half assed attempt with the hardware, but aside from slow-starting apps I still have no idea if Surface can actually replace my iPad for the stuff I use it for. Which makes this a purely hardware review and not that practical if we consider tablets appliances. Is a software review forthcoming?
  • kyuu - Thursday, October 25, 2012 - link

    They were supposed to follow up with a WinRT review, which I assume would also encompass the included Office software. However, that review seems to be a tad past due... Reply
  • beginner99 - Wednesday, October 24, 2012 - link

    I'm posting this before having read the review. From the stuff I have already seen and heard about this, I think it makes sense. IMHO you just need a keyboard to make browsing usable and enjoyable. So the keyboard + the fact that it comes with the stand per default (I assume this) seems to me the best solution so far for a tablet. However question is if software (OS) and the lack of it (Apps) plus the expected mediocre performance of ARM SOC kill the experience. Reply
  • sandineyes - Wednesday, October 24, 2012 - link

    On the Battery Life page (fourth paragraph) you write:
    "The power cable is nice and long at around m."
    I think you forgot to add in exactly how my meters it is.
  • sandineyes - Wednesday, October 24, 2012 - link

    "exactly how *many*". It happens to everyone I suppose. Reply
  • Netscorer - Wednesday, October 24, 2012 - link

    I don't know if it's all that careful marketing presentation that Microsoft forced all the reviewers to go through prior to getting their hands on the Surface or Anand's respect for the company, but this review sometimes reads like it was written by Microsoft insider, looking to smooth all the rough edges and insert as much marketing mambo jumbo that means squat to the consumers but sounds good when you read it.
    As a result we read about all the negatives but somehow their don't seem like that much of a deal. Low res screen - no problem, keyboard that you can't actually use for any large typing - not a big deal, 1080p out not working - probably just a glitch, no apps in the marketplace and desktop mode that know one needs in the tablet - hey, but isn't it cool that you can open CMD on the tablet! The whole review goes in very similar rosy painted colors.
    But let's just try to answer one simple question - what is the audience that Microsoft was targeting with their 'different perspective' of a tablet? It certainly ain't corporate customers who can not even apply AD-based security rules with Windows 8 RT and can't even dream of running any x86 based programs.
    It's not consumers either, with that pathetic attempt at camera, speakers that barely puke a sound or total lack of any (ANY!) apps in the Microsoft marketplace.
    So who were they (Microsoft) targeting with Windows 8 RT?
  • kultigin - Wednesday, October 24, 2012 - link

    Read his last sentence carefully with a neutral perspective:

    If you've wanted a tablet that could really bridge the content consumption and productivity device, Surface is it.

    Surface comes with a keyboard that Anand has written this whole review. And it runs Office productivity suite, it will quickly dominate enterprise application market. It will work extremely well with enterprises deploying MS solutions. You may not be from that target but it shouldnt cause you to not to understand what market it is targeting.
  • xype - Wednesday, October 24, 2012 - link

    "Productivity device" _in theory_. It reads like something out of a Microsoft brochure. It would be great if someone wrote a review with some impressions of how it actually feels to spend half a day with Office RT—because that’s what productivity "on the go", as tablets promise, would be.

    Just the fact that it _is_ running Office is not saying anything about that.
  • Netscorer - Wednesday, October 24, 2012 - link

    For a corporate customer RT will never be a solution. And that touch keyboard is non-usable, period. Anand was going round and round about how you must strike with fore and precision to make it count, how you must go through the prolonged learning curve, how you don't have any tactile response. Just trying not to sound too negative on the keyboard. The only positive he said about keyboard (if you remove all the colored words) is that at the end of he day it is better then typing on glass. Big deal. Anything is better then typing on glass.

    As for the Surface being a hybrid between laptop and tablet and how this is a perfect match, let me agree to disagree with you. In concept, taken abstract device that can work for me in my 9 to 5 life and 6 to 10 life, yes it would be great. This particular implementation of Windows 8 RT with strained hardware and lousy screen (in part because higher res screen would strain that hardware even more) - the answer is no.
  • xype - Wednesday, October 24, 2012 - link

    Yeah, it felt a bit that way, didn’t it? But then, AnandTech reviews often feel like they’re written by someone who’s just excited about their newest toy and go a lot into hardware, too. While for other kinds of hardware that isn’t as big of a deal, reviewing smartphones and tablets should go into a different direction, I think.

    That tablet manufacturers can put in decent hardware and that a company like Microsoft is actually competent enough to produce a well designed tablet should be a given by now.

    But a tablet or smartphone are not something you stuff into your PC tower and forget about it, like a graphics card or CPU fan. Is it comfortable to use on the lap, is the lack of USB charging annoying in day to day use, is Excel really usable for something like bookkeeping without being annoying after 5 minutes, does it work well as an ebook reading device, etc?

    To be fair, ArsTechnica’s review is a bit better but still doesn’t go into software _at all_. That’s not confidence inspiring to me…
  • phexac - Wednesday, October 24, 2012 - link

    Agreed. Just look at iPad reviews. They ALL state "it's a pleasure to use" and then go into zillion reasons for why. This review spent more time raving about a kickstand (btw how do you kickstand it in your lap? so this is desktop only portable device???) than about the experience of actually using Surface. Could always be because using it is actually pretty meh and nothing to write about. Reply
  • phexac - Wednesday, October 24, 2012 - link

    Definitely agree with this. Anand's negative points seemed to be pretty close to deal breakers, and yet they were completely skimmed over. As was the fact that apps take 2.5-5 times longer to start than on a tablet. And a complete omission of actually using software on the tablet. Just looking at the pictures with typical desktop tiny menus in the programs and desktop interface makes you wonder how practical it is to it is as a touch device wen anything bigger than a mouse pointer would be too big for those menus. Reply
  • seapeople - Saturday, October 27, 2012 - link

    So what is it then? Is Anand an Apple fanboi because he made the Surface seem boring, or is he a Windows schill because he glossed over the down falls of Surface?

    It's got to be one or the other, right? It's not possible that this review is actually accurate to the product?
  • WP7Mango - Wednesday, October 24, 2012 - link

    Why should you care who Microsoft are targeting with this device? Think about it for a second...

