Microsoft Surface

To lure Surface buyers, Microsoft Store giving away one year of Xbox Music to first 100 in line

What is missing from what should be obvious to a tech journalist is that this is merely a way of getting nice lines at the Microsoft stores that can be covered by the press. I'm not saying year of Xbox Music wouldn't be nice, but I'm not waiting in line for it. But if you want to generate coverage and make your product appear in demand, this is a good way to do it.

I love the idea of the Surface, but I wouldn't drop $$$ on one until they start getting legitimate reviews.

If anyone is picking up the RT version, just keep in mind that Office that comes installed is just a preview and the final version will be installed via Windows Update when it become available. I've seen some surprised to find this out so I wanted to spread the word a bit.

Edwin wrote:
If anyone is picking up the RT version, just keep in mind that Office that comes installed is just a preview and the final version will be installed via Windows Update when it become available. I've seen some surprised to find this out so I wanted to spread the word a bit.

I'm surprised to find this out. That doesn't send a good message about the completeness of the product being shipped. I know Office 2013 isn't out yet but still...

Parallax Abstraction wrote:
Edwin wrote:
If anyone is picking up the RT version, just keep in mind that Office that comes installed is just a preview and the final version will be installed via Windows Update when it become available. I've seen some surprised to find this out so I wanted to spread the word a bit.

I'm surprised to find this out. That doesn't send a good message about the completeness of the product being shipped. I know Office 2013 isn't out yet but still...

Its already been updated.. not sure if that means it will be there on shipping units..but you will probably see some updates to download when you first power up.

Reviews are starting to hit. Surprised, didn't know they were coming today. I've read 3 so far and they're all generally positive but find a few faults common with a first time product and as expected, focus on the fact that Windows RT is a new ecosystem and buying in now means taking a gamble that it will flourish. This is the catch 22 for any new mobile platform. No one will write apps if people don't buy in but people don't want to buy in if there are no apps.

TheGameguru wrote:
Parallax Abstraction wrote:
Edwin wrote:
If anyone is picking up the RT version, just keep in mind that Office that comes installed is just a preview and the final version will be installed via Windows Update when it become available. I've seen some surprised to find this out so I wanted to spread the word a bit.

I'm surprised to find this out. That doesn't send a good message about the completeness of the product being shipped. I know Office 2013 isn't out yet but still...

Its already been updated.. not sure if that means it will be there on shipping units..but you will probably see some updates to download when you first power up.

The first shipped units probably had the preview version due to the lead times involved in manufacturing and shipping. It's not a big deal, I just wanted to let others know.

Parallax Abstraction wrote:
Reviews are starting to hit. Surprised, didn't know they were coming today. I've read 3 so far and they're all generally positive but find a few faults common with a first time product and as expected, focus on the fact that Windows RT is a new ecosystem and buying in now means taking a gamble that it will flourish. This is the catch 22 for any new mobile platform. No one will write apps if people don't buy in but people don't want to buy in if there are no apps.

yep...basically the exact same issue with the Phone side.. I'm hopeful this new ecosystem will give MS a good push and make a dent.. we really need someone to step up and challenge Apple in a significant way.

Realistically it would just be everyone else fighting for second, third and whatever else is left.

TheGameguru wrote:
Parallax Abstraction wrote:
Reviews are starting to hit. Surprised, didn't know they were coming today. I've read 3 so far and they're all generally positive but find a few faults common with a first time product and as expected, focus on the fact that Windows RT is a new ecosystem and buying in now means taking a gamble that it will flourish. This is the catch 22 for any new mobile platform. No one will write apps if people don't buy in but people don't want to buy in if there are no apps.

yep...basically the exact same issue with the Phone side.. I'm hopeful this new ecosystem will give MS a good push and make a dent.. we really need someone to step up and challenge Apple in a significant way.

I think the way they plan to leverage this problem is Windows 8. It's going to start coming on consumer PCs very soon and like Vista, it's going to sell boatloads regardless of any naysayers. I think their hope is that this install base will encourage Metro app development and if it's as easy to put those apps on Windows RT as it's supposed to be, I think that will quickly create an ecosystem. It's a bold move few but Microsoft could pull off but it's still a big gamble and I think it will either pay off big or flop spectacularly, nothing in between. I'm taking a wait and see approach, mostly because not only can I not afford a new tablet, I barely use the iPad 2 we already have. Regardless of hate for Windows 8 and how justified or not it is, like GG said, Apple needs a competitor. Recent events have shown that they're already getting way too cocky in my opinion.

