Week one with the Surface RT: Skeptical at first but now I kind of like this thing

With the Surface RT tablet now available for consumers to eat up, many people are still unsure on whether or not they want to purchase one. In this post, I will look at the Surface RT 32GB tablet and give you a different perspective on it - my perspective.

Before we start, here are the specs of the device:

  • Software - Surface with Windows RT comes with Microsoft Office Home and Student 2013 RT Preview (2) (which includes Microsoft Word, PowerPoint, Excel and OneNote)
  • Exterior - 10.81 x 6.77 x 0.37 inches, 1.5 pounds, VaporMg casing, dark titanium color, volume and power buttons
  • Storage - 32 GB (3); 64 GB
  • CPU - NVIDIA T30, 2 GB of RAM
  • Wireless - Wi-Fi (802.11a/b/g/n), Bluetooth 4.0 technology
  • Cameras - Two 720p HD cameras, front- and rear-facing
  • Audio - Two microphones, stereo speakers
  • Ports - Full-size USB 2.0, microSDXC card slot, headset jack, HD video out port, cover port
  • Sensors - Ambient light sensor, accelerometer, gyroscope, compass
  • Power Supply - 24W power supply
  • Warranty - One-year limited hardware warranty
  • Apps (included) - Microsoft Office Home and Student 2013 RT Preview (2) (Word, PowerPoint, Excel and OneNote), Windows Mail and Windows Messaging, SkyDrive, Windows Internet Explorer 10, Bing, Xbox Music, Xbox Video, and Xbox Games

Unboxing and First Boot

I pre-ordered my Surface RT 32GB on October 16th as soon as Microsoft opened up the pre-ordering flood gates and I was expecting this product to be delivered before its launch date (how foolish of me!). On October 26th, Windows 8 was launched and the Surface tablet went on sale that night. I ended up receiving my Surface RT on the 27th of October and I was eager to get it unboxed and set up. As soon as I receive the package, I was shocked. I had no idea the packaging was so small. For a second there, I thought I mistakenly ordered a Microsoft Keyboard on accident, until I opened up the box and saw the Surface RT packaging. Once the box was open, I joyfully peeked inside and picked up my shiny new Surface RT and saw that the Touch Cover keyboard was so tiny! I had to click it in. So I did just that. I clicked in the keyboard to the tablet and I was impressed. The transition was smooth and the magnets make a big difference. I popped open the kickstand and it looked amazing. The screen is angled just right. I didn't even bother reading the manual, I began searching the tablet for the power button and immediately located it at the top-right. I pressed it once and I saw the Surface logo appear on the screen. I was ready for the first boot. The Surface RT booted immediately and began the first-run setup where I was asked general questions (same questions you are asked when you set up Windows 8). After watching the lame cool video that shows you how to 'swipe in from any edge' I was ready to log-in. The Surface RT even recognized my WiFi connection immediately and connected me to it, which was pretty nice in my opinion.

Week one with the Surface RT: Skeptical at first but now I kind of like this thing - OnMSFT.com - October 30, 2012

Initial Impressions

You have probably read it all by now. "Hey Windows 8 wont make it because it causes a drastic learning curve" or "Windows 8 sucks as a desktop operating system." Well, lets just say that after reading all these negative reviews about Windows 8, I was starting to believe it. So as soon as the Start Screen came up, I was in awe. Keep in mind that this whole time, I toyed around with Windows 8 during its development phase on a PC and not a tablet. So actually playing with the Start Screen on a tablet was pretty cool. It just works. I also enjoyed how the Surface RT uses a resolution of 1366x768 with a pixel density of 148 pixels per inch. At first, I was skeptical about the low resolution, but now I realize it just works well. Swiping in from the right or left is such a breeze and a pain-free experience, unlike on the PC, when you have to use your mouse to bring up the Charms Bar. Speaking of mouse, I was impressed by the track-pad on the Touch Cover keyboard. Thank you Microsoft for adding this feature because I was starting to get PC-withdrawals from not having a mouse. The Touch Cover actually reminds me of a mouse pad, it actually almost feels just like a mouse pad. Typing on the Touch Cover keyboard is like typing on a hard surface, but you can still type fast and eventually you will get used to it. Nonetheless, the Touch Cover is nice and well worth the arm and leg they charge you for it ($119).

Week one with the Surface RT: Skeptical at first but now I kind of like this thing - OnMSFT.com - October 30, 2012

Toying with the apps

First thing I did was run Windows Update and install the updates that were available. The updating process was fast and I had no complaints. After Windows 8 rebooted (which was fast), I was ready to mingle around with the apps. I opened up the Windows Store by clicking on the live-tile for it. I have to say, I was not too impressed by what I saw. I didnt really find too many apps that appealed to me. I'm the type of person who doesn't like to download a ton of apps, I don't download the apps I need and find useful. So I ended up only downloading two apps, OneNote and TeamViewer. I finally opened up Internet Explorer, since my intention for purchasing this tablet was to surf the internet on my couch or bed, and I was thoroughly impressed. Metro IE 10 just works. It looks great and works great. WinBeta.org looks very nice on it too (cheap plug :p). Swiping up and down to scroll is such a breeze and fees so natural. Although, the buttons are so small in IE10 desktop mode that it makes it such a pain to use, the Metro version of IE10 works perfectly. I was even able to flip bad the Touch Cover and use the tablet directly with the on-screen touch keyboard, and my experience was lovely. Although I have yet to thoroughly play with these apps, my initial impression is good. I'm liking this Surface tablet so far.

Week one with the Surface RT: Skeptical at first but now I kind of like this thing - OnMSFT.com - October 30, 2012

Week one with the Surface RT: Skeptical at first but now I kind of like this thing - OnMSFT.com - October 30, 2012

Week One Final Thoughts

I still need more time to play with the Surface RT tablet and toy with every feature, but so far I am liking this thing. I was skeptical at first but now I am happy that I purchased it. I do wish the price was at least $100 cheaper, considering I cant run any x86 or x64 apps on here. Oh by the way, how's battery life on this thing? Let's just say that I only charged it once and have been running it on and off for four days. Let's give this one more week and see how I feel about it. Next week, I will post part two.

Part two of this story has been published, go here to read it.

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