Screen Shot 2013-01-25 at 4.02.15 PMI have been happily playing with my Microsoft Surface RT since December. It is a great little device and has proven to be extremely secure from the standard malware. I found this out when I went to a Defcon event and let people take shots at the system… (that is for anther post).

The good:
What I have loved about the Surface RT is that it is small, light, and easy to take with me to meetings. I don’t have to bring a backpack or briefcase. The power lasts all day long on a full charge and the charger is pretty small too. My last laptop power brick is huge and weighs as much as the Surface! Other things I have really appreciated are things that frustrated me on other tablets. For example some web pages wouldn’t load and I would have to get a PC running to finish my task. I have never had that issue on the Surface. Another is Web based video has always worked for me on the surface but has frustrated me on other tablets. Further I can print to just about any printer from the Surface while my experience on other tablets has been less than good here.

The fact that the Surface has a USB slot that I have used for flash drives, external drives, and mice has made this tablet hands down the most versatile ARM processor based tablet I have worked with to date. It also have a micro HDMI port so you can easily project video. I use my Surface RT just like I used my laptop for PowerPoint presentations. Including a wireless controller plugged into the USB port. Only Windows RT devices can do that today!

The bad:
I have just a very few complaints. One is that I want to load traditional apps on the device.  I have found that you can jailbreak the device but there isn’t a lot of software ported to run under ARM because it is a non supported scenario. This also helps give it the high level of security but I would like to see it expanded and improved. My other complaint is the is that I would like the sound to be louder or more accurately more directed towards my ears. The sound is great in most environments but in loud environments I currently have to cup my hand by the speaker to direct the sound towards me.

The Ugly:
I don’t have an ugly here in regards to the device. The two downsides that I see are market downsides and may be fixed with time. First is that everyone builds an app for iOS and Android but not for Windows 8 yet. So if I want a specific app, for example,  for WKTI radio morning show – it may not exist. I expect that will change with time. Second is that this device rocks over all the other 10” tablets out there but the 8” tablets really hit a sweet spot for size an weight. While not a great content creation device the iPad Mini and the Google Nexus 7 have a great feel and make a good consumption device. If you get one of these make sure you have a PC or laptop for when you need more. Maybe an 8” Surface would be a killer here. –I can dream, can’t I?

Summary:
If you want an ARM based tablet to replace the functionality of a laptop or PC then Windows RT is the way to go hands down. It can’t do everything that your laptop can do but with the inclusion of Word, Excel, printing, and a USB port makes this machine a viable laptop replacement. I really enjoy using the Surface and haven’t found any frustrations yet…

Don’t forget about the Surface Pro. This version of the Surface is a full blown laptop in a tablet form factor. It is based on the Intel platform and runs full Windows 8 Pro.
For more info see: http://www.microsoft.com/Surface/