The Good The Microsoft Surface's Metro interface is innovative, elegant, powerful, and versatile. The tablet feels strong and well-built, runs Office 2013, and includes rich video and music services. Its keyboard cover accessories are the best ways to type on a tablet, period.
The Bad The tablet's performance can be sluggish, its Windows Store is lacking, Metro takes getting used to, and the Desktop interface feels clunky and useless.
The Bottom Line If you're an early adopter willing to forget everything you know about navigating a computer, the Surface tablet could replace your laptop. Everyone else: wait for more apps.
Innovative tablet stranded in an app desert
Microsoft Surface is the best productivity tablet yet, and it had better be. As the only Microsoft-brandedhardware to launch with the new operating system (Windows 8 launches this week as well), the tablet serves as ambassador and flagship for the touch-focused, wildly risky Windows grand experiment. The Surface excels thanks to its thoughtful design, sensible implementation of its keyboard accessory, and the innovations brought about by the interface formerly known as Metro -- chief among them: the gesture-driven menu system, powerful search tool, and incredibly cool and versatile split-screen feature.
Unfortunately, there's a price to pay for doing things differently. I've spent a week with this soldier for the Windows cause, and I predict that some of you will find Metro's learning curve discouraging. Additionally, apps support is dismal, performance (especially when using IE10) is slow at times, and like the old guy in the club still hanging around after last call, the traditional Windows interface lingers on, feeling embarrassingly out of place.
The Surface isn't for everyone. Those looking for tons (or even several pounds) of apps should look elsewhere; however, it takes a legitimate swing at replacing your computer and comes closer to hitting the mark than any tablet before it.
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