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Microsoft Surface RT Reviews

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  • User profile image
    BitFlipper

    Here's MS's mistake...

    According to MJF, MS sent out review devices to a lot of pro-Apple tech bloggers. I guess MS was under the impression that they were going to impress these people.  However I could have told you beforehand that you will never get a good MS product review out of those people, no matter how good or bad the product it.

    Most of the reviewers reviewed the product as a full blown laptop, then comes to the conclusion that it fails to be a full-blown laptop. In reality it is supposed to be a tablet that has some laptop features. For instance, how can you ding the keyboard when other tablets don't even have a keyboard at all? Or ding the tablet for the fact that the kickstand has only one angle? That's one angle more than any other tablet, yet it subtracts from the overall score?

    Well, maybe MS will know better next time...

  • User profile image
    spivonious

    @BitFlipper: On the contrary, I'm impressed that pro-Apple people gave it decent reviews. The big complaints are with the apps, and that will only get better as time goes by.

    We'll see more balanced review sources next week as people get their pre-ordered devices.

  • User profile image
    magicalclick

    Just want FYI that if you experienced so-called app crash right after win8 bootup, that's not a crash, that's a feature with terrible assumption that user would know what's going on.

    Leaving WM on 5/2018 if no apps, no dedicated billboards where I drive, no Store name.
    Last modified
  • User profile image
    blowdart

    , wastingtime​withforums wrote

    "I actively avoided using the mail app if at all possible."

    No kidding. It doesn't even support POP3 the last time I tried to use it! POP-frigging-3! How can you release a mail-client without the most common mail-client protocol?

    Ah yes, complaining about something that was fixed last week, but you didn't check for. Well done Big Smile

  • User profile image
    JohnAskew

    , wkempf wrote

    @spivonious: I'm not convinced even the Surface Pro is the device I want at this point. I may go with one of the other devices, but none of them are what they could be. I'll be getting a Windows 8 device, no doubt, just not convinced yet which one will fit my needs best. At this point, price might be the biggest factor in my decision, just because I'll be compromising with any device.

    I also have concerns that the Surface Pro can replace my development laptop. Sad

    But my concerns are capability and not price...

  • User profile image
    spivonious

    , JohnAskew wrote

    *snip*

    I also have concerns that the Surface Pro can replace my development laptop. Sad

    But my concerns are capability and not price...

    I think a Surface Pro with the Type Cover would be a fantastic mobile workstation. If they can keep battery life high and get a fanless design with a price <$1000, Microsoft has a winner.

     

    After reading another review on Anandtech, I think the Asus VivoTab RT might be the winner, with its 14 hour battery life (when docked).

  • User profile image
    wkempf

    @JohnAskew: My problem is actually with the sensors, mostly. What I want in a device.

    1. Tablet usage for casual consumption.
    2. Keyboard for light mobile usage.
    3. Some way to use full size monitors/keyboards for extended serious usage.
    4. Enough processing power to be able to develop on the device.
    5. All of the sensors, so I can actually test software I write for the platform.

    Surface Pro comes close, but it's lacking in sensors (specifically GPS). I'm also not sure about the "docking" capabilities here. I know it's not going to have real docking support, but it's got the right ports to allow "poor mans" docking. Only thing is, I'm not sure after reading reviews that it really could manage this. The other devices I've looked at are all fairly similar. Even if I shell out the money for an i7 based device (which might do very poorly as a tablet due to battery life) none of them come with a full array of sensors, and only one makes any claims about docking (and that one's running the Atom SOC).

  • User profile image
    wkempf

    , spivonious wrote

    After reading another review on Anandtech, I think the Asus VivoTab RT might be the winner, with its 14 hour battery life (when docked).

    One of the devices I'm seriously considering is the Vivo Tab (not the RT version). Other than, like all other devices, this one lacks in sensors, my only concern is how the new Atom SOCs will perform. At least the Samsung Ativ SmartPC comes in i3 and i5 versions, though the price tag goes way up for those.

