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Old Jan 20, 2013, 09:01 PM   #1
webster69
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For those considering buying a tablet - Microsoft Surface vs iPad

I wanted to share my experience so others who may be on the fence about a purchase have some feedback.

I have had a variety of iPad's and Apple devices in my household in the past few years. My most recent Apple purchase was a iPad Mini. I loved the form factor and the screen wasn't too bad but I had an opportunity to trade for a Microsft Surface with a touch keyboard so I jumped at it.

The reason for wanting the trade is I find I am getting a little bored with IOS (I also have an iPhone). This trade was one if the worst mistakes I have ever made and I cannot wait to go back to an iPad.

The main issue I have with the surface is how sluggish everything is when compared to the iPad. Basic searching,clicking links, navigating between tabs etc. etc. just seem more sluggish on the Surface. It is not a night and day thing but it was getting to the point where I found I was using my iPhone to look things up on the Internet rather than using the Surface.

The only time I found the Surface tolerable is when it is used with the keyboard. As a tablet, surfing in bed using touch instead of the keyboard etc it is a major fail. Again sluggish to respond to input, form factor not as easy to hold, and operating system is horrible. If you use the metro Internet explorer the touch keyboard will pop up when you touch the screen but if you are on the desktop and launch Internet explorer the process of launching the touch keyboard is manual. The best way to describe the operating systems is two different operating systems in one that don't work together well. The same can be said as a tablet - two different hardware devices that don't work together well.

If you are looking for a netbook and plan on using the Surface with the keyboard all the time it is ok based on the fact that it is easy to transport, the build quality is fantastic, and the battery life is good.

If you want a tablet that is easy to use in all situations to supplement your desktop or laptop the iPad is hands down the device to get. I now know that I took how great the iPad is for granted. It took using an inferior device to make me appreciate Apple products that much more.

For those of you who may respond saying it may be the user and not the device I work in IT and I am very tech savvy - to me the Surface is inferior when compared to the iPad.
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Old Jan 20, 2013, 09:15 PM   #2
Aspasia
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Judging from what I've read, you're not the only one to hold that opinion.

http://www.todaysiphone.com/2013/01/...-the-holidays/
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Old Jan 20, 2013, 10:02 PM   #3
jdag
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My company purchased a Surface, along with the touch keyboard and a 64gb memory card. I was really excited to have this tablet/laptop hybrid.

My excitement didn't last. Thought the Surface, or more specifically the Windows RT operating system, offered the most disjointed user experience possible.

It was like having to work in 2 different OSes...Metro and Desktop. It was like having 2 completely separate browsers...IE for Metro and the more traditional IE.

It is not the full Windows OS and you cannot install other than via the Windows Store, which worked less then 1/2 the time for me.

Just terrible all around.

I called my IT department and told them I was going to send it back to them. They offered me to keep it and just use it when I travel, which is often. I thanked them and sent it back anyhow.
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Old Jan 20, 2013, 10:12 PM   #4
palpatine
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I liked the Surface a lot, but only while using Word in landscape mode. Anything else was unpleasant, and I had to wonder why anyone would buy this, because if you'd realistically only be using it like a clamshell computer, then why not get a real computer instead? The Surface was also laggy, had terrible resolution, and all of that.

One thaing I realized is just how revolutionary the iPad design is: it works exactly the same in portrait and landscape, it isn't tied to one of these for using the keyboard, it is smooth, and it doesn't pretend to be what it's not. You can do content creation (I am someone who uses it a lot), but it doesn't claim to be as good as OSX -- there are tradeoffs, and you just learn to deal with them. The Surface was a frankenstein creature that (as far as I could tell) did nothing quite as good as the iPad. The only thing I really liked was the ability to plug in a USB flashdrive, but there is no way I'd give up the iPad for that.

