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My Surface PRO 3 'Must Have' Accessories List

Sunday, July 21, 2013

Paul Thurrott is wrong

First of all I need to say that I have been following Paul since long time ago. And I do that because most of the time, the majority of the time, he is right in his honest opinions about current technical matters. But to be honest doesn't means always to be right.

I found his article written right after the price cut of the Surface RT which is full of his negative opinion about the Surface RT and Windows FT when I was reading many other articles from finances sources quoting his words as a proof that the Surface RT was a bad business from Microsoft. After reading his article I read the comments left there by many users, many of them contradicting his opinions which he defends believing that many, including me, take buying decisions based on them. I have to say that I posted few comments and stopped thinking that it was not the right place to express what I also honestly believe about the Surface RT.

So here I'm writing my own article/response. So let's start by clarifying that a Surface RT is a Tablet, and Tablets following the concept introduced by Apple are not intended to replace your home PC, being a Mac or a Windows Based PC. So, if you bought a Surface RT and found that you can't run iTunes, Visual Studio, or any other PC Software, that means that you bought the wrong device nothing is wrong with THAT device. You needed the PRO version which have been labeled as Tablet too but in my account it's a TabletPC.

Now, let's compare the two versions, RT versus PRO, the PRO is bigger, runs at a higher temperature and has less battery life. Why? Plain and simple, we do not have available and never will the technology to pack the power, performance wise, of current PC's in a Smaller space and keep the same performance, cooler temperature and more battery life. If we could, we would not see any PC with the size of those PCs that you see available everywhere where you can buy a PC. While when you buy a TV you want the bigger you can get, when you buy a PC you want the smaller you can buy without compromise performance. Now, do you believe that MS did not do their best trying to get the PRO to the same size, temperature and battery life than what we see in the RT? Oh and let me do not forget to mention price! ARM processors are 14% cheaper. To believe that MS did not do their best is exactly what Paul is implying in his article where he tries to convince everybody that using the ATOM processor in the PRO, MS could have got the RT being a better device with same battery life. So, if this is the case, why other PC makers have not come already with a Tablet the size of the RT using the full version of Windows? Because they can't. A year after the Surface release and they still can't. Eventually they will but at that time you will see ARM devices with Windows RT smaller, lighter and with better battery life than those using the full version of Windows.

So everything comes to what's better for you. Do you want the full OS with less battery life, hotter, bigger but without any restrictions in what Software do you want to use or do you want something smaller, cooler, with a decent performance and the restrictions in the software that you can run (this description applies to any Tablet including the iPad)?.  Keep in mind that the Surface RT is packed with a full version of Internet Explorer that Support flash, a full version of Office, and email Support, soon to be Outlook. 90% of all the users do not need anything else. They don't need Visual Studio or iTunes having a decent media player installed in their Surface. Use your home PC to sync your iPod, we already said that Surface RT like any Tablet is not a replacement of your Home PC, it's a companion.

Is Surface RT so slow like Paul makes us believe in his article? No at all. I do not keep 20 applications running in the background. If I'm not using them I just close it. But this is something that being always a mobile user I learned. Less applications opened allows you to preserve battery. But other than that I can't find any other reason or condition where the Surface RT has performed that bad that Paul feels that should be mentioned and making a big deal out of it. Like I said in one of my comments in his article, my wife complains about poor performance in her iPad 2. I'm using my Surface RT daily as my Main PC. And performance is not a concern to me. If it could be faster I won't stop anyone to try to make it faster but to stop those willing to buy it saying that it's slow to me is misleading. With a little bit of education and good practice Surface RT will satisfy any user coming fro owning an iPad.

And now that I reached this point, why I bought RT after owning an iPad for more than 2 years? Simple, too many restrictions. Let say that you have a Document A that you want to modify but those modifications can't be done with just one Software. That will result in two copies of the same file, one for each program. And to avoid that you will have too spend lot of time in synching. I ended many times confused and with an outdated version of a document. The lack of a clear and easy to use file system was a big deal to me. Printing, big deal in an iPad if you do not use any other Apple devices. With RT was just a matter of picking where I want to print. Browsing, you have many sites that are not compatible with Safari and when that happens your only option is to wait until that page decides to create an App for iOS, and that's what it's, Apps are there to go around the shortcomings of iOS. When the Surface RT was released you heard people complaining because they did not see an Apps for Facebook or one for Twitter. Come one! Use the web site! It's full functional for the first time in a Tablet! You don't need any Apps. Full USB Support. There is not a USB port in an iPad unless you buy adapters and devices, etc. Yes, Paul, I know that the USB to Ethernet adapter does not work. Yes, but it's because MS is forcing hardware makers to follow certifications and guidelines in their drivers. But you know that having the driver we have the USB Support there, so this point can be solved in any moment if both MS and the hardware maker want.

And my last point... IF you want to try a Surface RT, go and get it now that's $350. You won't get any Tablet in the market with a full version of Office and an Internet Browser for that price any where. Should you wait for the second version? You may be end waiting, if we are all lucky, few months. If we are lucky. After all the bad press coming even from experts like Paul, I doubt that there is going to be a second version of RT. A sad reality. The incomprehension and confusion with Windows 8 and the big mistake of rebranding TabletPC as Tablet will kill the future of a good device.

PS: This article was entirely written and edited in a Surface RT device, without using any Apps, just Internet Explorer. Something I could not do using my iPad.