mobile photography technology, culture and community
www.dpreview.com

Reviewers offer first look at Microsoft Surface tablet

122
Microsoft's Surface tablet officially launches Friday, but tech reporters have already had a play.

Tech writers who got their hands on the Microsoft Surface tablet early are returning their results today, with lots of reports balancing gushy praise with harsh criticisms.

The pros: 

  • Price: The Surface starts at $499 for 32GB or $599 for 64GB, versus the now 4th generation iPad which starts at $599 32GB or $699 for 64GB.
  • USB 2.0: Compatible with current accesories and peripherals.
  • Expandable memory: Offers a memory-card slot to up capacity by as much as 64 GB.

The cons: 

  • Software: Windows RT, the variation of Windows 8 the device runs on, won't support current Windows programs, and thus will have a limited selection of apps (3,500 in the Windows App Store compared to 275,000 in Apple's App Store). Though previously expected to only run a preview version of Word, Excel, OneNote and PowerPoint, Microsoft was able to deliver the final version of Office 2013 RT earlier than expected and users may download it starting October 26.  
  • Connectivity: Wi-Fi only.
  • Screen sharpness: Even at 1,366 by 768 pixels it can't approach the iPad’s Retina screen at 2,048 by 1,536 pixels.
  • Battery life: Up to eight hours, versus 10 on the iPad.
Features that are both pro and con: 
  • The keyboard: Reviews indicate poor experiences with the Touch Cover, but the Type Cover with real keys seems to perform as promised, letting you decide when you want the expanded keyboard of a laptop, and when you'll opt for a tablet experience. 
  • Size: Larger and heavier than the newest iPad at 10.81 inches tall and 1.5 pounds vs. the 9.5-inch and 1.44-pound iPad, but a smaller width at 6.77 inches vs. the 7.31-inch-wide iPad. The longer rectangle shape of the Surface and 16:9 ratio make it better suited for movie watching, some reviewers said, in which case the 10.6-inch screen size (vs. iPad's 9.7 inches) may be a plus as well.

Considerations for photographers: 

  • Desktop editors on tablet: The Microsoft Surface won't run full-scale Windows programs, but the upcoming Surface Pro will. Think Photoshop and Lightroom on a tablet. However, this device is going to be heavier and more expensive, so you may be back to pondering if a small laptop or something like the Surface is the better way to go for on-the-go workflow solutions.
  • Foldable keyboard: Though it sounds like the Type Cover is the better choice, the option of a keyboard may make it easer to switch between tablet and almost-laptop on the fly, allowing you to choose when to use the device for portfolio display or when to switch to serious editing work with the benefit of laptop functionality. Don't forget this in the price though -- neither keyboard is included and the Touch version will add on another $120 or $130 for the Type version.
  • Smart stylus capabilities: The Surface's proximity sensor makes for seamless swiching between stylus and your fingers.

The tablet officially launches on Friday, Oct. 26, though preorders started last week. If you just can't wait to hear more, Microsoft will also offer a webcast about the Surface tomorrow, starting at 1:30 p.m. EDT on its consumer site.

Next up for Microsoft: The release of its Windows Phone 8 mobile operating system (first available on phones from both Nokia and HTC) on Monday, Oct. 29, the same day Google is expected to showcase a new Nexus smarthphone from LG, an updated Nexus 7 tablet and a larger tablet from Samsung.

 

Comments

Total comments: 122
lennyk1313
By lennyk1313 (Dec 3, 2012)

I love my Microsoft Surface. Have not missed my iPad for a second. Its a true productivity tool. Something that I can not say for the iPad I used to own. As for the apps, I do have about 80% of all the apps that I need on the daily basis. I am sure very shortly there will be plenty of apps for everyone. My Nokia Lumia 920 completes the circle :)

0 upvotes
Lou Gonzalez
By Lou Gonzalez (Oct 31, 2012)

This is exciting news for WIndows tablets. They will actually be able to run Android apps via this new plugin:

http://www.insidethesurface.com/bluestacks-opens-a-window-into-the-android-ecosystem/

So beyond the windows apps, you'll have the full gamut of Android apps available to you as well. Nice!

1 upvote
KAllen
By KAllen (Oct 29, 2012)

.

Comment edited 2 minutes after posting
0 upvotes
Timmbits
By Timmbits (Oct 28, 2012)

We are reading about a computer OS on a photography-dedicated website because?????

0 upvotes
Erin Lodi
By Erin Lodi (Oct 29, 2012)

We realize photographers are often using tablets for part of their on-the-go workflow, both as portfolio pieces and editing tools. As noted above, the Surface especially piques our interest as photographers may use full-scale Photoshop and Lightroom on the upcoming Pro version soon.

2 upvotes
KAllen
By KAllen (Oct 29, 2012)

The line between photography and other useful technology is blurring, if you can't see a connecting path between digital cameras and other devices including tablets and phones. I can only assume you carry a bucket of sand around to bury your head in.
Besides how exactly do you use digital photography without a computer OS?

4 upvotes
Michael Gerrard
By Michael Gerrard (Oct 28, 2012)

- The Touch Cover has had *good* reviews so far! You are the only nay sayer.
- Everything else I've read says the build quality is excellent - why did you miss this out?
- What about the design? The kick stand is great - all people I know with iPads buy extra covers to stand them on so this is a feature users want. There's an SD card behind it. When on the kick stand the back camera is angled correctly. A USB port included without having to buy an additional adapter.
- The fact that this has Office, there's a new Skype for it, there's Microsoft behind it..... never write them off!
- More apps will come soon, with Win8 on every new PC very soon, come on!

