Windows Surface reviews

Mat Honan at Wired: "This is a great device. It is a new thing, in a new space, and likely to confuse many of Microsoft’s longtime customers."

Joshua Topolsky at The Verge: "I wanted to love this device."

Sam Biddle at Gizmodo: "Should you buy it? No. ... It's a tablet-plus, priced right alongside the iPad and in most ways inferior."

Tim Stevens at Engadget: "The Surface is a slate upon which you can get some serious work done, and do so comfortably. You can't always say that of the competition."

Joanna Stern for ABC: "The Surface is full of potential, but until its software performance and apps are as strong as its hardware, I, unfortunately, will still drag both a laptop and an iPad through security."

Zach Epstein at BGR: "It really is the perfect combination of a tablet and a notebook thanks to the Touch Cover and the Type Cover, and I felt right at home with the Surface the moment I turned it on."

Harry McCracken for Time: "For an audacious version 1.0 product, it's impressive. Now "it's up to Microsoft to prove that it's serious enough about this PC business to forge ahead with Surface until it's impressive, period."

Avram Pilch for Laptop Magazine: "The Surface and its innovative Touch Cover proves that Microsoft can make hardware to rival the iPad, but the app ecosystem needs to catch up."


      1. Really? Too busy to read 3 pages before potentially spending $500?

        Anand: If you’re ok being an early adopter, and ok dealing with the fact that mobile devices are still being significantly revved every year, Surface is worth your consideration. If you’ve wanted a tablet that could begin to bridge the content consumption and productivity divide, Surface is it.

        1.  You posted two links, without any information about what they are. I’m not planning to buy a tablet tomorrow, so there’s no time pressure, I’m just time-poor as a rule

  1. “The Surface and its innovative Touch Cover proves that Microsoft can make hardware to rival the iPad…*
    *Provided Apple makes the original device first and everyone else is allowed to copy it.

          1. in·vent/inˈvent/
            Verb:Create or design (something that has not existed before); be the originator of.

            I’d say they designed a tablet that people actually wanted to buy, therefore “did not exist before”

          2. People used to argue about who invented the automobile. Sometimes someone would say it was Henry Ford, because the Model T was the first car that everybody could buy. I don’t hear people say that anymore, because designing and selling a product at the equilibrium price point for mass consumption is very different from invention.

            Mass adoption of a new device is a complex matter. Cars were around for a long time, with various recognizable versions arising just after the Civil War, but with mud, plank, and cobbled roads in most American cities there just wasn’t really a place to use them. Early models used steam, which scared the crap out of people and led to a rash of anti-fartmobile statutes across the country. But the various elements of a car-friendly world bootstrapped each other into existence until, through piecemeal improvement and and regulatory muscle, the gas-powered automobile became the primary mode of American transportation — very many years after its ‘invention’.

            Apple didn’t invent the tablet; they invented the tablet-version of the Model T, which appeared at mass-consumption price in a world that was infrastructurally ready for it. Foxconn is River Rouge, Steve Jobs was Henry Ford, and Microsoft is either Olds, Packard, Cadillac, or Red Rider, depending on your perspective.

          3. Yes, the reason for 20 years of no viable tablets was marketing, not consistently god-awful “invention”.  Let me go back to Y2K and buy that $2000 Acer slate that I needed a stylus to use with Windows 98 and get 1.5hours battery life.

          4. The tablets of the day were actually amazing devices. Those who knew about them and tried them loved them. However, there was little marketing compared to what Apple has done. 

            Most people didn’t know about tablets and many of those who did saw no need for them. It was marketing that created the consumer ‘need’ for a tablet.
            Also, tablets are MUCH older than 20 years kiddo.
            Myself, I still use my Samsumg Q1b touchscreen tablet from 2006 (a full 4 years before Apples iPad).
            It has a 1Ghz processor (same as the original iPad but 4 years earlier)  512mb RAM (twice that of the iPad) a 40gb HDD and on and on.
            I run Ubuntu Mobile (MID) on it so it’s also much more responsive than the iPad and it can run flash.  All in all a much better tablet than the iPad but it arrived 4 years earlier so the market timing was off. I can also run all my Windows apps on it with the use of WINE so it’s a much more productive computer.
            Oh yeah, it also has the ability to connect to secure email servers like a modern computer – something the Apple iPad and iPhone lines are still not capable of doing.

