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Impressions: Working with Microsoft's Surface 2 & Type Cover 2

post #1 of 142
Thread Starter 
In positioning its Surface tablets against the iPad, Microsoft has attempted to convince consumers that its devices are better built for productivity, while Apple's lineup is simply meant for media consumption. We decided to put Microsoft's claims to the test, and spent a few days using the Surface 2 in a work environment.

Surface


Though Microsoft has been long dominant in the traditional PC space with its Windows platform, it's hoping to carve away at some of Apple's ownership in the tablet market, where the iPad has been the leader since it first debuted in 2010.

The Redmond, Wash., company took its first official stab last year, when it launched the Surface Pro and Surface RT, a pair of Microsoft-built tablets designed to reach different markets. While the Surface Pro runs traditional x86-based processors and full-fledged Windows, the low-end Surface RT line uses ARM processors, like Apple's iPad, and runs a stripped down version of Windows, dubbed "RT."

Microsoft's first attempt with Surface RT resulted in huge losses for the company, which took a $900 million write-down on unsold inventory. Estimates peg total Surface RT sales through July at just 1.7 million.

Surface


But with Surface 2, Microsoft has made it clear they have no plans to abandon the low-end Windows RT platform. This year, they've returned with a new model that now sports a high-resolution 1080p screen, a number of design tweaks, and much faster internal components.

AppleInsider was provided by Microsoft with a Surface 2 and accompanying Touch Cover 2 accessory to test. The tablet also came with the charging cable, a case from Targus, and one year of 100 gigabytes of storage on the company's SkyDrive cloud storage service.

Since Microsoft has sold this device to consumers as a productivity-geared alternative to Apple's iPad, I decided to put it to work.

Getting down to business



Surface


I use a fairly typical set of applications my daily workflow: a messaging client, browser, RSS reader, mail client, basic text editor, image editor, and FTP client. It's here, already, that the iPad has a major productivity advantage: Apple's App Store has nearly 500,000 applications designed for the iPad alone, while the Windows Store has over 100,000.

Still, I managed to find free options on the Windows Store that suited my needs. Some cross-platform options I was familiar with, like IM+ for instant messaging, while others, such as RSS app Modern Reader, were exclusive to the Windows platform.

Surface 2 comes with the Office 2013 RT suite, which includes Excel, OneNote, Outlook, PowerPoint and Word. Similarly, Apple's iWork suite comes free with all new iPad purchases --?though the iWork for iOS apps are touch-optimized, and full touch support for Office is said to be forthcoming.

The Office 2013 apps also require users to enter a legacy desktop mode, complete with a Start button that returns to the "Modern" Metro UI. Frankly, the inclusion of a desktop mode in Windows RT is only confusing, because the platform does not run traditional Windows apps.

Surface


And yet ironically, as Windows RT's desktop mode is limited to a handful of ARM-compatible apps, the biggest drawback of productivity on any tablet is the very lack of a traditional desktop mode. Thanks to the success of Apple's iPad, modern tablets have been geared toward uni-tasking, with one application displayed at a time.

Thankfully, Surface 2 breaks this rule with the ability to "snap" multiple apps onto the screen at once. Here, the Surface 2 does gain a major productivity advantage over the iPad.

With two windows open at once, Surface 2 offers "true" multitasking that's crucial in my work environment. I can have an RSS feed or the latest emails viewable on one side of the screen, while reading a website or writing a document on the other side.

In particular, the ability to view one document while typing notes is a crucial part of my daily routine. The iPad simply doesn't allow this sort of "combining" of apps when multitasking, and it's an area where Apple's competitors do have a leg up with regard to productivity.The "snap" feature in Windows RT 8.1 does aid productivity, but Surface 2 can't run traditional Windows apps, which limits its potential

Like the iPad, Surface 2 allows applications to run in the background. On both platforms, this works well: Notifications pop up to alert of new e-mails or instant messages, and tapping on the notification launches that respective app. When using apps in "snapped" mode on a Surface 2, a user must choose which current app they wish to replace after tapping on a notification.

Dual-window multitasking on the Surface 2 is limited to only two apps at a time. It's also a landscape-only affair, because windows are forced to the left and right of the display, not the top and bottom. The 16:9 screen is too narrow to allow for multitasking in portrait mode.

In reality, pretty much everything with Surface 2 is meant to be done in landscape mode. The 16:9 aspect ratio is unwieldy in portrait mode when using Surface as a tablet.

And that brings us to the design of the Surface 2 itself, and how it plays into productivity.

