It's been a few days since my Microsoft Surface RT arrived (late, I have to add - it turned up on Thursday - past the original agreed delivery date of the 26th, and outside of the window that Microsoft Support claimed later on - the 26th through to the 30th). 

I guess that Microsoft just can't run a pre-order like they used to!

Some obligatory box shots:  


USB Support - you can (literally) plug in virtually anything - even a USB Keyboard for typing things such as this blog post ...

Excellent screen - it's incredibly clear, brightness is perfect, and the touch interface is amazingly responsive. Windows 8 really does come into it's own.

Good battery life - I've not had any issues at all getting a full day's usage out of the Surface.

Office on the go - I love the fact that I have the full versions of office available at my finger tips. The usual superb device detection that you get in Windows 8 - the RT picked up my wireless HP printer and set it up without any fuss. Printing from a tablet is a strange experience. The fact that you can actually be productive on a tablet is priceless.

Internet Explorer. This might sound strange, but I find it a blessing to have Internet Explorer on the tablet. Most websites function fine in desktop Internet Explorer - then you go and try them on Safari on an iPad (and what an experience some of them can be). Not so on the RT. They just seem to work.


Would have been nice if the kickstand was adjustable - minor thing, but would have been handy.

Incapable / confusing to know what will run on the RT version; although I'm not struggling with this, I'm a software developer, so I really should know the bitness differences on processors. However, I truly understand how a normal consumer might get confused. Especially when everything just gets referred to as Windows.

Feels 'chunky' - especially when you first get your hands on it. The widescreen form factor feels off compared to an iPad, but you soon get used to it.

Non-standard charger. I totally understand that Microsoft wanted to have a quick charging device, but having something that can not charge off a PC or a standard micro usb charger (which can actually deliver the same 2A that the Microsoft one does ...) is annoying. Another device I have to buy a 2nd for to leave in the office.

Lack of apps. We still haven't seen any apps appear for things like Facebook, LinkedIn, Google+ etc. I guess it is just time, but without a larger app eco system, and more of the big names stepping in, things will be slow.

No manual. I was a little amazed that Microsoft was shipping a Windows 8 touch device with no manual - and no guided introduction covering all the gestures that the interface used. I would think that if I was coming to Windows 8 from no background in using it, I would be lost, confused and probably very frustrated.  


The more I'm using the RT, the more useful I find it - even though I opted to get the base 32GB model, without the Touch Cover, I'm still finding it is changing the way I'm working. No longer do I have to leave the laptop on just in case I need to answer an email - I can quickly rattle one off on the RT without much thought.  

I was originally planning on getting a Pro as well as the RT (development is nice enough to mean I can have lots of Gadgets!) but I'm not so sure. Partly because I actually think I will be able to do almost everything I want on this one, simple, device, but also as I am truly disappointed with the way that Microsoft handled the pre-orders on the RT. However - when I now compare the Surface RT to my partners iPad 2, I would opt for the Surface every time. Unless of course you want to just play games ... (but saying that, Microsoft has some pretty amazing offers appearing on the Surface for that too!)