          1. And Microsoft should be criticised for trying to compete by introducing a similar but different product… why?

            Because of the Zune, that’s why.  And, Windows 7, etc. copying Mac OS X, etc.  It’d just be nice to see Microsloth be more innovative and quit copying Apple’s business moves so repetitively.

            And, it IS funny how Microsoft users keep disparaging Apple products (and their customers) while all the while Microsoft feverishly copies Apple.  The irony is quite thick there.

            I’m personally glad Microsoft is at least attempting to compete with Apple because competition is better for consumers, but it doesn’t mean I should respect Microsoft’s “innovation” either.

          2. Everything is iterative

            Right, because of the existence of the Xerox OS we shall ignore any business strategies Microsoft has attempted to copy from Apple including blatant things like the Zune and now their “venture” into tablets that mimic the iPad. Makes perfect sense… to an apologist for Microsoft, anyway.

          3. Now that’s some serious fanboydom right there! Funny stuff. I like how you think Apple by copying 2 BSD projects and saying they wrote an OS was infringed upon by Microsoft for writing Windows 7 which actually  has a pedigree of years of operating systems behind it.

            Or the other thing about the Zune! OMG! The Zune! as if Apple invented the portable MP3 player. The iPod came on the market after the portable MP3 player had been on the market for 3 years. Remember the Diamond Rio or the Creative NOMAD? They predate the iPod you know? The creative product even had a color screen before Apple’s. But I guess Apple didn’t copy anyone huh?
            The real irony is that fanboys can’t be bothered with the truth when the hype is so much better at justifying their choice of locked down over priced tech.

          4. The Zune! as if Apple invented the portable MP3 player

            No, the Zune as if Apple invented the iPod. Get it?

            Remember the Diamond Rio or the Creative NOMAD?

            As a matter of fact, I owned the Nomad until I purchased the iPod. Why did I purchase the iPod? Because it was everything the Nomad wasn’t, that’s why. Get it?

            I guess Apple didn’t copy anyone huh?

            You’re getting desperate to “be right” and it shows with inane insinuations like that.


            fanboys can’t be bothered with the truth


          5. I like how you think Apple by copying 2 BSD projects and saying they wrote an OS

            You should educate yourself. Apple never claimed to write/create UNIX. They’ve always been very transparent that UNIX is the core underpinnings of OS X.

            As far as Xerox goes, you should also educate yourself here:


            So anyway, Apple didn’t copy Xerox business models like Microsoft blatantly continuously copies Apple with things like the iPod, iPad, Mac OS X (Windows File Preview copies Apple Quick Look, Windows 7 Taskbar copied Apple’s Dock, Windows Backup copied Apple Time Machine, they even tried to copy Apple’s Exposé, Apple’s Dashboard Widgets, and on and on and on).

            You’re not being a very good Microsoft apologist. Stop comparing apples to oranges.

            And, now… the video that will make you angry:

    1. What was the original device Apple made? The 1993 Apple Newton? Sounds good but tablets pre-date the newton by decades. Or, do people really think the iPad was the first tablet?
      Wow, but Apple is good at that marketing stuff.

      1. Apple managed to invent a tablet people wanted to buy for the first time.  It was substantially different from any tablet, that had been produced before it, though it wasn’t the first thing to be called a “tablet” or “slate” or whatever.

        Microsoft had 20 years of failed tablets.  Then somebody invented something that worked and dozens of manufacturers scrambled to create me-too clones with slight twists on most of the same basic design.  Nearly all successful products are based on borrowing concepts that are proven in the market, but to say that nearly every aspect of the Surface’s design / Windows RT’s design isn’t informed by the iPad is blind or disingenuous.

        1. Granted, So far Surface/WinRT seem slightly less “me too” than the majority of Android tablets out there.  But if touch concepts, simplified UI environment, form factor, etc that inform modern tablet design were so obvious, everyone would have been doing them before Apple did in 2007 and 2010.

        2. Again, you confuse marketing and design with invention. Also, people bought tablets before the iPad. It’s just that no one spent as much on tablet marketing as Apple. My tablet from 2006 is IMO much better than the 2010 iPad. It’s faster, runs more apps, has more memory, longer battery life, and produces allot less smug.