    If you don't know who it's for, then it's clearly not for you. But it might fit someone else's requirements perfectly, and if it does then that is of no consequence to you - so don't worry about it.
  • B3an - Wednesday, October 24, 2012 - link

    I had a good feeling about this tablet, and it was right. Surface RT is clearly an excellent tablet.

    But i would have prefered one with Intel Clover Trail. As mentioned, we need to see battery life with this SoC, but i very much expect it to be close to the ARM based Surface.

    Surface would be perfect with Clover Trail. Same form factor, fanless, better performance than ARM, and the full blown Win 8. And yes i know theres the Pro version of Surface in 3 months time, but the Core i5 is overkill for many, it needs a fan too, and obviously will have much lower battery life. Clover Trail would have been the perfect balance for most people.

    Such a shame, so close to my perfect idea of a tablet, but i'd happily still have ARM + Surface RT over a iPad or Android tablet for so many reasons.
  • Netscorer - Wednesday, October 24, 2012 - link

    Completely agree with you. Good and usable Atom-based Intel CPU, which is x86 compatible, married with Windows 8 and all that effort that Microsoft clearly made to make you feel like you own a premium product with Surface - this would have been wonderful. This is what Microsoft should have released at the beginning, leaving Windows 8 RT to the sub $300 bargain tablets from 3-rd party vendors.
    Clearly, Intel could not commit to the Oct.26 release date and it forced Microsoft's hand at developing this half-baked solution. We also don't know how good Clover Trail Atom will be. Because if it's really going to be good, this will be the first actually usable Intel Atom processor. Especially if they will marry it with HD4000 GPU.
  • karasaj - Wednesday, October 24, 2012 - link

    Honestly, if Surface had launched with Tegra 4 (not possible sadly) or S4 Pro (should have been possible) or even S4 Krait, it would be insanely nice. Performance is only barely "below" what it really needs to be to be unnoticeable - a tablet/notebook that runs office, netflix, and the occasional game (and internet browsing). An ARM cpu with better IPC would have been a better choice over 4 cores, imo.

    I wish Surface would re-release with the S4 Pro or something. I would completely buy that. Atm, I'm deciding whether or not it's worth it. I certainly like the idea of it, it just seems like it -might- be a tad under powered.
  • beginner99 - Wednesday, October 24, 2012 - link

    $699. Thats more I paid for my already overpriced Asus T91 netbook (has touchscreen and can be used in tablet form) over 3 years ago. While Surface sure has better battery life and Win RT is better suited for touch device, I don't see a reason to replace it with surface. but then I hardly ever use it anyway.

    $699 is the price I would pay for the version with real windows and more capable CPU. Wasn't following the rumors so don't know if that actually will be made at all?
  • Netscorer - Wednesday, October 24, 2012 - link

    I am right now typing on my lap using the $599 3.4lb Visio Ultrabook with 1600x900 14'' real IPS screen, iCore 3 Ivy Bridge CPU with HD4000 graphics, 128Gb SSD and 4GB of RAM that can run both MS Office, Photoshop and Bioshock with the supreme authority and multi-task like there is no tomorrow.
    This incidentally is the exact same price that Microsoft wants for Surface with touch keyboard.

    To me, IMHO, after you remove all that magnesium this and kickstand that marketing slogans taken straight from Microsoft brochure, my Visio Ultrabook is a much better and more important, usable device, period.
  • seapeople - Saturday, October 27, 2012 - link

    Cool story bro. Wish you weren't lying about the IPS screen thing. Reply
  • karasaj - Wednesday, October 24, 2012 - link

    Does anybody think that an S4 Pro update or Tegra 4 in January-February of 2013 for Surface RT at the same price point as the current surface would be possible? That would be a serious tablet I think. It seems like Surface needs just a little more oomph to be a fantastic piece of equipment - how likely do y'all think (Anand reply maybe?) this is possible? Reply
  • Krysto - Wednesday, October 24, 2012 - link

    If Tegra 3 wasn't enough. S4 Pro won't be either. And you won't see a Tegra 4 Windows device until next fall.

    What Anand masterfully avoided to say in his review (who knows why?!) is that Tegra 3 works a lot better with Jelly Bean than it does with Windows RT. Windows RT just doesn't work as well as Android or iOS on the weaker ARM chips, and it needs something a lot more powerful and more expensive to run adequately. I mean it needs 2-5x the time to open an app compared to iPad? Really?
  • karasaj - Wednesday, October 24, 2012 - link

    Well S4 Pro is a good bit stronger than Tegra 3 especially in single threaded stuff, no? We've seen it match up to the iphone 5 already, while Tegra gets beat bad. Reply
  • kyuu - Thursday, October 25, 2012 - link

    Don't listen to Krysto or Netscorer, they don't have anything useful to say.

    I agree, the Tegra3 is obviously about the minimum WinRT can get away with. I'm not sure why MSFT didn't go with an S4 Pro or just plain S4 clocked up a bit. They're already using Qualcomm SoCs in their Windows 8 Phones, and either way (particularly the S4 Pro) would've been better than the Tegra3.
  • ananduser - Wednesday, October 24, 2012 - link

    Honest review(this and the other RT device) and certainly more in-depth than CNet, Gizmodo(2 stars) and the Verge, that managed in one page to destroy winRT/AsusVivo. Reply
  • Krysto - Wednesday, October 24, 2012 - link

    Honest review because you like it? I think Anand tried to make it as good as possible with all its negatives. That's not objective, that's covering up its flaws, in a biased manner. Reply
  • kyuu - Thursday, October 25, 2012 - link

    Yeah, couldn't be that you're picking on the negatives and dismissing the positives because you're the one who's biased.

    Nah, couldn't be that.
  • Ikefu - Wednesday, October 24, 2012 - link

    When does the surface pro get released?

    If I can install all my work software under standard windows on a tablet of this quality I'm thinking I might be ready to bite. This would be so much more convenient to work on a plane with or in bed at night then my laptop. (Plus I can actually be productive instead of play games on my wife's iPad lol)
  • Krysto - Wednesday, October 24, 2012 - link

    So their (real) excuse for using a lower resolution is that they didn't use a more powerful chip? Ok, but the problem remains that they're using a chip that can go in $200 tablets as well, a lower resolution display, and also a much smaller battery than the iPad, and yet it still costs $500.

