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  1. speedtouch's Avatar
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       #1  
    In addition to my 40+hr a week day job I also run an IT consulting business. I currently have a Windows 7 desktop with Office 2013 and a Lumia 710. I use Google Apps email for my business, and that's all I use Google Apps for. Are there any issues using Google Apps email on the Surface that you're aware of?

    In some of the initial reviews of the Surface there were points made about apps being sluggish to launch. Some taking upwards of 5 seconds to launch. Has this been resolved? How's battery life treating you?

    Since I can't actually browse the Windows 8 Store w/o using some sort of Windows 8 device, I can't see if the apps I need are available. That's just dumb! The apps I am looking for are Google Reader, Pocket (formerly Read It Later), Twitter, and Toodledo. Do you have any idea if those apps are available on Windows RT?

    Have the updates from Microsoft made improvements you can feel and see? I read on ZD Net the other day that the Mail app on Windows RT is fairly basic. Will this hinder me in conducting business?

    During day-to-day operation of your Surface is it helping you get stuff done? That's the reason I will be buying mine, to get stuff done. It won't be used for games or movies or ebooks. It will be primarily an email, web browsing, Toodledoing, and document creation machine for me.

    I realize I can get a Samsung Galaxy Tab 2 plus keyboard, or an Asus Transformer Pad plus keyboard, for far less than a Surface (or Asus VivoTab RT or Dell XPS 10) plus keyboard. But I prefer to stay within the Windows ecosystem and get the bonus of Office 2013 on Windows RT. I'm just trying to feel out the Windows RT ecosystem and the performance and quality of the Surface. I do appreciate your time and answers.
    Last edited by speedtouch; 02-06-2013 at 12:28 PM.
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  2. shn'g's Avatar
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    #2  
    While I can't answer all of your questions I can knock off a few of them. I find it a little weird also that Microsoft doesn't allow you to see their store online somewhere.

    Apps still take a little bit of time to open but to me its very quick but that depends on how quick you are expecting. I just timed the mail app for opening and it took 4 to 5 seconds to open. To me this isn't very slow but that's my opinion.

    Battery life for me I couldn't be happier for the size of the display to me its very good. I can do a very full days use of mixed video, internet, music, games, and even office on one charge.

    For apps you will still have to wait for some. There are good alternatives like tweetro or rowi for twitter, nextgen reader as a Google reader substitute. The others I'm not sure of but there are no official pocket or toodledo apps that I can see of.

    the updates have been pretty good in my opinion and have made apps and overall use much nicer and improved the whole operating system. I think with each month it will keep getting better. If you use office a lot you will really appreciate the included apps that function very well. That's about all I can answer though. Don't know if that helps any.
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  3. Chinocop's Avatar
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    Are you considering using the email app to read your Gmail? I didn't have a problem pulling in my gmail account with the mail client. But I immediately removed my gmail account because I don't want to see my work first thing in the morning.

    Email is ok. There's quite a bit of latency when you move from one email to the next. Also when replying or forwarding an email with a long thread history or attachments, the email client just doesn't work period. Clearing out your trash folder is a pain as well as deleting emails with having to click the delete button. I don't understand why they couldn't implement what they had in WP. Team work/code once use elsewhere is a foreign concept at Microsoft. Everybody has their goals they have to hit in order to make their bonus.

    Anyway, when I use my Surface I find that I rarely go into the desktop save for updating documents because touch is ok on the desktop not great. This is the complete opposite of my Thinkpad laptop running Windows 8. On my laptop, I rarely go into Metro because I have the touchpoint which give me lots of control with the mouse. I have to say I'm not a big fan of touchpad mouses, and the Surface implementation with both the type and touch pads have not changed my mind. Honestly, the accuracy of the mouse sucks. Trying to adjust document layouts or cell spacing with the Surface mice is awful. If you're going to be doing heavy document creation, then you're better off using a standalone mouse. Now the keyboards are very nice, but I rarely use my keyboards with my Surface.

