12 Comments

Summary:

A lower price doesn’t change a device’s flaws or limitations. But it can make it easier to overlook them. With the Surface RT now starting at $349, is it any more compelling of a purchase? Take our poll and let us know.

Microsoft Surface RT

Last week’s report of a $150 Surface RT price cut at Staples in the U.S. has quickly turned into a more widespread discount. Microsoft’s own online store now shows the hybrid tablet with the lowered price of $349 for the base model. With an expected hardware refresh later this year, it’s likely that the price is a permanent cut as Microsoft plans for the next model and hopes to boost otherwise weak sales.

When I first looked at Surface RT, I was taken with the hardware design and long battery life. The device doesn’t run full Windows 8, so I was reliant upon the new Metro style apps, save for Microsoft Office and Internet Explorer; neither of which I use these days.

While the form factor is right up my alley — I’ve used tablets of all kinds since 2004 — the apps I needed weren’t readily available. Even worse, the debut of full Windows 8 tablets with the same battery life and priced roughly the same as Microsoft’s tablet negated any benefits I saw in the Surface RT.

At $349, however, I think the device is more compelling. I still won’t buy one for the reasons stated above, but I could see those on the fence give Surface RT more consideration. No, a lower price doesn’t change the experience, hardware or software. With a $150 discount, though, some may be willing to overlook the challenges or bet on the Windows 8.1 upgrade to address some issues.

How about it: Are you considering a Surface RT purchase at this point? If not, what price point would make you change your mind; or is this simply a device that won’t meet your needs at any price?

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  1. you still need to pay $100 for the keyboard cover…bad deal.

  2. YMMV, but I rarely use the keyboard. Would buy a second one for my wife at this price point.

    Once I got used to it, I much prefer the “swipe”-oriented approach of Surface to the “tap”-oriented approach of iOS.

  3. Don’t need the keyboard cover – it’s just added bulk/more crap to carry around. Need apps.

    Facebook needs to come, fast. Twitter needs a bit of improvement. Instagram, *maybe*.

    The Skype Client definitely needs improvements. Start-Up Time and Performance is underwhelming to the point of unusability. They should have loaded a Skype Desktop app in there that was “disablable” for those who didn’t want to use it, IMO.

    Same for apps like Movie Maker and Live Writer.

    Does not Sync bookmarks with Desktop IE.

    Need Coach’s Eye or Dartfish Express on this for it to be terribly useful to me. Those are on the iPad, and one (CE) is on Android tablets.

    The tablet is quite capable, but the software isn’t really leveraging the hardware completely. It’s like another Blackberry Playbook.

  4. The current dearth of content makes it a bad buy for me at any price. If I received one FREE as part of a promotion, I’d probably play with it for a couple of days and then it would end up in a closet.

  5. Aziz Rehmatullah Monday, July 15, 2013

    Already bought mine .. ordered my type cover on amazon .. At 349 + tax .. its a really really good deal .. I have an iPad 3 (for travel etc..) .. and an old laptop (primarily for personal office use) .. Hoping to replace both with the RT .. I do have a full work laptop which is more than sufficient for me if there are apps I cannot run on RT .. worth giving it a shot for a couple of weeks.. and then decide whether I want to keep my RT or just continue with the iPad / laptop combo ..

  6. $350 for the surface RT + $100 or so for the cover, and you get a 720P display with very little storage usable by you.

    The HP slatebook x2 looks like a far better buy.

  7. I’ll wait for the next revision of the Surface Pro.

    1. I have to say that being an Apple FanBoy, I didn’t expect much from the Surface Pro. I was pleasantly surprised. Now keep in mind my firm gave me one to review for them so I didn’t lay out the cash for it. But I like it a lot. It’s a bit heavier and larger than an iPad, but oh so flexible. The firm installed Windows8 Enterprise. (It was enough of a shock going from MacOS to Windows 7, now to Windows8 but I’ve managed to overcome it.) I was surprised with the Surface Pro’s versatile. Its USB 2.0 port plus a MicoSD slot, gives me lots of options. Plus I can install any Windows8 compatible software. Finally, it is blazing fast. PowerPoint

      The ability to install software will allow me to stop lugging a laptop around the country. (It even has VGA and HDMI out adaptors available). Getting it for free obviously makes it more attractive. A Pro with 128 Gigabytes, type cover, and Office 365 Home Premium will set you back some $1,208.98. Compare to prices for iPads or laptops, it is a bit pricey (although if you put an SSD in a laptop it starts to be competitive). So IMHO, it is a tradeoff between weight and speed versus a laptop, or flexibility/performance compared to an iPad.

  8. Curtis Quick Tuesday, July 16, 2013

    The Surface RT was a good deal when I purchased it six months ago for $US 499. For the same price as an iPad it could do far more. With RT’s full-featured web browser, it does not need all the apps that an iPad must have. For Facebook, I simply go to the website and that is true for other apps as well (by the way, last I checked there were over 100K apps for Surface RT covering nearly all the popular tablet apps). But honestly, the only app I really need is MS Office and that is simply not available on an iPad. I cannot imagine converting a long document, spreadsheet, or presentation into another office suite and then have to deal with all the conversion and formatting problems just to make a last-minute edit. I also love being able to print without the hassle, expand my storage space as needed, and type on a keyboard designed to work well with the Surface RT. Being able to swipe to multitask and browse the web is a joy as well.

  9. By its very nature, RT is a no-go and a waste of time and money.

  10. I purchased one yesterday, its now on its way back. Don’t get me wrong it a good tablet for the money. However other than Office, which I have no desire to use on a tablet, and the ability to easily manage files both internally and externally, the iPad does far more for me than the Surface. I know most of that is due to the number of apps available, but the low res 16×9 screen made it too difficult to read PDFs and webpages. It was also sluggish and temperamental, such as screen rotate not working, apps stuck in pending etc. I’m no Apple fan boy but I do like tablet which ‘just work’ and the iPad does just that.

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