Microsoft Surface RT: Full Test

Full turn to Microsoft. Dell Latitude E5500 With the release of a new OS Windows 8 out, the firm launched a touch Tablet concept with (or without) thin keyboard, the Surface. Since everything is apparently to be complicated with this new version of Windows, the Surface has two facets. The first tested here is the RT model. Understand that completeness of Windows 8 is not available and the product focuses on the touch interface and its association with the Store Windows.

No software from Windows 7 or earlier Microsoft system cannot be installed on this product, instead of the next Surface Pro that runs on Intel processor and benefits from a full Windows desktop with backwards compatibility of the software model. The RT Surface has a processor of the mobile world, under ARM architecture. It's the Tegra 3 Nvidia, clocked at 1.3 GHz chip, who lives in this tablet. Chip found in several models of digital recently released Android slates as the Google Nexus 7, Toshiba AT300 or the Transformer Pad TF700 of Asus.

DELL Precision M6400 however comes with twice the memory that to the usual, or 2 GB. The storage capacity is 32 GB or 64 GB (model tested here) and there are 4 connectors: USB 2.0 port, a micro-HDMI output, a microSD/SDHC slot to increase storage capacity and finally an outlet 3.5 mm Jack headphone. a back camera 2-megapixel sensor is the part, just like a webcam of 1.3 megapixel front. The tablet screen displays a 10.6-inch 1366 x 768 pixel format and uses IPS technology.

The Microsoft Surface RT Tablet is marketed from 489 euros single and 589 euros with a sensitive keyboard Touch Cover (above), which serves as a protection for the screen.

If there is a point that puts everyone agree, is this Surface finish. Everything in this product sweat the high end. Quality materials, sober lines denoting the 'serious' positioning that wished to adopt Microsoft and one crutch of high-strength... the playing Surface in the same court as the iPad or the Transformer Pad Infinity TF700 and looks at them even high on certain finishes.

No frills for connectors: USB 2.0 and micro-HDMI output do not cache but are perfectly integrated while the microSD/SDHC slot is housed under the stand.

The black border around the screen is not too thick, just like the tablet itself, which displays a 9.4 mm WaSP waist, is about as much as an iPad.

The sound is delivered by two small speakers positioned at the top of every side of the surface.

Apart from the key ON / OFF and volume control is a touch back to the menu on the bottom of the frame in the form of Windows 8 logo.

It noted with regret that recharge occurs only with the charger via the magnetic connector provided for this purpose.

Equipped with a screen slab IPS 10.6 inches of a HD 1366 x 768 pixels, the Tablet Surface RT definition promises at least correct rendering in terms of contrast and color.

In practice, the Inspiron 1420 contrast of this Surface RT is simply fantastic. The average contrast ratio reached 1380:1, making it one of the three best in the market at the present time. A contrast supported by back light capable of delivering a maximum brightness of 380 cd/m². If the slab is very glossy and thus prevents a clear reading and net in full sun, it can nevertheless ensure a correct readability outdoors in mild conditions.

Regarding colors, Microsoft has had the good idea to serve a rather pale palette in his. Interface Modern UI stacking "tiles" and the coloured backgrounds, it was disturbing to see a neon palette, as this can sometimes be the case on Windows Phone for example.

A print that is not necessarily felt the probe with an average delta E of 6.9 is a gap three times more important on an iPad 3. It should be noted that the delta E quantifies the gap measured at the sensor between the ideal colors and those displayed. More approaching 0, the color is true.

The RT Surface is not the choice facing an iPad alternative 3 for a photographer who wants to faithfully display his shots. For any other use, the Microsoft Tablet provides a correct rendering, without significant drift towards the Red or blue, despite a not always constant 5682 Kelvin color temperature.

The remanence is unfortunately 28 ms, is one of the worst results of the sector on a slab IPS. And instead of a Toshiba that inserts the Resolution + option on his AT300, it also to 28 ms, Microsoft adds no motion compensation system. This is slightly affected in the OS Windows 8 RT with streaks that appear here and there when it sweeps the screen.

The viewing angles are rather broad, IPS requires, even though there was a slight loss of contrast on our test on the left side of the slab model.

Thought to maximize the Dell Vostro 1520 Battery Modern UI touch interface, the Surface and its Windows RT offer so happened to the classic Windows desktop, but will not too much anyway (return us later).

The Modern UI interface, formerly Metro, is the best known face of this Neo-windows. A row of potentially infinite "tiles" as on Windows Phone 7/8 symbolizes the different programs and applications of the machine. Their size can be changed as their positioning. The insiders to Windows Phone, especially the latest version 8 will be known terrain. Beginners, however, must be to the dynamic thumbnails. Indeed, mail applications, instant messaging, but also information such as Bing Sport or Bing news tabs come alive according to the refreshments and update flows. All seems lively, pleasing to the eye and playful.

A few gestures are still far from intuitive, such as displaying the multitasking bar and from the framework to one end of the screen and back quickly. We can often trigger the simultaneous display of two apps (1/3 - 2 / 3 of the screen with optimized information display) instead of multi-tasking.

Dell Vostro 1510 Windows 8 RT, is also a bit mature and subject to many reprimands bone. As some users of Windows 8 on a non-touch computer complain almost mandatory to navigate Modern UI interface, it is right to complain on a tablet of the obligation for the OS through the Windows classic desktop to display the suite Office. In the genre "how losing started my client" Microsoft put there. Since the RT a user cannot install Windows off Store programs, as to confine it to the Modern UI interface see!

