Alex Kaloostian

Apple Certified Master Trainer | Systems Integrator | Video Editor | Motion Graphics Artist

Microsoft surface first impressions

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Seems all people want to do lately is bash windows 8, but I really wanted to wait until it was out so I can give it a fair shake. I give Microsoft tons of credit for trying something new, and not being afraid to fail. I’m not a Microsoft hater, seriously. They have some innovative people, a lot of marketing power behind them, and I really want to see them do some great things. Competition is good for everyone.
Windows 8 seems like a pretty brilliant idea for most people who do little more than surf the web and it seems a perfect OS for a tablet, with all of your networks and mail and updates right there on the front page. But the strategy of one OS for all devices is pretty nuts if you ask me. It’s an awful OS if you want to get some serious work done, it’s always getting in your way. I’d be much more satisfied if they kept the desktop OS closer to what people were used to, and went wacky with their tiles, or Metro interface or whatever you want to call it just for tablets. Apple gets this, they make the best OS they’re capable of making for a tablet, and the best OS they’re capable of making for a desktop.
The real problem here is that Microsoft seems to have their priorities backwards. They made their desktop OS less serious and more about fun and wasting time and consuming media, but their tablet is marketed as a serious business machine and it is definitely not.
I got to try a surface hands-on yesterday up in Salem, and I was really, really disappointed. For starters, physically it’s exactly what I’ve come to expect from Microsoft. It’s got hard edges, squared off corners, ports everywhere, it feels flimsy, and is just plain not pleasant to hold in your hands. The iPad wants to be held. This thing wants to be put down.
And Microsoft seems to be want you to put it down, since they’re pushing their keyboard cases so hard. And yeah, these two keyboard cases are pretty phenomenal, there’s a touch keyboard which is very slim but not tactile, and a slightly thicker keyboard with a clicky feel like people are used to. Both well-made, and both really nice to use. But if you’re spending 500 bucks minimum for a tablet, and another 100 or 200 for a keyboard, what you’ve got is a netbook! The fact that Microsoft brags Office is included with every surface, just confirms that this is how they’re marketing it as well.
The OS was not as good as I’d hoped. It was confusing, muddled, inconsistent, and even two employees had trouble showing off some of the most basic features to me, like multitasking. On top of that, it was SLOW. So, so slow, I was really surprised. I got frustrated after just a couple minutes.
So what you’ve got is an unintuitive OS on an underpowered netbook, that you can’t hold in your lap. I’ll spend an extra hundred and go for a MacBook air, thank you very much.
By the way, this post was dictated to my iPhone, no $200 keyboard needed.

Author: alexkaloostian

I'm a video editor, motion graphics designer and Mac IT consultant in the Boston area.

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