This review looks biased to me and from the other coverage of Apple products on this site I do wonder if you are pro-Apple. Time will tell about the quality of your reviews, right now I am not impressed.

2 upvotes
Erin Lodi
By Erin Lodi (Oct 29, 2012)

We offered a sampling of reviews as they stood from various tech writers, as explained in our intro, but we look forward to reviewing the product from a Connect perspective soon.

1 upvote
57even
By 57even (Oct 27, 2012)

Well, this convinces me to wait for the Surface Pro. I finally should have the option to combine laptop and tablet function in a single device. I have no intention of owning both, but reviewing written material in portrait mode on a tablet is so much easier than doing it on a laptop, and tablets are great for meetings and presentations.

The RT version is comparable with other tablets which run mobile OS's, which is to say aimed more at media watchers and surfers than business users. It would probably appeal most to Win 8 users looking for a familiar interface, but it's not a laptop replacement. Apps will no doubt emerge rapidly, just as they did for Androids.

Finally, thanks to DPReview for branching out. I really appreciate some of the new articles, and I don't see what people are complaining about. It's not like the old DPR has gone away. I simply don't read content that doesn't interest me. Simple.

0 upvotes
Erin Lodi
By Erin Lodi (Oct 29, 2012)

Thanks!

0 upvotes
Craig49
By Craig49 (Oct 27, 2012)

Wow...it looks like another expensive boat anchor for and from Microsoft.

The decision to make this with a Windows that won't accept existing apps would appear...unwise.

0 upvotes
VividExposures
By VividExposures (Oct 26, 2012)

"(3,500 in the Windows App Store compared to 275,000 in Apple's App Store)"

How many are photography related? I am a Nikon guy. Can I shoot tethered? Will it recognize nef files?

2 upvotes
Erin Lodi
By Erin Lodi (Oct 29, 2012)

great questions ... we'll continue to explore this!

0 upvotes
Adam Filipowicz
By Adam Filipowicz (Oct 26, 2012)

I have an Ipad3 4G. the best thing about this MS tablet is that it can run Office

0 upvotes
Dan4321
By Dan4321 (Oct 25, 2012)

Don't see the point, even if one is tempted (which I'm not), would be best to wait of the one that can run existing windows apps. When it comes down to it, these things are about the apps, and with such a limited selection there just isn't much reason to buy one.

0 upvotes
AndyHWC
By AndyHWC (Oct 26, 2012)

Acer already has Win8 tablet that runs x86 apps. If x86 apps are important, get the Win8 without "RT".

0 upvotes
mark moe
By mark moe (Oct 25, 2012)

I have an IPAD3 (bought by my company)... If I was buying a tablet I'd insist on usb and a card slot.

Apples refusal to have the above makes it a toy to me... A nice toy yes, but not what I need to operate in the business world w/o frustration. (On top of this, I'm NOT a fan of Itunes--I use it out of necessity.)

I hope MS Surface is excellent--that along w/ the driod tablets should make for a healthy competetion.

7 upvotes
TrapperJohn
By TrapperJohn (Oct 25, 2012)

I've worked with Win8 for close to a year, and I'm not particularly impressed. On a desktop, the Metro interface is just plain annoying. Stick with Win7, it's solid and still very much a power user's platform.

On a tablet, it's good, but does it have a compelling reason to choose it over the other two platforms? Right now... not really. The apps aren't there to get a market going, and the market isn't there to justify the apps.

The other quibble I have from a developer's viewpoint is how much MS locked WinRT down. Quite a bit, it can be difficult to do anything more than a basic .net app, and that doesn't get you very far.

I see what MS is trying to do, hoping either Android or iOS will have a major security breach to get people to turn to the more locked down WinRT, but so far neither of those platforms have experienced a serious hack, and neither impose those sorts of limitations.

3 upvotes
photosen
By photosen (Oct 25, 2012)

It's from Microsoft, it will crash all the time and they'll abandon it at the drop of a hat. Why suffer the ignominy?

0 upvotes
Richard Shih
By Richard Shih (Oct 25, 2012)

Have you used a version of Windows within the last 3-4 years? Heck, even Windows XP SP3 is pretty rock solid considering it's an 11-year-old OS.

13 upvotes
Goodmeme
By Goodmeme (Oct 26, 2012)

I guess Richard that unlike me you didn't buy Vista and some media center extenders only to have it and them abandoned in some respects soon after launch, for example the media centre had some simple bugs that weren't fixed except in windows 7. I never had a crashing problem with Vista but all the signals from Microsoft on mediactr bug reprt boards seemed to be "just buy windows 7".

I did. But not before I tried freeware Media Portal which allows for server client relationships and web access of all your media, as well as nice fanart and experience. So I guess I should be thanking Microsoft!

But this is getting silly. The world wants Windows to run Windows programs for example I can' run Media Portal on Linux only Windows. We don't want to pay through the teeth just for compatibility. It's not fair. XP or Windows 7 should now have to be licensed to other vendors so they can build their frontends on top of them, and Microsoft isn't making money just because it has a dominant position.

Comment edited 1 minute after posting
0 upvotes
Grant
By Grant (Oct 25, 2012)

What I want is a tablet form with function beyond playing children's games. Can't wait to sell my Ipad3 for the Win8 version of the Surface, Leave the camera and crippled apps for my phone.

