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I don't want to hear how much better your iPad is or how great your Droid device is either. I saw in a different thread that several MV members are Surface users. How do you like your Surface tablet?

I'm not really interested in the Pro, because I don't want a PC replacement device. I want a small internet device that can sit nearby to answer the random question that comes up. So I am interested in the original Surface RT.

I know the complaint was that it was slow, but I'm using an old HP Touchpad. I laid hands on one at Staples and was surprised at the responsiveness of the RT they had on display. What do you think? Day after Christmas deal?
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UTC quote
Hi, Syd,

I would avoid it. I use many Apple devices, and also have a Surface Pro and Surface Pro 2. Some people I work with have (or got rid of already) their Surface RT. They hit roadblocks of software, speed, and functionality every day.
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As an owner of a Surface RT and a Surface Pro, I have not had one issue with "software roadblocks". Nor has there been any issues with performance. Remember: There is a TON of misinformation and many tech blogs are motivated to bad-mouth the Surface. As an owner, I've been blown away by my RT's functionality.

To be clear: I've owned a 2nd gen iPad, a Galaxy Tab 7, an Acer A-210 Android 10.1" tablet and a Kindle Fire. The Surface RT is light years ahead of all of those tablets... depending on what you are using it for.

I desired a portable device that I could bring to work without having to lug a laptop. I needed a tablet that performed in a work environment, being able to open and edit office docs, sign PDF's and access Univeristy servers. The RT comes with Office free. That means you get word, excel, powerpoint, etc... all baked in. I have yet to find an Android equivalent that was even tolerable to live with, and the iPad office apps are not the full function. And, with the optional keyboard (either touch based for thin profiles, or a click keyboard for the traditionalists), this does 90% what a laptop does.

The Surface RT is an ARM processor, so the only "roadblock" is that you cannot use x86 apps. So, if it's made for Windows 8 and it's in the marketplace, it will run on the Surface RT. But, this is the same with the iPad and the Android tablets. It's an argument that is constantly made by reviewers on how the RT is "limited" to the Windows 8 marketplace, but they never mention that you face the same thing with all other tablets on the market. Battery life on the RT is around 10-13 hours in regular "office" use mode, and about 7-9 hours with quite a bit of streaming video. The battery life is just killer. And, it is quite durable. I've even dropped mine on a tile floor from 3 feet up, and not a glitch!

Another thing it does have that no other tablet does is a REAL, FUNCTIONAL USB port! Hard drives, wireless mice, keyboards, flash drives, etc... not one issue. Everything runs without a problem. This was my biggest complaint with tablets, even the Acer which did have a USB port, but didn't read much with a USB.

The Surface Pro is a COMPLETELY different animal! It is a laptop crammed into a tablet (with a Core i5 and 4GB of RAM for my wife's first gen). Battery life is around 5-6 hours with average use, and it will run ANYTHING. I've even loaded Ableton Live 8 and Pro Tools 10 on it... and yes, it ran decent! I was able to run 16 tracks with two aux send loaded with effects. Ran as well as my Mac Mini with a Core i5 with 4GB of RAM. Even locked up on the same troublesome plugin for one of the tracks (to be fair, PT 10 doesn't like anything less than 6GB of RAM). Also, it has run any and all IT software my wife uses for her work. Don't ask me what it is... I know nothing about programming or IT...

The Surface Pro first gen does run a bit hot, but considering what you've got crammed into it, it's not surprising. The first gen models were a bit thick, but the current Surface Pro is quite a bit thinner with better battery life. In short: It's a Core i5 in a tablet. Not an ARM chip, and that has some definite advantages.

The RT is the perfect professional companion. I've found every app I could of wanted in the Marketplace except for much of the Music Production specific apps (but Apple pays many equipment manufacturers heavy to develop for Apple only, such as Avid). But, everything else has been no issues at all. And, their app count is increasing faster than Android and Apple's app market ever did. They aren't the biggest right now, but I'm fine with that since they are taking their time and doing it right.

The critics of the RT are insisting that it's not good enough to replace a laptop, but it's not trying to. It's a tablet that works WITH your laptop, just like the iPad. The Surface Pro on the other hand HAS replaced my wife's laptop. It's a torquey little tablet and runs super smooth.

