Microsoft Surface brief review
+ Solidly built hardware
+ 'Modern' tile-based UI looks clean and works well with touchscreen
+ Useful add-on keyboard/covers (especially the Type Cover)
+ Full-size USB port
+ Office 2013 bundled with Windows RT operating system
- Cannot run third-party desktop Windows applications
- Vestigial desktop UI jars with its 'modern' successor
- Kick-stand is not adjustable
- Hard to use with Touch/Type Cover on the lap
- Magnetic power connector is fiddly
- Lacks mobile broadband, GPS and NFC
Processor: (RT) ARM, (Win 8) Intel Core
Storage: (RT) 32GB or 64GB | (Win 8) 64GB or 128GB
Screen: (RT) 10.6-inch, HD | (Win 8) 10.6-inch, full HD
Connectivity: (RT) USB, HD video out, microSD | (Win 8) USB 3.0, microSDXC, Mini DisplayPort
Camera: Both versions feature two 720p HD LifeCams, front- and rear-facing with TruColor
Battery: (RT) 31.5 W-h | (Win 8) 42 W-h
For a first outing, Microsoft's ARM-based Surface running Windows RT isn't bad at all, but it is a real curate's egg - both in terms of the hardware and the software.
The tablet's build quality is generally good, but there are annoyances, mostly to do with ergonomics. The fixed-angle kick-stand is a deal-breaker for me as far as keyboard-based productivity is concerned, for example. The keyboards themselves - especially the basic Type Cover - are on the pricey side, too. Also, we'd like to see a snappier magnetic power connector next time around.
As far as the Windows RT experience is concerned, we have no problem with the 'modern' tile-based UI and clean-looking touch-friendly Windows Store apps. The vestigial Windows desktop, however, is another matter. It's there to accommodate the bundled Office 2013 suite (which we appreciate), but only serves to confuse because you can't install any other 'legacy' Windows applications. The only place you can get Windows RT apps, Microsoft's Windows Store, is currently a long way behind rival platforms in terms of the number of apps available.
This is a decent tablet with plenty of good points, but there are enough downsides to make caution advisable. The hardware platform and the Windows RT ecosystem will undoubtedly improve, so we'd suggest giving version 1.0 a miss unless you're an avid early adopter.
Microsoft Surface Video Playback Tips and Tricks
Frequently Asked Questions (FAQ) about Microsoft Surface Video Playback
Q: Is it possible to watch Blu-ray movies on Microsoft Surface tablet?
A: Like many other tablets in the market, the Microsoft Surface tablet does have a Blu-ray drive, so it’s impossible for users to play purchased Blu-ray Disc on the device natively. However, there is a workaround to do so - using a Blu-ray ripping tool to convert 1080p Blu-ray to a format that is playable on the Surface tablet.
Q: How can I play DVD movies with my Surface RT?
A: DVD movies are in the same situation as Blu-ray movies. If you are trying to transfer commercial DVD movies or unprotected DVD ISO/IFO files to Microsoft Surface for playback, you will have no success. This is totally because of the format restriction issues. To resolve it, you can consider ripping and backing up DVD movie files to Microsoft Surface viewable file format in advance.
Q: Is there a way to view 1080p/720p MKV/AVI/MPG/TiVo/VOB videos on Microsoft Surface smoothly?
A: Not all video types are playable on the Microsoft-made tablets. If you intend to watch 1080p and 720p videos on your Surface device smoothly, you should make sure your files are in Surface supported file types. If not, you have to do format conversion. There is a guide telling you how to enable Surface RT & Pro Tablet to Play MKV/AVI/MPG/TiVo/VOB files effortlessly.
Q: How can I view iTunes/Digital Copy/Amazon DRM movies on Microsoft Surface?
A: Movies and TV Shows purchased from iTunes Store, Amazon Instant Video and Digital Copy movies included in Blu-ray/DVD purchases are all copy protected with DRM system. DRM protected video files cannot be played on Microsoft Surface tablets directly. How to unlock iTunes/Digital Copy/Amazon DRM movies to Microsoft Surface for playback? Here comes Pavtube ChewTune software to help you out. Check the articles below to get what you need:
Q: What’s the best freeware for converting AVCHD camera footage to Microsoft Surface for playback?
A: If you are shooting with a Sony SLT-A99 camera or a Canon HF M500 camera, it’s common for you to get .mts AVCHD clips. Unfortunately, the Windows 8 Surface tablet does not give native support for those .MTS recordings captured by an AVCHD camera. If you are looking for a freeware to convert MTS files for Surface, please refer to how to transcode MTS to Surface RT/Pro by using a Free MTS Converter.
Q: Is there an all-in-one Mac converter app to handle Blu-ray movies, DVD movies, 1080p/720p videos as well as MTS clips for Surface tablet?
A: Try out Pavtube iMedia Converter for Mac. This Mac converter software integrates a Mac Blu-ray DVD Ripper and a Mac Video Converter together into one package. Notice that this program is unable to handle DRM videos, to convert DRM videos for Microsoft Surface on Mac, you should use the Mac version of Pavtube ChewTune.
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