MS Surface Reviews

Discussion in 'Alternatives to iOS and iOS Devices' started by iPad Air, Nov 26, 2013.

  1. iPad Air macrumors regular

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    Oct 24, 2013
    #1
    Ok, considering a tablet. On MS's website, there are great reviews for the S2 tablet. Those of you on this forum who have a S2 tell me how it really is. Be honest...
     
  2. ZBoater macrumors G3

    ZBoater

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    #2
    I'm afraid you came to the wroooooong place for S2 feedback... :apple:
     
  3. Krazy Bill macrumors 68030

    Krazy Bill

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    #3
    It's a different beast altogether. Too heavy to be considered a tablet in my opinion. It's more of a very lightweight ultra book. It wouldn't be my first choice if your primary use is consumption. That said, it will run circles around iOS. And great build quality.
     
  4. sracer macrumors 603

    sracer

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    #4
    What? The surface 2 weighs as much as the iPad 4. :confused:
     
  5. Technarchy macrumors 603

    Technarchy

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    #5
    I like the Surface. iPad and Macbooks are still my first choice, but I think the Surface is a very slick product.

    And I tend to think RT makes a lot of sense over a full blown Windows 8 product, so at $450 the value proposition is good as well.
     
  6. Surface2Owner macrumors member

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    Nov 18, 2013
    #6
    I am a Surface 2 owner, and it is by far the best tablet I have owned. Previously, I used an iPad 2 and a Samsung Galaxy Tab 2. It is not perfect by any means, but I would overall recommend this to someone looking for just one tablet to do everything.

    The app selection is decent but still not in the same league as iTunes or Playstore. However, with the IE11 (which is basically a full Flash enabled browser), you can pretty much replace almost every app anyways if you want to. However, truthfully, I don't really miss any app in particular since most of what I do is more Office and Internet related.

    The build quality is top notch, and you actually get options. My wife and I share the tablet so we set up multiple user accounts. Basically, we set it up so that whoever powers on, he or she will have his or her email, settings and apps separate and private from the other. Very nice feature if you actually want to share the device.

    The OS is actually very well done. People like to rag on the fact that there is a separate desktop interface, but we really don't go to the desktop unless we need to use MS Office. For everything else, we are using the modern interface. Did you ever want to have an email open next to the browser? Done. Did you ever need to save and access a file locally? Done. Did you ever need to set up a separate account for your girlfriend or significant other? Done. There are all these little things that add up to the user experience. It does take a bit of learning (especially from iOS), but it shouldn't take more than a half day to realize that there are definitely benefits to using a Windows RT device.

    I use it as a laptop replacement for when I go on business trips while my wife occasionally edits Word documents, surfs the Internet and peruses random Flipboard stories. To do heavy editing at home, my wife will connect to a HDMI monitor using a $10 cable and will also connect to a wireless keyboard and mouse laying around the house. Basically, it subs as a desktop for her.

    My quibbles: The 32GB version will only come with about 18GB free (with Office installed). You can get an extra 3GB by creating a USB recovery on a thumb drive. However, I also purchased a 64GB micro SD card so I essentially added extra storage without paying a crazy premium.

    Also, if you sincerely interested, you probably already know that you cannot install legacy Windows programs.

    Finally, Surface 2 ain't cheap, which is the primary reason why I wouldn't recommend this to everyone.

    However, if you are a student, a mobile professional, or just someone who is looking for something different, this tablet is a very nice choice.
     
  7. laserfox macrumors 6502

    laserfox

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    #7
    This pretty much mirrors my experience with the original surface. I no longer have it and i miss it terribly. The kickstand and touch cover was GREAT for productivity. Im definitely buying the surface 2 as soon as i see a sale *fingers crossed for cyber monday*
     
  8. SlCKB0Y macrumors 68040

    SlCKB0Y

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    #8
    I can't think of a single reason to get RT over a full Windows desktop product...but then again the only reason I would use Windows anyway is to take advantage of "legacy" x86 applications which aren't available under RT.
     
  9. Surface2Owner macrumors member

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    #9
    No malware. Battery life.

    Most people don't need legacy apps any longer. My parents certainly don't.
     
