Microsoft Surface RT Falls Flat

'Handsome' device is clumsy, but has potential

By Liam Carnahan,  Newser Staff

Posted Oct 24, 2012 1:44 PM CDT

(Newser) – The creators of the hotly anticipated Microsoft Surface RT have touted it as revolutionary, improving upon the toy-like tablets of today by making it functional, with a detachable touch screen and a snappy design. So is it the future of computing? Not yet, most reviewers agree:

  • Sam Biddle praises the RT's concept and design in a detailed review at Gizmodo that's worth a full read. But ultimately, he says it's "not worth your paycheck" in its current form, which retails around $600 give or take some pricey add-ons. Instead of being both a tablet and a laptop, it's "really just the worst of both worlds." It's also hard to use: "It's just a half-broken death march up the learning curve."

  • Over at Wired, Mathew Honan loves the look of the machine, and like others, drools over the satisfying "snap" of its razor-thin kickstand. It's durable too, but the cameras lag and "the image quality looks about like the last photo you snapped with your Razr V3."
  • Pretty much everyone hates the Windows RT software the machine runs on. It's a departure from Window's old operating systems—it's colorful and swipe-friendly, for starters. But Harry McCracken, writing for CNN, wonders why the new design still includes a desktop. Switching between the two interfaces "can be an oddly disjointed experience, as if you're teleporting between two very different planets with very little warning."
  • The apps are a big letdown, writes David Pogue in the New York Times. You can't use any iPad or Android Tablet apps, nor any of Microsoft's own programs. That means no apps for Facebook, Angry Birds, or Spotify, among many others, and what is available is "bare-bones junky." His advice? Wait a few months for the Surface Pro.

In this June 18, 2012, file photo, Microsoft Corp.'s new Surface tablet computer is displayed at Hollywood's Milk Studios in Los Angeles.
In this June 18, 2012, file photo, Microsoft Corp.'s new Surface tablet computer is displayed at Hollywood's Milk Studios in Los Angeles.   (AP Photo/Damian Dovarganes, File)
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