It’s hard to love my Microsoft Surface

I love my Microsoft Surface tablet, yet she causes me so much angst. Through all the crashes, reboots and hangs, I always come back crawling to her for more.

Love isn’t easy, love takes work and patience; especially when it’s a Microsoft Surface tablet that you are trying to love. She is my lurid temptress, an evil seductress that teases me with her sleek envelope- shaped body and detachable keyboard-cover only to smack me across the face just when I had thought I’d finally found the post-PC PC for me.

Like Ike and Tina, my Surface and I are in a bad romance.

She puts me through hell, but for some sick reason, I keep coming back for more. My pshrink says she’s no good for me, says I should find another ARM based tablet to love. I’ve tried, oh I’ve tried. I even bought an iPad Mini hoping that it would break the curse my Surface has over me. But what chance did a over-sized iPhone have against the sultry allure of the Surface?

They (I am not sure who) say the first step to breaking free of an abusive relationship is to list all the things you hate about them. So today, I’m making a step towards freedom and listing out all the ways my Surface tablet hurts me:

1. Your Wi-Fi Tease

Remember that time I wanted to connect a WiFi network, and you wouldn’t connect? Oh wait, that happens every time I try to connect to a new WiFi network! You tease me by listing the network ID in your little charm bar, only to spin your circle of lies before telling me that you can only get “limited connectivity”.  I am a man god dammit! I shouldn’t have to reboot you just to get a little WiFi!

2.) Your molasses-as-an-app Mail client

The worst mail experience this side of the Good app.

The worst mail experience this side of the Good app.

Sometimes when I am with you, all I want to do is read and write some emails, just like a regular cafe loitering hipster. Yet,  you find a way to make email unbearable with your Mail App that makes scrolling through an inbox of emails feel like hauling a ton of bricks in a Yugo.

3.) Your insatiable thirst for reboots

It feels like we can’t go 5 days without you demanding to rebooted just so you can update yourself! It’s 2013! Why can’t you install a patch without forcing a reboot?!

4.) Your Hanging Internet Explorer

The only thing I end up exploring are the marks on the table.

The only thing I end up exploring are the marks on the table.

I am a fool for thinking that your Internet Explorer would be good to me. I hate the way you dangle the IE loading screen in front of me for 45 seconds, giving me hope that it might fact open up a browser window, only for it to crash and you to boot me back to your “charm” screen.

5.) Your Never-ending Skype Notifications

“You two-timing SOB! I’ll show you to use Skype on other computers, how about I display a pop-up notification for every message you’ve already received?!!” – My Surface

Woman I am not asking you to videoconference, I just want to have Skype open to receive IM’s!  But in your jealousy of other computers I use Skype on, you torture me by displaying a pop-up notification for every single damn IM I have already read!

6.) Your so-called “Touch” Keyboard

Dancing is about the most useful thing you can do with a Surface touch keyboard.

Your so called “touch” keyboard has all the sensitivity of the Westboro Baptist Church. Typing anything with the Surface’s touch keyboard feels like trying to run away from a monster in a dream.

7.) Your non-functional Evernote

Yeah, you can say that.

I hate how you give me an Evernote app but then refuse to sync any notes I write to the cloud. That’s just mean!

8.) Your crashing Twitter and Facebook integration

This is what using Twitter and Facebook feels like on a Surface.

You isolate me from the world. You have no usable Twitter client, and your Facebook-integrated People hub crashes with the frequency of a Soviet airliner. It’s like you want me to be alone.

My iPad Mini is so good to me, yet I ignore her.

You know how I know you’re no good for me? I look at my neglected iPad Mini and ask myself: when was the last time it ever asked me for a reboot?

My iPad Mini is like a homely girlfriend, it does everything well without being a diva. Yet, for everything she does for me, all it takes is one glint of light reflected off the Surface’s beautiful screen for me to toss my iPad to the side and hop back on the roller-coaster romance with my Surface. One day I’ll break free, but not today, I can’t resist the way the home screen tiles sweetly glide across my Surface tablet. I am weak, I know, like Tina with Ike, I’ll only be free when my Surface dies on me.