Windows 8 Metro apps should run on WindowsRT and Windows Phone, so it's like three platforms sharing the same apps?

I have one pre-ordered and I just don't know if I should keep it or return it. Decisions!

Parallax Abstraction wrote:
I think the way they plan to leverage this problem is Windows 8. It's going to start coming on consumer PCs very soon and like Vista, it's going to sell boatloads regardless of any naysayers. I think their hope is that this install base will encourage Metro app development and if it's as easy to put those apps on Windows RT as it's supposed to be, I think that will quickly create an ecosystem. It's a bold move few but Microsoft could pull off but it's still a big gamble and I think it will either pay off big or flop spectacularly, nothing in between. I'm taking a wait and see approach, mostly because not only can I not afford a new tablet, I barely use the iPad 2 we already have. Regardless of hate for Windows 8 and how justified or not it is, like GG said, Apple needs a competitor. Recent events have shown that they're already getting way too cocky in my opinion.

Taking your Vista example, the obvious risk is that "Metro" will end up in the same place as desktop gadgets and Sideshow. I hope it doesn't go that route, but just because the install base might be huge, it doesn't mean a particular part of the OS will take off.

(And while I didn't care about Gadgets, I always thought Sideshow devices could be interesting given a bit of creativity.)

Ulairi wrote:
Windows 8 Metro apps should run on WindowsRT and Windows Phone, so it's like three platforms sharing the same apps?

I have one pre-ordered and I just don't know if I should keep it or return it. Decisions!

Windows 8 Metro is pretty much the same as Windows RT. But Windows Phone 8 is different. Similar enough that it should be an easy transition for devs to move an app over, but not the same.

MannishBoy wrote:
Windows 8 Metro is pretty much the same as Windows RT. But Windows Phone 8 is different. Similar enough that it should be an easy transition for devs to move an app over, but not the same.

I thought we hadn't really seen enough of Win Phone 8 to say that definitively yet? Not sure if there's any cross-over in UI enabled or not since they've, unfortunately, shown very very little of Win Phone 8 yet. Hoping that Metro XAML = Phone 8 XAML, just different layout. Haven't really jumped into that area of development much before (mostly web, xna), but kind of wanting to. Just need an idea... Oh, and time :-/

Also, been following SharpDX (managed DirectX wrappers) and MonoGame (cross-platform XNA) - there's a ton of community development getting them working for Metro. I'm pretty excited since I have a lot of old XNA code floating around. Unreal Engine's been demoed as well; not sure where Unity3d's at. So, the tooling for games is definitely coming, and soon.

Ulairi wrote:
Windows 8 Metro apps should run on WindowsRT and Windows Phone, so it's like three platforms sharing the same apps?

I have one pre-ordered and I just don't know if I should keep it or return it. Decisions!

Ditto. Pulled trigger on Surface 32gb.

Pirate Bob wrote:
I thought we hadn't really seen enough of Win Phone 8 to say that definitively yet?

No, MS has definitely said it's an easy port if developed with WinRT, but not the same app.

After reading some of the reviews that have been posted about Surface RT I'm half tempted to place a preorder for a basic model. It would be a lock if Microsoft had included the stylus + Digital ink feature in that version.

http://www.engadget.com/2012/10/23/m...

I enjoyed reading the display comparison - sounds like the 'political' statements made by the Applied Research guy weren't all that political after all.

Symbiotic wrote:
http://www.engadget.com/2012/10/23/m...

I enjoyed reading the display comparison - sounds like the 'political' statements made by the Applied Research guy weren't all that political after all.

Yep, as I suspected, it sounds like a good display. Resolution really isn't everything. I look forward to the impressions of GWJers who end up getting one. The reviews I've seen are fairly positive on the display. Ars Technica gave a pretty positive review of the touch keyboard. I was curious about that. I guess it's easy to type with once you get used to it, but the touch pad isn't very good.

MS's touch keyboard stuff is reportedly great for Win Phone, so I would think that would apply here as well. Supposedly up there with the best in industry.

The Windows Phone 7 keyboard is hands-down the best touch keyboard I've used. If they built the RT keyboard off of that, I would expect it to be rock solid.

I was talking about the touch cover. Sorry that I wasn't clear.

I've been using my Quantum for WP7, so most of my typing is on its pull out keyboard. The digital one is good, but the Quantum has a small screen (which I like for form factor). I'm looking forward to the new WP8 phones with a bigger screen to really put the touch sc teen keyboard to use.