In the lap, on the desk



Surface 2 is about 9 millimeters thick and weighs just shy of 1.5 pounds. It's comparable to the third- and fourth-generation iPad, but is a half-pound heavier than Apple's forthcoming iPad Air. The Surface 2 also has a bigger screen than the iPad, though, measuring 10.6 inches with a 1080p high-definition resolution.

Surface


I found it works best in "notebook mode," propped up by the kickstand sitting on a desk, used with the Type Cover 2 keyboard accessory. There are two angles the kickstand offers, and the angle does makes it easier for lap use, though I can't recommend using the device with the keyboard in this fashion.

In my experience, typing away on the lightweight keyboard can cause the heavier surface to bounce around a little bit, leaving me with concerns that it might fall out of my lap. This is meant for use on a desk first and foremost, though careful lap use is technically possible, but probably best without the keyboard. For my work tests, I kept it steady on a desk.

The build quality of Surface 2 is great. The keyboard clicks in sturdily with a satisfying sound, and the kickstand is reliable and snaps into the angle you want with ease.

Surface


There are dedicated ports for USB and Micro HDMI, which Apple's iPad lacks, though that same functionality can be easily added with adapters. As I don't own a Micro HDMI cable or adapter, or know anyone who does, the inclusion of the port seemed useless to me, and makes it no more convenient than Apple's own HDMI adapter. The dedicated USB port is nice for importing photos, though it does limit Microsoft's ability to make the device any thinner.

There's also a microSD expansion slot under the kickstand, allowing users to have more storage.

The Windows button on Surface 2, which is the equivalent of the home button on the iPad, isn't a button at all. It's just an icon shown on the glass front of the device, and touching it initiates a small vibration within the device to give tactile feedback to the user.

Touch vs. tap vs. type



A Surface 2 without the $130 Type Cover accessory wouldn't be very productive at all. This is a solid keyboard, and it's relatively thin thanks to the fact that it doesn't need its own battery.

The bottom side of Microsoft's tablet features a magnetic connector that holds the Type Cover 2 securely, and also provides power to the accessory. This year's updated Type Cover includes a backlight for the keys.

I had no problem typing at full speed on the Type Cover. Travel on the keys was adequate, and I found the accessory to be a crucial productivity booster.

Surface


Flipping the keyboard around to the back side of the device, allowing it to be held in a traditional tablet mode, disables the accessory, and pressing keys will not type on the screen. Flipping the keyboard back to the front reenables it.

Of course, there are plenty of keyboard accessories for the iPad, from Apple's own wireless offering, to a number of models that act as clamshells to turn the iPad into a sort of notebook -- not unlike the Type Cover.

But there are a few key differences. iPad keyboard accessories connect through Bluetooth, meaning they need internal batteries that must be recharged, and they must be turned on and off to establish a connection. In addition, the iPad does not allow pointer-based control from a trackpad.The Type Cover 2 is a serviceable keyboard and well-designed accessory, but its trackpad is too small and unreliable.

The Type Cover 2 does include a trackpad. Unfortunately, while the Type Cover keyboard is great, the trackpad is not.

The trackpad is located below the keyboard, as it would be on a traditional notebook. But because of the small size of the accessory designed to fit the 10.6-inch display on the Surface 2, the trackpad is too tiny.

In my tests it was also unreliable -- much more so than Apple's accurate MacBook trackpads. Clicking and dragging with the Type Cover 2 was nearly impossible for me, and I often found myself accidentally clicking on items on the screen. Attempts to fix this by adjusting the settings in Windows RT 8.1 didn't address the problems.

That said, two-finger scrolling on the Touch Cover 2 trackpad, much like on a Mac, works great, and I didn't have any issues with it.

While the trackpad was poor, the touchscreen on the Surface 2 is responsive and reliable. The Tegra 4 chip running Windows RT is a great performer, and the operating system felt fluid during daily use. This performance didn't come at a cost to battery life, either, as our basic tests found Surface 2 can easily last most users' full work days.

Both the touchpad and touchscreen offer the same quick-access functions, so choosing to use one or the other exclusively doesn't really hamper functionality. Swiping from the left side of the screen or touchpad pulls up the multitasking tray with recent apps, while the right side of the screen or trackpad offers access to Search, Share, Start, Devices and Settings.

Using the Surface 2 for work, I found myself defaulting to selection through the trackpad because of habit. But my frustrations with it would then lead me to reach out and navigate the Surface 2 via the touchscreen. This felt like an unnatural way of using a desk-based computer for an extended period of time.