The Surface may be the future, especially the Surface Pro, but not for a few more years.
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Old Jan 20, 2013, 10:16 PM   #5
webster69
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I knew about the limitations with windows 8 RT and I was ok with that based on what I would be using it for but it did not even do basic things well. I know exactly what you mean about how disjointed it is but even more so because of the tablet experience.
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Old Jan 20, 2013, 10:23 PM   #6
palpatine
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I knew about the limitations (of the apps) as well, but it was just so awful outside of Windows. What are you supposed to do with a device that has a keyboard hanging off of it and is rather massive in portrait mode? You can try to use the Internet, but (in my experience) it was not even close to Safari. You can try to download an app from the store, but even the sales staff couldn't get the one I wanted to load. The iPad is far from perfect, and I have my share of complaints, but this monstrosity was not even close to being a competitor. Don't even get me started on the kickstand...
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Old Jan 20, 2013, 10:47 PM   #7
thetruth1985
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I think the main issue with the Surface is the Tegra 3. The build quality and design is among the best out there. I've used the Surface side by side with the Samsung slate and the difference in speed was night and day. The Surface Pro is rumored to have the new intel 13w i5 which should give better battery life and performance. The Surface RT 2 may fare a little better if it has the new Tegra 4.
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Old Jan 20, 2013, 11:11 PM   #8
Night Spring
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Don't even get me started on the kickstand...
What is wrong with the kickstand?
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Old Jan 20, 2013, 11:42 PM   #9
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I prefer my Windows tablet, that's because it runs Windows 8 Pro, not Windows RT. If I wanted a tablet with an OS that doesn't run any standard applications, I would use my iPad.
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Old Jan 21, 2013, 12:09 AM   #10
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What is wrong with the kickstand?
One angle, easily collapses, and forces me to work in landscape. The whole experience feels like someone didn't really "get" the flexibility that makes tablets so compelling.
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Old Jan 21, 2013, 01:56 AM   #11
isephmusic
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I have a gaming desktop and a MacBook Pro and I'm trying to find a in between device and can't for the life of me decide if I want a mini (once it has retina) a windows pro ( not Rt) or the rumored lighter thinner iPad 5 I need it to be portable yet powerful to show people slides and create things ( documents iMovie ect )
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Old Jan 21, 2013, 08:40 AM   #12
jdag
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Ultimately, Windows 8 Pro, as opposed to RT, may make the Surface and other Windows tablets more usable. But to me, only if you plan to use the Metro interface. Trying to navigate the traditional Desktop without a mouse is futile.
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Old Jan 21, 2013, 09:14 AM   #13
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Originally Posted by webster69 View Post
...
I have had a variety of iPad's and Apple devices in my household in the past few years. My most recent Apple purchase was a iPad Mini. I loved the form factor and the screen wasn't too bad but I had an opportunity to trade for a Microsft Surface with a touch keyboard so I jumped at it.
...
What you forgot about with this chance is that you should try new technology before you buy. Or in your case trade for it, especially as you traded away a device that was working well for it.
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Old Jan 21, 2013, 09:48 AM   #14
AppleRobert
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$599 with keyboard is too high and one is at the mercy of the app store.
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Old Jan 21, 2013, 11:06 PM   #15
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$599 with keyboard is too high and one is at the mercy of the app store.
So don't buy he keyboard. It's 499 for the 32GB Surface as opposed to 599 for the 32GB iPad 4.
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Old Jan 21, 2013, 11:32 PM   #16
palpatine
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So don't buy he keyboard. It's 499 for the 32GB Surface as opposed to 599 for the 32GB iPad 4.
Without the keyboard, though, the device kind of loses its rationale. With the kickstand and the magnetic connector, it is designed for landscape with the keyboard, and when you take the keyboard out of the equation, it is just a blurry screen, with poor responsiveness, a couple of operating systems (metro + old), and it is 499 for 16 GB of actual storage (shocking, to be honest). Unless you really want that Office app experience, I don't get it.

I am not saying future RT will not be great, or that future Pro might not work out, but 2013 is not the year of the Microsoft tablet I am afraid.
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Old Jan 22, 2013, 02:44 AM   #17
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I am a digital artist I can't image how will I use with Surface Pro with Wacom tablet? I don't like working with laptop either. iMac/desktop is natural for me working on art.
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Old Jan 22, 2013, 09:15 AM   #18
darngooddesign
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Without the keyboard, though, the device kind of loses its rationale...
That's like saying without the Smartcover the iPad loses its rationale.
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Old Jan 22, 2013, 09:36 AM   #19
palpatine
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That's like saying without the Smartcover the iPad loses its rationale.
Not at all. The smartcover is nice (and I have one) but you could just as well use anything with the iPad. The iPad (and the apps) are designed to be used with any orientation. Try moving the Surface around and watch web pages hang. You have to go back and forth a few times sometimes just to get everything into portrait mode. Try using the kickstand in portrait mode. The device is designed around a certain use case, and everything outside of that is a less and less palatable user experience.
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Old Jan 22, 2013, 09:50 AM   #20
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That's like saying without the Smartcover the iPad loses its rationale.
No not at all. The (working) keyboard may come in fun colors but its one full half of the surface experience and selling point.