    I think where the Surface shines is on the Metro side. It's awesome as touch. I love swiping right and left to move backwards and forwards on the Metro browser. The gestures are really cool. I was trying to browse on an Ipad using the Win8 gestures. People were asking me what I was doing, and I said why can't the iPad work like Win8. Anyway, I love my Surface for what it is an entertainment device while providing me an adequate productivity experience.
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  4. Dewg's Avatar
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    #4  
    It's not official, but works for searching apps: MetroStore
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  5. balama's Avatar
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    #5  
    i think you'll find the new chromebooks a better buy at $250-$199
    they actually have been rated highly among most reviewers who live and work in the google cloud
    l really like my new samsung for the google/chrome world
    But on the other hand I really like my surface for my microsoft office based work world
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  6. speedtouch's Avatar
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       #6  
    Quote Originally Posted by Surfacable View Post
    While I can't answer all of your questions I can knock off a few of them. I find it a little weird also that Microsoft doesn't allow you to see their store online somewhere.

    Apps still take a little bit of time to open but to me its very quick but that depends on how quick you are expecting. I just timed the mail app for opening and it took 4 to 5 seconds to open. To me this isn't very slow but that's my opinion.

    Battery life for me I couldn't be happier for the size of the display to me its very good. I can do a very full days use of mixed video, internet, music, games, and even office on one charge.

    For apps you will still have to wait for some. There are good alternatives like tweetro or rowi for twitter, nextgen reader as a Google reader substitute. The others I'm not sure of but there are no official pocket or toodledo apps that I can see of.

    the updates have been pretty good in my opinion and have made apps and overall use much nicer and improved the whole operating system. I think with each month it will keep getting better. If you use office a lot you will really appreciate the included apps that function very well. That's about all I can answer though. Don't know if that helps any.
    It is weird that we can't browse the store. We can do it with Windows Phone, which now with WP8 shares the same core as Windows 8, but not WinRT or Win8? Very odd. I hope this is corrected very soon.

    Quickness is good. I had an HP TouchPad when it launched and kept it for a year then sold it. About six months into owning it I pretty much just abandoned it, it was too slow. I don't want the same thing to happen to me if I buy a Surface. I played around with a Surface for a very short time at one of my internationally-acclaimed (ha!) St. Louis Windows Phone Meetups, but I didn't get a real good feel for it as I couldn't use it for a couple of hours straight. 4-5 seconds for the mail app...man, that seems like a while to me. Definitely reminds me of my TouchPad.

    I am very glad to know the battery life is good. I have read that it is, but that's from a reviewer who uses the tablet for 24-48 hours and writes a supposedly "comprehensive" review. It's much better to ask folks who've had the device for a couple of months. Sounds to me that the Surface and WinRT are an excellent match on light battery usage.

    That's what I thought about apps--I'll have to wait. I understand that. I am completely open to alternatives like Rowi. NextGen Reader is what I use on my Lumia 710, so that would be just fine. I appreciate you looking into Toodledo and Pocket apps. I was able to look for them, too, thanks to the link from DewgZom, and also came up with no results. That's very disappointing. I can certainly live w/o Pocket for my business, but Toodledo? I'm not so sure.

    That's great the updates from MS have been beneficial. MS has said they'll support WinRT (or was it the Surface itself?) until 2015. That's a strong commitment. I would definitely use Office 2013 a lot on the tablet. Your post has been very helpful, thanks!

    Quote Originally Posted by DewgZom View Post
    It's not official, but works for searching apps: MetroStore
    Thanks for that link. It's very helpful.
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  7. NickA's Avatar
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    #7  
    I'm in a similar situation as you, except I started my own IT consulting/software dev business 5 years ago, so it's my 40+ hour a week day job. I picked up the Surface with RT on release day. Not really because I needed it (I have other tablets from each OS), but because I wanted to see if I could find a tablet that I could actually use for work. Because I am at my main work computer most of the day, the Surface doesn't get much use. After hours and on the weekend is when it really shines.

    Some apps are slow to launch. But I leave the apps I use most often open so it's not really an issue for me. I'm not sure why the slow launch times, but that Windows I guess. Battery life is good for me. It's not iPad good, but good enough that I don't have to worry about it.

    I'm not a big app person, and a poorly designed Modern UI app, and there are plenty of them, are the worst. I don't get the whole full screen, horizontal scrolling thing but whatever. There are Google readers out there. No Pocket that I could find. According to their web site they didn't have it in their immediate plans to create an app for Windows 8. Tweettro+ seems to be the go to Twitter client (i just use the browser). No Toodledo, but again using the browser works just fine.