Options are nice, but between the touchpad and the touchscreen, I felt like the Surface 2 was trying to do too many things and not really succeeding at any. At least the keyboard was reliable.

File systems and the cloud



Windows RT includes a more traditional file system structure than Apple's iOS, allowing users to access files and place them in folders. This is an area where Apple has made a conscious decision to simplify the computing experience, though sometimes at a detriment to power users.

That said, Apple has made strides in recent years in allowing files to be shared between applications. Still, if someone has a huge library of photos saved on their iPhone or in Photo Stream, sorting through them and categorizing them for access through third-party applications remains difficult.

Surface


By default, files saved on the Surface 2 are saved into respective folders: Documents, Downloads, Music, Pictures and Videos. Top-level folders also exist for Desktop and Windows (C:).

On the cloud side, the Surface 2 comes with Microsoft's SkyDrive, which offers more space for free than Apple's iCloud, and also features more standard file upload and sync controls, making it a service more akin to Dropbox. SkyDrive also offers a better value for consumers, with a larger 7 gigabytes of free storage, and cheaper upgrade options than most of its competitors.

Microsoft's SkyDrive is also cross-platform, with official applications for both iOS and Mac OS X. I feel iCloud continues to be a confusing product for consumers, and believe that Apple would be better suited adopting the style of Microsoft's SkyDrive, and offering more value in the process.

Conclusions and thoughts



Let's be real: If you're serious about productivity, and your daily workflow is even moderately complex, you're not going to rely solely on either an iPad or a Surface in their current state. That's not to say these devices can't get work done -- they certainly can, but they're not as efficient at doing so in a number of ways.

If cost is a concern, a quick check of the Windows tablet landscape shows there are many other competing tablets in the same price range that run full-fledged Windows, rather than the limited Windows RT. If productivity is the real selling point of Surface 2, it's hard to see this device as a clear winner over those other devices that can run traditional Windows apps.

Spending a day working with the Surface 2 was a frustrating affair. In truth, that's no different than attempting to get a full day's worth of serious work done on an iPad.

Surface


But the iPad -- free of a keyboard, not reliant on USB accessories, and in a more handheld-friendly 4:3 screen ratio -- is not tethered to a desk. It's a dynamic device that can be used as a notebook if you really want it to be one. Or it can be something else.

The Surface 2 feels like it does an acceptable job of being a netbook replacement. Sure, it's portable and lighter than most notebooks, and it can serve as a tablet in a pinch. But it really shines when attached to a keyboard and sitting flat on a desk. In an iPad world, that's not what I've come to expect from a tablet.

When compared to the upcoming iPad Air, the Surface 2 does offer some value over Apple's offering. Specifically, Microsoft's entry-level model comes with 32 gigabytes of storage, and is priced at $449 --?$50 less than the 16-gigabyte iPad Air.

But to get the most productivity out of a Surface 2, you'll need a Type Cover 2, which sells for $130, which brings the total cost to about $580. An Apple Bluetooth keyboard does not attach to the iPad and stand it up, but it does sell for $69, putting the iPad at a total cost of about $570 for a productivity-minded user. And there are third-party options for iPad, like the $100 Logitech Ultrathin Keyboard, which do attach to and prop up the iPad, offering a notebook-style experience.

The Surface RT platform feels like Microsoft's attempt to bridge the gap between the past and future of mobile computing. But rather than showing us what that future may hold, the Surface 2 is a device stuck in limbo. And as it turns out, that's not very productive.
post #2 of 142

With Bay Trail getting cost, performance, and power draw competitive with ARM chips, I don't see much sense in keeping with ARM in this form factor. A tablet just like this but with Bay Trail and full on Windows would be pretty appealing. I'm not sure what RTs future will be given how competitive Intel is getting, perhaps it will end up merging with Windows Phone and stay in phones and phablets. 

post #3 of 142
I'm no longer impressed by the number of applications in any of the app stores. The more important question is whether they've got the right app for each of the things I need an app for.
post #4 of 142

"The Surface RT platform feels like Microsoft's attempt to bridge the gap between the past and future of mobile computing. But rather than showing us what that future may hold, the Surface 2 is a device stuck in limbo. And as it turns out, that's not very productive."

 

 

Am I the only one who figured as much without having to go through the review?

 

This is MS we're talking about. Post 2007. They're the walking, material definition of what it means to be in "limbo."

