If you’re thinking about buying a Microsoft Surface, then you’re probably poring over reviews trying to determine if it’s the right choice for you. Instead of reading several thousand words of elegant prose about the resolution, performance, and app choices on the Microsoft Surface, we’ve decided to make the decision easier for you.
Here are three things we like about the Microsoft Surface as well as three things we dislike:
The operating system
Yes, Windows 8 faced a bit of criticism when it was released. But most of this criticism surrounded the fact that it was both a desktop and touchscreen tablet operating system. With the Microsoft Surface RT, Windows 8 is condensed into just the touchscreen tablet operating system side of things – also known as Metro UI. On tablets like the Surface, Windows RT works surprisingly well, and movement through screens is designed to be as fluid and smooth as possible. It’s a joy to use, and it’s far more unique than anything you’d find on iOS or Android devices.
Easy syncing with your PC and Xbox
To use your Surface to its full potential, you’ll want to synch it with your PC and Xbox 360. Fortunately, this is very easy to do. You only need to sign in with your Microsoft account in order to access services and media across all accounts. This is particularly easy (but not necessary) when you’re signed onto the same wireless internet network. Whether you want to stream music and video onto your Surface or you want to show off photos on your TV, this cross-system functionality makes a lot of sense.
Free Microsoft Office
If you spend your days doing actual work and not messing around with Angry Birds or Garage Band, then you’ll appreciate the full suite of Office tools included (without any additional purchase required) on the Microsoft Surface. Surface RT users have full access to Excel, Word, and OneNote. All of these programs automatically sync with services like SkyDrive.
All of these advantages revolve around Microsoft programs, software, and services. If you own a PC or an Xbox 360, then buying a Surface simply makes sense. And if you need to use Word and Excel every day at work, then the built-in Office functionality is a lifesaver.
But with all of these likes in mind, the Surface isn’t perfect. Here are three dislikes that detract from the user experience:
According to all reports, the Surface’s speaker volume simply isn’t where it needs to be. The speakers face outward at a weird angle (out towards the sides as opposed to towards the user). As a result, some songs and movies can seem too quiet even at maximum volume.
The exterior of the Surface is sleek and attractive except for one problem – the volume buttons. The Surface’s volume buttons are too easy to hit in landscape mode. If you hold your tablet in landscape mode, the volume buttons are too close to your left index finger. If you move your finger, you often hit the volume button inadvertently.
Microsoft is reportedly making a lot of money from the Microsoft Surface. So much, in fact, that the Surface is rumored to make more money per tablet than the notoriously expensive iPad. Obviously, Microsoft is a business, not a charity. But it’s hard to justify buying a Surface at this price range. Expect the price of the Surface to drop soon.
Currently, the basic Surface is sold for $499 for the 32GB model, although the price climbs to $699 for the 64GB model with the Black Touch Cover.
A lot of complaints about the Surface are overblown, and I say that with a totally nonbiased perspective. Microsoft’s app store was criticized for not featuring a wide range of options for consumers, but most users have been able to find everything they need (who cares if there aren’t 300 different Twitter apps available to download?)
Put simply, if you like Microsoft products and services and you want to synchronize your life over a beautiful touchscreen interface, the Surface surpasses expectations. And since it’s probably going to get a nice price drop soon, there has never been a better time to buy.