Windows Surface RT Review

Here’s my first Windows Surface RT tablet review (US version) for Australia – more pictures shortly.

The Black and White Microsoft box along with the white and orange bag in comes packaged in is on the large side. There is minimal packaging once you get to the tablet its self.

In terms of physical construction the Surface RT tablet is indeed very solid, more so than the iPad. The rear kick stand feel very sturdy despite being so thin. Both front and back are prone to finger prints which is annoying. The gorilla glass screen makes a screen protector largely unnecessary – I have not had a scratch yet on my similarly equipped Nokia N8 which doesn’t have a case! The metal back seems hard to scratch too since I don’t have a protector for that either. The panel gaps are minimal although my kick stand doesn’t sit quite flush with the rest of the rear panel. Of note is the location of the microSD card slot which requires the kick stand open and the custom power connector.

After the quick power on – once its been registered and activated via a hotmail, LIVE, Outlook email address you’ll encounter a good looking screen and resolution. Surface RT boots faster than the iPad and Android tablets.  To understand the new interface to Windows 8 and RT you just swipe from the edges of the screen or scroll through the screen, its all simple enough. The Start screen where all the boxes are now located can be considered the replacement ‘Start menu’ to access the familiar desktop just press the appropriate square. The Surface RT interface seems slow but its not as everything moves with great smoothness.

The key thing to remember is that the ‘Start screen’ replaces the old Start button and you’ll understand how it all works. It’s a pity the so called reputable IT publications cannot understand this relatively simple change! I hope they do read this and start explaining it.

Word, Excel and Powerpoint work perfectly and Internet Explorer 10 or the default web browser is the best there is to date. As I said it works perfectly with WordPress in full no other browser can boast that – the Surface RT is definitely a BLOGGers tablet. In regards to the media player, the Video app that comes with it plays MP4 and VOB without any problems. Unfortunately stand alone FLV files still don’t work.

The few short falls in specifications and default functionality include the inadequate 1 MP main camera and the lack of built in world clock feature. There are also a tons of updates to install before the Surface RT can be described as fully stable and that includes a 589MB update for the full version of MS Office!

All up the Surface RT is a great first effort, the brilliant web browser and MS Office are the stand out features. If only it had Outlook and the tablet would indeed be complete. I can’t come to terms with putting all my contacts and calendar on my hotmail or Live account to have it work properly.

Unfortunately although I am enjoying the Surface RT it has been cut short by a problem which I cannot fix and neither do the new forums reveal a fix. I go into detail in the next post.