    The extra storage is irrelevant, since they need that for cover for the greater size of Windows and Office, and they shouldn't make the user pay for it. Also how do they explain the fact that Google will use a much more powerful chip (Exynos 5 Dual) and a much higher resolution (2560x1600) in their upcoming Nexus 10 tablet, and yet will still cost $500 or less?
  • phexac - Wednesday, October 24, 2012 - link

    Yeah the more comments like this I read, the more I realize that I was too generous in my post below. Surface seems destined to be a crap release and Anand did a terrible job at presenting an honest review of it. Reply
  • shompa - Wednesday, October 24, 2012 - link

    Is WindowsRT sandboxed?
    If the OS is sandboxed: how do apps access the microSD slot?

    I have seen many Windows Phone/Androids that have to reformat the system and reinstall everything to get the apps to "see" the microSD.

    Can you install apps to the microSD?
  • scorpian007 - Wednesday, October 24, 2012 - link

    You can't install apps to the microSD card, it's only for media (photos, videos, music). Reply
  • phexac - Wednesday, October 24, 2012 - link

    This really seems to me like a tablety take on the netbook, and those turned out to be underpowered pieces of crap. MS looks to be going down the same road with an OS that tries to be like a desktop OS, but that can't really run all the OS programs. When it tries to run Office, it starts choking.

    We have no retina display.

    App launch times are horrid for a tablet.

    I really don't see the point of this device. If I am going to type or actually produce something, I am going to do iton my macbook air. If I want a tablet, I really don't care about a crappy attachable keyboard for $130+. If you say well I want a cheap laptop, well then you are back to the netbook argument, except the Surface is 2x or more the price, in the same price range as most fully-featured laptops, except it actually doesn't even have a fully functional desktop OS. This is a device typical of Microsoft, which never seems to think about how people will use the device and what they will want to use it for. They come up with a device that tries to straddle the fence on everything, and as a result ends up doing everything shitty (and with a shit screen, given the retina display and other displays following it being out there). Reading this review leads me to see complete and utter failure for MS in this device. And this is the reason they are making Windows 8 into an abomination? Pretty sad honestly, though not really unexpected.
  • N4g4rok - Wednesday, October 24, 2012 - link

    "App launch times are horrid for a tablet."

    There weren't any numbers relating to App launch time. He made a statement about them being a little longer than he expected. How does that equate to 'horrid'?
  • andrewaggb - Wednesday, October 24, 2012 - link

    he also said switching once they are 'open' is really fast, so this might be ok. Reply
  • TheBasicMind - Wednesday, October 24, 2012 - link

    I think Microsoft really have something. Though I did wince reading you tried to adjust trackpad scrolling by resorting to the registry. I see the registry and access to it as part of a MS mindset that is not about openness or any positive philosophy (like LINUX), but instead about fear of having missed something. It opens up an untestable number of configurations a world of potential system problems and pain. I've not missed it in any way shape or form since moving my computing away from MS. And it is part if a computing past I have actively and willingly left behind. This is the company where still in Word, after several generations of releases, if you leave the document map open while editing cross references, you are guaranteed to have a badly corrupt document within 2 hours of working on it (GUARANTEED). How many combined years of user pain does that represent?.The only explanation for this fundamental lack of quality control is that it became like a messy room, which when mess was left long enough, just became a part of the background (I did abandon after Vista and have heard from many sources Windows 7 was a big improvement). I know other OS's have their problems (though in my experience, nothing like MS's offerings) I'm sure Surface is different (it has to be for the sake of MS). I think it may well hit the right spots for me. However over the years, the MS brand has become a kind if giant anti-brand for me and MS have to overcome that as well. They have a very high mountain to climb. So for me it will be surface 2, if and only if Surface 1 is a roaring success. Reply
  • Jxpto - Wednesday, October 24, 2012 - link

    "Switching between applications is faster on Surface/Windows RT than any competing mobile platform. There’s no double tapping of anything, no pressing and holding, just an edge gesture swipe like you’re flipping through pages of a virtual book".

    That's not accurate at all... You don't even need to move your hand to the edge to switch between apps in the iPad. It's just a 4 finger gesture... And also just a four finger gesture to bring the task switcher... Or a not her gesture to go to the home screen. So in what is the Surface better regarding this??
  • turnipmaster - Wednesday, October 24, 2012 - link

    Firstly, out of 32GB, the OS require at least 10GB+, so we know that this is no lightweight solution.
    The load times seem outrageous, my trusty Lumia 710, after a reboot, loads the Nokia maps app in ~2 seconds, this on an old Arm A8 based SoC. My Nexus 7, has the same Tegra 3 as the Surface as is damn sight faster at opening apps.

    The wisdom of a psuedo facsimile of Windows 8, that can't run legacy / x86 apps yet obviously brings additional performance demands over a mobile focused OS, like WP8 is lost on me. If MS knew this, why didn't it chose a higher spec SoC, they haven't even used the fastest Tegra 3, the T33 would have been a nice boost over a regular Tegra 3.

    I personally think WP8 could have been tweaked to be awesome on the surface, but Microsoft intended to use it to push their weird vision of Windows 8 RT. It is a shame that performance detracts from a cool device with a lot of potential, especially as Apple has blind-sided them, with a big boost to the iPad's performance with the A6X.
  • milkod2001 - Wednesday, October 24, 2012 - link

    With zero X86 apps compatibility Surface RT is just another tablet with keyboard running on outdated T3 with average/crappy display . All that for 600 bucks :( Reply
  • tipoo - Thursday, October 25, 2012 - link

    With full Microsoft Office and a keyboard that's a few millimeters thick, plus great xbox integration. Depends on what you prioritize. Reply
  • A Geologist - Wednesday, October 24, 2012 - link

    I’ve been following Anandtech pretty much since you started and this is the first time I’ve felt I needed to comment, and then actually made the time to leave a comment. First off thanks as always for an excellent review. I think the review is pretty clear that this product is intended to be Microsoft’s interpretation of a tablet class device. Everybody who’s complaining about a lack of features seems to want this to be a laptop or ultrabook replacement, which it clearly isn’t, and everybody who’s complaining about the screen seems to want it to be an iPad. To all the people complaining about journalistic bias, most of the criticisms you bring up are directly quoted from the article. Do you not see the clearly untenable position you are arguing from? If you possess the ability to read and understand what is written, it’s fairly obvious that the features, strengths and limitations of the Surface RT are all well written about.

