Microsoft Surface "a worthy option in mobile computing"


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Sigh. Another anything but Apple piece by Rob.

My brother in law, an engineer, got his eleven year old daughter a Surface for Christmas. She is sort of a rebel in the family, and wants to be different for different’s sake.

Her brother, sister, father, and mother all have iPads and iPhones. As does the rest of the family. The father uses WIndows at work. It took him over three hours to get the Surface set up in terms of connecting to the family network, setting up an account, and with email. Over half of the systems available memory was taken up by the OS. The marketing was confusing because the version she got couldn’t run all Windows applications even though the device was called a Windows device. THe daughter who got the iPad, was up in running in like five minutes.

The daughter with the Surface was upset to learn she couldn’t use Airplay to connect to the families Apple TV, use iMessage, or use Facetime.

As far as being a worthy option goes, sure it is, but Microsoft has done a real poor job of explaining the different kinds of Surfaces and what can and cannot be done with them. I was also covering a friend’s Office the other day where I he has WIndows 8. Right in the middle of using the web browser the computer’s Windows 8 changed to the photo browser. It wasn’t obvious at all how to get out of that application. I had to restart the computer twice.

Should have got an Android tablet.


Reviewer likes a product. What’s your opinion? </kent-brockman>


The Surface can run Photoshop, Illustrator, InDesign, OneNote, Publisher, Word, etc. Not a bad choice. A much better choice then Android for many purposes.

I’ve been waiting for apple to create a convertible tablet/laptop, with full OS X for years. A mac book air tablet with detachable keyboard. I’m starting to give up on Apple innovating anymore.


Sweet 2nd-hand story!

Thankfully, the Android tablets cannot run the Microsoft suite. (well, I hear MS are releasing some sort of version of Office soon for Android.)

However, you’re talking about Surface Pro. That’s more like a slimmer cut-down Windows laptop than a true iPad-like tablet device, however.

I like Apple stuff fine. I won’t use that horrible F-word, but … can we have less “irrational technology brand aficionado rhetoric” in here, please?


The Surface can run none of those Windows applications. The Surface Pro, on the other hand, can.

See what Microsoft did there?

Word. Personal anecdotes are useless because when it comes to tech the problem is usually the user.

@Terrin before you even got there I knew you were talking about the RT. RT is the Pinto of computers. It’s not the responsibility of MS (though it might help their sales) to inform people about the differences in their products… Even looking at the price tags and specs alone it is possible to see why the RT might not be a good choice.

The fact the daughter didn’t know she couldn’t run Apple-only software on a MS thingy is her own fault and, FWIW it probably is possible to stream to an apple TV, since all Airplay is is a particular implementation of DLNA. I can “airplay” things fro my android device to an apple TV.

When it comes to the quirks of Win8 I will agree it’s unusual. When it comes to your phraseology, I lold. The “computer’s Windows 8 changed”? More than likely you’d hit the windows key or done something with the mouse to activate “metro” mode. That or he had a metro UI app set as default to view a particular image type so when you clicked on the image to open it switched into the metro UI.

I personally think Win 8 is no improvement to Win 7, though the design language is definitely more interesting and modern. Start8 is a good little program that will make the experience of using Win8 much more palatable as it puts back in a Win7-style start menu.


The author of the article linked to by this blog uses the Surface Pro, that is the Surface that he is specifically discussing. The Surface Pro is the one that is “a worthy option in mobile computing”. Surly I’m not the only one who reads the linked to article before commenting?


A similar, but much cheaper alternative is the Asus Transformer Book T100.

It’s full Windows. Like the Surface, it’s a tablet, it’s a laptop, it’s both. Unlike the Surface Pro, the T100’s keyboard is included in the bargain.

It has 64GB of storage with microSD expansion up to 128GB. USB 3.0, Bluetooth, WiFI N. Ships with a full version of MS Office. Photoshop and many games run quite well.

It has a less featured processor than the Surface Pro, but it is quad core and really quite fast.

Battery life of over 11 hours of continuous use. When not in use, the battery lasts for days, just like a tablet.

