Microsoft Surface Thoughts
Had a chance to play around with one today and use both the TouchCover and the TypeCover. For those interested, here are some quick impressions:
- It really is a well made device, the build quality is on par with what Apple does. The VaporMg case has a nice feeling although my friend and I both prefer the feel of the brushed aluminum on the iPad.
- Both covers work well as keyboards - surprisingly so. I couldn't type very well on the TouchCover but my friend could type at a rapid rate with no mistakes from the moment he started using it. You can rest your fingers on it like a real keyboard without the sensors picking up key inputs. I could type with the TypeCover like I was using a real keyboard. For whatever reason, my friend couldn't but I assume it just has something to do with different typing styles. The downside to the TypeCover is that when you fold it back flush against the device (like you would in normal use) it feels terrible the hold the tablet and feel keys being depressed. The trackpads on both were functional but lackluster.
- The screen was bad, particularly in portrait mode. Noticeable pixelation on text and icons from standard using distance. In landscape web pages look okay-ish but in portrait the text rendering changes and it looks bad enough that you would never consider using it in portrait mode when browsing.
- The edges are a bit sharp.
- Desktop mode works serviceably for Office but while the software is touch enabled it certainly isn't touch optimized. Touch points were small and often required multiple touches.
- Windows 8 ran pretty smoothly with only a few minor hiccups here and there. The swiping in from the edges gestures don't work entirely well though and sometimes you bring up contextual menus unintentionally just by scrolling.
- At the release, Steve Ballmer said Surface was both the best tablet he's ever used and the best laptop he's ever used. Neither of those are true. To me, it felt like a well made Netbook mixed with a tablet that has a bad screen.
Any questions, feel free to ask.