    I hope I speak for the silent masses who don’t normally participate in the vacuous echo chambers that are web comments sections (I will admit that there are some very good commenter's on Anandtech though), whey I say thanks for the informed, intelligent, insightful and accurate reviews and news articles that make Anandtech the great site that it has been over the years.
  • IKeelU - Wednesday, October 24, 2012 - link

    You spoke for me, that's for sure. Though I'm no stranger to commenting, most of the comments to this article are baffling/hateful. It's playing out like some weird black comedy and all I'm missing is the popcorn. Reply
  • faizoff - Wednesday, October 24, 2012 - link

    I agree with your comment @A Geologist.

    If you look across the comments there are those who find the review biased towards Windows and want more issues to be reported. There are comments that find the review biased towards Apple.

    So it's become 'pick your bias and show your selected outrage.'

    I have always liked the reviews done on this site and regardless of what OS or device I use or prefer I enjoy reading features and charts and experiences and get a really good perspective of products.
  • damianrobertjones - Wednesday, October 24, 2012 - link

    "The biggest issue I have with recommending Surface is that you know the next iteration of the device is likely going to be appreciably better, with faster/more efficient hardware and perhaps even a better chassis. "

    Then you might as well not buy an iPad or most certainly shouldn't have purchased an iPad 1
  • turnipmaster - Wednesday, October 24, 2012 - link

    The iPad 1 didn't offer a noticeably inferior user experience than it's closest rivals at launch thought, especially as it didn't have any:) Reply
  • AEdouard - Wednesday, October 24, 2012 - link

    It's a sleek device, but I really wonder if anybody can crack that market considering the huge barrier to entry that is the ecosystem. Apple is so well established in that space that Microsoft should have taken the Google route and try to get some space by pricing the device really low.

    On top of that, the Surface has a few issues :

    1. That screen looks nice, but the resolution is lacking. This is a geek erection shrinker and could reduce early adoption by us nerds
    2. There is some performance issues, even in the main UI. Hard to accept that when vanilla jellybean on the Nexus 7 and the iPad are always smooth (in the main interface at least)
    3. Lack of apps (that chicken and the egg thing)

    But I hope Microsoft can pull it off. I really like the UI and the push for more functionality on tablets.
  • N4g4rok - Wednesday, October 24, 2012 - link

    "1. That screen looks nice, but the resolution is lacking. This is a geek erection shrinker and could reduce early adoption by us nerds"

    I think most nerds would be looking at the surface pro as it is. Any higher resolution, and that Tegra would have a hard time. And a faster SoC would have driven the price up.
  • elerick - Wednesday, October 24, 2012 - link

    I expected no less, great review! I am an exchange admin with my company, is there any way to review the functionality within a enterprise environment? At present we are forced to use a middle ware for "activesync security" can we expect any advancements with data security on the surface? Reply
  • Shadowmaster625 - Wednesday, October 24, 2012 - link

    Doesnt it bother you that simply typing a vanilla document in Office uses so much cpu power. You think they are ever going to fix that? What happens when you give it access to much more cpu resources? Will it simply consume it all? Reply
  • andrewaggb - Wednesday, October 24, 2012 - link

    Both Anand and Vivek said it keeps up though, which is the main thing I think. And these are guys who type for a living. Really it drives home that anything slower than tegra 3 wouldn't cut it and tegra 3 is barely fast enough.

    As for what happens when you give it more cpu, how does word run on your current desktop? On my first gen core i7 laptop (dual core), I can get word up to 4% cpu in task mgr by key bashing.

    I'd be very interested in seeing what battery life and video performance an atom based tablet gets.
  • robmuld - Wednesday, October 24, 2012 - link

    The choice of 16:9 for the display just tells me Microsoft will never get it Reply
  • N4g4rok - Wednesday, October 24, 2012 - link

    Have you looked at the Pro version spec sheet? Reply
  • WP7Mango - Wednesday, October 24, 2012 - link

    Actually, Microsoft DO get it. There are 3 reasons why 16:9 is preferable -

    1. It allows for the Windows 8 / RT multitasking feature - two apps snapped side by side, with one app taking up a thin column whilst the other app taking up a larger portion. These can be swapped round just by dragging the seperator between them. Even the desktop can be snapped with a metro app this way. It's an elegant solution to multitasking on a tablet, and a feature that the iPad doesn't have.

    2. It's the ideal size for watching movies whilst minimising black borders.

    3. The extra horizonal screen space gives you more flexibility in terms of app UI capabilities.
  • ET - Wednesday, October 24, 2012 - link

    I think it's a pity that Microsoft doesn't allow running .NET apps on the desktop interface. That would have made Window RT comparable to Windows 8 and allowed using the Surface as a full PC, with a decent choice of software already available. Reply
  • jamawass - Wednesday, October 24, 2012 - link

    Interesting review. Does the usb port support cameras? Can pictures be transferred from a camera to the surface as on a desktop? Reply
  • WP7Mango - Wednesday, October 24, 2012 - link

    Yes, the USB port does support cameras. Yes, pictures can be transferred from a camera to the Surface just like you can on a desktop PC. Reply
  • karasaj - Wednesday, October 24, 2012 - link

    I don't know if you're still answering questions Anand (or any staff) but do you think Surface RT would suffice for a university student who just needs to rapidly type on Microsoft office for ~50 minutes without it feeling sluggish at all? That and streaming netflix are probably all that I need to do with Surface, if I can do that, then I'd pay for surface over an ultrabook (i.e. vizio ct14-a0) for the portability and battery life. Reply
  • B3an - Thursday, October 25, 2012 - link

    I think Surface would be the best option for that kind of stuff. It's perfectly suited for it. My brother is at uni and wants the same kind of thing, and he's getting a Surface. Reply
  • The0ne - Wednesday, October 24, 2012 - link

    A few things that caught my attention that would push me to buy one,

    "Surface is both larger and heavier than the iPad, both design decisions on Microsoft’s part to built a device that could better deal with Windows RT’s multitasking capabilities as well as make room for a comfortable typing area when used with one of its two keyboard covers."