 

​Unless you think expensive writedowns, with nothing substantial done to the failed product post-writedown, is particularly productive. 

post #5 of 142

So the takeaway is that both iPads and Surface RT suck for trying to do productive work on, try Windows Pro?

post #6 of 142
I don't get the big deal about this device. So Microsoft took the laptop form factor and moved the guts from the keyboard to the display. Almost every promotional shot of this device shows it with the kickstand and keyboard. That's not a tablet. And not something I'd want to snuggle up in bed with to read a book or slip in a purse or back back when I'm out and about.

For me the problem with this device is there aren't a lot of pure tablet benefits. So if its mostly going to be used as a laptop, why not just buy the real thing where you get better specs and functionality. John Siracusa tested the 13" MBA with Mavericks and got 15 hours battery life. Neither of these surface tablets come anywhere close to that.
post #7 of 142
This is a remarkably restrained article from Apple insider.

I'm thinking the RT doesn't have much of a future, but the Surface Pro 2 is enticing if only for the stylus support... or maybe the one from Wacom. For some who want to use these pads for art, it's frustrating that Apple hasn't given us a solid choice yet.

Maybe the iPad "Air" is opening up a category that is "Pro" and with it will come a durability, an optional larger screen, and an amazing stylus experience. Here's hoping!
post #8 of 142
MS defines productivity as Office. Unless you write lots of documents or spreadsheets, and most people don't, Office won't help you be productive. It all depends on what you need to get done. A musician might be more productive with GarageBand. A photographer doesn't need office. But plenty of other apps could be useful. A graphic designer doesn't need office either. Most people don't need office. Office does not make a better letter, term paper, etc than many other apps. Office is way over powered for the majority of users.
post #9 of 142

I do appreciate this objective review. It rather sums up my impressions. Here's the takeaway:

 

"Let's be real: If you're serious about productivity, and your daily workflow is even moderately complex, you're not going to rely solely on either an iPad or a Surface in their current state. That's not to say these devices can't get work done — they certainly can, but they're not as efficient at doing so in a number of ways."

 

Well said. Many miss the point that at these prices (be real, folks - if you're doing work on these, they are tools of the trade, no different than a traveling salesman buying a big car to transport salespeople) you can actually have more than one. Get the device you need for the task. I am thrilled with my Macbook Air. If working, that's the go-to device. If not, my iPad mini sits in my lap with the game on the TV, or I use it as an eReader. 

 

At the risk of threadjack, I am also waiting for a proliferation of ebook readers that are free. Yes, free. A button on them lets you buy a product with a huge margin. Why not get them in the hands of as many people as you can. Make them one trick ponies, and give them away. Maybe "buy 10 ebooks get the device free." Not likely from AAPL after their run in with the DOJ. 

post #10 of 142
Local big box had a Surface display up and I tried the keyboard cover thing. Wasn't impressed. I found it really hard to type on. No tactile feedback, felt like I really had to press to get an entry. As bad as just typing in the screen.

The unit itself was in a limited demo mode so I could only try what they had programmed in, which wasn't that wow me either. Not enough that it makes the iPad etc look like garbage

A non tech's thoughts on Apple stuff 

(She's family so I'm a little biased)

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A non tech's thoughts on Apple stuff 

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post #11 of 142
Seems like a pretty fair review. In the final analysis, if you want a tablet that's designed to be primarily a tablet, then you want an iPad, and if you want a tablet that's primarily a desktop/laptop device, then you can make the RT work but you might be better off with a real laptop like a Mac Air.
post #12 of 142
Quote:
Originally Posted by aaronsullivan View Post


Maybe the iPad "Air" is opening up a category that is "Pro" and with it will come a durability, an optional larger screen, and an amazing stylus experience. Here's hoping!

I wouldn't count on it. They made it rather clear that they named it because they didn't want to just call it a number. Not a guarantee, given their tone, that there is a Pro in the works. The comments may not have been a cover
Edited by charlituna - 10/26/13 at 11:10am

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A non tech's thoughts on Apple stuff 

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post #13 of 142
A keyboard attaching to the screen is a compromise coming from the age of notebooks. I know very few things more unfomfortable and anti-ergonomic than that. If you have the luxury of being able to detach the keyboard from the screen, why not doing it? So, for me, it is the Apple Wireless Keyboard forever.

Then, I cannot understand the rationale after Microsoft ads. If the iPad is not a professional device, why are they targeting their Surface to the same (supposedly consumer) audience?
post #14 of 142
Quote:
Originally Posted by tipoo View Post
 

With Bay Trail getting cost, performance, and power draw competitive with ARM chips, I don't see much sense in keeping with ARM in this form factor. A tablet just like this but with Bay Trail and full on Windows would be pretty appealing. I'm not sure what RTs future will be given how competitive Intel is getting, perhaps it will end up merging with Windows Phone and stay in phones and phablets. 