Comment edited 3 minutes after posting
6 upvotes
richard cohen
By richard cohen (Oct 25, 2012)

this looks fantastic to me, but i will be waiting for the full win8 version next year before seriously considering purchase. i've been using a kindle fire for the past year which is a nice little tablet for what it is, which is pretty limited.

2 upvotes
AnHund
By AnHund (Oct 25, 2012)

This is complete nonsense: "won't support current Windows programs, iPad apps or Android tablet apps". It is not meant to run Windows programs. That is only the Pro version. And iPad or Android apps. Come on!

6 upvotes
AnHund
By AnHund (Oct 25, 2012)

Wow, they changed that sentence in the "cons" after reading my comment - bravo!

1 upvote
Lou Gonzalez
By Lou Gonzalez (Oct 31, 2012)

It WILL actually be able to run Android apps via this new plugin:
http://www.insidethesurface.com/bluestacks-opens-a-window-into-the-android-ecosystem/

0 upvotes
AndyHWC
By AndyHWC (Oct 25, 2012)

From the reviews I read, I hear only good things with the Touch Cover. At least one reviwer actually prefer it over the Type Cover. I will go for the Touch Cover.

I agree with other comments that the Surface should be be reviewed in DPR. It is a great tablet but I don't think it has anything to write home about for its average 720p camera(s)

Comment edited 1 minute after posting
1 upvote
alfaflash
By alfaflash (Oct 25, 2012)

I have been using Windows 8 Beta on a Samsung Series 7 tablet for almost one year, and it is very, very good. Windows 8 is fast, even with Photoshop CS5, and has proven to be reliable without a single freeze up or crash in a year of hard use. Machine start up from the "off" position is on the order of 20 seconds, CS5 opens in 8 seconds. File transfers to and from external drives is also very fast. Battery life while working with files in CS5 has been around 2.5 - 3.0 hours. Windows 8 has been totally compatible with all other MS and Adobe software. I'm not an IT guy at all, just a hard working photographer, but the tablet and Windows 8 combination has worked out extremely well for me.

6 upvotes
HubertChen
By HubertChen (Oct 25, 2012)

Dear alfaflash. Wow. The future has been here since a year! This has completely passed me by. They come with i5 even. Darn powerful enough. This opens a complete new way of thinking ( at least for me). Insert a Wigig card and connect a PCIe docking station with 3D graphics card and Raid HD. So when returning from a shoot all you do is to put the thing in a cradle and you have your big raid drive and 3D graphics card with big displays connected. Then you can breeze through Lightroom and Photoshop and copy your images from the internal disk to the external with about 300 MByte / s through wireless PCIe. ( In other words USB 3 speed even the thing does not have USB 3. ).
The whole thing is bigger with 12" than what I was looking for and more expensive. But it would be so convenient and fast. Virtually no more synching. For longer battery life an external battery / recharger can be used. It is bigger than the iPad but not much heavier. Mmhh... No need for Desktop and Laptop anymore ...

3 upvotes
marike6
By marike6 (Oct 25, 2012)

What's in a name? The name "iPad" is virtually synonymous with "tablet", like an "iPod" is for an MP3 player. Like with the Zune, calling this product "Surface" is not likely to generate the same kind of name association in consumer's minds.

Build quality - the materials of the Surface don't seem as premium as an iPad or an Asus Transformer but the price is about the same. Lastly I see little advantage of porting Windows 8 to ARM when the x86 ecosystem is so vast.

0 upvotes
HubertChen
By HubertChen (Oct 25, 2012)

Would you see an advantage if you could run Windows 8 RT on a 60 USD tablet ? In China tablets start at this price and are selling in mind boggling quantities. Their quality is not bad either. So imagine in case MS does not get a foot into the door with their OS in the tablet market and they decide to license it at a reasonable price to those Chinese tablet makers and they bring them over to your country. Having an Windows 8 RT tablet say for 80 USD look and feel the same as an iPad. Would that intrigue you? Would that make sense ? Then maybe lots of SW guys will switch and porting their apps over. E.g. the only App I would need to be tripped over the edge would be a Lightroom version from Adobe. I am OK if I can not process RAW as long as I can edit on the go and then synch the edits with my PC (and upload the RAWs of course and process on the PC). Of course all is speculation, but possible.

0 upvotes
Richard Shih
By Richard Shih (Oct 25, 2012)

Regarding build quality: most reviewers have had nothing but good things to say about the Vapor Mg case of the Surface.

It will be interesting to compare battery life numbers of ARM vs. Intel-chipped Surfaces. That's where the benefits of ARM should theoretically appear.

3 upvotes
MikeFairbanks
By MikeFairbanks (Oct 25, 2012)

DPReview is starting to stray a little. Guys, the website is called Digital Photography Review, and while mobile devices and such are part of photography, your reviews on some of these devices are not photography-centered. Many reviews just toss in a blurb about photography toward the end of the review.

Be careful that you don't lose focus.

I'm not trying to be negative, as I think DPReview is second to none, but I'm just saying that maybe these reviews aren't front page material?

Thanks

0 upvotes
Ryan Williams
By Ryan Williams (Oct 25, 2012)

I agree with this. I'm totally behind the idea of a mobile photography-orientated site, but the Microsoft Surface has practically nothing to do with photography.

There're no significant photography apps available for it, its own cameras are barely laptop quality, and it's basically just not a tool that's going to be on any photographers' agenda. It's like writing about the Chromebook.

Obviously it's something that gadget geeks in general have an interest in, but if you start venturing into that territory you're competing with Engadget and Gizmodo, and risk compromising your niche and driving readers away. Too much noise to signal.