One of the reasons I opted for the Quantum was my dislike of the iPhone's keyboard, which made me want the slide out version. the the only downside is that it adds a fair amount of weight.

As for the Surface, I am concerned that the form factor may be awkward, as discussed in the Verge review. I'm looking forward to more hands on impressions here.

http://gizmodo.com/5953866/microsoft...

Sam Biddle didn;t like it. He felt that the touch cover was too soft and jittery. Too many mistypes (to be expected on any new keyboard format) and too soft to use on anything but a hard surface.

Also he kept comparing it to laptops. it's not one and can't replace one even though MS is trying to tout it that way.

I'm still holding out for Pro. Leaning heavily towards the Acer.

As someone with many years of working with every brand of hardware and having seen the ups and downs of almost every major brand, I can tell you one thing with certainty: Never buy Acer.

Parallax Abstraction wrote:
As someone with many years of working with every brand of hardware and having seen the ups and downs of almost every major brand, I can tell you one thing with certainty: Never buy Acer.

Sadly going to +1 that. They're up there with Gateway on my list of brands to steer people away from. I've had too many problems with them over the years.

Hmm, I've had my Acer Iconia A500 now since the day they were launched and I've had little to no problems. The only issue i have with it is that when it goes into sleep mode I sometimes have to hard-boot it as it wont wake up. It's a known issue that hopefully will be corrected inthe next patch.

But either way, i have no complaints with that tab.

I will, however, keep your suggestion in mind when choosing my Pro. Their price point and features sure do look good though.

groan wrote:
http://gizmodo.com/5953866/microsoft...

Sam Biddle didn;t like it. He felt that the touch cover was too soft and jittery. Too many mistypes (to be expected on any new keyboard format) and too soft to use on anything but a hard surface.

Also he kept comparing it to laptops. it's not one and can't replace one even though MS is trying to tout it that way.

I'm still holding out for Pro. Leaning heavily towards the Acer.

Unlike the first time you pinched an iPhone or gazed at E-ink, there's zero that's instantly intuitive about the Touch Cover. And in order for this to be a brave new computer, Touch Cover had to be instantly intuitive, an immediately responsive thing to touch and work with. But rather than feeling like you've instantly grown an extra brain lobe just by using it, Surface's mega-hyped keyboard cover feels like it requires one. You'll feel clumsy. You'll write slowly. I tried writing this review on the Surface, but I would've missed my deadline by a week.

It's a keyboard. You press the keys with your fingers. I'm not sure what isn't intuitive about it. I don't think Biddle gets it. Having a cover that is always with the surface is a big thing. Typing on screen takes up half the screen and typing anything but lower case letters is a pain.

Should you buy it?
No. The Surface, with an obligatory Touch Cover, is $600. That's a lot of money. Especially given that it's no laptop replacement, no matter how it looks or what Microsoft says. It's a tablet-plus, priced right alongside the iPad and in most ways inferior.

That could change. Maybe there will be a new Touch Cover that retains the original's terrific physical qualities while actually allowing good typing.

Did he just forget about the type cover?

That review seems pretty contrary to Anandtechs review.

At the end of the day I’d say Touch Cover is a great step above a screen-based capacitive keyboard. Touch typing isn’t an issue at all thanks to the fact that this is still a physical keyboard with actual feel to the keys. The biggest issue is accuracy with some of the pressure sensors not responding when you hit them. The easiest way to control that is to increase the force of all of your taps although I suspect that with time you could train your fingers to individually apply the right amount of force. There’s a balance between speed and strike force. I found that I could be fairly accurate if I just slowed my pace down. If I wanted to type closer to full speed, I could compensate by increasing the strength behind my taps.

Touch Cover really is an integral part of the Surface experience. I would say that it’s perfect for moderate typing use. Although I wrote half of this review on Touch Cover, I preferred using the Type Cover which I used to type the second half. Touch Cover can get the job done in a pinch, but it’s clearly built for folks who don’t have to type 5 – 10K word documents.

Anandtech seems to have liked the touch cover quite a bit.

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

Again, seems to have mostly high praise for the type cover. The cover that Giz seems to have forgotten even exists (halfway through their reivew).

From Gizmodo:

Perhaps most galling is the Touch Cover's $100 addition to the Surface's already pricy $400 base MSRP—akin to selling your windshield wipers separate from the car. Microsoft also offers a Type Cover, that promises actual physical keys instead of the flattened solution, but that will add critical bulk to your Surface experience—along with an extra $130. Another letdown—and a pretty outrageous one.