Honestly, I can't understand/agree with your post.

 

Apple pulled a number on intel with the arm A7 64bit chip. Not only did the A7 "catch up" to intel, it surpassed them in performance (on some tests) while expanding the other set of advantages (efficiency, cost, etc).

 

Since we are seeing Apple doubling performance each year, even if they "only" increase performance 50% this time next year, intel is totally behind on mobile. This is a different situation from what happens in the PC industry where Apple pushes the envelope and ditches discrete graphics on high end systems, so everyone follows the lead and intel gets a big boost because every OEM is behind their back.

 

It's safe to say that Qualcomm and others will keep improving, even if their chips are inferior to Apple (not only in performance but especially as a complete package), so ARM is stronger than ever.

 

So Windows RT makes sense, but they should kill the desktop mode all together, just like all legacy code, and do something new and great. The Wintel empire lost the dominance, they must face it.

 

Meanwhile, Windows 7 is rock solid and should provide years of revenue until Microsoft is ready. Let's face it, Apple plays a different game (10% Market share) and Windows RT can challenge Android tablets. There's room for everyone.

post #15 of 142
Originally Posted by AppleInsider View Post
Using the Surface 2 for work, I found myself defaulting to selection through the trackpad because of habit. But my frustrations with it would then lead me to reach out and navigate the Surface 2 via the touchscreen. This felt like an unnatural way of using a desk-based computer for an extended period of time. 

 

Once again, Microsoft reveals its biggest weakness: user interface design.  Their approach to the user interface, and hence the user experience, is to add feature upon feature.  This is what they've done for decades with DOS and Windows.  Ask corporate users what they want and add it to the next release.  The result is a big ugly mess.  And Microsoft used to be able to get away with bigness, ugliness, and messiness before iPad.  But not any more.  Not in the post-PC era.

 

 

The Surface RT platform feels like Microsoft's attempt to bridge the gap between the past and future of mobile computing. But rather than showing us what that future may hold, the Surface 2 is a device stuck in limbo. And as it turns out, that's not very productive.
 
Surface RT and Pro are Microsoft's attempt to hold back the post-PC era by anchoring it to the legacy PC era.  They're trying to make their post-PC device look old-fashioned in an attempt to make their legacy Windows 8 look more modern.  And evidently this is not fooling anybody.
 
 
Let's be real: If you're serious about productivity, and your daily workflow is even moderately complex, you're not going to rely solely on either an iPad or a Surface in their current state.
 

It's called an Ultrabook.  It's there if you absolutely must buy a compact Wintel PC laptop.  Better off getting an Ultrabook than a retro-Frankenstein Surface.  For productivity anyway.  For collector value in 50 years, go with the Surface.

 

Or maybe it's best to just get an 11" MacBook Air.  Bigger screen than any Surface, better keyboard, better construction.  And it already comes with OS X Mavericks installed.  You'll need to pay the Windows tax, if you really must run your legacy Office etc.

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post #16 of 142

At the risk of threadjacking, today's Woot entry (a Windows 8 laptop) has a clever bit of in-house ad copy ("Who Do We Appreciate").  I found it humorously relevant to this discussion.

 

Mods: Remove this, if I broke a rule here...

post #17 of 142
It's amusing all the comments calling the review "objective" and "fair"...

Of course, Windows RT has its flaws, but the final "conclusion" of this review came down to a price comparison that was completely off-base.

$580 for a 32GB Surface and attachable TypeCover.
$570 for a 16GB iPad Air and a battery-powered Apple bluetooth keyboard.

That's comparing Apples to oranges.

It'd be $700 for a 32GB iPad Air and the Logitech keyboard the reviewer mentions.

And as for sacto joe's comment about the MacBook Air:
Why would someone looking at a Surface RT jump to a laptop without a touch screen?
Certainly you mean they'd be better off with a Surface Pro (which is cheaper than a MacBook Air) and still functions as a tablet with a Wacom-based Pen.
post #18 of 142
Exellent article for msinsider.com. Can't wait to read it every day, just like androidinsider.com and couldntcareless.com.
post #19 of 142

I agree with this article. Tablets are great for quick and dirty mobile computing but when I get back to my office, I switch to my laptop. A surface pro machine running Windows 8.1 does not replace a tablet for quick and dirty work and it does not replace a laptop for serious work. To me, the Surface RT makes more sense for a tablet form factor than full-on windows. I'll stick to my iPad though thank-you.

