Tag: tablet computers

Microsoft Surface RT

It arrived, today. My new Microsoft Surface RT was brought to my door by the UPS delivery man. So far, it is one of the best toys I have ever bought.


picture of Surface RT
Microsoft’s Surface RT Tablet Computer

As I am starting a new college career this week, I was interested in how far I would have to walk from my parking place to the classroom building. When I registered the only parking left was in what is called the Central Parking Garage. Now, as you may have guessed, the Central Parking Garage location is anything but central to anything on the campus.  Noooo!  The damned thing is diagonal across the campus from my classroom building, a good half-mile. It is all downhill, but the catch is that it is all uphill to get back to my car.

Well, all this leads up to my decision to acquire a tablet computer because it would weigh considerably less than my 15 inch screen laptop. After evaluating about a dozen different tablet computers, I decided on the Microsoft Surface RT. It weighs about 1 ½ pounds, and does pretty much anything I would want to do for my math classes. You see, there are computers in every classroom at every desk position. So, I could legitimately get by without a personal computer.

Now that I have my new toy, it is time to evaluate.

The package I bought included the touch and type cover. I was afraid this would be a  problem for me since I am not a true touch typist. However, I find the touch keyboard to be adequate. It is at least as easy to use as a regular keyboard. I just have to remember to get my hand and arm spacing comfortable.

The Surface RT is a thing of beauty. The packaging is nice, of course, but so is the actual product. It has the look and feel of an expensive piece of electronics. The price for the package was $349, plus another $100 for the cover/keyboard. If you check the price of comparable tablets, the Surface RT offers a greater value.

Microsoft thought enough ahead to install a full USB 2.0 port, a MicroSHDX memory chip port, plus a port for video output. You have to buy a special cable for the video output, but you can get one to patch the HD video out to your big screen via HDMI interface. The battery is supposed to last about nine hours, but since I have the unit on charge, now, we will just have to see.

Understand that I came to my decision to buy the Microsoft Surface, even though we already own an Apple iPad, and a Kindle Fire.

I have never been impressed with the performance of the Apple iPad. It is a nice machine, but does not have a convenient port for accessories, nor does the Bluetooth keyboard I bought for it measure up. Now, there are after-market keyboards available from third party suppliers, but I have already spent my money on a virtually useless accessory made by Apple.  

The Kindle Fire is first and foremost a great reader. You can surf the web, but the seven inch sceen is not satisfactory.

Now that I have the Microsoft Surface RT, I am a happy camper.

As time goes by, I will blog more about the machine, being honest about the worth of Microsoft’s entry in to the tablet market. I don’t understand why more of this great product are not being sold, especially at the current price. Oh, I forgot to tell you that students are currently getting a ten percent discount from Microsoft online at the Microsoft store.

The New iPad Is Here

I ordered the new iPad Wednesday night. That was the day the new iPad was announced. It is for my wife who will now have her very own tablet computer.

It has been called the iPad 3, or iPad HD, but its real name is just, iPad. Apple has dropped the number sequence, and you will have to know their model number system to know which generation you buy on the used market. It makes sense for Apple to do this, as most other manufacturers do the same.

Additionally, Apple has dropped the price of the iPad 2 by $100. You can now get the 16 gb iPad 2 with WiFi for $399.00.

Picture of New iPad
New iPad

The new iPad has a more powerful processor, and a knock-out screen called a retina display. This means that the human eye cannot distinguish individual screen pixels when viewed from a normal reading distance. The spec is 2048 x 1536 pixels, and that’s a bunch for a small screen.

iPad has a built-in microphone so you can dictate stuff. There are also front and rear cameras. You can record 1080p video with the rear facing camera. What a deal!

One of the problems with the earlier iPad models is that if you wanted cellular radio coverage, you were limited to antiquated 3G type systems. Now, the iPad is optionally available with 4GLTE coverage. This is cool, and will serve to sell thousands more iPads now that the off-air data speed will be up to par.

I don’t want an iPad for my personal use. Most of my computing is done on a laptop or desktop, both of which I use as development platforms for web pages. I am sure tablet computers will evolve into an everything-for-everybody appliances, but until then I will use my two laptops, two desktops, and my Kindle Fire reader. Yep, the Kindle Fire is advertised as a reader, but it is a tablet computer that runs the Google Android computer operating system. Neat!

This is the first time I have ordered a computing device on the day of its announcement. The difference in this case is that my wife has been wanting an iPad for some time, and even the Apple folks advised us to wait for the new one.

We did, and we bought it.