I find it odd that they complain about cost but talk about how great the iPad is in comparison. So I can get a 32gb ipad for $599 or I can get a 32gb Surface with a keyboard cover for $599. Oh, and if you want the cover for the iPad be prepared to shell out an additional $39. What a bargain!

I have not used either but both Engadget and Anandtech's reviews seem to be much more free of bias than Gizmodo's. I am not saying that the surface is a great tablet. Just saying that the Anandtech review and Engadget review both seem to like the Surface quite a bit while Gizmodo's review seems to hate it. That doesn't even mention how Gizmodo's review has system requirements that would make most Xbox 360 games blush. How many animated gifs do you really need?

One last thing to note about the giz review. Even Jesus Diaz thinks it's biased:

Jesus Diaz 18 hours ago
Sam, your gripes seem to be about the keyboard crap this, the windows office sh*t that. It seems that this review is about how this product fails in being a laptop replacement. Perhaps that's a problem that MS has set themselves, but this is not exactly what this product is.

This product is a tablet, which is why the keyboard is optional.

And it's not Windows 8, which is why it doesn't have a desktop.

It's RT. The Office stuff and the keyboard is garnish that most consumers won't touch.

So forget about the keyboard, Office and the pretension by you and other people that this should be a laptop replacement.

The real question that I don't think this review really tackles is: how does it compare with the iPad on a daily basis (assuming you use the iPad daily)? Or how does it compare with the Kindle Fire HD?

My iPad is a generation 1, can I buy this instead of the iPad 4 as a tablet? After all, it costs $499 too. I use my iPad daily for web, books and mail. I think many other people do the same. I really want to have an answer for this.

So is this better than the iPad? Does it have a better interface? Is it more elegant? More fun? Does it come with stitched leather seats?

Thank you.

That seems pretty damning to me.

For reference, here is Anandtech and Engadget's review.

A couple of my thoughts so far. While it isn't the same as having dual monitors the ability to show two separate apps on the screen at once is a huge boost to productivity for me. I often am reading an email and editing a web page (whether it is editing in our cms or changing setting in our classroom management software) constantly. Half of my job is to take things within an email and do something with them. Having that email up on screen while I do that take a tablet from a pain to use to a workable solution (or at least has that potential). I'd be interested to see if you can do something like that with two tabs in internet explorer.

Second, the surface comes with a usb port. Then, there is the video of the Unreal Engine someone posted in this thread before. A small laptop sized wireless mouse and the touch keyboard could mean full fledged FPS gaming. I would love to see TF2 on this where you can actually connect to PC gamers playing it. Probably won't happen but mouse gaming within an FPS alone would be pretty neat.

Finally, that USB port would give you the ability to attach a REAL storage device. My wife does web browsing, email, netflix, some office document editing, and photo editing. Having a place to actually store files makes photo editing on the device possible. Then there's the mSDHC card slot for added storage. Sure, you can do photo editing on an ipad but you have to keep 16 gig available for transferring files (my sdlr is often pretty close to having a full card which is 16gb) and you have to constantly swap the images out. No thanks.

I didn't see much about the type cover in use on a sofa or in bed. It sounds like it is rigid so it might work okay. Anyway, those two things (usb and multitasking) have me pretty interested. I could see trading my iPad 3 and iPad 1 for an 8" ipad (for the kids) and a surface for myself and my wife.

I really think they hurt their convertible tablet/laptop use case by not engineering some kind of actual hinged attachment for a keyboard. I don't see how this could really be used in laptop form away from a stable surface. So it doesn't really have a "laptop" mode.

EvilHomer3k wrote:

That seems pretty damning to me.

For all those reasons and more, I stopped reading Gizmodo entirely. They are an opinion blog, not a tech review blog.

Symbiotic wrote:
EvilHomer3k wrote:

That seems pretty damning to me.

For all those reasons and more, I stopped reading Gizmodo entirely. They are an opinion blog, not a tech review blog.

Ughhh... yeah, I stopped going to the Gawker websites a long time ago. They leave a terrible taste in your mouth.

ClockworkHouse wrote:
Parallax Abstraction wrote:
As someone with many years of working with every brand of hardware and having seen the ups and downs of almost every major brand, I can tell you one thing with certainty: Never buy Acer.

Sadly going to +1 that. They're up there with Gateway on my list of brands to steer people away from. I've had too many problems with them over the years.


Acer has owned Gateway since 2007.