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12/18/2012
07:29 AM
Paul McDougall
Paul McDougall
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Microsoft Surface RT Best Tablet Ever, 'Reviewers' Gush

Windows 8 tablet may not be posting big sales numbers, but everyone who bought one from Best Buy claims to love it unconditionally.

10 Great Windows 8 Apps
10 Great Windows 8 Apps
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Forget for a moment that it won't run Windows applications, starts at $200 more than Kindle Fire HD and doesn't have a Facebook app. The consensus among those who purchased Microsoft's Windows 8 tablet from Best Buy is that it is pretty much the best computing device in history.

"I sold my iPad," gushed a buyer who identified himself or herself as "ExIpadUser." "I hope to retire my Kindle HD as soon as Microsoft publishes enough apps in the store." A reviewer going by the name "HighTechLover2" was even more effusive: "Best tablet I ever saw in my life!!!" he, she or it proclaimed.

Numerous analysts have reported that Surface RT is not meeting Microsoft's sales expectations. But it seems to have won over the hearts and minds of Best Buy shoppers. The 32-GB, Touch Cover-included version, priced at $599, averaged a near perfect score of 4.9 out of 5 stars from 20 reviewers. Olympic gymnast Gabby Douglas should have been so lucky. The $499, 32-GB version (without Touch Cover) averaged 4.7 from 11 reviewers, while the $699, 64-GB version averaged 4.5 from six reviewers. The only downside one buyer could think of was, "My fear of dropping it."

[ Will Microsoft introduce more hardware products beyond Surface? CEO Steve Ballmer suggests it's likely.]

You can forgive the Best Buy reviewers for their lack of nuance. Of those who critiqued Surface RT, the vast majority had previously never reviewed any other products, and most never had a Best Buy user's profile until last week, when Surface first went on sale at the store (mousing over a reviewer's handle provides this info).

"Coty 09," whose activity on the Best Buy site dates back as far as Monday, had this to say: "The Surface RT is a great product that is easy to use and is built very well. This will be great for work, school and play." Who talks that way? Marketing people, according to The Consumerist's list of "30 Ways You Can Spot Fake Online Reviews."

It was never Microsoft's intention to sell Surface at Best Buy, at least not until after the holidays. The original plan was for the tablet to be available only through its online store and the handful of brick-and-mortar locations it has opened around the country. But meager sales apparently led to Plan BBY.

In addition to Best Buy, Surface RT is also available at Staples. Staples customer reviewers -- all four of them -- appeared equally impressed with the device. The $499 version had drawn 5 out of 5 stars from two reviewers as of early Tuesday, the $599 version got 4.5 from 2 reviewers. The $699 version had no reviews. Four reviews after almost a week of availability suggests Staples isn't likely to sell out of Surface RT any time soon, but at least those who bought appear to like it.

Surface RT runs a pared-down version of Windows 8 known as Windows RT. The OS, which runs on ARM-based chips, is not compatible with standard Windows applications. It only supports software pre-installed by Microsoft or apps downloaded from the company's online Windows Store. That limited functionality, according to a published report this week, had one Dell exec urging Microsoft to ditch the Windows brand for RT devices, for fear it would confuse customers.

Surface Pro runs full-blown Windows 8, and it's also compatible with legacy Windows applications and Microsoft's full-range of security and management products. It will be available starting in January, according to Microsoft. Whether it will land in Best Buy, Staples or other major retailers, the company has yet to say.

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Arnab Bose
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Arnab Bose,
User Rank: Apprentice
1/12/2013 | 4:53:22 PM
re: Microsoft Surface RT Best Tablet Ever, 'Reviewers' Gush
"I need a device that I can share files betwen my laptop and desktop - at work and home" - this is relatively straightforward with the Surface RT. I have my home network setup to use Homegroup and I can find my desktop machine's documents, pictures and videos easily through Windows Explorer on the Surface.

Also if you map your network shared to the Documents library or Pictures Library, those shares will become available through the File Picker in the Metro/Modern Apps as well.

Plus of course there is a full USB port on the Surface and access to cloud services like SkyDrive (7gb free).
Rip Ragged
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Rip Ragged,
User Rank: Apprentice
1/4/2013 | 5:33:59 AM
re: Microsoft Surface RT Best Tablet Ever, 'Reviewers' Gush
Apple has announced sales of the iPhone in China. 3-day sales G㢠opening weekend G㢠2 million phones.

How many tablets did Microsoft sell on opening weekend? 15? 20? Come on. "Modest," doesn't tell us much.

@toohie007 G㢠Legacy apps isn't a term you can go look up. It pretty much means what the reader and writer agree it means. To me it means software that runs on previous versions of the operating system and/or older hardware. Running a bazillion iPhone apps on the iPad would seem to me to not only better describe the experience, but it describes a better idea. This is because the iPhone apps were actually designed for the touchscreen interface. That Lotus 1-2-3 spreadsheet designed to run Bubba's 24-Hour Bowling Alley, VHS Rental, and Tattoo Parlor is not designed with a touch interface.