  10. SlCKB0Y macrumors 68040

    SlCKB0Y

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    #10
    A bit of common sense sorts the malware situation out and spinedoc77 swears that the Atom Windows 8 tabs have just as good battery life as the Surface. :confused:
     
  11. Surface2Owner macrumors member

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    Nov 18, 2013
    #11
    Try explaining common sense to my parents. :p

    I tried running legacy on Atom processors, and frankly, it's not worth it. I would rather do remote desktop than try to run anything heavy on a Dell Venue for instance.

    Battery life is still better on the Surface 2, but I do agree that the gap is narrowing.

    Anyways, I can understand if someone absolutely needs legacy apps that they forgo a Surface 2. However, I do think that there is room to have a mobile OS and a full blown OS. MS is probably going to merge WP and RT, which I think will be good for both platforms.
     
  12. Technarchy macrumors 603

    Technarchy

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    #12
    I personally don't care about running exe's. If I did, I wouldn't have switched to a MBA and iPad rMini.

    And for a pretty low price of $450, with good battery life, and Office out the box, I'd get along just fine without resorting to gimped budget Windows 8 tablets like the Venue 8, which lacks dedicated Full-size USB 3.0, microSDXC card reader, HD video out port and nice screen

    If I were looking for a device that was going to "split the difference" on the cheap the Surface 2 makes a lot of sense.
     
  13. SlCKB0Y macrumors 68040

    SlCKB0Y

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    #13
    I think it absolutely needs to be done. It doesn't make sense for them to be maintaining three different operating systems.
     
  14. spinedoc77 macrumors G3

    spinedoc77

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    #14
    The Baytrail processors easily keep up with the surface 2, there are benchmarks out there. The battery life is also not better. There are only a couple of Baytrail tablets to compare though, so we don't really know the answer that well. But compared to last years gen the battery life is not better. MS officially states the surface 2 has 10 hours video playback, they don't really mention much else though. My Thinkpad Tablet 2, which is last years Clovertrail model, also has 10 hours video playback according to the official spec sheet. I can tell you anecdotally that is very accurate, it's incredible in battery life. The asus T100 lists 11 hours, but doesn't specify that this is video streaming. Both of these do have lower resolutions though as a caveat. The Dell 8 is kind of a different category so I wouldn't really compare the 2. The best comparison of something that is almost released is the Dell Venue 11, but a quick glance at their website and I can't find a spec sheet. With last years Clovertrail getting 10 hours video playback I can't see today's Baytrail not getting at least equal if not better battery life.

    Legacy apps on Atom work GREAT. Seriously, there are lots of reviews out there such as Anandtech where they talk about this. Even last years Clovertrail ran legacy apps without a hitch. Want Photoshop on your tablet? You got it. Want to play a desktop game on your tablet? You got it? Etc etc. Why someone would want to remote desktop into another PC is beyond me when you could just do that on your own PC, especially when we consider the cost of mobile data these days, oh wait the Surface 2 doesn't have cellular.

    I know it's important for us to feel good about our purchases and I don't mean to make you feel bad about the money you spent. A product is only superior if the user actually uses those features, so RT seems what is best for you. But for me it's pretty useless, the features it does have you can easily and IMO better accomplish on a full windows tablet. Really the only strengths left to it are the VERY weak Malware argument, and the keyboard. Actually the keyboard isn't an argument anymore as the Dell Venue 11 has an optional keyboard which clicks in and is very thin very similar to the surface keyboard.
     
  15. Krazy Bill macrumors 68030

    Krazy Bill

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    #15
    I'm comparing it to the iPad Air which is a half pound less.
     
  16. Liquorpuki macrumors 68020

    Liquorpuki

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    #16
    There are 2 different Surface models. OP is talking about the ARM model, you're talking about the Haswell model
     
  17. sracer macrumors 603

    sracer

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    #17
    So the iPad 4 "is too heavy to be considered a tablet" in your opinion? As soon as the iPad Air was released the iPad 4 stopped being a tablet? :confused:

    It is that type of Apple-centric logic that causes people to wonder.
     
  18. Krazy Bill macrumors 68030

    Krazy Bill

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    #18
    Got it. My mistake.

    That said, I use a SP1 for my job. Admittedly, my assessment (and bias) was based on that model. I know that both versions of the SP2 are lighter now and have only held one for a few minutes. I also use an iPad Air (my wife's).

    And now for more bias... I really consider the Surface RT to be crap as far as functionality goes. So much so that I momentarily forgot MS made one. :D If one is going to go into the Windows realm it should be the "Pro" unit. But now we're comparing an ultra light to an iPad which isn't right either.
     