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post #20 of 142

I'm sorry, I thought I came to Appleinsider.com to read Apple news. I must have clicked the wrong bookmark or something.

post #21 of 142

When Steve Jobs told us was there room for a third category of device between our phones and laptops, many people were skeptical. Back at the start of 2010, they thought the iPad would be a niche.

 

Now that the iPad has successfully defined the category, Microsoft is basically trying to sell us a fourth category of device between the tablet and the laptop. Here is where I think Microsoft is going to run into trouble: it's not the best of one or the other, and lacks no unique virtues of its own. In other words, it ends up as a clumsy compromise between the categories. A tablet-ized Netbook running not-quite real Windows OS.

 

If Microsoft wants to double-down on this, let them.

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John C. Dvorak, 2007
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"Apple should pull the plug on the iPhone."

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post #22 of 142
Quote:
 Let's be real: If you're serious about productivity, and your daily workflow is even moderately complex, you're not going to rely solely on either an iPad or a Surface in their current state.

 

Many of us have been saying that for a very long time. Tables are the escape from work, not the extension of it. Sure, you might check the company email, review a presentation or spreadsheet, but that is consuming content, not creating or modifying it, which has never been argued to be better on a tablet vs. notebook or desktop. 

 

Furthermore; until tables are able to easily dock, so that they have 24"-27" monitors keyboard/mouse/trackpad, they will not be used for real work. By this time we should be at the A8 or A9 level processors (although the A7 is quite capable) so the horsepower should be there also. Again, this won't replace your work notebook/desktop for the huge spreadsheets and other large tasks, but will allow you to also dock that work notebook into the above. 

 

I see the next iteration home computing having a central desk with the above peripherals that any member of the family can dock into when needed to do school work, banking, or career work. Gaming can be done there as well, but I see that moving to the Apple TV like devices. Monitors need replacing less often than devices. Overall, this will save money, be more personal, portable, and upgradable. 

 

If Microsoft was first in this space, they would have a real compelling ecosystem, as you can duplicate the above in most work environments  also. 


Edited by Richard Getz - 10/26/13 at 12:24pm
post #23 of 142
Originally Posted by Frood View Post
So the takeaway is that both iPads and Surface RT suck for trying to do productive work on, try Windows Pro?

 

No, but thanks for playing.

 

Originally Posted by ScottWilson View Post
iPad, which comes across more as a toy.

 

Go Schmidt all over C|Net.

Originally Posted by Marvin

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Originally Posted by Marvin

The only thing more insecure than Android’s OS is its userbase.
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post #24 of 142

1. A 10" screen is not where you are going to "get things done" and "be more productive" (MS speak for "create spreadsheets") because it's just too small. There are much better choices to create large spreadsheets and documents.

 

2. If MS was serious that they've built a work machine, then what's with the 16:9 screen? That's for watching movies. Why make a "productivity" machine the perfect size for watching widescreen movies? That size doesn't work well for anything else. Goes to show that MS has their head up their ass pretty much all the time. They just make shit up as they go.

post #25 of 142
Quote:
Originally Posted by boyd View Post


And as for sacto joe's comment about the MacBook Air:
Why would someone looking at a Surface RT jump to a laptop without a touch screen?
Certainly you mean they'd be better off with a Surface Pro (which is cheaper than a MacBook Air) and still functions as a tablet with a Wacom-based Pen.

Ha! Have you ever tried to use Windows on a 10" screen with a pen? I challenge you to get through a whole day without throwing the device in the trash. Windows on small touch screen with a stylus is singularly one of the most frustrating and waste-of-time experiences known to man. It's just a bad concept. 

post #26 of 142
Quote:
Originally Posted by peterdeep View Post
 

Ha! Have you ever tried to use Windows on a 10" screen with a pen? I challenge you to get through a whole day without throwing the device in the trash. Windows on small touch screen with a stylus is singularly one of the most frustrating and waste-of-time experiences known to man. It's just a bad concept. 

Actually, if you want the full power of Photoshop with a wacom pen on a screen, it's your only option. That's reality. 

post #27 of 142
I hope you showered afterwards.
post #28 of 142
Quote:
Originally Posted by ScottWilson View Post
 

Actually, if you want the full power of Photoshop with a wacom pen on a screen, it's your only option. That's reality. 

