NEWS ANALYSIS: Microsoft’s Surface tablet is now available to retail tablet shoppers at Best Buy. But even if it’s on store shelves, don’t even think about buying it.
Microsoft’s Surface tablet is now available to Best Buy customers. The move is viewed by analysts and Microsoft as an important one. As with other tablets, the more places the Surface is available, the better. Best Buy, the top surviving brick-and-mortar electronics retailer in the United States, is an important part of pushing more sales and increasing a product’s popularity.
With the holidays fast approaching, customers will increasingly turn to Best Buy to get their last-minute shopping done. When they are there looking for a tablet, it’s possible that their thoughts will turn to Microsoft’s slate. After all, it’s bigger than the iPad and comes from a company that many customers trust. Plus, at a starting price of $499, it appears to be in line with the iPad in terms of value.
However, further inspection will reveal quite quickly that the Surface is not a tablet worth buying. Right now, there are a host of tablets available that are better in every way. The Surface, while a nice first attempt by Microsoft, falls short.
Read on to find out why the Surface tablet is one customers should pass by as they finish shopping this holiday season
1. The better version is coming
Microsoft is currently only selling the Surface RT, a tablet that’s running the company’s ARM-ready Windows RT operating system. That’s a problem. When customers boot up the Surface, they’ll find that it lacks many of the features available in Windows 8 Pro and is surprisingly underpowered. It’s better to wait for the Surface Pro, which is launching with a full version of Windows 8 early next year.
2. Windows RT software support
App support in Windows RT is downright pathetic. In fact, looking through the device’s app store will reveal that there are just a handful of worthwhile apps. Why would that happen on a Windows-based product, one might ask? Simple: Surface RT is based on an ARM chip, requiring developers to rebuild their programs to work on that architecture. At least for now, many just aren’t doing it.
3. Windows 8’s learning curve
Since Microsoft release the operating system in October, Users have found that the Windows 8 learning curve
is fairly steep. As a result, this might not be the ideal time to try out this Windows tablet. The chances are that Microsoft will improve some design oddities in the coming months, making it a bit easier for users to get the hang of Windows 8. Until then, skip it.
4. It’s expensive for the value
Although the Surface RT starts at $499
, matching the price of Apple’s iPad, it’s hard to see how Microsoft can justify that value proposition. The device, while well-built and good-looking, is big and clunky, making it less mobile than the iPad. Plus, with far less application support than the iPad, customers will find little to like after getting through the native apps. Add that to a lack of WiFi along with only 2GB of RAM, and the Surface RT starts looking like a tablet that should be priced at around $399.