Checking out the Microsoft Surface RT tablet




Posted on December 13, 2012 at 4:26 PM

Updated Thursday, Dec 13 at 5:12 PM



You’ve seen the commercials. They’re fun, they’re catchy, but at the end, do you really know what the Surface is all about? Is it a computer; is it a tablet or a combination of both?

At first glance, the Surface RT looks like a miniature laptop, but Microsoft said not yet.

“This is still a tablet, “said Greg McCurry with Microsoft. “It is not a full PC replacement. Sometimes when you see the keyboard attached to the tablet, it looks like a PC, but it is not. It is being sold as a tablet.”

Microsoft’s tablet is offering its customers a few perks, specifically for windows users.

“Basically Office Home and Student; which is Word, Excel, PowerPoint and OneNote,” McCurry said.

The software is installed when you purchase the tablet.

“If you want to create a PowerPoint, you just go to PowerPoint and it’s going to take you through the traditional steps,” McCurry said.

Another option laptop users may find helpful is the USB port located on the tablet’s side. This means users can connect to printers, flash drives and other media to allow more storage.

But what's up with the clicking keyboard ability we see on the commercials?

“The great part about clicking is you just click right there and it clicks right on,” McCurry said. “You have the touch cover along with the Surface. So it’s a fully functional keyboard, but it also acts to protect the device.”

In a demonstration McCurry showed the strength of the magnet connecting the two devices.

Once the tablet and the keyboard are clicked together, the devices automatically sync and users can start typing immediately.

The keypad comes in five colors and the tablet syncs with the new windows phone.

Another feature with this tablet you can have more than one window open at a time and see them all on the screen at the same time.

“My favorite feature about this device is the split screen option,” McCurry said. “You can be searching through your website here and then easily move then from your screen from 1-third to a 2-third view. So you can multi task.”

While Microsoft has added lots of new features, the company knows there is a great deal of competition in the tablet market.

Observations that customers should know or check while researching the tablet:

-Screen resolution is not as clear as the tablet I regularly use. It is not noticeable immediately, but I can tell the difference. Check it out for yourself.  

-The battery life is 8 hours, but not as long as some other tablets on the market. So, that is something to consider when thinking about how much the tablet is used and how long it needs it to be powered up, without charging it. Otherwise users will need that power cord nearby.

-While Windows has apps, it does not have as many as the iPad and Android stores offer. It is missing some of the big name apps like Facebook and Twitter. You can access those social media sights through the web, but that may not replace the convenience of the app.

-The rear facing camera is not as clear at the front facing camera. Sometimes the pictures are a little grainy.