It's always tempting, but you MUST stick to your niche with sites like this, particularly when trying to build your initial long-term readership. At the moment you have a lot of grace and readers from being affiliated with DPR, but this won't last if the content isn't up to scratch.

Want to see this site succeed, so please take this on board! :)

Comment edited 38 seconds after posting
1 upvote
kwtse
By kwtse (Oct 25, 2012)

I do not mind DP Review occasionally informs us about new product of mobile devices. Nothing to do with photography? Not sure about this. But it must have something to do with photographers. Some photographers would like to carry a handy mobile devices on the run to store, to process and to send photo.

1 upvote
HubertChen
By HubertChen (Oct 25, 2012)

I am sorry, but I disagree. The tablet is emerging as a photographic tool with importance way more significant than other accessories such as say a flash light. The launch of the biggest OS company in the world into the tablet market thus should not be overlooked here and I am glad it was not. Take the time to read some threads above how a photographer reports how he is already using Windows 8 on a tablet.

1 upvote
Amadou Diallo
By Amadou Diallo (Oct 25, 2012)

@MikeFairbanks,
Just to be clear, Connect is a site we've created to explore mobile photography, which today places a premium on the sharing and digesting of images. Tablets play an increasingly important role in that.

I'd also ask you to make the distinction between news stories and reviews. On Connect we've reviewed three camera phones and published a piece about the role of an iPad in a professional workflow.

If your concern is about linking to Connect content from the dpr homepage, that's something we're doing in the near term to make sure interested readers are aware of the new site.

6 upvotes
Fredy Ross
By Fredy Ross (Oct 25, 2012)

Interesting that one can't see the specs of the pro 8 tablet on the microsoft site.

0 upvotes
Artpt
By Artpt (Oct 25, 2012)

To the author and commentators:

I am considering a tablet for the family and perhaps as a photo album viewer. The new ipad mini is interesting, but will Apple ever allow PDFs to be viewed on their tablet platforms?

Thanks in advance.

0 upvotes
headlessmike
By headlessmike (Oct 25, 2012)

All iPads can show PDFs with the standard software and practically any other file type can be handled given the right app. The iPad (I have a 3rd generation) is great for viewing photos and as a general internet and media device.

1 upvote
Geoff Coupe
By Geoff Coupe (Oct 25, 2012)

Under Pros, you have:
"USB 2.0: Compatible with current accesories and peripherals."

I think that should read "Compatible with *some* accessories and peripherals."

Many USB devices require software drivers. These are currently built for running on Wintel hardware - NOT for ARM hardware.

This will also be a problem for Bluetooth devices. For example, since the Surface RT has no GPS capability, I'd want to use my Bluetooth GPS logger with it. But I can't since the software driver is for Wintel hardware only...

0 upvotes
Steven J.M. Sinski
By Steven J.M. Sinski (Oct 25, 2012)

he pretty much glosses over the USB fact other then a mention. the fact is RT is not a full blown W8 and that is acceptable to me. so, yes, it won't work with everything and loading the memory up with lots of drivers is rather counterproductive. it still does open up a more open world. as to GPS do you know what is actually in store and what its capable of? you need to sit back and see what happens before you assume and stonewall it. remember only certain higher priced GPS units work with the ipad via BT.

1 upvote
egarc
By egarc (Oct 25, 2012)

@artpt, PDF has always been a native format for iOS and OSX.

0 upvotes
Holtphoto
By Holtphoto (Oct 25, 2012)

Agree with most users here I will wait for the Intel Corei5 based pro version with full Windows functionality. The most compelling argument being the ability to still run Photoshop and Lightroom

2 upvotes
harold1968
By harold1968 (Oct 25, 2012)

love it or hate it, I think this will be a very interesting idea

Many people i know are waiting for this one

0 upvotes
harold1968
By harold1968 (Oct 25, 2012)

The USP of the surface over the iPad are:

1. typing cover
2. 32gb vs 16gb
3. word and excel

IMHO word and excel apparently are going to be implemented well
This could be a killer feature for those (like me) who need to use a proper WP & Spreadsheet

I have the iPad, and it is great, but really its a glorified web browser and game platform for my kids

the surface sounds like it might really be a productivity device

1 upvote
marike6
By marike6 (Oct 25, 2012)

Functionality of desktop programs like Word and Excel can be found in programs like Google Docs, which beats Word for collaborating with others.

The iPad and the IOS platform have Apps for pretty much any task, well beyond simple web browsing and gaming and virtually all tablets in existence can be connected to a keyboard. This product from MS was done first by Asus with the Transformer, but the Transformer is running the much more open and versatile Android platform.

0 upvotes
harold1968
By harold1968 (Oct 25, 2012)

granted, but IMHO the quality of MS Word and Excel beats everything and BTW I use openoffice on my iMac, but MS office on my laptops

2 upvotes
Earthlight
By Earthlight (Oct 25, 2012)

I think I will wait and see what the pro version puts to the table. Looks quite promising already though.

0 upvotes
vlad0
By vlad0 (Oct 25, 2012)

This is the best review so far, and agree with him, an Intel Atom x86 machine would have been really nice..

http://www.anandtech.com/show/6385/microsoft-surface-review

1 upvote
Larry Fosse
By Larry Fosse (Oct 25, 2012)

This is a fairly content free review. Read the numerous in-depth commentaries at Tachnet, PCMag, CNET etc.

