It’s finally here! The first Microsoft tablet, hopefully in a long line of Microsoft tablets to come. The reason why this product is so important is because Microsoft pretty much invented the Tablet PC, and sadly never really did succeed in it by depending on its partners to push it. We’re not really sure why it took so long for Microsoft to build their own computer in order to drive their innovation going forward, but we’re glad it’s here.
Now this first version of the Surface runs Windows RT, which is Microsoft’s new version of the OS optimized for mobile processors. What makes it different is that it tries to give you a productive tool that also complies with the standards required by mobile users like long battery life and a fluid user experience. Historically that hasn’t really worked in the past since the computer either doesn’t last that long, or is too sluggish when tackling productivity tasks. Windows RT is supposed to balance that in a way and we’ve already got a list of some of our initial impressions:
- First of all, I sadly ordered the model with the Touch Cover and we’re kind of disappointed. It’s the most numb-feeling keyboard I’ve ever used. It feels like you’re just typing on another screen. The snapping action of the Touch Cover attaching to the Surface is awesome though, so off the bat we’d like to recommend that you choose the type cover instead which costs only $10 more.
- Another thing to notice is that the power connector is magnetic, which I believe is a first on a tablet and really cool. Sadly, it has a very weak level of magnetism. You expect it to feel like a MacBook (because few other products do a magnetic power adapter), but it’s not as reliable as you get with an Apple MagSafe power adapter.
- The lack of a high-resolution display on the Surface made a lot of people disappointed at launch. So far, I’d like to report that while the display does have visible pixels, it’s got fantastic color saturation and contrast. Given that Windows RT is more of a digitally authentic user experience, the pixels aren’t really that annoying if you remain in the home screen.
- Windows RT is, in a word, interesting. It’s not quite Windows, and yet it’s familiar. If you ever wanted Microsoft to make a tablet OS from Windows Phone, this is it. It’s got that fast and fluid feel, and the UI is mostly 2D. I just don’t understand why RT has a “desktop” when you can’t run regular Windows apps, and the app selection on the Windows Store is really lacking so far.
- Finally, for how it feels in the hand, the Surface feels lighter than the iPad 3, or perhaps it’s just weighted differently because of the aspect ratio.
We’ve got lots more coverage to come as we give this unit the test drive it deserves so stay tuned.