Surface with Type Cover: A real laptop

Summary:Microsoft was wise to make two different keyboard/covers for the Surface. The Touch Cover is eye-catching but the Type Cover is a real keyboard worthy of the Surface.

Type Cover laptop mode

The Microsoft Touch Cover is an innovative peripheral for the Surface tablet. The keyless design of the Touch Cover works better than I expected and is very thin and light yielding a highly mobile package. It's not quite as good as real keyboards for fast typists which is where the Type Cover steps in.

Side view 300

My Type Cover arrived a week ago and I have been using it instead of the Touch Cover since unpacking it. The Type Cover is a good keyboard in spite of its thin form. In fact I haven't missed the Touch Cover since attaching the Type Cover to my Surface. I don't plan on ever using the Touch Cover again.

Due to a nice bit of engineering the Type Cover is only slightly heavier and thicker than the Touch Cover. The keyboard is plastic yet strangely light, which makes it a better fit with the Surface for me.

It attaches to the Surface using the nice magnetic connector just like the touch model, and it has real keys with good feedback. The keys are nice and big for such a small keyboard and handles fast touch typing with ease.

Flat, gently sculpted keys

The small trackpad on the Type Cover works very well although I wish it was bigger. There's no room to make it bigger and keep the size of the cover properly fitting the Surface so it's still a good compromise.

The Type Cover is so good it turns the Surface RT into a real laptop for me. I tend to use the Surface as a laptop more than as a tablet so the real keyboard is a good addition. Using the Surface and this keyboard is almost as good as using a real laptop which is no small feat.

The Type Cover is slightly more expensive ($130 vs. $120) than the Touch Cover but it's well worth the additional expense. Having used both keyboards for a while I would not recommend the Touch Cover for anyone. The Type Cover is the way to go and offers far more utility for the extra ten bucks.

See related:

Topics: Mobility


James Kendrick has been using mobile devices since they weighed 30 pounds, and has been sharing his insights on mobile technology for almost that long. Prior to joining ZDNet, James was the Founding Editor of jkOnTheRun, a CNET Top 100 Tech Blog that was acquired by GigaOM in 2008 and is now part of that prestigious tech network. James' w... Full Bio

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