Microsoft Surface RT
Manufacturer: Microsoft Part number: 1516
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CNET editors' review
price range: $278.80 - $349.00
- Reviewed by: Eric Franklin
- Reviewed on: 10/23/2012
- Updated on:07/31/2013
The good: The Microsoft Surface's Metro interface is innovative, elegant, powerful, and versatile. The tablet feels strong and well-built, runs Office 2013, and includes rich video and music services. Its keyboard cover accessories are the best ways to type on a tablet, period.
The bad: The tablet's performance can be sluggish, its Windows Store is lacking, Metro takes getting used to, and the Desktop interface feels clunky and useless.
The bottom line: If you're an early adopter willing to forget everything you know about navigating a computer, the Surface tablet could replace your laptop. Everyone else: wait for more apps.
Very impressive tablet that allows for creation/typing
by barrett1134 on October 24, 2012
Pros: First tablet that truly can be used for creation and typing, and that actually lives up to that need
Ports and expandable memory :USB,HDMI compatibility, SDXC cards
Fast and beautiful to use (Win 8 RT)
Long battery life
Awesome kickstand and keyboard
Cons: Obviously very light on popular iOS and Android apps for now.
Windows RT is really good, but will need some TLC and a few updates to smooth out the rough edges.
Learning to use another new OS takes a bit of getting used to.
Wish Office 2013 was Metro
Summary: Having had a chance to get a hands on with this today (friend of mine works at MS and has had it for a bit but finally let me check ...
Summary: Having had a chance to get a hands on with this today (friend of mine works at MS and has had it for a bit but finally let me check it out) I can say I no longer have any reservations about ordering this.It is amazing, and makes my iPad feel kinda old. I have toyed with Windows 8 a bit on some older non-touch laptops. Actually being able to use the touch screen took me from being impressed but somewhat skeptical of Win8 to being a believer. It just works, and I am impressed. I believe in the Microsoft vision. I own a Windows Phone now (used to own BB and Android), and I love my XBOX a bit too much... That said, I wasn't really completely sold on Windows 8 until today. I ordered a Surface knowing it might sell out, and hoping that if it was a great product I would end up being the first to own one, but if it wasn't great, then being able to return it. I love it. My iPad is great. Kids love the apps (which I will surely need to see more of in the marketplace for Win8 RT), but I needed and now will finally have a tablet that I can type on and build and run PowerPoint presenations at my school/business. This is huge, and using a keyboard that so beautifully attaches/detaches from this tablet, I suspect I will eventually wonder how Apple didn't see this coming and never built one. All in all, Microsoft has some obvious work to do to clean up some rough edges... I am sure with a little more time I will see them more and more, but there were a few just in my time giving this a spin. That said, the experience is really amazing to hold and use. I am really really impressed so far, and I think that the future is bright for Windows 8 products (not just Surface). Also, I am split between the Surface and the Surface Pro (w/ intel inside). I truly wish I could have an intel one today, but I believe the cost will be more than I want to part with today. As I need to replace an aging and nearly dead HP laptop, I am now confident that the Surface RT will fill the needs of my previous laptop usage well, and instead I will be buying an All-in-One touch screen HP or Dell soon. So, in short, I went from being on the fence but leaning towards expecting this to be a good/great product, to being convinced it is a good/great product. If you want a tablet that allows for all of the current functionality of 10" tablets, but also want a modern, beautiful, and exciting new User Interface that allows for typing and actual creation of Powerpoint, Word, and Excel type productivity, the Surface is a great candidate in a class of its own. If you need the apps right now because the tablet is used to keep kids busy or you have a very specific app need, you likely wont get any of that for at least a few months (Apple's app store has about 250k of apps, and Windows app store is not projected to be at 250k apps until this time next year). My suggestion is to go to a Microsoft store and give it a shot and see what you think. Personally, I am loving what I tried this morning. Also, I believe that the 7" tablets are a great choice for consumption, while 10" tablets like this are gonna be your best choice for creation... just my two cents. Enjoy it. It is fantastic!So, I have been using the Surface for nearly a month now, and for what equates to several hours a day. I have found things I love, and things I don't love. That said, this is still the most amazing piece of Tech I have ever personally used. It is everything I have been looking for in a tablet, and yet it has nearly replaced my laptop. I say nearly, because the Surface is not as powerful as my 3year old HP Gaming laptop. I can and do use my Surface for typing articles, browsing the web, video consumption, games, and most importantly running PowerPoint presentations. For all of those things, it is absolutely terrific. The kickstand is incredible, and the Touch Cover keyboard is very functional. The areas I would love to see improved come down to some nitpicky things like getting Office 2013 to run only in Metro interface. And, just to point out that the Type Cover will be my next purchase as I tried one the other day and it truly is a full keyboard that is ridiculously thin. Grade = A-
Updated on Nov 18, 2012
30 out of 32 users found this user opinion helpful.
