Thursday, November 01, 2012

Microsoft Surface - Product Review

Hi Folks,

I'm writing this blog post to share with all my blog readers and friends my experience in using Microsoft Surface. I was eager and waiting till it is available to pre-order it online and i ended up getting it from the store right away with no waiting LONG lines...lucky me!

I have been using Microsoft Surface for 6 days, and i want to share with you my personal insights from technical point of view and not from the marketing aspect! So, Let's start by answering basic questions:

1) Why did i buy Microsoft Surface ?
Since my wife has an iPad and we are using it for quite long time, I have much deeper experience using my iPhone and iPad or in general Apple Products. Before i bought MS Surface; I watched few reviews about mini iPad which is the latest and greatest from Apple. After comparing the 2 products i found that the mini iPad was over priced in comparison to the MS Surface, doesn't have Office, OS is locked not as Windows 8 and it serve the purpose as a E-Reader and a handy PC with fully featured Windows OS including IIS, Control Panel and Services. In addition to that, Fully fledged SDK for Developers to build Windows Phone Apps, Surface Apps and Web Apps for different platforms using HTML 5 and JavaScript!

If i would buy an E-Reader tablet my choice will be Kindle Fire from Amazon for 199$ and not min iPad for 329$.

All above was enough for me to go with the Surface!

2) What you can do with the Surface ?

a) Metro Style Experience: With Windows RT, You would have the same experience when you have Windows 8 on your PC. Very intuitive Tiles and fluid touch experience for what's in the start page, Pin to Task bar, and switch to Desktop Mode (You regular Windows Experience). The User Experience is fresh and new and this is a winner for The surface over iPad.

b) Cloud Connected Device: With the surface as for iPad, you will be able to sync up all you files to SkyDrive - Cloud Service from MS and they offer you to upgrade with extra 3GB for free when you purchase it! This is really cool. I have all my files linked to my Microsoft Account and i access it wherever i want and using any machine. MS is little behind since Apple introduced iCloud long time back, but here we are now we have it for both.

c) Store: Windows RT comes with the store where you can install all your applications as AppStore for Apple. The MS store still doesn't have lots of applications as Apple AppStore but it is growing tremendously!

d) MS Office: You have Word, PowerPoint, Excel, Access, OneNote, InfoPath for Free when you have Surface unlike iPad. Microsoft Office price is included and you don't need to pay extra for Office, this is a big plus!

e) Kinect: If you have XBOX 360, you will be able to play XBOX from the Surface, this is really cool! I tried it to surf internet and run Netflix and other applications in my XBOX and it was amazing experience.

Note: This feature requires you to have Windows Live Gold Membership to fully utilize all your applications in XBox.

f) People Hub: Connect & Read all your social media network notifications including: Facebook, Twitter, Windows Live and Mail notifications all through one place.

g) For Developers: If you are a geek and likes to develop apps for the surface. you can have all development environment for free from Microsoft. SDK,VS 2012 Express with Blend and SQL 2012 seamless integration for building Windows 8, Windows RT application with the ability to test your applications against these platforms. check out Windows Store Dev Center for details:

-- Updated 11/13/2012
h) Connect the Surface to your TV: I bought a mini-HDMI cable from Amazon and now i'm able to stream any shows and vidoes i'm watching to my TV. here is what you can search for: mini HDMI to HDMI cable and you can get it for only 5$ from Amazon.

This is all what i have been seeing and experiencing during my last few days using the Surface!

Hope you like it and see it useful!
Drop me a line if you have any other questions or a feedback!


Mostafa E.

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