0 upvotes
gl2k
By gl2k (Oct 25, 2012)

Win RT is DOA (dead on arrival) because it competes with 2 already existing high quality portable OSs and doesn't add anything special.
The "pro" version pads on the other side are extremely promising because they offer new possibilities of how to work with a pad type computer.

3 upvotes
vlad0
By vlad0 (Oct 25, 2012)

Actually it does.. have you used Windows 8 on a touch screen device ? It makes everything else feel dated.. I tried one at best buy the other day, it puts things in perspective. Microsoft have done an amazing job.

I think it was the Lenovo Yoga ...

3 upvotes
harold1968
By harold1968 (Oct 25, 2012)

we'll see

0 upvotes
marike6
By marike6 (Oct 25, 2012)

Not sure how "dated" the Surface makes other tablet feel. According to CNET's review, the performance is "sluggish" and the Windows App Store is a "ghost town".

0 upvotes
Jun2
By Jun2 (Oct 25, 2012)

Forget about running lightroom, think about using touch version of Photoshop through Adobe cloud.

Comment edited 2 times, last edit 34 seconds after posting
1 upvote
Robert Eckerlin
By Robert Eckerlin (Oct 25, 2012)

Hello Jun2

Could you please describe whether your comment about Lightrrom applies also to the Surface Pro Version; and if this is the case: why?

I am interested in the answer, because I was intending to use Photoshop Elements (which according to my limited understanding does also not provide a "touch version") on a Surface Pro and i will appreciate to understand, whether this is a bad idea. Thanks in advance for your answer

0 upvotes
Richard Shih
By Richard Shih (Oct 25, 2012)

It doesn't. Surface Pro will be able to run any application you install on Windows Vista / 7, provided the minimum system requirements are met.

As for Photoshop Elements, you should be able to interact with it through the touchscreen - your finger just taking the place of the mouse cursor.

0 upvotes
Fredy Ross
By Fredy Ross (Oct 25, 2012)

I am waiting for the pro version, then I think it will suit me very well and be lighter than my lenovo x201

0 upvotes
vlad0
By vlad0 (Oct 25, 2012)

Either that, or the Asus Transformer Book... there is also the HP envy X2, but that one runs on the new Atom, which seems to be powerful enough for most tasks.

0 upvotes
plasnu
By plasnu (Oct 25, 2012)

No contest. ipad or macbookair wins hands down.

Comment edited 1 minute after posting
4 upvotes
vlad0
By vlad0 (Oct 25, 2012)

nah..

3 upvotes
landscaper1
By landscaper1 (Oct 25, 2012)

Nah, plasnu. That might be true when you can run something on the Apple products that Apple doesn't sell, and you certainly couldn't run Photoshop like you could on a laptop. The Surface Pro could actually put laptops on the go out of business.

5 upvotes
plasnu
By plasnu (Oct 25, 2012)

Huh? Photoshop and Lightroom run on MacBook Air. Apple has much better solutions.

1 upvote
DougRight
By DougRight (Oct 25, 2012)

It boils down to this - will we see Lightroom on an ARM? If not, then the surface photographers will want is the Intel version, not this Surface RT.

On a side note, I personally know well the appeal of the tablet set up, but after throwing money away on accessories for my iPad, I've come to the conclusion that for content creation purposes, nothing beats the portability and utility of a notebook out in the field. A Mac Airbook is nearly as thin & light as a tablet, and far far more productive.

0 upvotes
Joseph S Wisniewski
By Joseph S Wisniewski (Oct 25, 2012)

I just finished my first RT app. Based on that experience and knowing what I do about raw processors, I'd say Lightroom isn't doable on RT.

2 upvotes
HubertChen
By HubertChen (Oct 25, 2012)

How about something like the Photosmith approach. Photographers shoot RAW + JPEG. Using Lightroom is done for editing but not for processing. So you can edit using idle time during the shoot or commuting, sync your touch pad to Lightroom on your PC and then the PC version of Lightroom does the editing.

3 upvotes
Jalmod90
By Jalmod90 (Oct 25, 2012)

People seem to quickly forget that the Asus EP 121 and the Samsung series 7 Slate already exist, and are Wacom Penable. Those are probably better suited for photographers than this.

3 upvotes
jon404
By jon404 (Oct 25, 2012)

So I have to pay more for one that can run my Windows programs? How much more?

My little Acer netbook, that I use for almost everything, lasts for 6 hours, has a real hard drive, a keyboard, SD card slot and USB ports, has Windows 7 and wifi, and cost me $300 2 years ago. I've written, illustrated, and produced three books on it (Framemaker, Open Office, Photoshop, Xara, Acrobat); see jon404.com. I make my web pages on it (Front Page, Xara) , and use it for everything else -- web viewing, e-mail, etc. Extra cost -- one new battery, $50. Return on investment -- unbelievable.

Serious question -- what does a tablet do better for me?

EDIT -- forgot to mention photography! Olympus Viewer (have an XZ-1), Xara, B/W Styler, other photo and art programs like Akvis Artwork.

Comment edited 13 minutes after posting
1 upvote
Robert Hoy
By Robert Hoy (Oct 25, 2012)

Simple: it's not a touch screen. There are times when a keyboard and mouse (or "mouse" pad) are impractical especially in the business world. I'm using a Samsung Slate with Win 7 Enterprise loaded for a business application in the field that would be horribly cumbersome with a laptop

0 upvotes
Jun2
By Jun2 (Oct 25, 2012)

It's good for doing work, but not for the fun.

