Microsoft's Surface RT has commenced hitting the road and results returned so far on numerous test drives strongly suggest that the gadget is not as confusing as thought earlier by Apple CEO Tim Cook, without of course the benefit of hand-on experience.
Reviewing for Canadian tech blog site Mobile Syrup, Daniel Bader seemed overwhelmed by the functional design package deployed with the Surface RT, which exclusively is a tablet but quickly morphs into a full-pledged notebook when paired with Microsoft-made accessories called Touch Cover and Type Cover.
The RT plus its protective typing and tapping tools make up a full-packaged productivity gadget that is best described, Mr Bader said, as "one of the most beautiful pieces of hardware I've ever seen."
This compact Microsoft tablet, price at $500+ (in Canadian dollar), "is incredibly versatile ... extremely fluid and responsive," with the whole experience of immersing with in-house services such as Xbox Music, Maps, SkyDrive, People Hub and Email all amounting to a delightful experiment, Mr Bader added.
Such experiment would not be too bad in becoming part of users' daily habits, meaning the RT itself points to a computing environment that is both enjoyable and productive, he stressed.
Matthew Miller, in a review for ZDNet, agreed that the RT "offers ... fun and enjoyable experience," adding that solely with the gadget, serious and simple tasks can be performed and completed.
"I am sold on its usefulness ... and think it is the portable device I have wanted for quite some time," Mr Miller wrote, noting too that focusing on the Surface RT for some time was liberating, that is from the clutches of the Apple dominion.
Particularly, the productivity suite found in the Microsoft slate comes with almost unlimited possibilities whereas "I find I am limited at times with my iPad," Mr Miller said.
Both reviews agreed that no corners were cut by Microsoft in choosing the hardwares to work with its first tablet and everything that comes with the brick is fully-harmonised with its design - inside and out.
Multi-tasking is possible and pairing of third-party peripherals is a breeze on the RT, Mr Bader said, pointing to the USB port built-in with the tablet.
"Microsoft wants the Surface to be a no-compromise machine, and to that end thinks you should be able to enjoy the best of both a tablet and laptop in one machine," he further wrote.
"Microsoft does a better job of integrating ... the entire (computing) experience," Mr Miller concurred on the other hand.
The gripes expectedly mostly rest on the thin collection of apps found on Windows Store, plus their quality as many remain prone to crashes, lagging and outright mediocre rendering, said the two reviews.
This issue, hopefully, would be addressed by Microsoft soon yet for the most part, productivity apps carry the punch that professional users would definitely appreciate with the Surface RT, which Mr Bader said provides enough power juice to last a fruitful day.
"The Surface will, one day I'm sure, be a successful and profitable venture for Microsoft ... (It) Microsoft has managed to outdo almost all of its partners in hardware quality on its first try," he concluded.
For ZDNet's Mr Miller, he had originally intended to return the RT, anticipating a bleak experience from the tablet, but he thought wrong. "It works well for my usage needs," he declared after deciding to keep the new toy.
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