Touched a Surface RT and Liked It


by Byron on Apr 21, 2013 at 11:35 AM


Surface RT first boot

Been playing with a Surface RT for a few days. Tiles and lists work very well on a phone and tablet. Browsing, reading, and statusing are all good. Also avoiding the Metrotop confusion by not opening the “desktop” or wondering why Office apps prompt a launch Office 365! Elegant is a good descriptor or a fast wheel that was built with a slight wobble. An OS that’s convoluted with desktop and mobile modalities is as much about a boardroom fight as the transition from old to new computing metaphors.

Live Tiles updating

Live Tiles Updating

Why would a bike blog review Windows-based consumer electronics? Cause we’re based in Seattle and ride with many cyclists who work on Surface, Windows 8, and IE 10. They’re as into what they do as any creative and developer. Whatever market forces are at work causing Surfaces to get overlooked and hated isn’t my concern (buyers on Amazon sure like them), respecting the work of our colleagues and cyclists is.

In a few weeks, we’ll have Google Glass in at Hugga HQ too, and visited Google’s offices in Fremont last month. While there played with a Chrome Pixel and also very interested in that OS.

Touchy IE

Touch IE demo

MS has done a good, great job with this tablet. Sure there’s some cruft in a Surface RT, but what OS is free of that? None.

If I can get photos to ingest from a SD card, edit, and upload, then the Surface RT will go on the road with me.

At SXSW, also tried out the Surface Pro and for what I want to do with a tablet, prefer the RT. You can practically hear the battery drain on the Pro and the heat will sear a Windows logo into your thigh. It’s a bit thick and heavy for a tablet and meant to carry from meeting to meeting. Not in a Chrome Niko bag on a ride or on an seat back tray flying to another media event.

I’m testing the 32 G Surface RT with a black TouchCover. Pricing for Surface RTs start at $499.00. Find them on Amazon, the Windows Store in a mall or online.

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Surface RT and Widows 8 are junk with huge return rates.  Windows 8 is actually blamed for a decline in PC sales by analysts because people don’t want it.  Microsoft developed these in an attempt to compete with the iPad not because they offer anything customers want or are asking for.
You should really stick to bikes..this isn’t your area.


We’re on computers more than bikes for what we do here, been using them since they were available, including an Osborne, and post occasional hardware reviews. To your it’s junk comment,  “An OS that’s convoluted with desktop and mobile modalities is as much about a boardroom fight as the transition from old to new computing metaphors” addresses that—if you need to hear that a desktop on a tablet is stupid, Anand and ARS have it covered. Or coining the term, Metrotop to describe it.

MS confused their customers with Win 8 and also said above that’s not what I’m writing about. This is a take that isn’t concerned with what a 1,000 tech bloggers have already hated on. Got an iPad sitting right next to the RT….and for a bit more context, we attended the Win Store launch last year. This is a follow up.

PC declines are more likely demand for smartphones and tablets, but from what IDC said about Win 8, “features that don’t excel in a tablet mode” and take away from traditional PC usage. Sure, there’s no defense here for Win 8; other than hey tiles and lists work well on a phone and a table, but I’m avoiding the desktop—that’s as jarring as getting dropped on a climb.

I didn’t expect to like Windows RT and did. But, for another example, why is there no history in the browser? Ask MS that one. I think they’e called that a feature, instead of a flaw.


I will answer to the desktop part, as admittedly I don’t have much experience with tablets.

After using Windows 7 Ultimate for more than 2 years I downloaded Windows 8 Consumer Preview, and as Byron did with he RT I never opened the Metro interface. Ever. And I loved it.

Sorry if I’m not a IT man, I am just a computer user as many others, but I assure you that the people I know who tried Win 8 were pleasantly surprised, including my 70 y.o. parents. And many of them accepted the £25 offer.


Right it wouldn’t amount to much of a review if I just said, “Gizmodo thinks the Surface sucks and so do I.” A colleague asked me to test it and tell him what I thought and that’s what I did. After spending a weekend with it. To the OS, I’ll add it requires learning and patience and figuring out what to do—there’s where I give MS props for doing it and also what angers people. The browser not having a history (it does in the URL bar, but not in a menu) is a good example of what is so maddening for users.