The Surface Tablet vs. the Apple iPad

*first of all I need to say that neither of these people know I exist. I’m writing this because I now have both in my possession and some people have asked me about the difference and which one I liked better. I also need to say that I have been playing on iPads since the generation 1 came out so I have more experience with them.

Last week when I went to the ISTE conference I was given a Surface RT tablet. I was excited because hey it was free and it couldn’t be that bad….could it?

Things I like about the Surface RT-
1. battery life (though this could be because I didn’t use it much)
2. The keyboard, it was small and easier to type on
3. On the digital keyboard there is a number key pad Love those! This gets extra points from me on that.
4. I like that I can turn it into a mini laptop easily
5. I can set it up to watch netflix and surf pinterest at the same time and while I can do that on my laptop, I can’t do it on an ipad
6. It does have USB and SD card slots on the sides.

Things I don’t like about the Surface RT-
1. It teases you with icons for word and excel, but it’s really just a preview, a trial for 30 days.
2. I can’t install ANYTHING, no chrome, nothing. It must be bought from their app store
3. speaking of their app store, it sucks. Like the apple app store is overwhelming because there is so much…this has NOTHING
4. In order to get the time correct I have to be in the Mountain time zone, I don’t live in Mountain
5. Not a lot of choices in games
6. I felt like I was always having to create a new log in every time I wanted to do something.
7. If you don’t like windows 8 then don’t buy this!

Now those list are pretty even…but I just couldn’t make it do what I wanted it to do. I had to google how to get rid of apps. It didn’t automatically start downloading apps I had installed once I got to internet. While I thought clicking on the “games” shortcut would bring me to games it actually brought me to X-box games where I would have to create another log in in addition to my microsoft log-in I had to create. It was just so confusing.

So I thought maybe it was just me because I had used an iPad for so long, so I handed it to Veronica.
All she could say was “I see why they gave it to you for free” Danielle was disappointed in the games and was sad when she couldn’t find anything in the app store. Every time she moved she asked me how to get back to where she was. When we tried to go to a website and play abcmouse.com it wouldn’t even let us download the adobe we needed. You know it’s just a fancy paper weight when even the kids won’t play with it.

Now as far as what I like and don’t like about the iPad….that’s a short list. I like it all. I think it would be nice if I could connect a USB to it, but I can live without that. It would also be nice if flash worked on the iPad, but again I can live without that because I find myself forgetting that I don’t have it. So the surface will stay at school and I use it just for that.

I have asked my husband to contribute to this blog. He has played with the surface a bit and has an opinion on it that might help some people better then mine. This half of the blog is his opinion. 🙂

I really don’t know why my wife decides to torture you guys with a techie opinion on a device, but ok… she is convinced she wants me to do this. You have my condolences.

The Surface RT
I actually, despite being an apple fan, was a little excited to get my hands on this device. It has many of the same features as other tablets, and I have a lot of experience on Windows… so I thought if nothing else I could turn it into a retro gaming machine… boy was I wrong.

The Surface goes to a feature that you are used to on the IPad. You cannot, for any reason, install anything that is not from the app store. While this works in Apples world, that is because they have the developer support to DO that. They also have a very (some would say too) strict policy on what can and can’t go in their store, and apps are verified by hand to be valid apps. The Surface not only lacks a viable library of apps (Not even angry birds, chrome browser, or a functional solitair), but it also denies you the rights to install anything else. I have antiquated games that BEG for a platform like this…. but no.

This means anything requiring updates to flash… or any other product will not function unless Microsoft does the update inside of Internet Exploder. This leads to some very out of date software, and some very frustrating experiences online… even just trying to use the web for very basic things.

Now, i could go on and on and on about the things that bothered me, but i’m going to put a few positives in here, just so you guys know its not ALL bad.

The Surface does look and feel good aesthetically. The screen looks sharp, and the apps I could find were highly responsive. The battery life seems to be about 6 hours of basic use, and about 4.5 of heavy use (video).

Thats really the only things I can think to say that are total positives. Had they put a full version of Windows 8 on this machine, I would have overlooked almost every other failed feature, because I could have used it as a small laptop, rather than as a tablet. I could have installed games, Open Office, Flash updates, and anything else I needed and made it work. This was the nail in the coffin that made me place this tablet in the “better used as a cutting board” category. Yes, I know thats a bit dramatic and extreem…. but i have honestly never been that frustrated with a device. It was SO CLOSE to being reasonable, if not decent….and yet fell short in the area’s I cared about most in this tablet.

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