    "Whether or not Surface is priced appropriately really depends on how much you value Windows RT and getting Office 2013 for free. I suspect if you’re already a big Office user, you’ll see a lot of value in the bundle."

    As much as I abhor the ribbon style in Office, I absolutely love the 2013 Office preview, its metro style UI, the fluidity of working around int he apps. Seriously I love this new office, its such a joy to work in them with the "metro" style inclusions. Therefore getting it for free is a nice touch if I consider buying one. FYI, I have all 3 versions running side by side to test (2003, 2010 and 2013) and 2013 is just so smooth to work in I can live with the ribbon bar (with my fully customized custom bar of course).

    As for the weight and comfortable typing, that's even better to use the tablet as a notebook for work and on the road. Can't wait.
  • Subyman - Wednesday, October 24, 2012 - link

    It looks like MS is moving in the right direction. I like how they are splitting the difference between serious computing and be very mobile, unlike what Apple has done. Apple totally killed productivity with the iPad and seem to be trying to go back and mend that decision. MS is offering professionals options for typing, but the device is still totally usable by the normal consumer.

    I will be interested once the hardware become a bit more powerful. Win RT looks to be hammering the little ARM processor, but that will be worked out over the next year or so.
  • JoeA - Wednesday, October 24, 2012 - link

    Well balanced and written article with positive attributes and things that still can be improved. I’m an early adaptor because I physically work with tech and installs. I’m looking forward to Rev 2 and 3. The transition will not be as hard as some make it out to be. Have fun and yes agreed it’s just different and works very well. Reply
  • Bob Todd - Wednesday, October 24, 2012 - link

    Nice review. While there's always something better around the corner, this feels like really unfortunate timing on the CPU/SOC release schedule. On the low end we've got A9 ARM parts at the end of their competitive life, with A15 around the corner (or S4 Pro here would have been sweet). In the middle ground we've got Windows 8 tablets running a 5 year old Atom architecture that's finally about to be overhauled and shrunk to 22nm. Then on the high end we're not far away from Haswell. All 3 of those should provide noticeable improvements to performance (both CPU/GPU) and/or battery life. I'll definitely purchase a Windows 8 tablet, but it won't happen until the next CPU/SOC refresh. A Broadwell based Surface Pro with Thunderbolt/USB3/high res display...yum. Reply
  • Hoekie - Wednesday, October 24, 2012 - link

    Nah, you can always wait for something better. Development takes time.
    The UI is fluid and that's the most important part regarding time to market for SoC's.
  • Bob Todd - Wednesday, October 24, 2012 - link

    Apps are slow to launch. This thing can't really have a higher res panel because of Tegra 3 limitations. The moves to A15 class or the next Atom aren't little 10% spec bumps that we're used to on the desktop side. We're talking about very noticeable improvements to the user experience. S4 Pro devices are going to be available here next week. I'd buy a Surface RT right now with an S4 Pro and a 1920x1080 panel. If they added another $50 for the panel I wouldn't mind. Like I said, there's always something better around the corner, but this thing is making its debut at the twilight of 3 architectures (A9, Atom, Ivy). I'm not saying _they_ should have waited, I'm saying I'm going to wait because they can refresh both RT and Pro versions in a few months with changes that really matter (cpu/gpu/battery life) in a device designed for productivity. Every SOC refresh will get better, it's just that the next ones are major and are so close. Reply
  • Bob Todd - Wednesday, October 24, 2012 - link

    Apps are slow to launch. This thing can't really have a higher res panel because of Tegra 3 limitations. The moves to A15 class or the next Atom aren't little 10% spec bumps that we're used to on the desktop side. We're talking about very noticeable improvements to the user experience. S4 Pro devices are going to be available here next week. I'd buy a Surface RT right now with an S4 Pro and a 1920x1080 panel. If they added another $50 for the panel I wouldn't mind. Like I said, there's always something better around the corner, but this thing is making its debut at the twilight of 3 architectures (A9, Atom, Ivy). I'm not saying _they_ should have waited, I'm saying I'm going to wait because they can refresh both RT and Pro versions in a few months with changes that really matter (cpu/gpu/battery life) in a device designed for productivity. Every SOC refresh will get better, it's just that the next ones are major and are so close. Reply
  • Swift2001 - Wednesday, October 24, 2012 - link

    People like yourfather239 -- interesting nickname -- are trolls. We, the sane people of the AnandTech comments, should be able to kick him off -- or demand attention of the site runner to read the exchange and kick him off. Even a reasonable discussion of racism and the dynamics of it would be okay on another site. But this guy is not contributing a thing. He's a bigot. He should not be rewarded by our attention. Reply
  • OldAndBusted - Wednesday, October 24, 2012 - link

    Then again, your name calling is pretty ugly too. Reply
  • IKeelU - Wednesday, October 24, 2012 - link

    Nice false equivalence, ace. Swift2001's "name calling" can be observed to be accurate, unlike the racist he's calling out. Reply
  • Dev69 - Wednesday, October 24, 2012 - link

    The current Surface RT price point \functionality exemplifies the Microsoft products stereotype of not purchasing the first version.

    Let the early adopters beware :)
  • frabber - Wednesday, October 24, 2012 - link

    too expensive, unless we can see, unlike Apple, price falling after some months, Reply
  • samiur666 - Wednesday, October 24, 2012 - link

    Anand so is it possible to connect the tablet to a TV and stream a movie from netflix or a thumbdrive? I find myself often doing doing with my ASUS Transformer and I see you mentioned some issues with HDMI output but I wasnt sure.

  • WP7Mango - Wednesday, October 24, 2012 - link

    I'm not Anand but I can answer the question -

    The answer is yes! You can do it via HDMI or wirelessly via DLNA. I think the HDMI issue might be a sync thing, because HDMI output to my Samsung 1080p TV works perfectly.
  • agentbb007 - Wednesday, October 24, 2012 - link

    This was a really great review thank you Anand! The editors at cnet need to learn a thing or two from you. I got so upset after reading another praise Apple bash MS article on their site I have sworn I will never type that URL in my browser again. Instead I will come to your site to get a true non-biased review of hardware. Reply
  • OldAndBusted - Wednesday, October 24, 2012 - link

    "Through two seemingly simple additions to the design (but incredibly complex to actually develop and implement), Microsoft took a tablet and turned it into something much more. "

    It's funny, but those are the exact two features that I care the least about. I don't have one at present, but when I had an iPad, I used it as originally demonstrated by Steve Jobs - in my easy chair in front of my TV. I can't imagine using a tablet as a desktop computer, so the kickstand and keyboard cover just come across as silly to me. Without the kickstand, could Microsoft have made the Surface a millimeter or so thinner?