    As far as using it day to day... I have no issues using Google Apps on it. The Mail client does leave a lot to be desired, but I don't think it will hinder you. TouchDown just released a mail client for Windows 8. It's pricey but you can get a trial version of it. I used Surface mostly on the weekends, when I'm away from home. It's great for responding to e-mails, and writing for a couple blogs I submit articles to. Get the Type cover by the way (or use a BT keyboard). I also use PowerPoint for doing a weekly presentation. To me, that makes the Surface worth it. For everything else the Surface can't do, like build a Visual Studio project and publish it, I use RDP to my home computer.

    Like the poster above me said, a Chromebook is a decent tool as well. I have the Acer C7. I take it with me when I know I have to do a lot of typing. It's so much easier to hold on my lap, and the bigger screen is nice. Someone really needs to make a Clamcase or Crux case for the Surface.
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  8. speedtouch's Avatar
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       #8  
    Quote Originally Posted by Chinocop View Post
    Are you considering using the email app to read your Gmail? I didn't have a problem pulling in my gmail account with the mail client. But I immediately removed my gmail account because I don't want to see my work first thing in the morning.

    Email is ok. There's quite a bit of latency when you move from one email to the next. Also when replying or forwarding an email with a long thread history or attachments, the email client just doesn't work period. Clearing out your trash folder is a pain as well as deleting emails with having to click the delete button. I don't understand why they couldn't implement what they had in WP. Team work/code once use elsewhere is a foreign concept at Microsoft. Everybody has their goals they have to hit in order to make their bonus.

    Anyway, when I use my Surface I find that I rarely go into the desktop save for updating documents because touch is ok on the desktop not great. This is the complete opposite of my Thinkpad laptop running Windows 8. On my laptop, I rarely go into Metro because I have the touchpoint which give me lots of control with the mouse. I have to say I'm not a big fan of touchpad mouses, and the Surface implementation with both the type and touch pads have not changed my mind. Honestly, the accuracy of the mouse sucks. Trying to adjust document layouts or cell spacing with the Surface mice is awful. If you're going to be doing heavy document creation, then you're better off using a standalone mouse. Now the keyboards are very nice, but I rarely use my keyboards with my Surface.

    I think where the Surface shines is on the Metro side. It's awesome as touch. I love swiping right and left to move backwards and forwards on the Metro browser. The gestures are really cool. I was trying to browse on an Ipad using the Win8 gestures. People were asking me what I was doing, and I said why can't the iPad work like Win8. Anyway, I love my Surface for what it is an entertainment device while providing me an adequate productivity experience.
    Yes, I plan on using the Mail app to manage my Gmail (which is Google Apps for my business). That's sad to hear there is pronounced latency when switching between emails. My HP TouchPad had the same problem as well. Yikes, that's scary to know the Mail app just doesn't work right with a thread of long replies or an email with attachments. Sounds like it needs some work! I like the WP7 Mail app, too.

    I see your points on mouse and keyboard usage. So the Surface RT allows the plugging in of a standard USB mouse?

    Gestures are great! It's good to know they're fairly prevalent in WinRT. That's a funny story about trying to use an iPad in the same way as your Surface. I did the same thing when I transitioned from a webOS phone to an Android phone. You specifically mention you love the Surface as an entertainment device, yet it's only providing you an adequate productivity experience. I appreciate the honesty. As I mentioned in the OP, I will not be using mine as an entertainment device, nothing wrong with using it that way of course, but I'll be using mine as a productivity device for my business. Thanks for your reply!
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  9. speedtouch's Avatar
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       #9  
    Quote Originally Posted by balama View Post
    i think you'll find the new chromebooks a better buy at $250-$199
    they actually have been rated highly among most reviewers who live and work in the google cloud
    l really like my new samsung for the google/chrome world
    But on the other hand I really like my surface for my microsoft office based work world
    I hadn't really thought of one of those. I'll do some research on them. Thanks for the reminder. For my business I only use Google Apps email and calendar. But I will take a look at the Chomebooks.

    Quote Originally Posted by NickA View Post
    I'm in a similar situation as you, except I started my own IT consulting/software dev business 5 years ago, so it's my 40+ hour a week day job. I picked up the Surface with RT on release day. Not really because I needed it (I have other tablets from each OS), but because I wanted to see if I could find a tablet that I could actually use for work. Because I am at my main work computer most of the day, the Surface doesn't get much use. After hours and on the weekend is when it really shines.

