Microsoft Surface

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.

Editors' Rating
  • Design 7.0
  • Features 7.0
  • Performance 6.0
7.0 Overall

Compare

Microsoft Surface RT - tablet - Win RT - 64 GB - 10.6" - with Black Touch Cover
Microsoft Surface
Microsoft Surface Pro (128GB, Core m3, 4GB)
Microsoft Surface Pro (2017)
Apple iPad 2017 (space gray, 32GB)
Apple iPad (9.7-inch, 2017)
Samsung Galaxy Tab S3 - Android 7.0 (Nougat) - 32 GB - 9.7" - black
Samsung Galaxy Tab S3
Huawei MediaPad M3
Huawei MediaPad M3
Price $529 Amazon.com $688 Amazon.com $268 Amazon.com $550 Dell Home $264 Amazon.com
Design
7
8
8
9
9
Features
7
8
8
8
7
Performance
6
9
9
7
8

Review

Innovative tablet stranded in an app desert

Microsoft Surface is the best productivity tablet yet, and it had better be. As the only Microsoft-branded Windows RT hardware 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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Specs / Prices

  • Brand Microsoft
  • Diagonal Size 10.6 in
  • Installed Size 64 GB
  • Type Microsoft Windows RT
  • Weight 23.98 oz
  • Color Category gray
  • Installed Size 2 GB
  • Cameras (for SD) rear camera + front camera
  • Monitor Features 5-point multi-touch, ClearType HD
See full specs
model Microsoft Surface RT - tablet - Win RT - 64 GB - 10.6" - with Black Touch Cover

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