Windows 8 is a fast, stable, fun computing experience.
by misterindie on October 24, 2012
Pros: Excellent build quality, smooth and responsive touchscreen.
Cons: Its not cheap, but you get what you pay for. This is a great tablet at a fair price.
Summary: This is the perfect coffee table tablet. It can also be used by students or home users for tasks involving Microsoft Office. If you are looking to run older applications ...
Summary: This is the perfect coffee table tablet. It can also be used by students or home users for tasks involving Microsoft Office. If you are looking to run older applications that were written for Windows 7 you should look for a full Windows 8 tablet (Dell, Surface Pro, Lenovo, Asus, Samsung all sell them).
15 out of 15 users found this user opinion helpful.
IT IS THE FUTURE
by willyd91 on October 23, 2012
Pros: Light and Quick
VERY well built
Screen looks glorious- even in high glare
The battery lasts forever
Very comfortable in lap
Cons: Takes a while to get used to Win 8
18 out of 23 users found this user opinion helpful.
Great product, almost too easy to use.
by gaijindragonslayer_2 on October 26, 2012
Pros: The MS Surface RT is very easy to use on its own but with the TOUCH cover it comes into its own as the latest entry into the tablet market. Set up was easy, I am have an iPad and am shocked at how easy it is to type and swipe.
Cons: I expected a larger click sound when I put my kickstand up.
I do not have the skill with words to praise this highly enough.
Summary: The only problem I had was how easy it was to set up and how easy it is to type on screen and better when using the TOUCH cover. After ...
Summary: The only problem I had was how easy it was to set up and how easy it is to type on screen and better when using the TOUCH cover. After reading the reviews I dreaded being disappointed by my purchase of the first MS Surface RT. I expected pages in Explorer to load slowly, they loaded as fast as on my iPad. I also expected problems using the interface as I normally use OSX/iOS or Windows 7. I really cannot praise this exciting new tablet high enough. The pundits might be right about the number of sales but they are utterly wrong about the quality of Windows 8 RT. It is the most exciting experience with a new product I have had since I first encountered the iPad.
The packaging was first class, the build of the tablet is superb, and Windows 8 RT is astoundingly brilliant and with the TOUCH it is the most amazing tablet on the market. It is impossible to overhype the MS Surface RT. I think this could take sales away from the iPad for those of us who need to work, play and create content. I love my iPad for its many Apps but I adore the MS Surface RT with the TOUCH cover. With so much hate around for this new tablet, it's almost; "a love that dare not say its name."
16 out of 19 users found this user opinion helpful.
Great product for value
by House.MD on October 24, 2012
Pros: USB ports
Very resistent VaporMg case
Cons: Doesn't offer a 128GB model, but still...
Summary: Finally a consumer-centric tablet done right for both entertainment and productivity.Nearly three months later, I can add that I am very pleased with the ...
Updated on Jan 18, 2013
Summary: Finally a consumer-centric tablet done right for both entertainment and productivity.Nearly three months later, I can add that I am very pleased with the performance of the device. Updates from Microsoft have made it even faster.
Updated on Jan 18, 2013
I've been using Xbox SmartGlass a lot lately and so far so good.
Updated on Mar 7, 2013134 days later
As I mentioned in January, updates keep making the Surface faster and more stable. I've thought of buying a Surface Pro, but this is a great product for the value, so I decided to buy a second-gen Pro and keep this one. I should add that the microSDXC has been a grace, and that the USB port is so useful! Definitely 5 stars.
16 out of 19 users found this user opinion helpful.
For a first generation product Microsoft nailed it!
by crazygasbag on October 27, 2012
-Ease of use
-Windows 8 RT
-Wifi Range and strength of signal
-Kickstand really should have been put in all tablets a long time ago!
Cons: -Smudges appear more then expected
-Portrait to landscape switch can take a few seconds
-Windows RT compatibility with Windows 7 programs (Pro will fix that) just be aware when you buy it
Summary: Amazing. This is the tablet I have been waiting for. It can be a cute device like an IPAD for reading and browsing but it can also be something I ...
Summary: Amazing. This is the tablet I have been waiting for. It can be a cute device like an IPAD for reading and browsing but it can also be something I use to GET STUFF DONE! When working in office the touch cover rules and is so satisfying. I use a core of 10 or so apps on my phone and windows has a nice variety out of the gate. I know Microsoft will get more because the during the time I have had the Surface more and more apps like Kindle have appeared. Highly recommended.
5 out of 5 users found this user opinion helpful.
