The Microsoft Surface sextuple meta-review

A heady, hearty blend of a half-dozen professional reviews of Microsoft's tablet-as-PC device

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Yes, you can use it as your only computer. I would never have made that claim about an iPad or Android tablet. But if you only need to live in Microsoft Office and the web and e-mail, and use your computer for media consumption, you’ll do great with this. I used it as my primary computer for several days. There were applications I missed, and I would never want it to be my only computer (the keyboard and screen are just too small) but it worked. I was fine.

Biddle at Gizmodo has pretty much the opposite take:

There's no Twitter or Facebook app, and the most popular third-party client breaks often. The Kindle app is completely unusable. There's no image editing software. A People app is supposed to give you all the social media access you'd ever need, but It's impossible to write on someone's Facebook wall through the People app, Surface's social hub; the only workaround is to load Internet Explorer. Blech. Something as simple as loading a video requires a jumbled process of USB importing, dipping in and out of the stripped-down desktop mode, opening a Video app, importing, going back into the Video app, and then playing. What. … The app selection, overall, is worse than the already pathetic Windows Phone app fare, looking like the software equivalent to a barren Soviet grocery store.

Sam Biddle thinks about totalitarian institutions quite often, it seems, when regarding Microsoft products.

To sum it all up

Surface, as an entrant in the tablet market, is very strong. It’s a well-made device, it has an interesting keyboard approach, and the touch interface is all kinds of inventive.

Surface, as a device you’re buying right now for $500-ish dollars (assuming you won’t go without one of the two keyboard covers, which are basically required) is a tough call. As a tablet alone, it’s not beating the iPad at that price. As an “actual PC,” it has its problems, and the big one is the Windows Store selection.

You would be better served waiting to see if the ecosystem matures a bit, or if the promised Surface running “Windows 8 Pro,” with legacy Windows applications, garners more consistent praise. Of course, if very few buy a Surface early on, developers won’t work very hard to get into the Window Store. And so the tablet wheel turns.

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