    That said, I still find myself interested in the Surface. I do wish though, that Microsoft would allow third-parties to skin that start screen, it's ugly. It may work brilliantly, but aesthetically, it's an eyesore. Bright primary colors, monochrome icons, tiny, tiny typeface on the tiles. It's a mess. And the tiles/icons for Office are even crazier. Yes, they've at least added color to the icon within the tile, but the icon is tiny. With the tiny typeface. Just a horrible interface.

    And yet. I think I still want one.
  • kyuu - Thursday, October 25, 2012 - link

    Can't disagree more. Especially compared to the ugliness of iOS's chiclet app icons on a grid.

    WinRT/8 is definitely the best looking of all the touch-based OSes by far. The last thing MSFT should do is allow OEMs to start screwing with the UI (and introduce performance issues as OEM skinning and bloatware always does).
  • bronopoly - Wednesday, October 24, 2012 - link

    This may seem like a silly question, but can I plug the surface into my pc via the surface's USB port? I really wouldn't like transferring something to a usb drive and then transferring it to the surface (even though I can't even do that on my iPad). Reply
  • lhotdeals - Wednesday, October 24, 2012 - link

    I have always been a fan of Anandtech reviews, this one on one of the most anticipated tablet does not disappoint. This is how reviews are supposed to be done rather than some filled with subjective judgements and unfounded claims. Reply
  • bd1 - Wednesday, October 24, 2012 - link

    is visual studio available for RT ? Reply
  • WP7Mango - Thursday, October 25, 2012 - link

    No. That's what the Surface Pro is for. Reply
  • tzhu07 - Thursday, October 25, 2012 - link

    If I were to buy a tablet today, I'll still take the iPad for the most widespread support. Reply
  • kyuu - Thursday, October 25, 2012 - link

    So what's up with the Windows RT review? Really looking forward to it, but it's a day+ late now (at least I thought I saw that it was supposed to be up later the same day of the Surface review). =( Reply
  • kyuu - Thursday, October 25, 2012 - link

    So what's up with the Windows RT review? Really looking forward to it, but it's a day+ late now (at least I thought I saw that it was supposed to be up later the same day of the Surface review). =( Reply
  • simbadogg - Thursday, October 25, 2012 - link

    I believe on microsofts spec/surface page they said it was a proprietary connection for HDMI / video out. Is this a standard micro HDMI connector? If so what type (C, D?). Just wanting to know if there can actually be other cables used other than the standard microsoft cable. Reply
  • HisDivineOrder - Thursday, October 25, 2012 - link

    Windows RT reminds me so much of XP x64. I think that the next full release/update of RT will be a lot better than this one. I think by then it'll become clear that apps launching slowly and overall lethargic performance is part of what Jobs KNEW was an important component of having a slick, awesome device.

    Your device has to "feel" fast in order for users to think it's fast. It may not be actually fast, but they have to feel like it is. Every review says the same thing. "It's great, it's different, I really like it, I want to love it, but it's so slow..."

    It feels slow because the transitions are slow and the design was not built around tricking the user into thinking it's faster than it is. The whole iOS core started around doing this very thing. Tricking the user into thinking slow hardware was fast with clever use of transitions and design.

    It seems like MS did not learn this lesson. Hell, it was in the Jobs biography. Perhaps they should read more.
  • antef - Thursday, October 25, 2012 - link

    Anand, you mention having to double-press or long-press to switch apps on other platforms, but that's not the case with Android in general, only with the new Samsung and LG phones. The other manufacturers rightly went with the Google standard of including a dedicated button for app switching, so it's one press to bring up a list with thumbnails and another press to go to the app you want. I don't think MS's implementation is any better than that. This is the issue with most people using Samsung's and LG's poor designs and not realizing Android is better elsewhere. Of course, Windows RT still wins when it comes to side-by-side mode. Reply
  • tipoo - Thursday, October 25, 2012 - link

    A few reviews complained about using the stand on a lap or any non-level surface being unsteady, with the touch cover you can flip it back half way and then have the stand resting on THAT rather than your lap. That should be much more stable as it now has a level surface and much more surface area. Reply
  • pblock - Thursday, October 25, 2012 - link

    Thank you for a wonderful, comprehensive review. However, at our office, most of the talk is wondering if the Surface will be usable on your lap. Does the stand work on your lap, or is it too awkward? And what about each of the keyboard covers? Most of us who use laptops rarely place them on a table or desk but instead are using them on the couch or in an easy chair. Reply
  • techenthu - Thursday, October 25, 2012 - link

    It has a USB port . Can i use a data card with this?
    I am sure carriers need some installation before use the data card . So i was wondering if surface will allow using the data card
  • walkman - Friday, October 26, 2012 - link

    Did anyone else go back and check the byline for this article? I highly respect Anandtech reviews but this one was written with a glibness and giddiness that seems very uncharacteristic. If it wasn't Anand I would write it off as a MS PR hack, but it is so I'm trying to keep an open mind. Anand review are usually very late so it's also surprising to see this detailed review so quickly. He likes RT so much he makes sound like he will like better than Win 8. Perhaps he has a bias for MS (I do) so he's just excited to see MS get back in the game vs competitors. Reply
  • twotwotwo - Saturday, October 27, 2012 - link

    The Atom/ARM head-to-head is awesome. Noteworthy that the Exynos 5 Dual in the Chromebook got a 711ms SunSpider score (in another site's test) compared to the 714ms for Atom here, and x86 usually smashed on SunSpider in the past because of its wider memory interface. (Of course, I'm implicitly comparing Google's JavaScript VM against Microsoft's too, not just the chips. And someone actually buying a Windows tablet might go Atom just to get Windows 8 and legacy app compatibility instead of RT.)

