Surface: Companion device or PC replacement?

Moderated by Andrew Nusca | December 10, 2012 -- 07:00 GMT (23:00 PST)

Summary: Yes, tablets are outselling PCs. And yes, Microsoft's tablets run Windows. But could the Surface serve as a full-fledged PC replacement?

Zack Whittaker

Zack Whittaker

Surface to rule


PCs aren't dead

Adrian Kingsley-Hughes

Adrian Kingsley-Hughes


Audience Favored: PCs aren't dead (75%)

The moderator has delivered a final verdict.

Opening Statements

PCs will sink below the Surface

Regardless of the tablet that you own (or want to own), Microsoft's own branded tablet has more than just an 'iPad competitor' sticker slapped on its back casing. The Surface is the post-PC personification of what Microsoft sees as the future of computing. Microsoft, the world's largest provider of PC software, is saying that its tablet is the future PC, and therefore tablets as a whole are 'the new PC'.

While Microsoft is a little behind the curve on the post-PC development cycle, partially because Windows 8 was late to the game -- by almost two years -- the tablet, smartphone and 'phablet' (part-phone, part tablet) phase is upon us and it's going nowhere any time soon. Windows remains in the world's most used operating system (by a long stretch, in spite of Apple's iOS). Ergo, with these two mushed together, it's a winning formula. Microsoft is making it clear that its Surface tablet will eventually replace the traditional hardware box.

Tablets aren't there yet

With the release of Windows 8 Microsoft took the bold move of encroaching into territory previously controlled by its hardware partners and release it's own tablet -- the Surface. Given that these tablets run Windows it is normal for people to assume that they are ready to replace the PC. After all, PC sales are stagnating, and instead customers -- consumers and enterprise alike -- are choosing instead to spend their dollars on tablets.

But the simple fact that tablets are outselling PC doesn't make them replacements to the desktop and notebooks. On the contrary, there are numerous obstacles that need to be conquered before tablets -- and specifically Surface tablets -- are ready to move from being companion devices to fully-fledged PC. Surface hardware is not yet powerful enough to take on the heavier duty tasks that people use PCs for, and the operating system and apps need to mature for longer before they are are ready to take on their full-sized counterparts.


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  • Android tablets

    Android tablets are going to outsell PC's
    Reply Vote I'm for Surface to rule
    • ..But Not for Long.

      Android tablets are going to outsell PC's? ..But Not for Long.
      Reply 3 Votes I'm Undecided
      • Tablet screen size is too small

        No way a 10' screen could replace a 27' one. The users experience falls short on a tablet.
        Reply 4 Votes I'm Undecided
        • Only for iPads & Androids

          Not a problem for my Surface. I can plug in a 27" monitor to my Surface and either duplicate or extend my desktop. I love it!
          Curtis Quick
          Reply 4 Votes I'm Undecided
          • 27" monitor

            So are you going to lug your 27" monitor around with you on the road!!??
            Reply 1 Vote I'm Undecided
          • Why would..

            you want to lug a 27" laptop around?
            10 - 12" are fine for portable. leave the 27" at home.
            Reply 1 Vote I'm Undecided
          • 27"

            Logistics and potential back strain aside, I would have nothing but respect for the person I saw walking around town with a 27" Surface or iPad.
            Reply Vote I'm Undecided
          • What a ridiculous thing to say.


            Your argument is ridiculous, and (hopefully) you know it. No one lugs a 27" monitor with them. Which device allows you to plug into that monitor when you get home, and use it as a fully functional computing device, though?

            Grasping at such straws is not a valid argument.
            Reply Vote I'm Undecided
        • I find the (16:9) wide-screen Surface RT ...

          ... far more comfortable to use than the iPad's 4:3 screen. The point though is that it is trival to plug the Surface RT into a larger screen. Not so trivial with the iPad.
          M Wagner
          Reply 3 Votes I'm Undecided
        • PCs are and will be more powerful...

          PCs are and will be more powerful for some time to come. Sure tablets are portable, but the screen and computing power is minor. Not all tasks can be done on tablets.
          Reply Vote I'm Undecided