A sense of splits in the blind that you feel in several use the tree as very old school PC management of external media (folders, subfolders instead of directly displaying the content). Add also the Windows Store is done well empty. Windows RT is still young and probably has not finished its gestation and it is hoped that several mistakes will be corrected, otherwise we give not expensive products RT with the arrival of Windows 8 where all the repositories or almost are compatible.

In terms of reactivity, Surface RT offers very good performance. There is only slowdowns in some applications that clearly require updates to be optimized. The starting of Windows RT content, however, reacts very well to the user's requests. Again, this bone must live a few months before, who knows, unassailable, but the potential is clearly there.

It should be noted that if Windows 8 RT is fluid and light appearance, he weighs his weight. Indeed, the entire system is approximately 13 GB. On a 32 GB Tablet (either 29 GB effective), it remains as well as 16 GB of usable space and for a model 64, such as tested here, there only 46 GB of storage about. Fortunately the microSD card option to extend this same Dell Inspiron 1464 Battery capacity at low cost.


Web browsing is fast and benefits from the improvements made by Microsoft for this Internet Explorer 10. Managing tabs is intuitive, loading the pages is the best touch screen tablets of the sector average. The zoom is smooth and precise, without really from rips in its execution.

Side sharpness of display Surface hand with a slight disability compared to its competitors, that may be the iPad 3 and iPad 4, or even transform Infinity Asus TF700 and even the Nexus 10 of Google by Samsung: its definition is less. Dell Studio 1535 On a 10.6-inch screen, 1366 x 768 pixels setting involves a 147ppp pixel density, when 1920 x 1200 pixels of a TF700 ascends the bar 224ppp, an iPad 4 with 2048 x 1536 gives 263ppp and the Nexus-10 and its huge 2560 x 1560 give birth with a density of more than 300 dpi.

  Thus emerges a feeling of less readability on this Surface. Attention, no mush of pixels here, but from the edges of letters more glitter, a little net reading and where we sometimes guess the text in portrait as well as visible when jagged edges were zoomed in slightly to read small text. We are far from the smooth contours previously offered by the definitions of the mentioned competition.

Multimedia playback on Dell Inspiron 1564 Battery Surface RT oscillates between good ideas and ergonomic. To access audio or video content, dedicated applications necessarily open to the associated window on Store Windows. Heavy, technically and in terms of use. A slip to the left leads to the My Videos or my music tab. The tree is sluggish here. Multimedia content from an external source, a microSD card or a USB key, does "rise" not automatically into its dedicated section. He must pick it up manually.

Compared to Android that automatically adds the appropriate external content in each audio and video section, it is a bit far-fetched. Microsoft grows so very well paid, and centralized content type iTunes, but is missing the boat on the open part, type Android.

Regard to multimedia compatibility of any external file, it is surprisingly very limited and there is not now on the one Store only palliative in the form of third-party player. However, we know that VLC team is working on an application, but no release date is known.

Video games, Windows Store is now desperately empty and mostly totally anarchic in terms of pricing policy. A game like Rocket Riot 3D, which already exists on Windows Phone 8 less than 4 euros, is found here in a version simply stretched to slab 10.1-inch and at the cost of 8.94 euros! There little or no interesting titles, whether free or paid, and if the new Angry Birds Star Wars is on the menu, it is still at 3.99 euros, against 2.89 on the Apple AppStore, for example.

Short Dell Studio 1536 Battery, difficult to assess the performance of the machine, even if it knows already the extensive forces of the chip Tegra Nvidia on Android OS 3. Note that on Windows 8 RT, there are not the Nvidia TegraZone and its exclusive or optimized.

Finally, a very small Word, because this is what she deserves for the uptake of this tablet part. Whether for the sensor back or worse when Skype was built as a preferential use, the front webcam, Microsoft missed the boat. The savings made by the firm are being clearly felt in this section.

The back sensor is barely better than no-name products Asian entry of 2010: not really artistic blur, crazy colors, focus zero. The webcam friend-friend with the remanence and is hardly comparable to what can offer Asus or apple in the video chat section.


Dell Vostro 2510 Microsoft promises between 8 and 10 hours of battery life on his machine. On the ground, approaching from the 10 hours of use regardless of usage. In video playback, the 9 a.m. are exceeded a 20-minute average and our better battery life on a mixed use (mail, game, surf video, document edition) at 0940 hours and a small handful of minutes.

Remains to be seen how a very greedy game could begin the RT Surface energy reserves because the Store is desperately lacking. Eve is among the most effective market and a full charge can thus take several days if the uses are scattered (consultation, work extra...). Note that the full charge is achieved in about 2 hours, is a very good point for this type of product because it oscillates between 2: 45 and 3: 30 a.m. usually.

Surface RT has two good points for his entry: touch multi-track keyboard and a physical keyboard hover successfully.

The first offers an also classic than any touch panel input. On the other hand, it has many variations. You can for example split the Panel in two so that groups of letters fall under each thumb, or have a handwritten (pen or hand).

The digital DELL Latitude E6510 Panel, if it is unfortunately not integrated with letters, appears as a physical keypad, which allows to quickly find their bearings.

The Touch Cover keyboard may seem superficial at first, but he quickly became an ally in physical input. The sensor keys are perfectly and the touchpad is accurate, without engage unexpectedly.