    Bet I'll hear more about the ARM-meets-Atom thing in your Chromebook review. For me as a user, seems like the big deal is that mobile architecture wars are on like Donkey Kong; only good news for me.
  • MrSpadge - Saturday, October 27, 2012 - link

    Wow.. imagine we could get this pixel density, IPS and almost 1:1400 static contrast on any regular laptop display! It may not beat the iPad3 display.. but in absolute terms and especially compared to what we usually get any 500€ or 2000€ machine this is just gorgeous!

    I also can't understand people wanting an even higher resolution stating "but Apple's got the higher dpis". Personally I find 1366 x 768 to be very crisp and borderline too small at 11.6", so there'd be no benefit of going smaller but drawbacks (scaling, power consumption, cost). I don't think the trade-off would have been worth it.
  • johnsmith9875 - Tuesday, October 30, 2012 - link

    But does Surface run in Portrait mode? Does the hardware have the position sensors and does the software check for those? I've seen it only being demonstrated in landscape mode. Reply
  • crispbp04 - Monday, November 05, 2012 - link

    Yes, it is beautiful in portrait and landscape Reply
  • bhima - Tuesday, October 30, 2012 - link

    Haswell + Win8 x86 will be epic. I don't care about RT. In fact, it feels like Microsoft is hedging its bets with RT vs its x86 Surface tablets. Here's hoping x86 stays around so you can actually use software you already own, have real application choices and have a truly seemless integration between tablet, notebook and desktop... not just some fancy looking sync software. Reply
  • Silma - Monday, November 05, 2012 - link

    Congratulations on the most informative review of the Surface I read to date.

    Surface seems exciting although a sub FullHD screen and only 2GB of RAM are a big turnoff.

    I am looking forward to reading your review of the Surface Pro when it becomes available.
  • ezrasam - Thursday, November 08, 2012 - link

    Revolution of the decade. Reply
  • ijabit - Tuesday, November 20, 2012 - link

    I can confirm that I had the exact same problem outputting video to my 42" plasma. The poor quality was very noticable and one of the main reasons I returned it (we watch a lot of netflix streaming from a PC). I never had a problem with my (super slow) Asus laptop and HDMI out. Reply
  • bogieworf - Wednesday, November 28, 2012 - link

    I personally used the new Nook HD + before returning it and replacing it with the Surface. My wife owns the iPAD 3. Here are my thoughts about the devices.

    If the Nook HD+ (9" model) isn't the perfect e-Reader, it is close to it. Anything larger would require two hands. The case that BN offers for the Nook allows standing the Nook either upright or sideways, and the software is great for reading. Unfortunately, BN's tech support leaves much to be desired and I was forced to return the device because they could not find out why one of my daily newspapers was not being automatically downloaded each day. Sad, really, because I REALLY like the device. But make no mistake, this is an e-Reader first and secondarily everything else.

    Going from the Nook to the Surface, the Surface is much more expensive and much more versatile. Windows R/T is a pretty slick piece of SW. Love the Tiles being able to re-arrange them and the updates that appear in the Tiles. Is the Surface as good a reader? No, its too big as you need two hands to hold the device. Is it an more than adequate reader? Yes.

    The Surface is a tablet designed primarily for media consumption and secondarily for productivity. It is currently THE tablet to own if you value productivity. Word, Excel and Power Point come pre-loaded. The keyboard that doubles as a cover is a great design as is the built in kick stand. This device has the advantages of the much touted Yoga in a much smaller, thinner and lighter package. The iPAD simply does not compare as a productivity device and the Tiles with auto updating makes iOS seem dated. Is the iPAD the better media consumption device? Yes. The display and apps place the iPAD well in front of the Surface, but the more you value productivity, the more the Surface makes sense.

    But understand, the Surface offers a light version of productivity for most people. If productivity is your first concern, something the size of a convertible (12.5" or more) would be much better. The Yoga, for example, would be a good productivity device while still being thin and light enough to secondarily offer decent media consumption and portability. But the Yoga is not a device you are likely to pull out during your daily commute, at least not on the subway. It is too big and cumbersome for that, the Surface is not.

    Taken for what it is and what it offers, the Surface is a great device for the right person. You need to appreciate the Surface for what it is and what it was designed to do, not for failing to be something it was never intended to be. If nothing else, MS should be credited for re-thinking the tablet space and not producing another iPAD wannabe. This is a very well thought out and executed product..
  • bogieworf - Thursday, November 29, 2012 - link

    While I cannot disagree that it would be better to wait and see how these windows tablet/PCs shake out, this is still an exceptionally well sorted out product for a first try. If you need a tablet with the qualities this tablet has, there is no reason to wait. The next gen will be better (aren't they all, pretty much???), but I doubt that it will be dramatically better. The only competition on the horizon right now is the Lenovo Yoga 11 which will be more expensive, probably heavier, and definitely thicker. I don't think this will be much competition (But I do like the Yoga 13 which is a different device aimed at a different market).

    The next gen will be better, but this is a solid device and it is good enough today to buy IF this tablet meets your needs
  • bogieworf - Wednesday, December 12, 2012 - link

    After using the Surface for several weeks and talking with co-workers who are in the market for a tablet/laptop, I have to reluctantly give the Surface a failing grade. MS has positioned the Surface as the productivity tablet. The catch is that you have to offer enough productivity for people to care about your device and buy it over an comparably priced iPad.

    The problem is NOT RT or anything taken out out Office to make it work on the Surface. For the vast majority of people, this is a secondary device and those compromises are fine. Heavy word processing or other productivity will be done on a bigger, more capable device.

    Rather the problem is that many, if not most offices, have some SW which has to be downloaded onto your computer in order to access their network and Surface won't let you do that. That is a MAJOR omission. The Office suite covers close to 100% of what most people would do with a tablet like this, but I HAVE to be able to connect to my office!!!

    A second and basically related issue is that there is no cellular option. This is a highly portable device and I need the option to connect to my Office on the go. That is not possible with the Surface.

