Microsoft’s Surface RT A Tablet PC Hybrid With Potential For Productivity Types

The Register’s Tim Anderson cites Microsoft Windows honcho Steven Sinofsky calling “It’s the ultimate expression of a Windows PC,” contrasting with Apple’s Tim Cook’s vicarious dismissal of the Surface as “a compromised, confusing product.”

Anderson says that besides the fact that it runs Windows 8, e two notable things about Surface RT are that it is designed and engineered with more attention to detail than is normal for a Windows PC, and that it runs Windows RT, the version compiled to run on ARM processors and locked down so that you can only install new desktop apps from the Windows Store, other than in an enterprise context where a special product key can be activated to enable “sideloading.”

Anderson observes that one significant advantage Surface enjoys over, say, the iPad, is its real USB 2.0 port, and reports that a Microsoft wireless mouse with a USB adapter worked instantly, while attaching a camera made its images immediately available. (For some of us, who bitterly lament the lack of mouse support on the iPad, USB connectivity is huge – Ed.)

Another Surface advantage: the availability of real keyboards: the Touch keyboard which is thin and almost flat, and the Type keyboard which is a little thicker and has keyswitches that actually depress, for more comfortable typing. Anderson reports that another Surface feature, its built-in kickstand, is well-made and clicks easily in and out, and with attention to detail like the front camera being designed to view straight ahead even when the screen is angled back by the kickstand.

The Surface’s enclosure is made from VaporMg, moulded magnesium made by a process developed by Microsoft for strength and lightness, and strong enough that Mr. Sinofksy has even attached wheels and used Surface as a skateboard (for more about that see: On the downside, Anderson notes that the battery is non-replaceable though it is supposed to last five years, after which you are evidently supposed to buy a new Surface.

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Surface Tablet’s Touch Cover Hands On

APAC Editor Simon Sharwood for The Register says that after using both the Microsoft Surface Touch Cover and Type Cover, he can report that both are decent input devices, but neither is up to the standard of a real, freestanding keyboard, particularly the Touch version which offers absolutely no tactile feedback, but the Type Cover’s keys have decent travel, click just a little, and made it possible to touch-type with the accuracy he generally achieves on the first try of a new keyboard.

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