My experiments with Surface RT

I bought a Surface RT as the part of January sale promotion from Microsoft store. I was missing a tablet since my IPAD was stolen on our Wedding anniversary trip to Barcelona. My experience at Microsoft stores was excellent. The ordering process was straight forward and the item was shipped and delivered before I even started thinking about it. The touch screen is good (5 point touch), although not as good as the one comes with IPAD -2 or IPAD  air. Some of the the aspects I really loved are

  1. It comes with Office 8.1 RT (Includes power point, Outlook, Excel , One Note and Word)
  2. Support of standard peripheral ports (USB, Micro HDMI)
  3. Ability to connect an external keyboard
  4. The 32/64 GB RAM with extensibility of storage (you can add 64GB of Micro SD)
  5. Widescreen aspect ratio (16:9 – Which looks like a standard book)
  6. A lower cost (almost £100 less than an IPAD air Wi-Fi only)

More detail of the spec available SurfaceRT

Some of the few irritating things are

  1. The ARM processor and RT operating system , doesn’t allow any of the applications to be installed other than those from the Windows store (they are stupidly limited).  There are many good apps (just a few to be named such as spotify, yahoo IM , What’s up) are not available for RT. Also many other applications just switches to online mode (such as face book, Amazon) as soon as you invoke certain functionality.
  2. Windows update – Unless you have disabled the update , the update can come like a shock and make the tablet useless for quite long. I use my tablet while in train to cover my an hour long commuting everyday

I have also bought a touch keyboard(£64), 64GB Micro SDXC Class 10 memory card (£29 – which makes this 128 GB in capacity), HDMI adapter cable  (£34.99) – overall still less than IPad air (32 GB) . A Huawei USB Wifi dongle (£40) with pay as go 3g ( gave it backbone connectivity while one travel). That makes a package !

Surprise on the second day – Keyboard stopped working !

There was an update on the second day (around 45 minutes in install update ) post surface got happily restarted. Alas the keypad is not working. The built in mouse in the keypad seems to be functional, but not the keys.

  1. A complete troubleshoot as per (http://www.microsoft.com/surface/en-us/support/hardware-and-drivers/troubleshoot-surface-keyboards) – No joy !
  2. Reset the Surface – Keyboard started magically working again
  3. Updated the surface RT again (auto update) and restarted Surface RT
  4. Keyboard stopped working again
  5. After of a lot of search – found the culprit  (http://www.microsoft.com/surface/en-gb/support/install-update-activate/2-update-history) . The issue was due to MS hotfix 
      • Surface Type Cover 2 Firmware Update Device (v2.0.331.0)
      • Surface Touch Cover 2 Firmware Update Device (v2.0.333.0)
        • Two-finger touchpad use optimised.

The question now is  how to fix this ? . Apparently there is no way you can contact Microsoft  other than packing and sending the RT back to service !

Finally a fix was found – The following fixed by keyboard issue

  1. Touch drag on the right edge so that search is visible
  2. Type device Manager
  3. You will a triangular tree node called other devices . You may look through the entire tree to spot this out  
  4. If you right click on other devices and you can click on “Update Driver ….”
  5. A right click on the node – a dialog pops up
  6. In the dialog click on “browse my computer for driver software” and you need to select “Let me pick from a list of device drivers on my computer”
  7. Select the Keyboard Node as HID Keyboard Device

Magic – the keyboard will start working

  • Why Microsoft support doesn’t have this info in the Surface RT support ? God knows ?
  • Why Microsoft doesn’t find some time to test the devices before issuing the updates ?

End of the day

I don’t have much to complain about Surface RT (ofcourse there is no yahoo chat app) . But there are many things make me happy

  1. I have OneNote (it’s there for Ipad as well)  which can manage my tasks and sync will all devices
  2. The invaluable Microsoft office with Outlook , excel and PowerPoint
  3. The ability to run flash on IE. The 128 GB storage !

I see it’s a good deal ! and not missing my Ipad

Posted in Gadgets