The iPad is a toy; Surface RT is a toy AND a tool.
by markbot34 on October 28, 2012
Pros: 1. Windows RT O/S is great
2. Innovative keyboard cover
3. Wide screen allows for using 2 apps at the same time
4. MS Office RT nearly indistinguishable from full version
5. Windows drivers and full sized USD port
6. MicroSDXC for expandable memory
Cons: 1. Temporary lack of apps, but the user install base will explode since RT Apps are compatible with Windows 8 Modern UI apps.
2. Found connection issues with the App store
3. Tegra 3 is a bit underpowered.
Summary: So, I've been playing around with the Microsoft Surface RT since Friday and believe it's a great device that fulfills its promise as a tablet for both work ...
Summary: So, I've been playing around with the Microsoft Surface RT since Friday and believe it's a great device that fulfills its promise as a tablet for both work and play. I'm typing this review on the Surface RT in MS Word, using the Type Cover keyboard and a Windows mouse and viewing it on my large LCD via HDMI output. I have Internet Explorer on the left side of the screen and am typing in MS Word on the right side, just like how I would on a laptop PC.I should qualify my criticism of the Tegra 3. It does everything you need it to do. My biggest concern was playing HD videos. It handles that like a champ, not surprising given it was designed by Nvidia. I'm probably just biased since I'm used to using laptops. The iPad is more powerful and gets better battery life than the Surface RT. How do they do that?!?! It has more apps too. But, as I state in my review, the Surface RT has advantages EVERY else. The build quality of the device is as good as an iPad.
Also, the color scheme is in high contrast mode to save my eyesight.
The real star is the O/S. "Live tiles" are so much better than boring icons, a GUI metaphor that has been around for 30 years without much change. Windows RT is a leap forward beyond both iOS and Android in several respects. One of the first things you will realize while using Surface RT is that Windows RT is practically a full blown desktop operating system, yet it also has a touch interface that works smoothly on a tablet form factor and allows the hardware to get 9 hrs of battery life (not as long as the iPad but it gets the job done). After using the Surface, I found my iPhone to be very restricting because Windows 8/RT has so many natural gestures that give you full command of the computing environment. I was amused when I absentmindedly used Windows 8 gestures on iOS.
Microsoft's innovation with the Surface is that it "hits them where they ain't" and leverages MSFT's strengths in productivity software to create something unique and hard to duplicate. The computing hardware in tablets is so powerful, doubling each year. Why not give them the tools to be productive? This is exactly what MSFT did with the Surface RT. It's hard to justify spending $600+ on a toy, which is what the iPad is. Productivity tablets can greatly expand the penetration of the tablet market. The Surface RT is targeted at the home and student markets but has features that set it apart as a productivity tool. The majority of consumers could use the Surface RT as their only computer.
Surface RT as a productivity tool:
1. Screen size is actually pretty important. The Surface is wider than other tablets and this provides the advantage of being able to attach a nearly laptop sized keyboard, something you can't do with the iPad because of it being narrower. The wide screen also lets you have two apps open at the same time. Imagine reading a PDF or website on one side and typing in Word or Excel in the other. Imagine NOT being able to do that on a device and still trying to be productive.
2. Both the Touch Cover and Type Cover are revolutionary. This isn't hyperbole. With the built-in kickstand and keyboard, you can get some serious work done. The Type Cover works just like a laptop keyboard. The Touch Cover is a bit awkward to use at first, but it is still way faster than typing on the screen.
3. MS Office RT is nearly indistinguishable from the desktop version, except for VBA and such things. It is compatible with other versions of Office you will likely interact with. The professional critics reviews didn't put enough importance on Office RT, but it's a huge selling point.
4. Windows drivers and a full sized USB 2.0 port: You can immediately print from your wireless network attached printer when turning Surface RT on for the first time. Also, you can plug in just about any mouse or other Windows 8 compatible peripheral into the USB port. My existing external hard drive is recognized when I plug it in and it works! yay! Try doing that on the iPad.
5. MicroSDXC: You can buy a 64GB MicroSD card for ~$64 to expand the memory of the Surface RT. This is beyond the wildest hopes and dreams of any iPad user. Lol.
6. Join your home network with the Windows HomeGroup feature...just type in the network password to have access to your desktop files.
7. High contrast color scheme option greatly reduces eye strain.
Areas for improvement
1. Yes, there is a lack of Apps currently, but the user install base for RT apps should exceed that of iPad apps within a year since Windows RT apps work on Windows 8 machines. Over 350 million Windows 8 machines will be sold in the next 12 months, dwarfing the cumulative historical sales of all iPads. I just use the websites anyway.