0 upvotes
HubertChen
By HubertChen (Oct 25, 2012)

@ Jon404: Thanks for offering an alternative
@ Robert: Agree. For photographers it would be to pull out the touchpad from a photo bag to review the latest shots. Operation must be while holding it and keyboard and mouse would be too cumbersome.

0 upvotes
jon404
By jon404 (Oct 25, 2012)

Thanks guys for the comments -- Robert, will check out the Samsung Slate! And definitely, from a photographer's perspective, these tablets are neat and look like they are perfect for making presentations -- I'm sure there are apps to put your pictures in different folders to select for viewing.

0 upvotes
Jack A. Zucker
By Jack A. Zucker (Oct 25, 2012)

the dealbreaker for photographers is the screen resolution.

As much as I hate ios, apple and their proprietary/closed architecture I'm considering an ipad because the screen blows away *ANY* other tablet out there. The asus Transformer HD is pitiful by comparison.

0 upvotes
hawkigrad
By hawkigrad (Oct 25, 2012)

Nope. If you read the reviews the Surface uses a higher quality screen that has less glare than ipad, deeper blacks, and other improvements which greatly diminish the need for extra resolution.

2 upvotes
HubertChen
By HubertChen (Oct 25, 2012)

@ hawkigrad: I think you confuse resolution with acuity. That being said, if acuity is too low, higher resolution is wasted. As a photographer I would use the touch pad only outside to review shots. I am expecting that higher contrast in daylight would be more important than resolution. If you want to use the touch pad instead in side with lower ambient light intensity, the contrast would become less important and then maybe the higher resolution can be made count. The proof will be in the pudding. Put both displays side by side in different viewing conditions and see you your images look to you.

Comment edited 5 minutes after posting
0 upvotes
SirSeth
By SirSeth (Oct 25, 2012)

Glad to see coverage of the Surface from a photographers viewpoint. I think Surface Pro has a ton to offer pretty much anyone willing to splash out. My friend said, "at that price I'd just buy a Macbook Air if I wanted laptop capabilities." It's not like he is going to give up his iPad though. I do want USB, and a keyboard, and actual full fledged program support AND a tablet because both are great for photography. For a little more than the top end iPad, we might get both in one device. MS is smart for producing another model $100 less than iPad. It has some advantages as mentioned. For me USB/SD/and Type Cover are a big deal to me, but it's Surface Pro I want.

1 upvote
spencerberus
By spencerberus (Oct 24, 2012)

I'm surprised to hear they went with USB 2.0 rather than 3.0, I've been seeing USB 3.0 ports on a lot of ultrabooks for a while now, I wonder what prompted the decision to stick with the older interface? Or is that a typo?

0 upvotes
Richard Shih
By Richard Shih (Oct 25, 2012)

Not a typo - USB 2.0.

Just speculation, but they could have chosen USB 2.0 vs. 3.0 based on hardware costs and there still being a lack of devices out there that take full advantage of USB 3.0. Pretty much the only devices you'd use to take advantage of speed increases would be card readers, USB thumb drives, and external hard drives, but those still carry a premium over their USB 2.0 counterparts.

0 upvotes
micksh6
By micksh6 (Oct 25, 2012)

It's because this is Surface RT, ARM-based tablet. Such devices have USB controller in the CPU, or rather SOC.

ARM chips with USB 3.0 support don't exist, as simple as that.

The article says Surface in title, but it's only about Surface RT. Later there will be Surface Pro with USB 3.0 support.

3 upvotes
Richard Shih
By Richard Shih (Oct 25, 2012)

Didn't know that. Thanks for that.

0 upvotes
harry
By harry (Oct 24, 2012)

I have an Asus Transformer Prime which has a full-sized USB port and an SD port through its docking keyboard, a mini USB port and a micro SD port on the tablet itself. I can copy files back and forth between its internal memory and all the memory cards or harddrive connected to the tablet via the USB ports. I believe all the 10"-ish tablets except iPad have USB ports.

0 upvotes
cfh25
By cfh25 (Oct 25, 2012)

...and iit's a USB 3 port

0 upvotes
DarcyAB
By DarcyAB (Oct 24, 2012)

Can anyone tell me if any of the tablets, existing or comming, will allow me to transfer photos from my camera / card to an external harddrive for storage while travelling. Alternatively must I rely on continuing to carry extra cards (possibly cheapest option) or a laptop?

0 upvotes
Richard Shih
By Richard Shih (Oct 24, 2012)

You should be able to do that with the Surface / other computers / tablets running Windows 8 or RT. Just plug in a standard card reader into the USB port, copy them to the hard drive, then plug in your external USB hard drive. Or if it supports it and the power requirements are fulfilled, plug both devices into a USB hub and into the Windows 8 / RT device.

0 upvotes
sierra_vista
By sierra_vista (Oct 25, 2012)

When traveling you can also transfer your photos from an iPhone, iPad, MacBook Air, etc. to online services such as Dropbox, Box, and/or Adobe's Revel. Dropbox and Box offer free storage of 2+GB and Adobe's Revel is unlimited storage, but is a subscription service.

I've used all three services when traveling with no problems.

Comment edited 6 minutes after posting
0 upvotes
Mustafa
By Mustafa (Oct 25, 2012)

Have you looked at the G Connect?

