I am going to state right up front that my time with the Surface tablet was very limited. I was at my local mall and saw a Microsoft store, so I swung by to see the demo model. However, I didn’t intend to put it through its paces, nor did I have the time or opportunity in a crowded mall on a Saturday afternoon. But this did give me one unique opportunity; I treated the Surface not like a tech blogger would, but like a regular consumer who knew nothing about it and spontaneously decided to check it out.
My first impression was that the style was eye-catching. The color of the keyboard popped, and while it was a typical square tablet, it seemed well made and sturdy. It was running some sort of game, but hitting the Windows Logo brought me back to the home screen. Flipping between screens was relatively choppy, but I give Microsoft a pass there because it was a demo model that had probably been running who knows how many apps all day. As I said, with a minute to play, there wasn’t much time to assess too much of the software.
But what really struck me was just how dreadful the optional keyboard was; it was really bad. Just typing the URL for Gear Diary was painful. If Microsoft intended to give a good first impression, slapping that horrific keyboard onto the setup was a poor way to do it. I have high hopes that Microsoft will come up with a genuine tablet competitor, but from my limited experience with it in the store, the Surface is not it!