I wouldn't choose to run Photoshop (or anything else) on a 10" Windows touch screen with or without a Wacom. Trying to navigate Windows menus and click the right choice in too difficult. Photoshop needs a large screen. That's the thing. MS and their advocates always talk about "being productive" on their Surfaces. But seriously, how productive can you be on a screen that small? You can't, and I cringe every time I hear someone suggesting that it's a good alternative. Screen size was one of the big reasons netbooks failed. Surface Pro is an updated netbook.

post #29 of 142

Its a nice whatever it is, but nothing to play Candy Crush on the toilet with or read in bed, or my easy chair. I have my Apple Bluetooth keyboard that I use with it when I am writing in the coffee shop, The Windows thing has a nice screen resolution but like the writer concluded it is too much a laptop to be a good tablet. 

post #30 of 142
Quote:
Originally Posted by peterdeep View Post
 

1. A 10" screen is not where you are going to "get things done" and "be more productive" (MS speak for "create spreadsheets") because it's just too small. There are much better choices to create large spreadsheets and documents.

 

2. If MS was serious that they've built a work machine, then what's with the 16:9 screen? That's for watching movies. Why make a "productivity" machine the perfect size for watching widescreen movies? That size doesn't work well for anything else. Goes to show that MS has their head up their ass pretty much all the time. They just make shit up as they go.


Nearly every laptop sold has a 16:9 ratio. Even Apple uses a 16:10 ratio. I haven't seen a 4:3 ratio laptop in 10 years if not longer. Around 2003 there was a move towards 16:10 then in 2007 most moved to 16:9. Either one allows side by side work to be done unlike a 4:3 ratio.

post #31 of 142
Quote:
Originally Posted by peterdeep View Post
 

1. A 10" screen is not where you are going to "get things done" and "be more productive" (MS speak for "create spreadsheets") because it's just too small. There are much better choices to create large spreadsheets and documents.

 

2. If MS was serious that they've built a work machine, then what's with the 16:9 screen? That's for watching movies. Why make a "productivity" machine the perfect size for watching widescreen movies? That size doesn't work well for anything else. Goes to show that MS has their head up their ass pretty much all the time. They just make shit up as they go.

10" is more than enough to get work done, I've been using 11" on my MacBook Air for years and recently a 10" Lenovo ThinkPad Tablet 2 which is an absolute joy to use Office on. I am able to achieve everything I need to in complete comfort. My iPad is strictly for entertainment purposes, which 4:3 seems to be perfectly fine for, I will never go back however using that aspect ration for spreadsheets though, you want a long screen for that, ugh I shudder the thought with going back to 4:3.

 

Almost every single monitor found in desktops and laptops today are 16:9, including Apples offerings, the iPad is unique with it's 4:3 screen ration, so I'm not sure what your talking about. Apple chose 4:3 because it seemed better suited for reading websites and eBooks on the iPad, not because it is a better working resolution or monitor manufacturers wouldn't have abandoned it years ago. Check for yourself, search for "NEW" 4:3 monitors and see how many you find.

 

Oh and welcome to the forum.

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post #32 of 142
Quote:
Originally Posted by boyd View Post

It's amusing all the comments calling the review "objective" and "fair"...

Of course, Windows RT has its flaws, but the final "conclusion" of this review came down to a price comparison that was completely off-base.

$580 for a 32GB Surface and attachable TypeCover.
$570 for a 16GB iPad Air and a battery-powered Apple bluetooth keyboard.

That's comparing Apples to oranges.

It'd be $700 for a 32GB iPad Air and the Logitech keyboard the reviewer mentions.

And as for sacto joe's comment about the MacBook Air:
Why would someone looking at a Surface RT jump to a laptop without a touch screen?
Certainly you mean they'd be better off with a Surface Pro (which is cheaper than a MacBook Air) and still functions as a tablet with a Wacom-based Pen.

Please crawl back to wherever you came from - you have no clue what you are talking about and have totally missed the point. The point is that if you are primarily interested in productivity within the Office framework, the MacBook Air is a far far better choice! Not some lame half ass implementation of windows with office crippled cor touch screens - so you would need a touchscreen because??????? The Air has a touchpad superior to their touchscreen!
post #33 of 142
Quote:
Originally Posted by Relic View Post
 

... which is an absolute joy to use Office on.

No. That is impossible. :D

Life is too short to drink bad coffee.

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Life is too short to drink bad coffee.

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post #34 of 142
Quote:
Originally Posted by WisdomSeed View Post
 

Its a nice whatever it is, but nothing to play Candy Crush on the toilet with or read in bed, or my easy chair. I have my Apple Bluetooth keyboard that I use with it when I am writing in the coffee shop, The Windows thing has a nice screen resolution but like the writer concluded it is too much a laptop to be a good tablet. 

