February232013

Surface v. iPad - in a nutshell

This morning, a friend who’s on the market for a tablet and I headed over to our local shopping center where we stopped at the Microsoft store for him to check out the Surface. He’s heard a lot of good things about it; me not so much but then again I haven’t heard much besides the fact it exists.

I am first taken aback that the Microsoft store is essentially empty save for a few patrons and employees. Then I start tinkering with the Surface and think, ‘oh, that’s a nice keyboard’. But that keyboard will set you back $129, something they do not advertise up front until you start reading the fine print of the specs strip next to the tablet.

As I tinker around some more, I start wondering how do I get to the home screen from an opened app if I don’t have the handy Windows key from the $129 keyboard. It takes a few awkward multi-finger swipes and presto, there I am back at Home screen. I doubt it was the ‘right’ (read: most efficient) way but it worked.

Next, I try the browser and it takes an unacceptable amount of time to load a file from C:\ before going to msn.com. At that point, both of us are really underwhelmed with the Surface and go to the Apple store down the mall.

First of all, you cannot simply get to the back half of the store because of how full it is.

I stick to the front of the house and start picking up iPads. I immediately get going on browsers and apps and off I am browsing the interwebz, looking at the Mail set up and seamlessly going to the home screen each time. It was that easy. It was so easy to the point that I seriously considered purchasing an iPad mini right there on the spot before finding reason within myself to walk away for now.

Look, Microsoft, you got a lot of work to do if you think the Surface is going to make any significant dent on the tablet market share. And don’t deceive your customers by displaying the item on sale with add-ons either. Sure, iPads also have optional keyboards but the Apple store doesn’t display them with that peripheral without any notice that it’s an add-on.

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