    With these two options, the Surface would work for most people as a media tablet with secondary, but meaningful productivity capabilities. Without them, the Surface RT just does not offer enough productivity for most people to prefer this device over an iPad.
  • bogieworf - Thursday, December 13, 2012 - link

    Sent my comments to MS regarding the need for the Surface RT to connect to offices. Their response: the Pro will be available in January. While I do not think the Surface is a direct competitor with the iPad, the iPad does set the top price that people expect to pay for a tablet. If you are gong to price your product at the top of the market, you need to make sure the value proposition is there. Just not convinced that the productivity offered by the RT is sufficient to justify the price if you cannot connect the device to your office (or college). Reply
  • Kit Karamak - Wednesday, February 26, 2014 - link

    when paying for iPad, you're also paying for a device that has lots of apps, a vast bevvy of choices, etc.

    The MS Store stinks, let's face it. Some people would rather get a 16GB ipad2 referb with all the apps they know and like, than to get a surface 32GB that has expandable microSD space, because the apps stink. :(

    I have both. I use both for what I intend them for. But not everyone has that option. Then again, having all these gadgets also means I don't own a TV or pay for cable as my trade off. It is what it is. But both devices are great for what they do best. :)

    Of course, I waited until the surface came down to $199 on eBay, and yet I bought the iPad Mini 2 /Retina at full price. Ironically, I'm an Android fanboy lol
  • Kit Karamak - Wednesday, February 26, 2014 - link

    Now that you can find the Surface RT on eBay, refurbished by Microsoft with 8.1, for a low price of $199 in mint condition, I've decided to take the plunge.
    I'm glad I did. I'm an aspiring novelist. I type a lot, and 8.1 seems to be quite smooth. It runs great. Typing doesn't slow things down one little bit.

    The first gen RT runs Grand Theft Auto: San Andreas very well, and I can use my xbox 360 controller to play it. In desktop mode, I can have twitter open in the desktop browser, I can have outlook polling for email, I can type a document and have Facebook up all at the same time. Or more if I want. People often say to get rid of Metro UI for desktop w8, and get rid of desktop for Surface RT/2, but I disagree. Having the desktop mode is fantastic for having ten different windows open (or more if you can squish everything down lol), and the RT, for me, keeps up fairly well.

    W8.1 seems to have fixed things people have complained about. I cannot say much more on the subject because I've only owned the tablet for two days, now.

    Touch cover is good, two finger scrolling works fine. Type cover is NOT very good. It doesn't let you use the mouse and keys at the same time, meaning you cannot game; these covers do not handle several key strokes at the same time either. Just two or three. In other words, don't expect to use it as a piano replacement for a piano app, or something like that. (I can't really think of a better example at the moment).

    Battery is good. Brightness and darkness is good. I hate having things bright when I'm reading at night. And while it's kind of weird to read on this monster-length screen, it can get darker than my iPad 4, which is great when you're in a ridiculously dark room (or re-reading /revising in the dark with a Migraine - yeah I've done it).

    moving on, I have to say the microSD card moves fairly quick. As fast as you'd expect from a desktop version of the same thing plugged into a USB2 header on the mobo. It's not searing fast, and it's no slouch either.

    The Microsoft store, for gaming, sucks horribly. If San Andreas wasn't on there, I wouldn't even have anything nice to say at all. But I'll take what I can get. Netflix app is good. Always appreciated, y'know? I wish YouTube had one as well, so that you could watch high def videos for long periods of time in an optimized state but... that's okay. Google only has one app for the MS Store - "Search". And that's it.

    Speakers are horrible. They're loud enough for watching Netflix, sure. but if you play music or crank them for something other than TV show compressed dialogue sound... then they will distort when you've got the volume up. Not badly. But if you listen to dynamically compressed music (any modern rock or rap or pop group), which is dynamically boosted in the mastering process... then you can be SURE it will distort a little. As an example, the first Foo Fighters album (at full volume) does not distort. But the new Falling in Reverse album distorts horribly. The Chronic (Dr Dre) no distortion. New Eminem? ...Crazy distortion.

    RT is supposed to get only 5 points of touch at one time. I have no idea if this is hardware or software based. PRO gets 10, so I've read.

    Also, plugging in a 24" Dell 1920x1080 to the first gen RT works fine. At least for me on 8.1 ... but don't expect to game on it. Use it for writing, or having a website open off to the side, or keeping Facebook open while you watch Netflix on your smaller monitor... or just use it for Netflix on your TV and do nothing on the touch screen.

    I have NOT tried to see if sound is sent out through the HDMI port. I suspect it should, but I haven't yet tried it, as there are no speakers in my 24" Dell. Sorry, gang.

    Finally, battery has been great. It's onpar with my iPad1 and son's iPad mini (1st gen) which have been the best for iPad battery life that I've seen so far (I own the 1, used to own the 2, owned the 4, and an ipad mini2 with retina. The 1 and my kid's Mini1 have the best iPad battery life of the group).

    The surface holds its own easily with the 4 I used to own and the mini/retina I currently use.

    Finally, as a closing comment, I can plug in my Apple keyboard, which has a USB hub, and it will still power a mouse, connected through the keyboard. It powers two devices. I'm quite happy with that. It makes things a lot easier, to be able to bypass the need for a powered hub is huge for me.

    When I'm on the go, I use a Microsoft Bluetooth Entertainment 7000 keyboard. Most of the extra keys work - Volume rocker, dedicated back key, etc. But a lot either doesn't, or isn't marked properly. Fn-F4 has a "home" picture (and when paired to an iPad DOES take you 'home'), but on the surface, it opens the mobile metro version of Internet Explorer.
    Also, the other buttons do nothing (magnifying, favorites, music app, camera button, calling button, gadgets obviously, etc). However, the built in mouse it has on the side works great. So that's awesome. I use that most of all. It pairs instantly. As soon as I turn on the keyboard, it starts working right away with Surface. There's no lag time in re-pairing.

    If you've read this far... well, thanks for reading! I hope it helped!

    I don't know why these websites don't re-review products that have been out for a while. Obviously iPad1 with iOS5.1 and iPad2 with iOS7, and Surface1 with W8.1 are going to work very differently than when they were reviewed. Some things will be better, some will be worse (like battery life on the iPad 4, LOL. Got it became awful later on).

    I'd like to suggest to these tech sites to do a "Where are they now" kind of segment to show people interested in buying older tech (IE from ebay) how these devices stack up.

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