Right below The Surface…
The “war” between Microsoft and Apple has always been pretty minor. Microsoft dominates in certain areas, Apple in others. Every once in a while Microsoft would try to make a shot at a part of the market Apple was currently kicking their a** in. Most of the shots didn’t even stir the surface (pun intended and I will use them throughout this article) but it looks like Microsoft might have stumbled onto a really interesting product to give the iPad a run for its money.
The Surface has a price tag of $499 for the 32 GB version. The 16 GB iPad is the same price. There are some arguments over how much of that 32 GB are already taken up by the Windows 8 operating system but still more than the iPad nonetheless. It has a 10.6” display that Microsoft is calling the “ClearType” display (don’t worry, Apple and Microsoft fanboys are already arguing on which has the better display). I will say that one part of this new product I don’t like is that on some versions, you actually have to purchase the cover/keyboard separate at $120. Why would you have this be an integral part of your product yet we can’t include that on every version? Beside that one aspect on the tech specs, The Surface does spark my interest as a true iPad competitor.
It is rare for me to get excited about something like this because Microsoft can be so good at times with certain products in their wheelhouse and others they completely botch. This product does get me excited and initial sales (pre-order became available on October 16th and they are sold out) and there are some features I’m jealous of like having easy USB ports to plug in.
I still have first world problems and have the original iPad (feel sorry for me now) but they have at least got me to the point where I will at least go check it out and consider getting it.
So we have been keeping a close eye on Twitter and looking to see what we might find out about the Surface Tablet. We stumbled across a gentleman named Brent Ozar that had purchased the Surface tablet and was now taking it back. We emailed him with a few questions and he got back to me. Thank you Brent so much for taking the time out to speak with us!
What made you decide to try the Surface RT out?
Answer: I wrote about that here: http://ozar.me/2012/10/why-i-
What initially appealed to you about it over other tablets?
Answer: It was the only shipping Windows RT tablet. I’d be cool with a Windows 8 tablet too if it met the requirements I talked about at the bottom of this post: http://ozar.me/2012/10/why-im-
What was the one feature you really enjoyed about the Surface?
Answer: The hardware features were just awesome – having a built-in kickstand and a thin keyboard cover were fantastic. The first time I sat down in a cafe, popped out the kickstand and keyboard, and started working, I was so happy.
You mentioned that you returned it. What was the reason that sent you over the edge? Biggest dislike?
Answer: The challenge was when I woke up after the first day and realized how many workarounds I was trying in order to get it to work. It wasn’t like I had some specialized edge case – the tablet had failed just trying to set up my email and type in a Word doc. If Microsoft couldn’t get that part right, I didn’t have good feelings about the things that really were edge cases.
What created the need to tell others about your experience?
Answer: I didn’t become vocal – I just posted a blog post. I’ve written thousands of blog posts in the last ten years. I’ve been blogging athttp://www.brentozar.com since around 2001. You can Google my name and get the basic background – I definitely don’t wanna play the “do you know who I am” card, hahaha, but I’m just not new to the blog thing.
The funny part to me was that I didn’t promote the post at all. I wrote it up quick & dirty on Saturday morning, hit publish, and left the house to go shopping with my girlfriend. When I want to promote posts, I put them on http://www.BrentOzar.com and run them during the week (Monday-Friday). That blog has a much larger readership.
The post just resonated with people big time, and honestly, I have no idea why.
If I knew it’d be such a big scandal, I would have also recorded the update process because it’s nowhere near as straightforward as a lot of commenters have suggested.
What would you tell a person thinking about purchasing the Surface tablet?
Answer: It depends on their needs. For example, if it’s your first tablet and you have no investment in the Apple ecosystem, then Android tablets have a lot of neato options, especially the Nexus ones. If you’re already invested in iTunes (like movies, music, and apps) then you’re better off with an iPad.
After finding and interviewing a Surface owner that wasn’t happy, we wanted to also get another perspective from somebody that was very happy with the product. Here is their Q&A section courtesy of Brett Webb.
What was the initial deciding factor for you when considering the Surface Tablet?
As part of my work I need to consider every platform that might gain market momentum.
What kind of phone do you have?
After having some time with the Surface, what is your favorite feature?
It’s hard to pin down a single feature – but I like the fact that a keyboard is considered in the overall design. Although it’s about the same price as a 3rd party keyboard for an iPad, it is more integrated into the overall experience.
Is there a feature or app you would like to see on the Surface?
I’d like to see Kinect functionality integrated. Why not take the best Microsoft technology and put it into a new hardware offering?
Have you owned any other tablets? If so which one and what makes the Surface better? If not, what made you think the surface was the better option over tablets like iPad and others?
I own an iPad and as part of my job I have done work on a number of different Android devices. If I thought I needed to replace a Netbook and I used Windows (and Office) on a day-to-day basis, I’d probably get a Surface.
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