    Some apps are slow to launch. But I leave the apps I use most often open so it's not really an issue for me. I'm not sure why the slow launch times, but that Windows I guess. Battery life is good for me. It's not iPad good, but good enough that I don't have to worry about it.

    I'm not a big app person, and a poorly designed Modern UI app, and there are plenty of them, are the worst. I don't get the whole full screen, horizontal scrolling thing but whatever. There are Google readers out there. No Pocket that I could find. According to their web site they didn't have it in their immediate plans to create an app for Windows 8. Tweettro+ seems to be the go to Twitter client (i just use the browser). No Toodledo, but again using the browser works just fine.

    As far as using it day to day... I have no issues using Google Apps on it. The Mail client does leave a lot to be desired, but I don't think it will hinder you. TouchDown just released a mail client for Windows 8. It's pricey but you can get a trial version of it. I used Surface mostly on the weekends, when I'm away from home. It's great for responding to e-mails, and writing for a couple blogs I submit articles to. Get the Type cover by the way (or use a BT keyboard). I also use PowerPoint for doing a weekly presentation. To me, that makes the Surface worth it. For everything else the Surface can't do, like build a Visual Studio project and publish it, I use RDP to my home computer.

    Like the poster above me said, a Chromebook is a decent tool as well. I have the Acer C7. I take it with me when I know I have to do a lot of typing. It's so much easier to hold on my lap, and the bigger screen is nice. Someone really needs to make a Clamcase or Crux case for the Surface.
    Hey, congrats on what appears to be a successful business! I know it's not easy. Unlike you, I have the luxury of falling back on my day job if things go bad with my IT consulting gig. I do not have a laptop, so I am looking towards a tablet to help me when I am on the road or at a client's site.

    So you and Chinocop both mention some sluggishness within and launching apps. Hmm. Thanks for checking in on the Pocket and Toodledo apps. Like you, I am not a big app person. But there are a couple that I truly do require. Thanks for confirming Google Apps works fine. Google Apps email is the biggie for me. Oh, does the Google Apps calendar work well on WinRT's calendar app? Right, I will get the Type Cover if I end up getting a Surface RT. I'm glad to know someone is able to pound out blog posts, articles, and other typing-intensive tasks on the Surface easily.

    Interesting, another positive note on a Chromebook. I will check it out. Thank you for your informative reply!

    Edit: I looked for TouchDown, but it appears to be a football game. That's not what you're talking about, is it?
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  10. Chinocop's Avatar
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    #10  
    SpeedTouch, don't get me wrong. I love my Surface. When I travel, I don't even bring my laptop anymore because the Surface is just so portable. There are things that I do miss when using my Surface like my Forex applications, but for the most part I think you'll really like it. I have not tried using a regular mouse, but I bet that it greatly enhances the desktop experience. Because the touchpad is so poor I really find myself using my fingers as it's just easier.
  11. NickA's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by speedtouch View Post
    I hadn't really thought of one of those. I'll do some research on them. Thanks for the reminder. For my business I only use Google Apps email and calendar. But I will take a look at the Chomebooks.

    Hey, congrats on what appears to be a successful business! I know it's not easy. Unlike you, I have the luxury of falling back on my day job if things go bad with my IT consulting gig. I do not have a laptop, so I am looking towards a tablet to help me when I am on the road or at a client's site.

    So you and Chinocop both mention some sluggishness within and launching apps. Hmm. Thanks for checking in on the Pocket and Toodledo apps. Like you, I am not a big app person. But there are a couple that I truly do require. Thanks for confirming Google Apps works fine. Google Apps email is the biggie for me. Oh, does the Google Apps calendar work well on WinRT's calendar app? Right, I will get the Type Cover if I end up getting a Surface RT. I'm glad to know someone is able to pound out blog posts, articles, and other typing-intensive tasks on the Surface easily.

    Interesting, another positive note on a Chromebook. I will check it out. Thank you for your informative reply!

    Edit: I looked for TouchDown, but it appears to be a football game. That's not what you're talking about, is it?
    I was kind of forced into my situation. The company I worked for was acquired my a competitor and they decided not to keep out Corporate office, and I didn't want to move to TX.

