I made the trek to the Microsoft store yesterday and spent some time with the Surface. Random thoughts and observations below.
- More employees at the Microsoft store than shoppers and I didn't see anyone walk out of the store with something they purchased.
- I had no less than four people attack me when I came in asking if I needed help.
- While I messed around with the low-end keyboard cover I listened to an employee talk to some potential buyers. They were asked at one point how someone would get stuff onto the surface and the guy said "you put everything into your Skydrive account" as if they should know what that was. When they were getting ready to leave he aggressively said "are you considering an iPad?" They responded that they were and he says "The thing about the Surface is that you're not limited by anything. The iPad is for entertainment only so if you want to do anything like work or writing then you should get a Surface."
They looked at him with a very puzzled look and walked out.
- I asked to see the other keyboard and the same guy directed me to a station with one and told me to open Word. That's a pet peeve of mine since I hate Word with the power of a thousand suns.
- The Surface doesn't come with FDE (full disc encryption) enabled by default. That's a big oversight if you ask me for a device like this.
- At setup, the first user is an administrator.
- The RT version doesn't have most of the other Windows 8 Intel stuff removed. Lots of references in the registry to Intel drivers and such.
- I asked about putting it into disc mode, as I'm interested in what it would take to pull an image of one. The tech said he didn't know and after I told him why I was interested he told me that the RT tablets have been a real problem for them. Since x86 code won't execute, none of their internal support tools work. That means that if someone comes in with a problem tablet, they just swap it out.
It's easy to poke fun at that, only to have any number of folks on here point out that this is what happens with a borked iPad. The difference, though, is that this is much more local storage centric. I'm sure that one of the coached selling points is that Windows should make it more serviceable, when at this point it's really not.
- The low end keyboard isn't all that great. I'd put it on par with typing on the screen.
- The high end keyboard was nicer, but not nearly as good of an experience as using my Apple Bluetooth keyboard with my iPad.
- To get a feel for it, I wrote out a couple simple HTML pages the old fashioned way. In Notepad. I bring this up since tons power users (not muggles who think Word is the only way to type a document) would want a real editor like Sublime, UltraEdit or Notepad++. Of course none of that should be expected to work on the RT version...and those developers would have to develop Metro versions. That seems like something outside the scope of what the developers I just listed would want to do. If anyone would, it would be Sublime because it's all new code and cross platform but the Metro UI restrictions would make it tough for them to do so efficiently.
- If you're using it as a laptop replacement and plan on using the touch cover a lot, I hope you're the right height. The angle at which the Surface sits with the kickstand obviously is not adjustable from what I could see.
- Since I was Christmas shopping I didn't have my notes on the Registry changes in Win8 with me so I can't speak to the new artifacts that have been created in there for the Metro style apps.
Overall I think it's a neat little piece of hardware, but it still falls into a gap without a market.