JCL Blog

The Surface – One Day In

Yesterday I attended the Seattle Interactive conference which gave me a great real world testing scenario for the Surface.  Here is my current thinking about this device:

My Favorite Parts:

  1. Instant On:  Just as good as the iPad and clearly the killer feature.  Nothing keeps me from my Windows 7 machine like slow boot up time and its inability to handle sleep mode.  This machine comes on with a swipe and when done you just put it down. 
  2. Battery Life:  Also amazing.  I used it for ten hours yesterday and still had 26% left.
  3. Windows RT:  Not so hard to get used to.  Access to the desktop is easy.  The fact that I could get to the control panel was a pleasant surprise.  Connecting to wifi networks and other machine administration tasks was easy and familiar. 
  4. Office Aps:  I did not try PowerPoint, but Word, Excel, and OneNote all work great.  Integration with Skydrive was easy and I used it right from the start.
  5. Mail:  The new mail app is clean and works pretty well. 

Not So Good Parts:

  1. IE:  The browser was the hardest app to get used to.  I struggled with the tabs and the back button, it just seemed to be a bit off.  Some sites just don’t work well with the browser and I really wished I had another browser – even if just to see if the problem was with the site I was viewing or with my browser.  This needs work.
  2. Apps:  The WSJ, NY Times, Netflix, and Evernote apps were fine right out of the box.  I was surprised that there was no Twitter app, I also wished for apps from The Economist and Bloomberg Businessweek.  IMDB would be good too and I am sure there are a handful more that I will miss today.  I know the apps are on the way and so I am really not hung up about this too much.
  3. Mail:  I mentioned above that the mail app works fine, but I miss outlook.  Don’t get me wrong, there are parts about Outlook, and frankly email in general, that I would gladly do without.  But I depend on Outlook to get me through my emails and when it is time to sit down and really crank through my inbox the lack of Outlook is going to push me back to my full PC. 
  4. Stability: My Surface has crashed a couple of times.  I am pretty sure the crashes were due to up and down connectivity at the conference and either the log in process with the browser, or the mail app’s connection to our exchange server.  Once the device froze up, I did not really know what to do.  So I held down that button on the top and just hoped for the best.  It seemed to work, but I am not so sure I actually re-booted.  So that is going to take some getting used to.

All around I am excited about the Surface.  It is a big step forward for Microsoft.  We are not going to know how big or how far forward for at least six months, maybe a year. The Apps will tell the story.