For the past 3 years, I've had 1st Gen iPad. It was a great little tablet with few weaknesses. While it was great for media consumption and games, it wasn't able to help me very much at school. Without a mic, I couldn't record class, and without a camera I couldn't just take a picture of the circuits and diagrams being drawn on the board, saving me time. So I decided it was time to retire the ol' iPad and get something that could be a little more productive. Enter the Microsoft Surface RT.
- Windows 8 OS: For all the hate for Windows 8, it's actually pretty good on the tablet. I like the tile system. I feel like I have more control over the OS compared with Apple's IOS.
- No more crashes, yay! My old iPad would frequently crash, especially on sites like Facebook. Haven't had a crash yet with this. Everything seems pretty stable.
- Skydrive: Having free online storage is pretty nice. I was able to save myself 3 GB's of pictures of video on it. I think a lot of tablets have this kind of feature now, but it's the first time I actually used it.
- Free MS Office
- Has USB: Can attach keyboards, external HD's ect. This has proven to be very useful so far. BIG plus.
- The back stand: At first glance, it's kinda gimmicky, but it's actually real useful.
- Nice portable keyboard: I had a keyboard for my iPad, but it wasn't really something I'd travel with or use outside of home. The keyboard on the Surface is very portable and also acts to protect it.
- Multi-tasking: I can operate multiple apps in 2 windows. There's also an app that lets you create even more windows to run additional apps simultaneously. Big plus.
- Apps/App Store: It doesn't have that many yet, but the ones they do have are pretty good and useful for me. With W8 RT tablets/phones being pushed out to manufacturers, the market will only grow, just as Androids did. I also really enjoyed the way the App store was organized and laid out.
- The Search function: I know, it's just a search function, but it's cleverly thought out and made.
-The camera: I really underestimated how bad the 1 Mp camera is. It's basically useless. Unless I get point blank to the whiteboard my prof is writing on, it comes out unintelligible. This is a BIG drawback for me, it negates half the reason I bought this thing to begin with.
- Xbox Music Player: This is the default music player. iTunes was much more refined and simplified. I feel like I have click an extra 2 or 3 times just to play a song. The "Radio" function (like pandora) is pretty good though. I frequently have to press a button multiple times to get a response, which can sometimes be delayed on it.
- The Speakers: I know that no tablet has really good speakers, and I'm no audiophile. But the iPad had significantly more gain and quality, this sucks when I'm trying to listen to "I Heart Radio" while working or showering or something. If a simpleton like me notices a difference in speakers like this, it's worth mentioning.
- The power adapter: It connects to the Surface via a magnet basically. Unfortunately, I have to fiddle with it for like 20 seconds to make sure it lines up right and actually starts to charge. This is because the power supply has to go in a slot/port thingy that is at a 20ish degree angle. Just a little bit of a nuisance that needs to be refined.
-No GPS capability: When I go on road trips, the GPS capability and 3/4g from an iPad is VERY useful. The Surface is wifi only.
I'm sure I'm missing some good/bad things, but these are the items that stood out to me. Overall, I really like the tablet. I ordered a better webcam that I can attach via USB to help me in the classroom, so in a way, it just highlights the flexibility of this tablet. It's kind-of a "jack of all trades but master of none" type of tablet. At this point, would I recommend it? It depends. I think the ASUS Transformer 700 is better for most people (has a nice keyboard with USB, nicer screen, better camera, GPS) and if you want a tablet strictly for media consumption, the Nexus 10 and iPad are both superior at this point. However, I think the next generation of Surface can really be great if they smooth out the rough edges.