  19. laserfox macrumors 6502

    laserfox

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    #19
    How is the Surface RT crap as far as functionality goes?

    You can connect to any projector via hdmi
    You can use any usb device compatible with windows
    You have multiple user accounts
    Attach any keyboard/mouse of your choice or use the excellent type cover
    Full Microsoft Office and Outlook included.

    If it wasnt for apps, the surface RT would have the ipad beat period and the apps are coming
     
  20. balamw Moderator

    balamw

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    #20
    I like Surface overall, but RT is most definitely a compromise.
    If the app you want to project from isn't supported on RT you're in no better a place than an iPad with AirPlay. Sure I can RDP to a full PC, but i can do that on an iPad (and do consistently).
    How does that work if the USB device needs a driver? Mass Storage, simple HID devices sure, but nowhere near any device supported by Windows Desktop.
    Not on RT. From what I've seen, on limited exposure to Surface Pro and my Windows 8.1 computers, the Metro counterparts are not "full" compared to the Desktop version.

    I'll give you multiple users and KB/mouse support, but that's not particularly compelling. I can use a BT keyboard with my iPads.

    B
     
  21. laserfox macrumors 6502

    laserfox

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    #21
    Does Airplay work with any projector in a conference room though? And besides i was mainly speaking about using it as a desktop with a bigger monitor and yes you can simply Remote desktop consistently WITH mouse support something you cant do on the iPad at all

    USB drivers are managed natively by Windows now for thousands of the most used devices (kb, mice, printers, etc). Just plug in and it automatically handles the drivers. Far more than the iPad for sure.


    Anyways my point is simply this. If Windows had all the apps iPad has, it would be the best tablet OS currently. Apps is its ONLY limitation. Its far more productive, versatile and capable of replacing a laptop than iOS out the box.
     
  22. sracer macrumors 603

    sracer

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    #22
    Add in the ability to print to a wide variety of printers. The RT never ceases to amaze me with how well it can print to every network printer I have come across. BTW, none of those printers are AirPrint-capable.

    Almost forgot extended desktop support, using both the touchscreen and a 2nd screen via hdmi, very nice.
     
  23. Surface2Owner macrumors member

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    Nov 18, 2013
    #23
    Yes, as a Surface 2 owner, I concur. I loved it so much that I bought my parents a Surface RT. My dad uses it to surf to read foreign newspapers that do no render on any other tablet properly since IE11 is flash enabled and basically a fully functioning browser. He occasionally types out emails and Word documents by connecting a Type Cover 2. He can touch Skype and then my parents can easily video chat with my wife and me. He also can connect to his old USB, non-networked printer without any hassle. My wife pretty much does the same thing with our Surface 2 (but connects to a HDMI monitor rather than a printer part since we no longer own a printer).

    When we are not working on Office documents, which is most of the time, the browser works beautifully (it is better than Safari (hands down) on a tablet). We don't waste too much time on games on tablets even though there is now at least a decent selection. Yesterday, I was replaying a hockey game from NHL.com and at the same time perusing Flipboard with no hitch. I cannot do that on any other tablet.

    Not to mention that a RT device compared to full blown Windows will (1) not get anywhere near as much malware, (2) get better battery life, and (3) theoretically won't slow down over time.

    The only legacy app that I miss (and not because I am a frequent user) is Picasa. Everything else has been replaced (and frankly, Picasa can be easily replaced). I am guessing that most people are like me other than specific professionals with specific working needs. I definitely believe that many people will still need legacy apps, but I suspect that number is nowhere near as people think it is.
     
  24. iPad Air thread starter macrumors regular

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    Oct 24, 2013
    #24
    Thanks for all the great info and experience stories y'all. :) Will help me decide.
     
  25. Surface2Owner, Nov 27, 2013
    Last edited: Nov 27, 2013

    Surface2Owner macrumors member

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    Nov 18, 2013
    #25
    My dad's old HP printer works with his Surface RT and a simple USB cable. My generic Dell mouse and keyboard works with a wireless dongle connected to my Surface 2. Most every device that I threw at the tablet works with the drivers Microsoft developed.

    Also with respect to MS Office, the RT versions are the same as the regular desktop versions other than the exclusion of macros. I know a couple of friends who do use macros for Excel so that is a limitation for them. However, for people like me, it is not relevant.
     

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