Slate reviews Microsoft’s Surface tablet: Too slow, mercilessly buggy; why is it so bad?

“There’s only question anyone should ask about Microsoft’s Surface tablet: Is it better than the iPad? I’ve spent the past week and a half trying to answer that question,” Farhad Manjoo writes for Slate. “But it didn’t take me a week and a half to decide whether the Surface is better than the iPad. At most it took a couple days, and that’s being generous. You’d likely arrive at the same conclusion after playing with the Surface for just a few minutes in a Microsoft Store.”

“That’s because the new tablet’s flaws are glaring: It’s too slow, it’s mercilessly buggy, and the add-on that’s supposed to set it apart from the iPad — its touch-cover keyboard and trackpad — is nice but far from revolutionary,” Manjoo writes. “At $499 for the base model, plus $120 for the almost-required touch cover, the Surface is also not very competitive on price: You can get the newest standard iPad for the same $499, the still pretty good iPad 2 for $399, and the new iPad Mini for $329.”

Manjoo writes, “Microsoft has been working on the technology in this device for years. When it decided to create its own hardware, it had to have known that making a good first impression against the iPad would be the key to the Surface’s long-term survival. The Surface is also the most celebrated home for Windows 8, the touch-friendly operating system that Microsoft is hoping will become a big hit on tablet machines. In other words, a lot—for Microsoft, perhaps everything—is riding on the Surface. So as I used it, I was nagged by a recurring question: Why is the Surface so bad?”

“The Surface ends up proving the wisdom of Apple’s limitations,” Manjoo writes. “The iPad may not allow you to do everything, but Apple has made sure that it’s great at what it can do. The Surface, by contrast, will let you do everything you want. The problem is that you’ll have no fun doing it.”

Read more in the full article here.

MacDailyNews Take: Garbage with a kickstand.

Now, what was that we wrote way back in June 2011? Oh, yeah:

Our initial impression is that Microsoft, in trying to cram everything into Windows 8 in an attempt to be all things to all devices, will end up with an OS that’s a jack of all trades and a master of none (which, after all, ought to be Microsoft’s company motto)… We simply do not see the world clamoring for the UI of an iPod also-ran now ported to an iPhone wannabe that nobody’s buying to be blown up onto a PC display.

From what we’ve seen so far, Windows 8 strikes us as an unsavory combination of Windows Weight plus Windows Wait.

Not to mention that probably no one on earth knows how much or what kinds of residual legacy spaghetti code roils underneath it all (shudder)… No matter what, if Microsoft’s going to ask Windows sufferers to “learn a whole new computer” (and that’s exactly how they’ll look at it, regardless of how Microsoft pitches it), millions will simply say, “Time to get a Mac to match my iPod, iPhone, and iPad!”

As if they needed it: More good news for Apple.

[Thanks to MacDailyNews Reader “Misha” for the heads up.]

Related articles:
Microsoft’s bloated Windows RT eats 16GB of Surface tablet – November 5, 2012
InfoWorld reviews Microsoft Surface RT: A disappointment; you’re better off with Apple’s iPad – October 31, 2012
Acer delays Windows RT tablets; adopts ‘wait and see’ approach after poor Surface RT reviews – October 30, 2012
Gizmodo reviews Microsoft Surface RT: Do not buy; inferior to Apple’s iPad; the worst of both worlds – October 25, 2012
The Verge reviews Microsoft Surface RT tablet: ‘The whole thing is honestly perplexing; who is this for?’ – October 24, 2012
Analyst: Microsoft’s Surface RT tablet priced too high, could be the next Zune – October 18, 2012
Dvorak: ‘Microsoft’s Surface tablet isn’t the Apple iPad, so it shouldn’t be priced like one’ – October 18, 2012
Microsoft inexplicably claims Surface RT tablet lower resolution screen beats iPad with Retina display – October 17, 2012
Microsoft Surface RT tablet Wi-Fi-only; 32GB for $599 with, $499 without keyboard, $699 for 64GB – October 16, 2012
Microsoft airs first TV ad for Surface tablet (with video) – October 15, 2012
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Acer CEO to Microsoft: ‘Think twice’ about Surface tablets – August 7, 2012
Microsoft Surface tablet pricing leaked; US$1,000 for ‘cheapest’ Windows RT model – July 26, 2012
Ballmer: Uh, yeah, ‘Surface is just a design point,’ you know – July 10, 2012
Microsoft’s Buffoon, er… Ballmer throws down gauntlet against Apple – July 10, 2012
Microsoft reportedly dumps ‘VaporMg’ chassis, will use ‘VaporMg’ only as ‘surface treatment’ – July 9, 2012
Microsoft’s downfall: Inside the executive e-mails and cannibalistic culture that fueled Microsoft’s lost decade – July 7, 2012
HP said to dump Microsoft over Surface; to cozy up to Google Android for tablet efforts – July 2, 2012
Bad news for Microsoft’s iPad killer? – July 2, 2012
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Jason Schwarz: Top 10 reasons why Microsoft’s Surface is DOA – June 22, 2012
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Fox News: Copier Microsoft is doomed to fail with Surface tablet – June 19, 2012
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ZDNet Sr. Tech Editor Perlow: Microsoft’s Surface has catastrophe written all over it – June 19, 2012
Microsoft previews own ‘Surface’ tablet – June 18, 2012
Microsoft touts ‘major’ June 18 event said to showcase Windows RT tablets – June 15, 2012
ZDNet’s Kingsley-Hughes: Microsoft’s Windows 8 is an awful, horrible, painful design disaster – June 8, 2012
Analyst meets with big computer maker, finds ‘general lack of enthusiasm’ for Windows 8 – June 8, 2012
Dvorak: Windows 8 an unmitigated disaster; unusable and annoying; it makes your teeth itch – June 3, 2012
The Guardian: Microsoft’s Windows 8 is confusing as hell; an appalling user experience – March 5, 2012
More good news for Apple: Microsoft previews Windows 8 (with video) – June 1, 2011


    1. I don’t know, when I first saw Microsoft Chart on a 1984 Mac I was blown away. When Excel hit the Mac, long before Windows ripped off Mac OS, I was blown away again.

