My 3 Day Evaluation and Review of Microsoft Surface

Being a Microsoft advocate and a tablet geek, I couldn’t wait for the long overdue Microsoft Surface to come out. I was hesitant, but pre-ordered my 32GB version with touch keyboard and patiently awaited it’s arrival.

Well, actually, I wasn’t overly excited, and didn’t wait by the door for it to be dropped off, because for once, I thought the better products were already released, prior to Microsoft coming to market.

When Microsoft stopped development of the courier years ago, I thought all was lost for Microsoft to enter this space. So I reluctantly jumped on the bandwagon of Android. Bought my first Android phone and tablet. They were “ok” at best, but better than defecting to Apple in my opinion. (not that there is anything wrong with Apple, but it’s not for me.)

Over the next 6 months, I switched to the Motorola Xoom, but to be honest, was a tad thick, heavy, and cumbersome. The OS was good, responsive, better than my old Samsung tablet. But still not for me. When the Motorola XYBOARD came out, 10.1”, it was thin, good looking, lightweight, and very responsive. I had already grown used to many Android apps on both my previous tablets and my phone, so staying in one account and using the same apps was nice and easy.

Enter the Microsoft Surface. At my original post, I gave some plus/minus notes on the system. Heavy, thick, weird edges, not easy to hold, but it had a keyboard, familiar ctrl key’s for copy/paste, a familiar Microsoft environment, and a good screen; and that was in the first hours. I’ve since used it through the weekend and here is what I have to say…

I equate the new surface to be like the first generation Android tablets. I expect that in the next 6 months, we will see HUGE improvement. (Do you hear me Microsoft?!?) The apps are ok, I actually love the tile affect and how easy the hand gestures are. (although, not as zippy as on the Android or Ipad.) But where I see much room for improvement is in the transition and loading of apps. One of the things I’ve become accustomed to on the Android tablets is that things load quick! I find that I spend time waiting for an app to load with the all too familiar loading dots… I also found that there is lag in video play, choppiness, and distortion from time to time. One of the biggest kick in the teeth for this enterprise user, is the mail program. I would have expected, for the business community, they would have had an outlook version to release at time of launch, but they stuck with generic, core mail and calendar apps. I need to be able to select multiple emails and delete or move them.

I DO like that I can have more than one application on the screen at a time, and I like the quick shoot of recent application from the left edge to be thrown on the desktop quickly (no load lag).

So… In short. I understand this is a first generation tablet. I understand at some point, you have to pick a release date and get it out for the general populace. Then you can update the heck out of it. That is what I see here. Nice first attempt. I can use and work with it. I look forward to the thinner, zippier and above all else, 4G version to come out. I have to carry my Android tablet still, because they don’t have Wireless at the Real Food Cafe, and I love to read while there. I also look forward to the slew of other hardware to be released, now that Microsoft released theirs. I believe it will drive an overall, better tablet competition between Android, Microsoft and Apple. I believe we should see some huge improvements and cool things over the next 2-3 years!

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