Optimal Networks

Windows Surface Tablet: A Story of Love and Hate

I was so excited. Right after its release at the end of October, I had secured a Windows Surface Tablet. Touted as the business user’s device, I was immediately enamored. It was sleek, beautiful, and seemed to be the first real alternative to the iPad style of tablet computing. It even had a detachable keyboard which was functional and practical!

I was in love…until I started playing around with it. I would still be in love today if this tablet had been running Windows 8. Instead, it is running Windows RT.

Not sure of the difference? Not many folks are since Microsoft has done an excellent job of confusing the marketplace. Windows RT is a version of the Windows 8 operating system that has been recently promoted. Unlike all other variations of Windows 8, though, Windows RT can only be obtained by users as pre-loaded software on devices designed by manufacturers on board with Microsoft. It is like a Windows lite—and not in the good half-the-fat kind of way.

Here are a few reasons why Windows RT ruined my experience with an otherwise awesome device:

  • You can only purchase apps through the Windows Store and they are severely limited—there isn’t even a LinkedIn app
  • Traditional programs for older versions of Windows (Google Chrome, iTunes) will not run on Windows RT
  • If you use Outlook, which most of the corporate world does, you will be disappointed because you will be getting a limited, watered-down version
  • Need access to a certain file? There is no Dropbox/Box/etc. access so you can’t grab a file from work and work on it wherever you are.  The only option for this is Microsoft Skydrive…and it didn’t quite cut it
  • At least it comes with the traditional Office suite, right? Wrong. Although Office apps are pre-loaded, you have to buy a commercial license to use them for work purposes when running Windows RT

So, although I love the device itself (did I mention the keyboard? And the kickstand off the back that works really well?), I hate the operating system. I despise it because its limitations make producing work impossible. Bottom line: Windows RT is not a viable operating system for today’s business user. Because Microsoft released the Surface Tablet with Windows RT, it is a non-starter in the market and will not bridge the gap between laptop and tablet—at least for business users.

Look out, though. Microsoft releases the PRO version of its Surface Tablet in January—complete with Windows 8 and full, traditional Office applications. A device I love plus an operating system that makes work possible? I can’t wait to get one—and share my review.

Did you get one? What did you think after using it?

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