  • User profile image
    JohnAskew

    , spivonious wrote

    *snip*

    I think a Surface Pro with the Type Cover would be a fantastic mobile workstation. If they can keep battery life high and get a fanless design with a price <$1000, Microsoft has a winner.

     

    After reading another review on Anandtech, I think the Asus VivoTab RT might be the winner, with its 14 hour battery life (when docked).

    http://www.asus.com/News/9PSOUa9v30mhiw5o/

    The ASUS Vivo Tab features the Next Generation Intel® Atom™ processor and has 2GB RAM with 64GB eMMC (embedded multimedia card) user storage. An incredible Windows 8 experience makes it a smart choice for professional and personal use.

    No, no, no. 2GB RAM is just silly.

    What I want is a Surface Pro(grammer) 64-bit with 16GB RAM on an i7.  Not gonna happen, is it? 

    FISH!

  • User profile image
    blowdart

    , blowdart wrote

    *snip*

    Ah yes, complaining about something that was fixed last week, but you didn't check for. Well done Big Smile

     

    Err, damn. Ok. It gives you pop3 as an option, then tells you it's not support. I was wrong *facepalm*

     

  • User profile image
    DeathBy​VisualStudio

    , wkempf wrote

    @JohnAskew: My problem is actually with the sensors, mostly. What I want in a device.

    1. Tablet usage for casual consumption.
    2. Keyboard for light mobile usage.
    3. Some way to use full size monitors/keyboards for extended serious usage.
    4. Enough processing power to be able to develop on the device.
    5. All of the sensors, so I can actually test software I write for the platform.

    Surface Pro comes close, but it's lacking in sensors (specifically GPS). I'm also not sure about the "docking" capabilities here. I know it's not going to have real docking support, but it's got the right ports to allow "poor mans" docking. Only thing is, I'm not sure after reading reviews that it really could manage this. The other devices I've looked at are all fairly similar. Even if I shell out the money for an i7 based device (which might do very poorly as a tablet due to battery life) none of them come with a full array of sensors, and only one makes any claims about docking (and that one's running the Atom SOC).

    We're in the same boat. We're looking to do a hardware refresh for our developers next year and it would be a great plus to add a tablet to the mix. The first thought would be to go all-in and get a Pro tablet, dock etc. to replace our workstations but they fall short in a few areas:

    1. Multi-monitor support (you can do it via USB but that seems too taxing and slow)
    2. Memory - I believe the highest config I've seen is 8GB. We'd like to go 16GB.

    Going with an RT tablet, dumb workstation, and virtual machines setup as developer desktops on one beefy server is another way we're looking at going as it gives you everything:

    1. Highly available developer VM (on dumb workstation or RT tablet)
    2. Multi-monitor support on the dumb workstation.
    3. Scalable memory support in the developer VM

    The concerns here are:

    1. Access to developer VMs from the field (when no Internet, no VM)
    2. Downtime from server hosting the VMs.
    3. Performance of things like Intellisense in VS when the VM server is bogged down even momentarily -- no one likes to be interrupted.
    4. Device connectivity -- I've never had great experiences with devices support on VMs. We do a lot of Android development and debugging over native USB is bad enough -- I can't imagine how well that would work running on the RT tablet over a VPN connection.

    I hope there will be a new round of Pro devices early next year that address our initial issues with this first batch as that would be the best solution overall.

    Unrelated: Anyone know why Microsoft went without GPS on the Surface tablets? Do they think that will get people to buy a WP8 device in addition to the tablet? As a consumer I can see a common use case where I'm in a coffee shop with my Surface tablet and want to locate Chinese food nearby, or plan my bus trip home, or see where my friends are in relationship to my location. Why wouldn't Microsoft think these use cases were valid? WiFi and cell tower triangulation never have been that accurate for me and to have to rely on that or whip out my phone with its less generous screen seems silly.