0 upvotes
Techo
By Techo (Oct 24, 2012)

Re: The screen: From what I've read, the perceived sharpness/detail of the Surface WinRT tablet vs the "new" ipad screens are just that, perceived. Going by numbers alone does not indicate better quality. Us photogs should know that ;) The higher-res Ipad will not necessarily be more readable or look better. Until I see both side by side, the screen resolution numbers is not a con, yet. http://www.neowin.net/news/microsoft-explains-why-they-chose-1366768-resolution-for-the-surface-rt

0 upvotes
Richard Shih
By Richard Shih (Oct 24, 2012)

To quote The Verge, "...the technology in the world can't make up for pixels that aren't there. At the size of the Surface screen, 1366 x 768 resolution leaves much to be desired — and even though things are sharp, text and some of the starker elements of the Microsoft's new UI would clearly benefit from a higher res display."

http://www.theverge.com/2012/10/23/3540550/microsoft-surface-review

At the same time the reviewers are supposed to be nitpicking. As a regular user will your experience be diminished by not having as many pixels? It's up to you to decide.

0 upvotes
Peter G
By Peter G (Oct 24, 2012)

What you read is MS marketing making excuses for low res screen.

Wired did a blind test putting screens behind a cutout:
http://www.wired.com/reviews/2012/10/microsoft-surface/all/
"We pulled up a page from The New York Times’ website that had multiple typefaces and an image, and allowed testers to zoom in or out and scroll the screens up and down to each person’s comfort level. It was a blowout. Every single person expressed a preference for the iPad display. In most cases, a strong one. Multiple people described it as “no contest.”

5 upvotes
marike6
By marike6 (Oct 25, 2012)

So you are trying to convince others (or yourself) that a higher res Retina display wont produce sharper text or graphics than a lower res panel? And my iPhone's 5 MP can probably produce images just as sharp as a Nikon D800. Please, the Retina panels in the iPad are the absolute state of the art and there is nothing yet that can touch them in the tablet space.

1 upvote
Robert Hoy
By Robert Hoy (Oct 25, 2012)

Since when did 72 dpi screen become a horrible thing? We've been using them for decades before 1 year ago. Don't jump on the Apple bandwagon like a lemming!

1 upvote
M Lammerse
By M Lammerse (Oct 24, 2012)

I do own the ipad (3rd generation) and I bet it can't reach the hardware of the ipad by means of screen and battery life. But if you are not an apple junkie and you are more font of connectivity, compatibility and integration with your (Windows 8) PC - I think even this Windows tablet gives a better choice.

That this is a again written by an Appletologist (almost a scary Scientology level devotion) makes me wonder how much trust I have to put in this preview.

A couple of things: if you want to mention a huge number of apps, don't mention Apple but mention Android.
No it will of course not run IOS nor Android apps. But it will give you the freedom to install what you want and how you want it.

2 upvotes
Richard Shih
By Richard Shih (Oct 24, 2012)

BlackBerry OS (cue jokes about its funeral date being overdue) does run Android apps...

0 upvotes
Joseph S Wisniewski
By Joseph S Wisniewski (Oct 25, 2012)

The intel based Surface Pro will. The ARM based RT tablets run app store apps, microsoft's way only. Not really that different from Apple or Android...

0 upvotes
Lou Gonzalez
By Lou Gonzalez (Oct 31, 2012)

Actually it WILL be able to run Android apps via this new plugin:
http://www.insidethesurface.com/bluestacks-opens-a-window-into-the-android-ecosystem/

0 upvotes
antiq
By antiq (Oct 24, 2012)

Tried to edit, was to late:

I have to cut you guys some slack.

I welcome this type of content on dpreview's Connect and applaud you for trying to be quick with it. I also appreciate the independent thought; although it probably is a bit flame-inducing, I feel that dpreview should strive for more than just pushing around other people's text. Well done, just needs a little more polish.

Comment edited 1 minute after posting
0 upvotes
antiq
By antiq (Oct 24, 2012)

The RT in the present state is a no-go for me, since it offers nothing more in terms of wokflow. It's highlight is the Windows explorer / compatibility and full USB port - invaluable in corporate environments.

The upcoming win8 pro is quite intriguing though, a full ivy-bride laptop with stylus support, fullHD IPS display etc would mean that I can preview and organize raw images and even retouch them in PS (with the stylus perhaps?) unlike the iToys, which are just for adding filters to jpg files and presenting your portfolio.

Also - "Reviews indicate poor experiences with the Touch Cover .." have you even read Engadget's take on it, as it is one of the most prestigious gadget review sites?

1 upvote
pjs37
By pjs37 (Oct 25, 2012)

I have to agree every review I said, (arstechnica, anandtech, engadget) said the touch cover performed decently well all things considerin

0 upvotes
liquid stereo
By liquid stereo (Oct 24, 2012)

I know nothing of this Surface thing but those pros are only pros to people who insist on being behind the times.

USB 2.0? Is that the slow one or the fast one?
A memory card slot? For what purpose?

And of course the upcoming surface pro... whooo hoooo!

0 upvotes
Richard Shih
By Richard Shih (Oct 24, 2012)

Yes, USB 2.0 is the "slow" one - the one that you've probably been using for the past 10 years. USB 3.0 has only been recently introduced and though faster, is still not the de facto standard.

Memory card slot - to store, edit, and upload your cameras pictures?

0 upvotes
PLShutterbug
By PLShutterbug (Oct 24, 2012)

I don't know of many cameras that use microSD cards. Sure - I can buy a microSD card and put it in an adapter to use with my camera, but that's another bit of stuff to lose.

1 upvote
Richard Shih
By Richard Shih (Oct 24, 2012)

Quite true; only a handle of cameras use microSD, and they're mostly point-and-shoots.

