Microsoft Surface RT: User Review
by Estefanía Piñón
Thinking Outside The Apple Box
The Microsoft Surface RT tablet was a surprise gift for me. I´ve never had been the owner of any non-Apple product before and honestly, it wasn´t my first option for a tablet but still, I decided to give it a try. I have had this tablet for about a year and it has been very useful, at least for my travel and academic purposes and I would really commend it for anyone wanting to get out of the Apple trend to try something more complex. Since Microsoft isn´t the most popular brand for tablets, you won´t find any trendy or colorful accessories for it but, believe me, it is worth it if you´re looking for more than design.
Battery Life & Charging
As in any product, the life of your battery will vary depending on how much you use it, nevertheless, the battery of the Microsoft Surface RT lasts about two days on a normal use of two or three hours per day. Since I don´t use it for communication purposes (such as calls, messages or WhatsApp) I can turn it off anytime I´m not using it and the battery will last for even a week. Something I like about the Surface is that brightness doesn´t affect the battery´s life. The bad thing about charging is that the charger´s plug could feel loose, since it attaches to the tablet with a magnet, so you have to be careful not to move it when it is charging.
Performance & Design
Comparing to the iPad the Surface it´s heavy and even a little bit bigger and thicker but for me, that is not a problem, cause its weight still allows you to carry it anywhere. The back of the tablet can be opened so it stands, helping you when you want to watch a movie or cook and read a recipe at the same time. Now, also comparing it to the iPad, it is way slower talking about performance. If you want a tablet that allows you to customize or use more complex apps, this is it, but if you don´t have patience, stay with Apple or another device.
Strength & Durability
I don´t use any protection on the screen and it has zero scratches. I have dropped it many times and it has never cracked. I do use a cover for it, but it is only to not get it dirty or wet. I think this is something you can´t have with other devices that crack or scratch at the first and slightest drop. The camera and the buttons have never failed or even the touch function of the screen.
Without argument, the best characteristic of the Surface RT it´s its capacity of acting both as a tablet and a common PC. It has a Nvidia processor that allows it to be a computer with normal Windows running on it, including Office Suite. You can even buy the Type or Touch Cover, with a keyboard on it that makes using it as a PC really easy. It is still a tablet so you won´t be able to download all the programs a computer does or games, like League of Legends, for example. But if you want a tablet with Excel, Word or PowerPoint for your meetings or school, this would be really useful for you.
I use this tablet mainly to read e-books and I haven´t had any sight trouble. Its screen meets the challenge and, even if it´s not retina, you won´t have any complaint about how it displays the colors on video and pictures. The price quality ratio is also a great perk about this device, something the iPad will never match.
As I mentioned before, it is slow as hell. Apps and windows can take several seconds to open and close, and even the touch takes its time to respond to your fingers, you´ll have to be patient. The app store for Windows it is also really precarious and you can´t find many apps like Pinterest, Instagram, or a big variety of games. Windows needs urgently to adapt popular apps for its devices, cause this gets annoying, and the apps that already exist for it are poorly designed and maintained, like the Facebook app, it never allows me to see the messages I receive from other people, and if I want to go to the top of it, I need to scroll all the way up. Keeping with the app topic, Internet Explorer is the only explorer you will be able to use since it will not allow you to download Chrome, Firefox or any other and if you try too much, it will even say that you have a virus menace and block any access to websites.
This is a great tablet if you want something simple but yet be able to customize and do semi-professional activities with the Office Suite like me. I use this device basically to write, read and watch movies and I bring it to meetings to take notes and because I can use Excel on it. But if you´re an artist or want to do special stuff with your tablet, like play complex games, this is not for you. Microsoft offers better equipment -like the Surface Pro- for this purposes, but of course, that one is way more expensive.
The Surface RT also has USB port wich helps a lot when you use it for your job or school, helping you transfer basic archives to its 32 GB memory. My rating for this tablet, if you use it only for basic purposes would be 7 over 10, but because its lack of apps limits you a lot, my overall review would be 5 of 10. If you don´t want an iPad but have the opportunity to buy the Surface Pro, better do that.
(Image from Microsoft Website)