The Digital Journalism Blog


Microsoft Surface RT: Stuck between a PC and a Tablet?

Posted in Uncategorized by com360bu on October 25, 2012

By Alexandra Hess

A recent post by a Matt Burns says to not call it a tablet, because it is a PC. However several times he, himself, calls the new Microsoft Surface RT a tablet. 

Moving on from what to call it, whichever you may choose, the Surface has qualities of both devices. The question is, does it have the beneficial qualities of both, or rather does it have the opposite? 

Seeing as multiple times in the past, I have spent money on products to later find out that I did not enjoy them, I refuse to allow that situation to happen again. However, for my roommate, it is a different story. This has also given me the opportunity to try out the Microsoft Surface RT in my own home before purchasing one. 

I ended up with similar problems as Burns while using the device. Of course not everyone has the same difficulties, some enjoy the gadget’s quirks of being the middle-ground between a PC and a tablet. Maybe it’s my small hands or Microsoft’s faulty design but I find the device very difficult to hold and use. The keyboard works well but without it, the on-screen keyboard is just too long to maneuver around easily. 

Is this why it is not fully a tablet? It’s the middle ground. It’s not easily used without the detachable keyboard accessory. But if it’s not a tablet, why doesn’t it already come with the keyboard? Why is it necessary to buy the device (which starts at $499) and then buy an almost necessary accessory in addition? 

However some like the design. The screen gives the true 16:9 aspect ratio which are the same as movies. Therefore, some may prefer this feature to other tablets such as a kindle, nook or iPad. 

Now back to more of the less satisfying qualities of the Surface. 

The Surface uses a Windows RT rather than Windows 8. Some may not know the difference but what it means is that one can not replace the lesser used Internet Explorer with something newer such as Google Chrome until Google releases a Chrome which is coded to work with Windows RT. This goes for several other applications as well. In fact several apps are missing such as Facebook and Twitter so you’re forced to use the less than reliable Internet Explorer to get to such sites. Which, overall, using Internet Explorer on the Surface is slow and not enjoyable. 

Microsoft may have been too quick to jump the gun with this gadget. Maybe they should have taken more time for testing the device on different people. Or perhaps Burns and I are only some of the few who dislike the device. However, for now, I’ll stick to my average PC and steer clear of the hybrid-PC that Microsoft invented. Not to mention that my Nook has treated well as far as tablets go. 

Until later updates come out for the Microsoft Surface RT, my opinion will remain stagnant. 

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