Sticking to the Surface

I don’t care that my most popular photo of late is a grey image that I made in Photoshop for a laugh, I’m still going to keep posting proper ones…

Well, I’ve had my Surface RT for quite a few weeks now and so I thought I’d write down what I think of it so far.

General usefulness: Very high. It has replaced my iPad as my browsing weapon of choice, principally because web sites seem to work better for me. Especially those which have nasty pull down menus that you can’t access via a touch screen. Because I have the touch cover plugged in I can just open them with no problem. I like being able to plug a memory key directly into the device and pull the files straight off it. And the Office/Skydrive/Printer combination (i.e. I can get documents off my Skydrive, edit them and then print them) is a wonderful thing. Great for presentations too, I’ve got the VGA output and that works a treat.

Battery Life: OK but not as great as the iPad. Having said that, it has never let me down. I just have to remember to charge it.

Fun to Own: Getting better. There aren’t as many apps as other platforms, but because the browser is more capable you can do more things on the web, for example BBC iPlayer. Since they added solid implementations of Solitaire and Mah Jong to the store it has got a lot better for me personally. There is now a really good image editor (Fhotoroom) and I don’t feel the lack of much. I’ve got tons of applications on the iPad that I’ve never actually used after the day I downloaded them.

Annoyances: The Mail client is very weak and deeply annoying to use. I really miss Outllook. I was upset to find that there is no Silverlight support. There seem to be more updates that I expected, and the application updater seems to get stuck every now and then. Having said that, every time I turn on my iPad I find that at least four or five applications need updates there too.

Surprises: I was gobsmaked to find that I can actually create and deploy applications on the Surface RT using Visual Studio. Nothing anywhere tells you that this is possible, I was convinced that the only way I could get code onto the device was to put an application in the Windows Store and then buy it. If you want to do this you can find out more here. The really nice thing is that once you have remote debugged an application it remains on the Surface RT for later use from the Start menu. When you install the remote debugging client on the Surface you have to give your developer id but after that it all just works, barring a bit of fun and games configuring remote debugging.

Conclusion: I’m pleased I bought a Surface RT. Having said that though, I’d love to get my hands on a Surface Pro, that could well be my dream computer.