  • User profile image
    Blue Ink

    , JohnAskew wrote

    *snip*

    http://www.asus.com/News/9PSOUa9v30mhiw5o/

    The ASUS Vivo Tab features the Next Generation Intel® Atom™ processor and has 2GB RAM with 64GB eMMC (embedded multimedia card) user storage. An incredible Windows 8 experience makes it a smart choice for professional and personal use.

    No, no, no. 2GB RAM is just silly.

    What I want is a Surface Pro(grammer) 64-bit with 16GB RAM on an i7.  Not gonna happen, is it? 

    FISH!

    That would be sweet; unfortunately it would probably come with a backpack full of batteries. It was kind of surprising to see how the Surface falls short of the iPad on battery life, despite the fact that Microsoft went to great lengths (and painful cuts) to conserve power. Looks like they didn't nail that particular aspect just yet.

  • User profile image
    contextfree`

    Isn't "pro-Apple" just the mainstream in gadget-y tech reviews? Should they have only sent it to a bunch of dittoheads, or what?

  • User profile image
    spivonious

    @JohnAskew: 2GB of RAM is plenty for a mobile device, especially with the improved resource management in Windows 8.

    Still, RAM is so cheap nowadays, and sips power, so I don't know why the OEMs aren't stuffing their tablets with 8GB+.

  • User profile image
    JohnAskew

    , spivonious wrote

    @JohnAskew: 2GB of RAM is plenty for a mobile device, especially with the improved resource management in Windows 8.

    Still, RAM is so cheap nowadays, and sips power, so I don't know why the OEMs aren't stuffing their tablets with 8GB+.

    Laptops are also mobile devices, no? 

    My laptop, with 4GB RAM, is over 5 years old... I'm running W7 32 bit.

    Next laptop will be 64 bit with max RAM. Developers owe that to themselves, imho.

    I have to disagree with 2GB RAM being capable of running VS2012 and other bits for development; it will be too slow. Running dumb terminals makes me sick to my stomach, even an RT.

    Looks like I'm going OEM.

  • User profile image
    wkempf

    @spivonious: The new Atom SOCs support a maximum of 2 GB of RAM, or so I've read. The beefier offerings using i3/5/7 chips offer more RAM. The tradeoff is battery life (and probably fan noise), and size/weight (though the difference here isn't tremendous).

    @DeathByVisualStudio: Personally, I don't need the device to be a high end dev machine. I've got one of those. It just needs to do OK running Visual Studio for mobile situations and convenience reasons. For the same reason, I'm OK with single monitor support when "docking" (after all, the device itself would probably still work as a secondary display). I'm not expecting a mainframe in my palm at this point in time. I just want a device for testing purposes, casual development usage, and media consumption. I'll continue to use a desktop for more serious work.

    For your scenario, have you checked out the Dell Latitude 10? It's designed for professional use and includes actual docking support. From your description of what your looking for, it sounds like a fit to me (though I have no idea what amount of RAM it supports).

    I agree completely with you on the GPS. I also think lacking NFC is a mistake as well, though that's from a developer perspective rather than a consumer perspective. Cellular I can see leaving out, even though there's going to be customers lost from such a decision, but the GPS and NFC are things I don't want to do without in a new device.

  • User profile image
    Dr Herbie

    @wkempf: I think at this point in the development of the mobile device, there's no excuse for a mobile device without GPS.  I was thinking of a Surface RT as a replacement for my aging Touch Eee PC, but I may look at alternatives because of lack of GPS (my Eee doesn't have GPS, but I'm not sure I would buy any mobile device now without it).

    Herbie

  • User profile image
    evildictait​or

    , spivonious wrote

    Still, RAM is so cheap nowadays, and sips power, so I don't know why the OEMs aren't stuffing their tablets with 8GB+.

    Because (most) ARM processors (and all Windows-RT tablets) are 32-bit and don't have PAE, and hence giving them more than 4GB of RAM is a waste of time and money.

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