From someone who actually owns one, I'm down for buying another when ours reaches their end of service life... but that won't be happening for a while.
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UTC quote
Nice review, Neo.
It is indeed some X86 software which does not run - and some workstation and network (VPN) modules that are not compatible with the RT.
But I am a fan of the Surface in general. I'm writing with it, now.
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UTC quote
I have no experience with the surface but having spent some time looking at it and reading reviews it does sound like an awesome device. For my home use I now use apple products and have had two iPads and think they are great, at least for me. They are certainly not laptop replacements, but when I travel I have stopped bringing a laptop as my Ipad can do pretty much what I need. I think the surface is as good as the iPad for those who prefer a windows environment and may even be a better laptop replacement. I can't believe you can go wrong with either the surface or an Ipad realizing where they are in the techno world. I have contemplated getting a surface to compliment my iPad as I do feel they do compliment each other. Good luck with your decision.


larry
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UTC quote
The biggest trick is to decide which environment you want to "live" in. Both Microsoft and Apple make migrating between their ecosystem of devices very easy... as long as you keep it in the family. iTunes for Windows is HORRIBLE, and Office for Mac is so gimped it's almost useless in my opinion. Neither want you to be totally comfortable in the other's playground. That part, sadly, is the way business goes.

But, if you have an iPhone and LOVE it, then perhaps working in OSX would work for you. Same goes with MS. One of the factors driving that is how Google wants to make *just* enough integration with Apple products, but steadfast refuses to do any favors or make one thing for Microsoft. It's a 3 OS world, for better or worse. As someone who's moved to the MS camp: If you have a Windows Phone 8 and a Surface/Laptop combo... life is pretty easy. Same if you have a MacBook and an iPhone/iPad: Super simple. The trick is trying to get opposites to work together
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Thanks for the comments so far, guys. I appreciate all ideas.
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UTC quote
I couldn't write a better response than neotrotsky's. I'm sitting at my desk with a Win 8 Pro Sony Vaio docked to an external monitor and drives. I've got a MacBook Pro, iPad 2, iPad Mini HD, Google Nexus, Surface RT all nearby. I tried traveling with just my iPad last year when I rode the scoot to Washington DC for Photoshop World and seriously regretted it. The office apps just aren't up to my needs though Pages and Numbers are a lot better than the offerings on Android. The only missing app on my Surface RT that is on those platforms is Photoshop Touch but for road trips I can use Windows Photo Gallery for the sort of editing I'd do on the road. If I was only going to take a "tablet" not a pro (Win 8.1 or MacBook) it would most likely be the Surface RT - original. Not having to carry dongles to download SD cards from my camera gives it a clear advantage as does real Office. That was what killed me when I was stuck waiting for a tire in Texarkana since I could work from the hotel room if I had office. The keyboard cover is a bonus along with the flip out stand built into the Surface.

True there are a lot more apps on iTunes but I've found decent ones for everything I really needed and some for just playing around. I was setting up a Win 8 (pro) system my son is getting for Christmas to replace the 6 year old MacBook he's been using and came across several music mixing apps. My son has Ableton which I'm sure he'll install (student license cross platform so he can run it on either Windows or Mac) that I think he'll enjoy trying out. One of the songs he co-created while in the music production class at school was performed at House of Blues (okay, proud mama will shut up).

FWIW, I find using an iPhone and iPad very easy with Windows. My husband refuses to install iTunes but still manages to use an iPhone with Windows 7. He syncs through the cloud except for photos which he drags from the iPhone through Windows File Explorer.
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UTC quote
I am an IT Director that is fortunate to have access to any device for testing or personal preferences. Admittedly, I am a Windows person but I also own a MacBook Air and an iPad. I was searching for a portable tablet-type device to replace a Windows laptop that was recently stolen and never really considered the Surface because of the lukewarm reviews when initially released. I was focusing on Lenovo models before I stumbled upon the specs of the new Surface Pro 2. As Neo mentioned, it is basically a fully functioning laptop with an i5 processor....and the latest Haswell model as well. The Type tactile keyboard and dock (if you use primarily for business) are fantastic. The speed--with the all flash drives and i5 Haswell--is amazing. 5 second boot up time and programs launch almost immediately. Yes it is thicker and heavier than most tablets but the benefits I mention above far outweigh these minor items--IMHO. I hated Windows 8 when I first used it on a non-touchscreen device but it makes much more sense on a device that has a touch-enabled screen. And now that I have experience with it, using it docked with a mouse and keyboard is becoming much more intuitive to navigate the new UI. There is a reason these seem to be selling much better than the original version and they seem always to be out of stock on the Microsoft website. Not sure about the RT but the Pro 2 is well worth looking at. Hope that helps.
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UTC quote
+Surface Pro 2. Costs more but so worth it.
Have one. Love it. ....not sure on surface rt. I can hook an xbox 360 controller to mine. ...kinda cool.
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Whichever you get, consider getting the loss/damage protection MS offers. I bought the first gen Surface Pro 128G model in February on launch day- MS had a bundle deal on that included the protection and I bought it (normally don't).. well this summer my lovely daughter knocked my Pro on the floor and a tiny "foot" attached to the stand came unglued from the back- nothing else wrong. It bugged me a little, so I brought it into a MS store a couple of weeks ago and they simply exchanged it - and let me upgrade to the 256G, 8G RAM Pro 2! I just had to pay the difference. Awesome machine, so far.

