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Real-world confessions from Surface RT owners: Who loves it and why

Mark Hachman | Aug. 5, 2013
The much-maligned slate actually has its fanboys. We talk to living, breathing people who use Microsoft's low-end tablet PC.

But one of the issues that Microsoft will have to address concerns basic functionality. Rathbone said that lack of driver support, along with decent apps, is a weakness. "Even the built-in Mail program doesn't support something as basic as POP," he added.

A user who identified himself as "gscratchWRT," the handle he uses on Microsoft's own forums, said that he had won the Surface RT in a contest, and had no expectations when receiving the device. He had intended to carry it as a replacement for a full-size laptop on business travel, a goal he said he has come close to. But the lack of a Cisco VPN and the inability to connect to his Windows domain held him back, he said.

Living in Europe, the lack of Spotify and Sonos music apps frustrated "Maarten," who said he turns to his Apple iPod instead. He said he uses Bento and the Wall Streel Journal app, and enjoyed running them in full-screen mode. But the real problem for him, he said, is simply how slowly Internet Explorer runs.

"My main irritation is the slowness of IE for RT," Maarten wrote. "I feel I lose a lot of time. It is always a delight to be back at Firefox with ad-block. For a device that is built for mobile access, this should not be the case. IE is the weakest link in the chain—its slowness irritates. Let Firefox make an app."

Roach, the consultant, also said he had noticed how slow the Nvidia Tegra 3 processor ran, and would welcome an active digitizer like the one that comes with Surface Pro.

Hoang Long Tran wrote to say that he would never use a Windows RT device again.

"After using it for a few months, I was very disappointed because I found there were a lot of system errors that happened due to the updates that Microsoft provides," wrote Tran. "For example, after an update, sometimes my Surface RT couldn't be woken up from sleeping and I [would] need to press the power button for a few seconds to restart the device. When the Touch Cover sometimes does not function, I have to remove it and attach it to the Surface again to make it function properly."

Is there a future for the Surface RT? 

Tran, obviously, is not in the market for another Surface RT. But Maarten said he would buy another, and Roach and Banks said that they already had. "One is enough," Rathbone, the author, replied.

Most agreed that the new, 30 percent discount in pricing played a role. "Not sure, I might wait for the next generation devices," Rob Clive said, when asked if he would buy another Surface RT. "I do believe Microsoft needs to keep the price low, as they are not, in my opinion, ready to go head to head with iPad," he said.


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