 I really don't why everyone thinks you need a keyboard when using a Surface. Even though I bought the keyboard dock for my Thinkpad Tablet 2 I have probably used it all of 5 times. They work just fine without it and I actually prefer using the onscreen keyboard. Which means they are tablets and not more of an Ultrabook unless the user defines that purpose for himself. 

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post #35 of 142
Forgot to mention on the memory side that after the OS is installed your useable memory will be half, minus the office software and any apps.
post #36 of 142
Quote:
Originally Posted by Relic View Post
Almost every single monitor found in desktops and laptops today are 16:9, including Apples offerings, the iPad is unique with it's 4:3 screen ration, so I'm not sure what your talking about. Apple chose 4:3 because it seemed better suited for reading websites and eBooks on the iPad, not because it is a better working resolution or monitor manufacturers wouldn't have abandoned it years ago. Check for yourself, search for "NEW" 4:3 monitors and see how many you find.

 

Desktops and laptops aren't made to be flipped around with the user using portrait and landscape interchangeably.

 

That's why the iPad kicks everybody else's butt. 16:9 in any tablet is a joke, and it's yet another reason why everybody else makes crappy tablets. The HP Touchpad was 4:3, but that failed because of many other reasons.

post #37 of 142
Quote:

Originally Posted by pedromartins View Post

 

Apple pulled a number on intel with the arm A7 64bit chip. Not only did the A7 "catch up" to intel, it surpassed them in performance (on some tests) while expanding the other set of advantages (efficiency, cost, etc).

 

It's safe to say that Qualcomm and others will keep improving, even if their chips are inferior to Apple (not only in performance but especially as a complete package), so ARM is stronger than ever.

 

More competition is always a good thing. I wouldn't call Qualcomm's ARM CPU's inferior to Apple's, they make pretty wonderful chips. The problem with comparing benchmarks here is that Apple controls both the software and hardware, if you were to put Qualcomm's newest, fastest chip in an iPhone I would have no doubt that it would perform as well or better. Just because the chip isn't 64bit means absolute nothing, frankly adding 64bit support to an ARM chip this early in the game is just marketing and pretty silly, especially when Apple hasn't even broken 1GB of ram yet. When phones and tablets start needing more than 3GB of memory than it would start making sense.


Edited by Relic - 10/26/13 at 1:42pm
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post #38 of 142
Quote:
Originally Posted by Frood View Post
 

So the takeaway is that both iPads and Surface RT suck for trying to do productive work on, try Windows Pro?

I think it depends on what you classify as "productive work".     For some, it's using an Office app, for others it might be using a specialized app for a specific work related task.    I think if you consider "productive work" using Office apps, then you'd probably be correct on that assumption.   When i use a spreadsheet app, I use BIG spreadsheets and there is NO F=ing way I can look at my spreadsheets on a 10" screen or smaller.   I used to use a 17 monitor and then graduated to a 27inch, and guess what?   It's STILL not be enough.  I have to still scroll up and down as my spreadsheets are LARGE.  so, yea, for some people tablets still suck, BUT, for other productivity apps, they might be the perfect solution.  I've seen apps used in the video production industry that were iPad based and apparently the users think they are indispensable due to the nature of the app and how it works. It's actually a productivity app that's BETTER on a tablet than a laptop.  Light Iron is the developer of those apps.

 

So, I think it means what do you mean by a "productive work" or "productivity apps".  Hospital's are starting to use iPad based apps that are taking the place of laptops and desktops and from what I've read and heard, they are more productive with the iPad based apps than the traditional desktop/laptop based apps.

post #39 of 142
. . .
post #40 of 142
Quote:
Originally Posted by Apple ][ View Post
 

 

Desktops and laptops aren't made to be flipped around with the user using portrait and landscape interchangeably.

 

That's why the iPad kicks everybody else's butt. 16:9 in any tablet is a joke, and it's yet another reason why everybody else makes crappy tablets. The HP Touchpad was 4:3, but that failed because of many other reasons.

Yes I fully understand that but I was replying to a post that stated 4:3 as being superior to 16:9 for work related applications like spreadsheets. 16.9 is the perfect aspect ratio for that. Personally I think the only thing where 4:3 is better is, browsing on smaller screens and reading eBooks. Even then I get by just fine with a 16:9 screen on a tablet, no problems and let's face it if the tables were turned and Apple went with 16:9 and all the other tablets were at 4:3, we would be calling it an archaic aspect ratio.

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