As far as apps go (the only weakness up to this point), I think the Windows App store is getting much more attention from developers- and app development seems to be accelerating.
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mreloc wrote:
As far as apps go (the only weakness up to this point), I think the Windows App store is getting much more attention from developers- and app development seems to be accelerating.
That is where the Pro has the advantage over RT, you can run full Windows programs as well as apps.
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Re: MS Surface user reports
I really appreciate the comments, and I'm glad those of you with Surface Pros like them. I'm also glad to see anybody in that market besides the i's and the droid's. But
Syd wrote:
I'm not really interested in the Pro...
Doesn't anybody out there own and use an RT device?
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Re: MS Surface user reports
Syd wrote:
I really appreciate the comments, and I'm glad those of you with Surface Pros like them. I'm also glad to see anybody in that market besides the i's and the droid's. But
Syd wrote:
I'm not really interested in the Pro...
Doesn't anybody out there own and use an RT device?
Yes, I believe I said we have one. For the type of thing you have indicated you want to use it for it works well. Apps are not as plentiful as on the other platforms but I have found at least one for anything I've looked for. Netflix, Hulu, Evernote (though I prefer OneNote), dropbox, several guitar and music apps. Not wild about the mail client but then I don't like the one on Android either.

You get all the benefits of both a tablet and Windows Pro if you get the Surface Pro instead of the RT version but unless you plan on writing code or creating websites (which you can do with some of the apps but they are nowhere near full featured better suited for editing than creating IMHO) an RT is fine.
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UTC quote
I purchased a first generation Surface RT -- used it extensively for about 6-7 months both at work and personal use -- gave it to my son (who won't use it either) and bought an iPad. Apparently, the second generation of the RT, now called "Surface" is better ..... However, I believe the number of apps available is far fewer than Apple (Android is a different case because while there are many apps, not that many are optimized for tablets, especially those with HD screens). I'll give you an example: for the iPad there are apps recommending restaurants in Rome and Venice. The app contains a picture of the outside and inside of the restaurant, a short critique and is linked to Google maps so you zero right in on its location relative to where you are. There is nothing remotely like that for the Surface and that is why is will be a frustrating "consumer" device.

The problem with the RT is that it is trying to be a netbook and personal entertainment device at the same time. Just doesn't work. An iPad is a reasonably competent "work" device if you want to take notes, check email and write short letters. You can use a bluetooth keyboard with it that is just as good as the keyboard on the Surface.

The key question for you is "what do I want this device for?" If it's work, get an ultrabook that runs full Windows 8 and has a processor that will run rings round the Surface. If you want an entertainment device, get an iPad or a good Android tablet made by Samsung.

I've evolved the following hierarchy that works for me: an iPod nano for carrying around and listening to music, an iPhone for communication, an iPad for note-taking, e-mail and short correspondence, plus games, videos and Nook and Kindle e-reader apps for reading and an HP Envy notebook with a 15" HD touchscreen when I'm traveling for work and need a serious, capable business computer. No one device will do all things well.
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griffin1108 wrote:
The problem with the RT is that it is trying to be a netbook and personal entertainment device at the same time.
See, this is what (personally, and I speak for only myself) I don't agree with. A tablet, nearly any tablet, is not a good device for creating content. Content of any kind. But they are quite good at content consumption, and that is what I want. I would like to find out if my flight is on schedule without getting up to go to the PC. I would like to read MV, maybe even make an occasional, trivial post, without leaving my armchair. I see the tablet device as perfect for that.

griffin1108, would you like to sell me your RT?
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