      In the mid 80s Microsoft was the bomb. Now it literally is the bomb, if you know the early Mac meaning of bomb.

  1. “From what we’ve seen so far, Windows 8 strikes us as an unsavory combination of Windows Weight plus Windows Wait. ”

    OH GREAT. Now we are going to get it…. When MDN hits the nail on the head and is proven right,,, but can they be a real pain to live with.

    At least with the girlfriend, I could see someone else…. 🙂

    Just a thought.

  2. I haven’t used on myself yet (i’m not even sure where I can find a MS store), but I haven’t seen any glowing reviews for Surface.

    This is one of the worst I’ve seen, but a common thread is that it is a tweener. Not as good as an ultrabook. Not as good as a tablet.

    Not really a surprise that MS couldn’t figure out why consumers like tablets. The fact that they are emphasizing the keyboard, which I’m sure will appeal to niche wanting their tablet to replace their ultra book, is a clear indication of that. When the “killer app” on their touch device is a physical keyboard, either your touch interface is terrible or you are marketing to a small segment of the market.

    This is really going to compete with all ultrabooks and laptop/tablet hybrids/frankensteins that all the Windows OEMs are crapping out.

    In a previous articles on MDN today, an analyst predicted Apple making their own chips for mobile and desktop hardware, which implies a future when the desktop OS and iOS are quite similar. I think Apple is getting it right by waiting until the chips can fully support a desktop experience on a mobile device (not a laptop, obviously). MS decided everyone really wants a desktop experience on the mobile device, speed and user experience be damned.

  3. Why? Ask ‘why it’s bad?’ Stevie B is in charge! What did you expect from M$? You can see where Stevie B’s vision is leading his company! Stevie B is giving everyone good reason to switch to Apple products.

  4. My wife and I picked up a 32GB iPad mini on Friday in OKC. Afterward, I wandered down to the Microsoft pop-up kiosk down the corridor. I spent literally 5 or less minutes swiping, typing, and handling the device. I was actually impressed that it didn’t feel like junk instantly. I was disappointed that the kickstand click did NOT sound like the door of a luxury car /s.

    I hunted and pecked a couple dozen characters, and viewed a dozen photos, so I did not put it to any real test, but the device itself is interesting. It may be junk, but gives a good first impression.

    I also DESPISE tablets with a 16:9 aspect ratio. This severely limits the use. It screams landscape, and almost demands an add-on keyboard because of it. I love the iPad’s 4:3, because it truly has no wrong way to hold it. It is natural in any orientation, and leaves enough room to use an on-screen keyboard.

  5. > The Surface, by contrast, will let you do everything you want…

    Well, that’s hardly true. It can’t run apps from world’s largest (by far) catalog of tablet apps, the ones for iPad. And it can’t even run old Windows programs, because it’s not Intel-based.

    It’s limited, bloated, and buggy. A long time ago, the Palm Pilot was successful against Apple’s Newton MessagePad. It was not “better” than Newton; it was actually much more limited. But BECAUSE it was more limited (by design), Palm made Pilot more efficient at doing what it did, LESS buggy, simple to operate, and much less expensive. So in effect, the Palm Pilot (because of its design limits) was a “better” product than Apple’s Newton.

    Microsoft had the chance to do the same thing, and they are probably the only company (except maybe Google) with the resources to do it. But in contrast to the Palm Pilot example, Microsoft has somehow managed a MORE limited product that is LESS efficient (more bloated), buggy, complex and confusing to operate, and MORE expensive. Microsoft is incompetent.

  6. most of the many comments to the Slate review are MS fans wailing about how unfair it was.

    So MS will sell several million Surface tablets to all these MS fan people – especaially all those Windows-addicted IT dinosaur guys – no matter what.

    then it dies. and there is really no way to fix it with an improved V.2 model next year. a better chip can make it “snappy,” yes, but the world just does not need a half-assed Windows gizmo like this.

  7. Microsoft NEVER comes out with a complete, truly ready-for-market product on the first try. Usually it takes until version 3 for Microsoft to get its product actually functioning like it should have in the first version. Hardware is no exception — even Xbox 360 was rushed to market to be in time for the Christmas season, only to suffer the Red Ring of Death, something that should have been discovered and corrected in product testing.

    The difference between Microsoft and other companies is Microsoft has so much money it can let its products essentially be revenue-generating beta test subjects for its products. So the Surface will survive for a couple of years thanks to anti-Apple guys, Windows geeks, and various people who don’t know any better.

    But it will never improve significantly, and at its size it’s really not a portable tablet/device but more of a thin-form Ultrabook.

  8. SO?

    “Too slow, mercilessly buggy, etc etc. So? That describes Windows as well and we sell a TON of them to the dumb assess… I mean ‘our customers’. Apple haters will always hate apple so we’ll do fine. “

  9. Samsung is succeeding because they copied the hell out of Apple. Google is winning because they copied he hell out of Apple.

    I’ll give half a credit for MS because they didn’t t completely copy Apple in software. But that is just half the credit.

    MS. Is still a POS! lol

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