Microsoft is toast.
AustinIT
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AustinIT,
User Rank: Apprentice
12/25/2012 | 11:03:03 PM
re: Microsoft Surface RT Best Tablet Ever, 'Reviewers' Gush
Actually, I believe you are wrong on several accounts. McDougall does his fair share of MS bashing. Also, the non-RT (i.e. x86) versions of Windows 8 run all of the legacy Win 7 apps so I have no idea how you can say Win8 has no apps unless you are strictly referring to the new "Metro" style apps.
elleno
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elleno,
User Rank: Apprentice
12/24/2012 | 8:17:05 PM
re: Microsoft Surface RT Best Tablet Ever, 'Reviewers' Gush
Boy, this McDougall character is such a shill for Microsoft it is embarrassing.

The Surface is an OK tablet, but hey it is not in the same league as the Apple products. Sure it has Windows 8, but one misses the Apps. Win 8 app availability is pretty mediocre.

Until Win 8 and Surface I was a great MSFT fan. All my systems (except iPad) run Win 7 or earlier - so I am not some kind of MSFT basher.

But I like to be honest......the Surface does not suck, but it is unremarkable.
pblanc108
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pblanc108,
User Rank: Apprentice
12/24/2012 | 6:16:49 PM
re: Microsoft Surface RT Best Tablet Ever, 'Reviewers' Gush
I use an ipad 4th generation and find it to be the best tablet I have ever purchased. I have tried the google, the Fire HD ( what a useless hunk of junk this thing is) and the Nook. These products are cannot even remotely be compared to the iPad or the Surface RT. Apple clearly surpasses these in terms of build quality, smoothness, intuition, picture quality, ecosysytem, battery life and joy of use.
I have tried the Surface and found its build quality to be on the level of the iPad- it feels like the proverbial bank vault. I do like that I can have two programs runnng in the screen at the same time. The Ipad cannot replace my laptop and neither can the Surface IT... yet.
I need a device that I can share files betwen my laptop and desktop - at work and home. In constantly use a the usb
The iPad cannot do that, the Surface RT cannto do that. The Surface Pro will be able to. In essence, the Surface Pro can replace my laptop and my iPad. I am looking forward to trying one when it is available. I just hope they make it with wi-fi and cellular otherwise I'll have to keep the iPad as well, but the Surface Pro will still replace my laptop.
Sue Penick
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Sue Penick,
User Rank: Apprentice
12/20/2012 | 6:15:15 PM
re: Microsoft Surface RT Best Tablet Ever, 'Reviewers' Gush
I had a chance to get my hands on an RT in Chicago Nov. 28th. I grilled and grilled the MS Rep. When it all came out - the Pro is what we all are waiting for since it runs Outlook native, VPN, all Office products (not a cut down version)...etc I have an android tablet and love it for casual use (it's used every evening after work for a few hours by the whole family). But I can't wait to have a tablet that can replace my laptop during travel. My comment to the MS rep was - why the RT first? and make us wait... He said the Christmas rush. Well they may not realize a Christmas rush as everyone seriously considering buying one wants to use it for Business/Personal - and really needs the Pro. I would have had one for Christmas if the Pro was on sale...I'm betting more people feel the same. That aside... I typed using the surface cover, touched the screen from edge to edge trying to figure things out. There are more than 5 ways to do everything! I was confused at first just wanting to keep it simple - but I needed the professional tour to understand the power. It will have a learning curve - but every android phone I've had from the very first one had a learning curve as things keep changing. So I'm sure I will cuss and discuss...but I will have a pro when they come out! If you work in an office - use MS products all day - it will be the tablet of choice for business.
wht
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wht,
User Rank: Strategist
12/20/2012 | 6:00:05 PM
re: Microsoft Surface RT Best Tablet Ever, 'Reviewers' Gush
Sounds like what Apple has done for ages. Nothing new to report.
Stephen Leibowitz
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Stephen Leibowitz,
User Rank: Apprentice
12/19/2012 | 6:07:42 PM
re: Microsoft Surface RT Best Tablet Ever, 'Reviewers' Gush
MicrosoftGăÍs marketing push made a recent episode of the TV comedy show Suburgatory into an infomercial for Surface RT. It seems plausible that the online reviews mentioned in the article were fakes done by marketing people.
Tarquin
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Tarquin,
User Rank: Apprentice
12/19/2012 | 1:31:14 PM
re: Microsoft Surface RT Best Tablet Ever, 'Reviewers' Gush
We all know the Surface RT isn't the best tablet ever......
But The Surface Pro just might be. It can run all legacy/current programmes, has full USB, small form factor, expandable memory and built in wacom pressure sensitive tablet.
O.K. a bit much for entertainment but as a work tool or for Photographers or artists it sounds almost perfect, apart from the battery life, which still isn't too bad - really.
Android and WIndows 8, RT or not, still make the iPad iOS look dated and pedestrian. That's where Apple need to invest some time next.
toothie007
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toothie007,
User Rank: Apprentice
12/19/2012 | 5:00:52 AM
re: Microsoft Surface RT Best Tablet Ever, 'Reviewers' Gush
I am trying to be fair. I have both windows and Apple products. My wife is in the same position too, but her Apple collection (including an iPad I gave to her) is a little heavier than mine. I say this to say, my goal is not to attack Apple at all. My intention is to point out some of the biasness and double standard I see constantly in the tech media in relation to MS.
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