  2. Apple didn’t invent the tablet. They just created the first, and so far only, commercially-viable one by building an exceptional hardware and software combination. Based on the past track record of Microsoft with mobile devices, and Microsoft hardware (Kinect being an exception), I have my doubts about Surface. I’ve owned two past incarnations of Windows mobile devices. Both were godawful wastes of time and money. Surface, and by extension- Windows 8, are also drastic changes from what people are used to. I guess we will see in a year if people are still talking about either of them…

  3. I hope this device does poorly. I like the form factors of some of the new WinRT hardware, but Microsoft’s insistence on locking the boot-loaders for WinRT devices means the hood is welded shut. Maybe you can get it open, but expect the same cat-and-mouse garbage we see with jailbreaks on iDevices and video game consoles. Cory’s war on general purpose computing rages on, and this is another big strike by the bad guys.

    1. Hopefully it’ll be out-competed by the x86 devices , since I believe UEFI on x86 has to let the user disable secure boot.
      (And I like ARM.)

  4. Boing Boing once again proves that it is a Microsoft advertising machine.  I can’t go a day on Boing Boing without reading how wonderful some Microsoft device is.  All the Redmond Fanbois, sheesh!  Blather!

    (Sorry, I couldn’t resist.  I see this post on every single Apple article, so I figured there should be one here.)

  5. I want this to work. I want Microsoft to vertically integrate hardware and software. I want all the existing PC vendors to die. I want to only be able to buy a device Microsoft makes and approves. 

  6. Hopefully Microsoft has finally figured out the tablet market. They’ve been pushing tablets longer than anybody else (since around 2000, right?). 

    Apple finally showed them how it’s done and this is what they release? I’ll be surprised if this is successful outside of a bunch of verticals.

    1. We’ll see. The hardware appears to be quite nice, which isn’t really surprising – most of the devices microsoft have designed themselves have been decent. The software side is … promising, at best. Windows 8/RT on a touch screen seems to be ok, but I worry about the third-party apps; it sounds like it’s not entirely trivial to write well-performing apps on WinRT, and so far the market is nigh-empty.  On the other hand, the market isn’t officially open yet.

      So. Typical MS product: Neat hardware, mediocre software, likely to end up as a niche product but with theoretical potential for doing better.

      1. Doesn’t seem like a useful feature; after all, they can always just ask a twelve year old to do it for them.  That’s how elderly people dealt with microwaves and VCRs when I was a teenager, and it seemed to work well enough.

    1. My HP Touchpad with CM9 and Nook Color with CM7 are on equal ground at my house, espcially considering the hardware cost vs other tablets with similar functionality (I hope I don’t get a duplicate message.  I think BB ate the first one).

  7. Microsoft never gets anything right (to the extent it ever does) until version 3 of whatever product we’re talking about.

    This is a huge gamble for MS, both with the new OS and getting into hardware with the Surface. I don’t think users are ready for the interface change. Especially if we’re talking about the “main” general purpose desktop machine at home.

    Still, we’ll have to wait a couple more iterations before we know what will become of the Surface. If it makes it that far.

  8. The only disadvantage here is that Microsoft doesn’t have their own retail outlet in every city like Apple. Poor customer experience in big box store like Best Buy doesn’t help with the sale either.

    I really want this device to be as good and as popular as iPad, and hopefully to kill all ultrabooks within 3 years.

  9. I’m fighting the urge to upgrade from my Android’ed HP Touchpad to one of these. I love my iPhone, but I’m ready to try something else.

  10. Mac computers suck because not enough people choose to use them.  Mac iPads suck because too many people choose to use them.

    Get your dogma straight, Microsoft fanboys.

  11. This is Microsoft’s first computer, and they worked -VERY- hard on it for everyone.  I look forward to buying one for my next system.

    It set’s the standard for the new PC/Tablet hybrid form factor, which is the ultimate form for a PC.

    In evolving to a tablet, my desktop is finally coming with me… Thank you to all the dedicated and hard working people at MS.

    It was worth the wait.

  12. Nice try by Redmond, they are attempting to step up their act, but how can they so consistently produce the homely version of what they are doing? Just sadly ugly, poor color choices, ugly interface.

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