Surface misconceptions

Having just listened to the latest episodes of Build & Analyze and The Talk Show, it seems that Gruber & Friends have some misconceptions about the Surface. They haven’t had as much time to use one as I have, so let’s clear some of them up.

Gestures are confusing and difficult to use
Like any new device, the Surface has a learning curve. There are some gestures to learn. However, they are easy, intuitive, and after a short time with the Surface, anyone can learn them. There are essentially four gestures, each corresponding with an edge of the display: swiping from the right brings up a charms menu, swiping from the left enables multitasking, swiping from the top or bottom brings up a contextual menu. That’s pretty much it. Clearly, most people didn’t have trouble learning how to pinch-to-zoom, double-tap to zoom, double-click home buttons to multitask, and hold icons to move them on the iPad. Same thing here.

The desktop mode is jarring and confusing
The most popular complaint I’ve heard about the Surface RT is the inclusion of a desktop mode. Apparently, this is a big deal. It really isn’t. The Surface RT runs a tablet OS and this is where you will be 90% of the time. The desktop mode is simply another app on the device where Office runs. You can also use this app to do standard Windows tasks like accessing the file system and transferring files. I doubt anyone would complain about a native app to access the file system and transfer files on the iPad. When you launch an Office app, it automatically opens in desktop mode. When you switch to another app, you find yourself right back into the tablet OS. It’s simple and seamless.

You can’t use it on your lap
Yes, you can. I have the Type Cover and I can easily use the Surface on my lap. It isn’t quite as stable as a laptop, but it is perfectly usable and has not been an issue at all.

It is expensive
The Surface is cheaper than an iPad. The base model Surface has 32GB of storage and is $499. The 32GB iPad Wi-Fi is $599. But, what about the Touch Cover? A 32GB Surface with Touch Cover is $599. A 32GB iPad with Smart Cover is $638. And that doesn’t include a keyboard.

It can’t be a laptop replacement
Sure it can. Even the RT model. The Surface RT does email, contacts, calendar, web browsing, photo management, music and video, and even includes the Microsoft Office suite. Have you heard how great the keyboard is? Especially the Type Cover. Of course, the RT app library isn’t as extensive as the iPad’s, however, the above tasks easily represent the majority of day-to-day laptop usage and the app library will only improve over time.