Umm have you been in a Microsoft store and have one of the sales guys jump you with their surface sales pitch, that key board aint no dust cover dear sir..
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Old Jan 22, 2013, 10:14 AM   #21
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Not at all. The smartcover is nice (and I have one) but you could just as well use anything with the iPad. The iPad (and the apps) are designed to be used with any orientation. Try moving the Surface around and watch web pages hang. You have to go back and forth a few times sometimes just to get everything into portrait mode. Try using the kickstand in portrait mode. The device is designed around a certain use case, and everything outside of that is a less and less palatable user experience.
Try using the smartcover in portrait mode. I have one and you can't, but you can use alternate cases just like you can with the Surface. Widescreen tablets are based around landscape use and this has nothing to do with the kickstand or keyboard cover.

Of course a salesperson is going to push the keyboard cover, duh. Its an accessory, and accessories have high profit margins.

The Surface RT is the same price as the iPad 4.
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Old Jan 22, 2013, 10:56 AM   #22
AppleRobert
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The Surface without the keyboard is only half the experience, not a necessity BUT much much better with it.

Again, the price and limits to only the app store is what is killing this device.
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Old Jan 22, 2013, 10:58 AM   #23
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The Surface without the keyboard is only half the experience, not a necessity BUT much much better with it.

Again, the price and limits to only the app store is what is killing this device.
That's like saying that the iPad without a keyboard case is half the experience. Maybe for some people who do a lot of typing, but not for the majority.

I agree about the app store, but not about the price since it costs the same as the iPad 4.
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Old Jan 22, 2013, 11:25 AM   #24
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That's like saying that the iPad without a keyboard case is half the experience. Maybe for some people who do a lot of typing, but not for the majority.

I agree about the app store, but not about the price since it costs the same as the iPad 4.
Cannot agree with you. The Surface is for an entirely different market of people than the iPad. And that market uses a keyboard a high percentage of the time.
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Old Jan 22, 2013, 12:34 PM   #25
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Cannot agree with you. The Surface is for an entirely different market of people than the iPad. And that market uses a keyboard a high percentage of the time.
Mostly agree. For instance the Surface comes with Office 2013. While it's possible to use the Office apps with touch alone, it's pretty awkward, and much easier with the keyboard. That said, if you wanted to only use the Surface the way you'd use an iPad, then you could in fact not get a keyboard and be fine with it.

On the original topic, I am also someone who has owned an iPad 1 and now an iPad 2, and recently got a Surface as well as a gift. My summary comparison is that I do think Windows 8 is going in the right direction where the future of personal computing will be going, but it's not there yet. Overall I've found the Surface to be too immature, mainly due to the software, and I find the disjointed Metro/Desktop interfaces to be inelegant. I've ended up going back to my iPad. However my feelings are more mixed than the original poster. There are a lot of things I like better about Windows 8/Windows RT, and I think it has the potential to surpass iOS at least for me once a number of my complaints are addressed.

Let me explain in more detail. I love my iPad and use it a lot every day. However I often am frustrated at its limitations compared to a laptop. My ideal tablet computer would have all the functionality of a laptop when connected to a keyboard and mouse/trackpad and possibly external monitor, but then could function well as a tablet too when undocked. Up till now I had accepted that this wasn't currently possible, and that the compromises the iPad makes were necessary in order to have a lightweight tablet with good battery life and an easy to use touch interface. What I admire about Windows 8 is that it is trying to merge tablets and laptops. The Surface already works well enough that I now question Apple's claims that it's not possible for a tablet device to have desktop-like functionality. I've also tried some Windows Pro tablets and I really think those have a lot of potential.

Also, some things I really like about Windows RT that I wish Apple would add to iOS:
  1. A standard way to access app settings and search from any app.
  2. A way to access system settings such as wifi, screen brightness, from anywhere.
  3. Better ways for apps to share data so they can actually work together. A few Apple apps, such as Photos and Contacts, have the ability to share their data with other apps, but 3rd party apps have no such ability and stuck in a very restrictive sandbox. Windows Store apps have a much better system for apps to share data, which allows real workflows.
  4. Ability to use external storage such as SD cards or flash drives for storing or reading any data. iOS devices can use the camera connection kit to read an external drive or card, but all they can use it for is importing photos and videos from it. You can't use it to store documents, apps, music, etc.
  5. Multiple user accounts and profiles on a single device.

Etc. In general the Windows RT and especially Windows 8 Pro tablets are much more functional as laptop replacements. I think if more apps get written for it, and if they iron out the wrinkles in the existing apps and OS, for me at least the Windows tablets have the potential to be what I always wished my iPad could be. Currently though I'd have to say the iPad still wins unless you have specific needs, such as a fully functional version of MS Office, that are met by the Surface.
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