Microsoft has finally jumped into the foray of tablet companies with the official release of Windows 8 and their Surface RT tablet. I was one of the early adopters willing to pay $599 for a 32GB version with the black Touch Cover keyboard receiving it on Friday, October 26, 2012. In going back and reading the reviews published about the Surface RT, I will agree with many of their assessments: This is a great piece of hardware but the software (Operating System and Apps) need some improvement.
I placed the order back on October 16, 2012. My original plan was to go to Microsoft's store at Bellevue Square for the "Midnight Madness" of Windows 8 and Surface. Then, the news that only the New York stores, pop-up stores none the less, were going to be open at midnight. Hearing that, I went through the Microsoft Store website and ordered up my very own 32GB Surface RT with a delivery date of October 26, the release date for Windows 8. I was excited to get my order confirmation and felt the online store process was very easy to go through and that Microsoft was finally able to "Take my money now please!"
Fast forward to Monday, October 22. People started tweeting and posting out their Surface RT confirmation mails. My excitement started to increase; I wanted my Surface and I wanted it now. I kept an eye on the e-mail accounts all day but did not receive a mail. Tuesday saw the same thing and reports started flying around about delays in shipping. I was getting upset as my fears were that I was not going to get my Surface on the 26th like I was promised. What a black eye that Microsoft was experiencing around this, including my swings at them via Twitter.
Wednesday brought about a "hack" around checking for shipping records. People could take their order number from their Microsoft Store receipt, remove the starting "MS" and look up shipping records via "Reference Number" on UPS and FedEx websites. Using the hack, I found my Surface was in the FedEx logistics system having been picked up in China. WOOT! It showed delivery by Friday, October 26, 2012 too.
Friday rolls around and I sat at my office waiting for the delivery. Ironically, I got my “Hey your Surface shipped mail” on Friday morning. I originally took the day off but then realized I was having the package shipped to work. I tried go get work done but I was keeping my eye out for the delivery trucks. I even got excited hearing a FedEx truck arrived to be disappointed to see it was a FedEx Ground truck. Once the package arrived, I immediately stopped working and began to look at my new device.
First, the packaging was done with the unboxing experience in mind. This is something very similar to what I have seen from Apple and Amazon both. The box contained and protected the device well, while being sleek and modern like the device it contains. My package contained 2 pieces: the main Surface box and the keyboard box. Inside each, the devices were presented as showcased but protected as well. Inside the main Surface box was the Surface RT itself and its power supply. The second box had the black Touch Cover ready to be connected to my Surface.
After pulling out all three pieces of hardware, I turned on the Surface RT and went through the new PC experience of setup, naming and configuration. This was similar to my Asus EP-121 when I installed Windows 8 so nothing new here. Where the experience deviated for me was the video to show off how the M****, the sleek and fluid modern, user interface worked. I watched it a bit but got distracted during this video as I already knew this information. I never thought about watching it thinking about newbies. Once the video was done, I connected the Surface to my Microsoft Account (formerly Live ID) and watched it start to shine. Instantly, many of my apps and settings were applied including my mail accounts, people hub starting to propagate with information, and my pinned websites from my EP-121. This was a bit of a surprise for me and well received. I did have to put in my passwords for my mail accounts but that was a desired security level for me. A quick trip into the Store and I could install many applications in one large installation giving me a majority of my Windows Store Apps installed for use. My Surface was very ready to be used.
Throughout Friday, Saturday and into Sunday, I have been trying to use my Surface RT as my primary device as I had used my EP-121. This was easily done with some caveats:
While I have pointed out some weaknesses and workarounds, let me talk about some of the strengths:
Here is the big question … would I recommend the Surface RT for purchase? To answer this, let me layout some scenarios:
Did you get a Surface RT? If so, how is it working in your world? If not, what was your factor for not buying? Leave comments as I would love to know.
Would you please email me and tell me how you used the Astaro VPN on the Surface RT?
I got my Surface Friday morning at the Microsoft store. I'm enjoying it. I compared ipads and Android tablets and decided to make a leap of faith in big blue 😏. Since we have 3 PCs in the house and an Xbox it seems the most logical route. My 3 biggest cons are the speaker-it is an Epic fail, no Nook app (any time now guys..) and lastly, I cannot seem to share to FB while reading in the news app 😒. The last one could very well be due to a lack of knowledge of how the OS works, I'm only 2 days in. Didn't purchase a keyboard, haven't missed it either.