Frequently available in the $330 range.

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As someone who has the Surface 2, which I’m typing this on, have to say I’m quite happy with it. Out of the box, the surface has only 17GB of 32GB free, but it costs only $450. The iPad which costs $500, only has 12GB free out of the box. If r you need more space on the Surface you can spend $100 more and get the 64 GB version, or you can plug in a micro SD card. To get up to 64GB on the iPad it costs $700, and there is no SD card option. You can also clear up more space on the surface by backing up the recovery partition to a USB stick, and recover the space. The surface is also nice in that you don’t have to download and free up 3.8GB of space for little fixes to the OS.

One thing that I found a lot better is being able to access shared folders. On iOS, it’s to the app to support it, while on surface, any app that accesses files acne access them on file shares. There’s not as many apps on the surface, but I still don’t feel like I’m constrained by that. It can do a lot more than the iPad out of the box. I only wish there were a few more games, even though, for now, I have more than enough to fill my spare time.

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Doesn’t BB usually label their ads as such?

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No offense intended, but from my perspective you seem to have a preference of pointing out stories that put Apple in a negative light, but don’t give equal treatment to competing companies like Google. It is like Jonathon Mann sings in his iPhone song, “the media loves a failure in a string of successes . . . the facts never matter.” The media seems to have a preference of highlighting every questionable thing Apple does, but ignores far more offense behavior from competing companies like Samsung. For example, Apple got nailed for its in-app purchases policies, which it voluntarily changed. Google’s Android has far worst in-app purchase policies and is being sued, but the media coverage doesn’t seem to reach the same scale. Perhaps I am wrong, but I just don’t see the balance in your technology coverage.

Rob linked to an article, without editorializing, and you want to read into that some meta-message about his disdain for Apple?

And yet you’ve not been following closely enough to know that Rob’s been a big fan, and owner, of several apples, including an iMac, air, and rocked a jackhammer jill sticker on a gen 4 iphone, etc?

And there’s a link critical of Samsung on the front page right now.


Over three hours to get the Surface connected to wifi, set up an account and set up the email? Sounds like a user issue, not a product issue.

The Surface (which runs Windows RT, not Windows, and this is made pretty clear anywhere you look) is pretty well documented to only be able to run programs from the Windows App Store (or whatever the hell it’s called). This should not have been a surprise if even the SMALLEST amount of research had been done before purchasing it. Complaining that it can’t do Airplay, use iMessage or use Facetime is the equivalent of buying an Android tablet, and then getting upset that it can’t play Infinity Blade, or buying a Playstation and then complaining that you can’t play Mario on it.

Learn what your several-hundred-dollar device can actually do before buying it. Just as an example: the VERY FIRST LINE in the “Product Features” section of this BestBuy page for the original Surface says:

Windows RT OS: Works exclusively with apps that can be downloaded from the Windows Store, which features an ever-growing list of apps and games

(emphasis mine). How much clearer, exactly, should Microsoft be making this?

As to the original article - I’m not a huge face of the Surface (or Surface Pro in this case) as a device for my particular usage scenario, but it seems to have found a niche that works well for some folks. Gabe at Penny Arcade absolutely loves using his Surface Pro (actually, I think Microsoft gave him a Surface Pro 2 after he evangelized the first one so hard) for his art (and gaming, too, actually). Is it a perfect device? No way. Are there better options out there, for general use? I think so. But it seems to have hit a sweet spot for some people.


Posts about gadgets–and pretty much anything that money can buy–just bring out the dumbness. It’s like clockwork, every single time

• not a wonderful thing
• hurr hurr how much did you get paid for this ad
• sick of all the anti/pro apple/ms/google boosting going on here
• hasn’t been a thing worth buying since the TRS 80 Model 100!

The last is true, technically, yes.


I am aware that he was using a Surface Pro, otherwise the article would not exist.

My point is that if you leave out the word Pro, then the article makes no sense. The word Pro is not present anywhere in the BB post.

GF has one with the detachable membrane keyboard, and she likes it quite a bit.