A few weeks ago I was able to get some good hands on time with the newly released Surface RT. Since then I’ve used it a few more times. I evaluated the Surface from the perspective of someone who owns 2 generations of iPads:
The extra girth when compared to iPad makes the Surface feel less intimate. I know that sounds subjective, but it’s true. Portrait mode is awkward.
The Touch Cover is thin
The touch keyboard is surprising responsive. Typing on it was no problem, but it does take some getting used to.
It’s as heavy as it looks
Despite the Surface RT weighing marginally more than the iPad it feels an order of magnitude heavier. I’ve been using Windows 8 on desktop for quite a bit now and haven’t been sold on the “Modern UI” in desktop mode. The Surface is an example of where it makes sense.
The App experience isn’t there yet
There were no stand out app for my uses. A top notch designed apps like iOS’s iPhoto or Flipboard. The Mail app is quite underwhelming right now.
The loading of some apps was just too slow. That’s a shame.
I haven’t heard anyone saying “Have your tried (super awesome app) on the Surface yet”?
Should you get it?
The question for me is can the Surface do a laptop better than a Macbook Air or “ultrabook”? Can it be a tablet better than an iPad? Right now the answer for me is a firm “No”. Surface Pro will be heavier and noisier. That doesn’t seem to help it’s case.
I do see the Surface RT having an audience. “Business people” who can’t live without Office and don’t use their mobile device for much else. That’s the only story I can see right now. The Surface RT is a companion device. There is no way I personally could live with this being my only device.
UPDATE: This piece by Jakob Nielsen sums up many of my Windows 8 feelings.