About Bobby Gill

I am the creator of Bahndr, founder of New York based app development lab, Blue Label Labs and editor at Idea to Appster. I like crepes and I am fascinated by big data.

  • Hey_ross

    I’ve had none of the crashes, reboots and such since I got RT in November, perhaps you have a bad device?

  • Manny

    Sounds like you have a lemon on your hands. I have had zero issues with my rt or my pro. It works like a charm and does everything I ask of her!

  • dillon75

    This is definitely not the norm. I have had my RT since November and had absolutely zero of these issues. Furthermore, I found little (if any) owners of the RT or Pro with anything remotely similar to these “issues” mentioned. If you are experiencing any of these issues, I would first and foremost update any Windows Updates that are needed (charms menu, settings, windows update). If the problems still persists then, unfortunately, it sounds like a hardware malfunction and you should immediately try and get it replaced.

    1)Wi-Fi was an issue on the RT for about one week when it first came out. A simple update fixed this issue.

    2)The mail client has never been an issue for me and I use it for business (banking executive) and personal use (5 email accounts used with the mail client).

    3)I have not heard of this nor have I come across this issue with any other Surface owners (RT or Pro) but I would assume the Surface needs to reboot to update because the user has not made the updates them self.

    4)I have not found any other users with this issue. Also, for me personally, IE10 on my Surface and Windows 8 in general is a completely different and enjoyable experience compared to past IE versions. It integrates into Windows 8 seamlessly and simply….just….works.

    5)No clue what this is saying.

    6)The touch keyboard is a marvel of technology and works quite well. Again, I have no idea where this is coming from. A quick internet search finds reviews with the exact opposite.

    7)Try Onenote. This is a far superior program.

    8)The Surface supports flash (unlike iPad or Android) so you can go directly to the webpage of your liking which is far superior and faster than any “app”, Simply go to Facebook or Twitter’s webpage; problem solved. The original webpage is always more interactive and engaging than the app. Just ad a shortcut to the website on the desktop or in the Modern UI.

    Bottom line; this is a user problem or a hardware issue. Either update your machine or send it back for a replacement.

  • bobby gill

    Thanks for the comments. I must have a strange device, I keep it updated, but there are a bunch of things that wrangle me with my Surface.

    But it’s getting better, I just got my type keyboard and it makes a world of difference! I wish I had never bought the touch pad to begin with.

    For the WiFi, I was experiencing the common WiFi issues when the Surface launched, and I still have issues with new wifi hotspots. The machine is fully patched (as the reboots attest)
    I am most disappointed with the Evernote app, I live through that service and not having a functioning app is a real back breaker for me. I know its an Evernote issue and probably nothing to do with Microsoft, but it is nonetheless still an issue.

  • Benjamin Algaze

    This is a great real world review of the Surface RT and had me laughing all the way. I have run into everything here and still do. As Bobby notes in his recent comment, it is getting better though. Also agree that OneNote is better than Evernote (depending on how you use these apps) and I’ve oriented a lot of the way I do things around taking better advantage of OneNote. I spent 10 years at Microsoft, so I want to love this product too. I could write a similar article about Windows 8 and Windows Phone too…

  • sermann

    While I love your writing style, I just can’t agree with you, except on 2 points:
    1. The WiFi was iffy during the 2 first weeks after the launch, but was corrected in a patch quite quickly. I find it now rock solid;
    2. The email client is indeed a piece of crap – it is slow, clumsy and very feature poor. Almost a deal killer for me as email triage is one of the main tasks I would like to do on my tablet. I usually use my phone to do that.
    I have none of the other issues you mentioned, but most admit that I don’t use Twitter or Evernote that much, so can’ really comment on these.

  • Philip Swan

    I do so understand your predicament. We all want an exciting new love affair but so often end up with both reluctance and a warm sense of returning home into the arms of good old dependable apple. I think you have put me off the Surface. But does living with it get any better?