However, nowadays you can find similarly spec'ed and priced SD and microSD (with adapter) cards. So spend the $499 on a 32GB Surface RT and buy a 32GB or 64GB microSD card with the $100 you've be saving over the 64GB Surface RT?

Also, if you're just traveling with a camera, a Surface, and a card reader, you can have redundant storage (microSD + built-in Flash memory).

1 upvote
liquid stereo
By liquid stereo (Oct 24, 2012)

my point is that the thing is already out-dated/moded. They should have gone "all in" and pushed the envelope.

Does this thing have a DOS mode? (Probably does.)

0 upvotes
sjms
By sjms (Oct 24, 2012)

missing pro: USB port. that in itself is a major step forward. now due to the lack of forthought the writer "so called technical" missed that with said USB port one can, with the correct drivers, attach a "whatever" adapter to the device. so it can be cell service provider agnostic. resolution? yeah its true, but will that make a real world difference? i have a "new" retina display ipad. it is nice but i much prefer a more "cloud independent" system that i can really do things by my terms and more easily choose who im going to share my money with. apple builds to create a reliance factor (like a "dealer"). it seems that MS is building to allow considerably more independence. i vote for independence.

1 upvote
Erin Lodi
By Erin Lodi (Oct 24, 2012)

It is a great feature, that's why we called it out as our second bullet under pros. Thanks!

0 upvotes
Richard Shih
By Richard Shih (Oct 24, 2012)

The USB 2.0 port was the second bullet listed in pros.

You're correct that the USB port allows access to hundreds if not thousands of devices with the right driver, but details on what is supported in Windows RT vs. Windows 8 is still sketchy. HP and Dell are only listing a handful of printers to be Windows RT-compatible (http://www.pcworld.com/article/2012662/many-dell-hp-printers-wont-work-with-windows-rt.html), 34 of 200 and 32 of 110, respectively. And these are printers that we're talking about here, without even contemplating the more uncommon USB devices.

0 upvotes
HubertChen
By HubertChen (Oct 25, 2012)

It appears something has to be said for low cost Android tablets ( at least the ones sold here in China). They all come with a USB port and SD memory card slot.

Comment edited 17 seconds after posting
0 upvotes
Peter G
By Peter G (Oct 24, 2012)

AFAIK this is Surface RT and it doesn't have a stylus capability.

Surface Pro coming around Jan 2013 has that.

Surface RT really should be avoided. It isn't that great as a tablet, nor a laptop and there is little software, and what there is, isn't that great.

http://www.theverge.com/2012/10/23/3540550/microsoft-surface-review

0 upvotes
Richard Shih
By Richard Shih (Oct 24, 2012)

Windows RT and Windows 8 are built with the same touch capabilities, so Surface RT and Surface Pro will be able to work with any capacitive stylus. See: http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=vH304FfsGA4

1 upvote
Peter G
By Peter G (Oct 24, 2012)

That is Surface Pro like Said. It has an Active Digitizer.

Surface RT DOES NOT.

Someone could build an RT machine with Active Digitizer but AKAIK no one has.

1 upvote
Richard Shih
By Richard Shih (Oct 24, 2012)

I stand corrected. You'll still be able to use a capacitive stylus on the RT though.

0 upvotes
Paul Brown UK
By Paul Brown UK (Oct 24, 2012)

Very poor show with this article. A brand new site containing errors like this, is no way to start to build a reputation for reliable information for readers. People will simply go elsewhere for articles they can trust. Sack the writer!

1 upvote
Erin Lodi
By Erin Lodi (Oct 24, 2012)

Thanks for the feedback, Paul! We've corrected the pricing error above.

0 upvotes
Nick Savoiu
By Nick Savoiu (Oct 24, 2012)

"Heavier"? At 1.5lbs vs 1.44lbs only a scale can tell!

3 upvotes
W5JCK
By W5JCK (Oct 24, 2012)

32 GB 4th Generation iPad is $599. Windows 8 is being released on October 26, not the 29th. And a technical writer is someone who makes a living writing documentation for software apps and hardware, not a damn blogger reviewing tech related gadgets. Get your damn facts straight!

2 upvotes
Erin Lodi
By Erin Lodi (Oct 24, 2012)

Thanks, we appreciate the feedback, and have corrected the pricing. And, yes, the mobile version of the software will be released on on the 29th, but Windows 8 for tablets and PCs will be released on the 26th. We've tried to make that more clear above.

1 upvote
HubertChen
By HubertChen (Oct 25, 2012)

Dear W5JCK, I appreciate your correction. Is it possible, however, to deliver them more politely? If your friend makes a mistake, is this how you would talk to him?

2 upvotes
57even
By 57even (Oct 27, 2012)

W5JCK. What is your problem? Hiding behind forum anonymity to be rude is simply cowardice. If you are a professional writer yourself, you should be able to make your point without sounding like a mean spirited, patronising windbag, even if you are one.

0 upvotes
Clint Thayer
By Clint Thayer (Oct 24, 2012)

Your pricing comparison is incorrect. You are using the LTE versions of the iPads for prices, instead of WI FI only.

0 upvotes
Erin Lodi
By Erin Lodi (Oct 24, 2012)

Thanks, we appreciate the feedback, and have corrected the pricing.

0 upvotes
relate2
By relate2 (Oct 24, 2012)

I love the built in kick stand, generic usb connectivity, don't care if it is usb2 and micro sd slot. I love the ability to do what I want with my technology instead of being tied into what Apple will let me do.

Having said that I think I would wait for the pro version next year. :-)

2 upvotes
Total comments: 122
About us
Sitemap
Connect