    I wouldn't call it sluggishness, because once the app is up and running it's fine. And I think a lot of the times developers add a custom splash screen and they show it for a second or two just because it's cool or whatever. So it's really just a load time.

    Calendar works fine with Google Apps too. And the Type cover makes all the difference in the world. I started out with the Touch cover (for sale if anyone wants it) and I would get so frustrated. The Type cover changed my world and I use the Surface so much more now with it.

    The TouchDown mail client is made by NitroDesk. Here's a link on the store: TouchDown app for Windows in the Windows Store
  12. speedtouch's Avatar
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       #12  
    Quote Originally Posted by Chinocop View Post
    SpeedTouch, don't get me wrong. I love my Surface. When I travel, I don't even bring my laptop anymore because the Surface is just so portable. There are things that I do miss when using my Surface like my Forex applications, but for the most part I think you'll really like it. I have not tried using a regular mouse, but I bet that it greatly enhances the desktop experience. Because the touchpad is so poor I really find myself using my fingers as it's just easier.
    Gotcha. I'll have to check and see how a real mouse would enhance the usability of the Surface RT. It's really heartening to hear you don't take a laptop with you when you travel. You just take the Surface. That's quite an endorsement.
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  13. speedtouch's Avatar
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       #13  
    Quote Originally Posted by NickA View Post
    I was kind of forced into my situation. The company I worked for was acquired my a competitor and they decided not to keep out Corporate office, and I didn't want to move to TX.

    I wouldn't call it sluggishness, because once the app is up and running it's fine. And I think a lot of the times developers add a custom splash screen and they show it for a second or two just because it's cool or whatever. So it's really just a load time.

    Calendar works fine with Google Apps too. And the Type cover makes all the difference in the world. I started out with the Touch cover (for sale if anyone wants it) and I would get so frustrated. The Type cover changed my world and I use the Surface so much more now with it.

    The TouchDown mail client is made by NitroDesk. Here's a link on the store: TouchDown app for Windows in the Windows Store
    Didn't want to move to TX? Gasp! Just kidding. Moving for any reason is a very difficult proposition. I *hate* moving. In any case, it looks like you've done ok for yourself. Good work.

    When I say sluggishness, I do mean the time it takes for an app to launch. Like you mention, I haven't heard of real app sluggishness once it's loaded. Other than the email app sluggishness that Chinocop mentioned. Thanks for confirming Google Apps Calendar works just fine.

    Ah ha, so there's the TouchDown app. I knew it couldn't have been that football app!
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  14. theefman's Avatar
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    #14  
    For Pocket, use Latermark.
  15. #15  
    Quote Originally Posted by speedtouch View Post
    Gotcha. I'll have to check and see how a real mouse would enhance the usability of the Surface RT. It's really heartening to hear you don't take a laptop with you when you travel. You just take the Surface. That's quite an endorsement.
    Real mouse is great. Get a Bluetooth one and you will be set. Other than a few things I don't even use my laptop anymore. I haven't brought it home from my office in more than a week and most of that time it has sat in my backpack on the floor. I only used my laptop in the last week for the CD drive to get a PDF file of a CD and to encode some audio to AAC+.
  16. speedtouch's Avatar
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       #16  
    Quote Originally Posted by theefman View Post
    For Pocket, use Latermark.
    Ah ha!! That's what I need. Now, with your amazing WinRT app-finding skills, can you find a Toodledo app?

    Quote Originally Posted by rebornempowered View Post
    Real mouse is great. Get a Bluetooth one and you will be set. Other than a few things I don't even use my laptop anymore. I haven't brought it home from my office in more than a week and most of that time it has sat in my backpack on the floor. I only used my laptop in the last week for the CD drive to get a PDF file of a CD and to encode some audio to AAC+.
    Good deal. I like Bluetooth as well. Nice endorsement of the Surface RT, I do appreciate your input.
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  17. NickA's Avatar
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    #17  
    Quote Originally Posted by speedtouch View Post
    Ah ha!! That's what I need. Now, with your amazing WinRT app-finding skills, can you find a Toodledo app?
    I see they have an API. Time to write our own :)
  18. speedtouch's Avatar
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       #18  
    Quote Originally Posted by NickA View Post
    I see they have an API. Time to write our own :)
    Indeed they do. Though I am not a programmer...AT ALL.
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