Tag Archives: surface 2

Why I didn’t hate Windows RT

windows rt logo
Are you sad to see this go?

By now you’d all know that I’m onto a Surface 3 which naturally has full Windows 8. I’m sure this upgrade path is common for Windows RT users. But I’d like two minutes on the soapbox being (as it appears) a lone voice in support of the Windows RT project.

Windows RT was more than adequate for my needs while I had the Surface 2. I never expected it to be a full version of Windows and I didn’t need that; I needed a lightweight portable device with a browser and MS Office, and with the alternative being a heavier and pricier Surface 2 Pro, the Surface 2 with Windows RT was the best choice for me. I didn’t expect it to run desktop apps, because I knew it couldn’t. I didn’t expect 100% driver compatibility, because I knew Windows RT to Windows 7 was like iOS to OSX. Two different beasts for two different purposes.

Microsoft evidently wanted to make a device which could be competitive (on some levels) with the iPad, but back when they started this project (well before the release in 2012) low power x86 CPU’s like the Cherry Trail didn’t exist and weren’t even on the horizon. That this is correct is born out that the ‘right’ hardware didn’t come along until three years after the original device released. The x86 hardware available to Microsoft at the time meant a Surface Pro-like device with its weight, heat and battery drain, and no-one looking for an iPad was ever going to go for that. So their next best option was Windows RT, a stripped-down OS specifically designed for a range of CPU’s which DID have the low power architecture they wanted, i.e. the ARM range.

It’s easy to stand here in 2015 and lambast Microsoft for Windows RT, but at the time I think it was an entirely logical decision to write a version of Windows which gave people some of the features and interface they were used to in a low-power, slim package.

Would they do anything different in hindsight? No doubt; it’s been far from a blazing success and I’m sure they’ve learnt a few things in terms of timelining and marketing. But in 2012 I think Windows RT was the right decision. Equally I think its time is done now the hardware is at a stage where devices like the Surface 3 are possible.

Thanks for the work you did, Windows RT. You served a valuable purpose at the time, but I suspect you won’t be missed.

Surface 2 screen problems – checkpoint

I thought I’d post an update on where we’re at with trying to nail this problem. I’ve bandied a few different ideas around in previous posts about what could be causing this, and it’s been great to have comments from Niall and Aleksandar in earlier posts too (review the history if you’re late to the party). As there’s been several theories and counter-arguments thrown around, and certain theories have been disproven while others are still alive, it’s probably helpful to summarise what we know so far:

Continue reading Surface 2 screen problems – checkpoint

Surface 2 – Touch vs Type keyboards

Six weeks on…

So I kinda caved in and picked up a Type 2 keyboard cover today. The Touch 2 cover has been working OK but I still felt when I was using it that I was spending a bit too much effort thinking about the typing action itself, rather than the content.

I did a few more speed tests. The Type keyboard is definitely easier to use, but I’m finding I’m getting better at the Touch keyboard. Bear in mind we’re now about six weeks into my use of the Surface 2 with the touch keyboard and I’ve only owned the Type keyboard for a few hours. Originally my typing speed was around the mid 40’s WPM on the touch keyboard. I use typingtest.com again, and for the first two tests I ran with Aesop’s fables text, as I had for all the previous tests. The third test I did the rules of Baseball text just for some variety and also took note of the order in which I did the tests (noted in table 1) to note the effect of familiarity with the text on the results. Here are today’s results:
Continue reading Surface 2 – Touch vs Type keyboards