Living with the Microsoft Surface RT
Basil Kronfli spent some time living with the Surface RT as his primary tablet to see how it stacked up in actual real-world use
The Microsoft Surface RT. It’s been causing quite the stir since it landed on the scene. First there was that touch cover, then there was the clickety clackety advert and finally came the reviews.
Oh how good it all looked until the reviews.
Our review in particular was the one that threw me. Written by Paul Briden – Know Your Mobile's resident Windows Phone fan boy – the Surface RT didn't do well, scoring just 2.5 out of 5.
Paul generally doesn’t give devices 2.5, but in his own words, at the end of his review he 'wanted it to die'.
So I took it off his hands. The last thing I’d want would be for it to aggravate him more, and as much as I read the review and wanted to agree, I just couldn’t take it at face value - how could Microsoft fail so, so hard?
I love the Microsoft Surface RT
On so many occasions when using this tablet I was delighted. Absolutely beaming from ear to ear delighted.
The first point of delight was a result of the design. The Surface RT’s free-standing form managed to make certain parts of my life instantly easier - like baking.
Shortly after getting home with the tab, I pulled up a recipe on allrecipes.com, set the Surface up on my counter and baked.
Now, I’ve cooked from free-standing tablets before - the iPad with a smart cover, for example, but it wasn’t sturdy enough to leave me comfortable with it on a work surface while I carried on clattering away with whisks and sieves.
I’ve also used the Asus Transformer Prime, a much sturdier a dock it may have, but its keyboard took up far too much room on the counter.
The Microsoft Surface RT is a standalone, compact, self-standing masterpiece. It’s bright, viewing angles are superb and while stood up, it’s sturdy enough to swipe and scroll on comfortably.
And it wasn’t just cooking.
I’ve just bought a ChromeBook. Given my line of work, it’s the perfect tool for typing on the go - no boot times, cheap as chips, plenty of battery.
When it comes to video though, it’s shocking. HD streaming? No chance. Netflix? Not without Silverlight you won’t. Your own video files? Make sure it’s no higher than VGA resolution to be safe. This leaves me wanting. Badly.
The Surface however nailed video. I sat down to watch iPlayer using it after a bout of ChromeBook fail. The remainder of the evening went on to consist of two episodes about breakfast lunch and dinner, a movie on Netflix and finally an episode of Tekzilla on my 1080p TV connected to the Surface.
And it wasn’t just cooking or movies.
I’ve also just reviewed a bunch of Windows Phone 8 handsets and signed up to Xbox Music for testing purposes, which meant I could test out Xbox music on the Surface along with a fantastic Bluetooth speaker, the Jabra Solemate.
Again, thanks to the kickstand on the Surface RT, this demure self-standing panel instantly looked like an ornament being serenaded by my bad taste in tunes.
Helped along by the horizontally gliding UI it all looked immense. Swipe, glide, tap, play, ogle.
After a day and a half with the Microsoft Surface RT, I was positively tickled.