2. The only real problem I encountered was network issues with the Store. Too much traffic the first weekend?
3. The Tegra 3 is a bit underpowered, but it works great for playing HD videos, surfing the web, etc. Surface RT 2 should be twice as powerful.
4. The keyboard-covers are great keyboards for the size but are lackluster covers. There should be a magnetic clasp of some sort to hold them shut.
Updated on Oct 28, 2012
5 out of 6 users found this user opinion helpful.
Absolutely better than Android. One step ahead of iPad.
by James_U on October 26, 2012
Pros: Light, feels great
Movies & pictures look great
Love the new interface ... clean, fun, innovative
Snappy, responsive new UI (3x smoother than Droid)
Puts my Kindle Fire to shame, leapfrog over iPad
Even has USB & HDMI interface
Cons: HATE that the old Windows UI is also still there! Odd, but I guess it is there to support legacy apps?
Wish keyboard was included in $499 price. Had to pay extra. Argh!
More apps please! Does have Office + IE, music and major things covered though.
Summary: Microsoft hit a home run with this one. You can clearly see massive potential. It's fun, sexy, smooth and innovative. Apple & Google have some catch up to do ...
Summary: Microsoft hit a home run with this one. You can clearly see massive potential. It's fun, sexy, smooth and innovative. Apple & Google have some catch up to do on design. But, Microsoft has to catch up on apps. Without question though, this thing is a winner. If Microsoft can attract companies to build an enormous app catalog then watch out. I could see them dominating the market all over again. It's that different and that good of an initial product. This thing is awesome.
4 out of 4 users found this user opinion helpful.
More Than A Tablet!
by neteru1920 on October 26, 2012
Pros: Tablet and PC functionality. Smart Glass technology.
Cons: Price with Keyboard is high. No LTE option.
Summary: Been running windows 8 preview for awhile and the performance is amazing. Microsoft is the future of tablet computing in which I can have tablet size device with touch, and ...
Summary: Been running windows 8 preview for awhile and the performance is amazing. Microsoft is the future of tablet computing in which I can have tablet size device with touch, and PC functionality all in one device. No more carrying a tablet and laptop. Game changer in terms of business productivity, no more spending hundreds of thousands to make apple devices fit in the enterprise.
4 out of 4 users found this user opinion helpful.
A great product with 1 caveat
by BottledWater on November 10, 2012
Pros: Windows File System
Split Screen Apps
Parental Controls / Multiple Users
Fast task switching
Cons: Now my son and wife each want one for Christmas.
Summary: When I'm running through bills or Christmas ideas with my wife, it's easy to keep track of what I'm doing. I can use a calculator or note ...
Summary: When I'm running through bills or Christmas ideas with my wife, it's easy to keep track of what I'm doing. I can use a calculator or note app in a split screen configuration while building a wishlist in Amazon. Then when I want to make sure she's on the same page, I rip the tablet off the keys and let her peruse the product in portrait mode. If I need to grab something from one of the computers in the house it's no problem, all my network shares are instantly accessible. If my mother in law needs a form printed it's no problem.
Yesterday my son was working on a school paper about Quebec. He took over my Surface (the one I'm typing on now) and toggled between Word, Travel, and IE 10 to compile the research information for his project. Then I just bumped the docs over to his skydrive which instantly picked up on his Win 8 desktop, Having a 12 year old I also like the parental controls in Windows 8 and Windows RT. I haven't chosen to spy on my son yet but if I felt it was justified I have full access to review what he's been doing and disallow him from using specific apps or visiting certain websites etc.
3 out of 3 users found this user opinion helpful.
- Manufacturer: Microsoft
- Part number: 1516
- Description: Marketing description is not available.
- Type 10.6 in,
Color TFT active matrix
- Display Resolution 1366 x 768
- Touchscreen Yes
- Features 5-point multi-touch
- Operating System Microsoft Windows RT
- Processor NVIDIA Tegra 3
- Number of Cores Quad-Core
- Flash Memory 32 GB Integrated
- RAM 2 GB
- Supported Flash Memory Cards microSDXC,
- Wireless Connectivity Bluetooth 4.0,
- Audio Microphone , Stereo speakers
- Type Detachable keyboard
Expansion and Connectivity
- Expansion Slot(s) 1 x microSDXC
- Interfaces 1 x USB 2.0,
1 x Headphones
- Capacity 31.5 Wh
- Run Time 8 hour(s)
- Standby Time 360 h
- Sensors Accelerometer,
Ambient light sensor,
- Features Expandable storage ,
Full USB ,
Front camera ,
- Included Accessories VaporMg case,
Power adapter , Stand
Dimensions & Weight
- Width 10.8 in
- Depth 9.3 mm
- Height 6.8 in
- Weight 676 g
- Service & Support Details Limited warranty - 1 year