Surface RT users: Microsoft wants to hear from you

Surface RT users: Microsoft wants to hear from you

Summary: Microsoft is seeking user-experience feedback from those who've bought Surface RT tablet/PCs.


If you've bought a Microsoft Surface RT pablet/TC, Microsoft is interested in hearing about your experience with it.


Via the “Surface Owner Feedback Program,” the Redmondians are looking to gather input from users about their devices. Microsoft posted an invitation to participate in the survey on the Surface Facebook page. (Thanks to for the heads up on the survey.)

To entice participants, Microsoft is allowing those (U.S.-based only, according to the rules) who submit data to enter a sweepstakes with $200 in Surface accessories as the prize.

After submitting their Surface serial numbers, age, gender, date of purchase and address, users will receive an e-mail with an invitation for a survey about their experiences with the product in approximately two weeks, according to the survey sign-up page.

I've been wondering about how many Surface users have experienced some of the documented problems with the product, ranging from splitting touch keyboards and sound muting issues, to power-unit and stuck screen-pixel problems. I've heard from readers claiming all of these issues. Some have received replacement units rapidly from Microsoft Customer Support; others have been less-than-pleased about support responsiveness. (For the record, I have had no hardware issues with my Surface RT, knock wood.)

It would be interesting to know what kind of quality bar the first Surfaces have hit, given the Surface RT marks the first time Microsoft is making its own PC device. I asked Microsoft if the company would share any data on Surface returns or quality levels. No go. The response, via a spokesperson: “Microsoft makes every effort to ensure our customers receive a high quality product. Customers can contact Microsoft Customer Support if they have any questions.”

Microsoft officials still have not shared any Surface RT sales figures. They also have not shared any figures around sales of Windows RT vs. Windows 8 devices. (The 40 million Windows 8 licenses sold in month one seemingly includes both operating systems.)

Microsoft is on track to ship the Intel-based Surface Pro in January 2013. Pricing for that device still has not been revealed, but many are expecting it to come in around $1,000 or more.

Topics: Tablets, Microsoft, PCs, Windows


Mary Jo has covered the tech industry for 30 years for a variety of publications and Web sites, and is a frequent guest on radio, TV and podcasts, speaking about all things Microsoft-related. She is the author of Microsoft 2.0: How Microsoft plans to stay relevant in the post-Gates era (John Wiley & Sons, 2008).

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  • My Experience

    I had an issue with my original Surface (discovered in the first day) that the audio cables must have been "disconnected" internally or something, because I had no audio at all. I took it back to my store and they swapped it out within 15 minutes.

    Since then, I've experienced NO problems at all with mine. In fact, for what I'm using it for, it's fantastic. My ONLY gripe is that I need backwards compatibility for my sys admin tools (so ideally, I need a Surface Pro) in order to make it a full-time device. There are tons of apps I would like to have... Facebook and a non-Twitter-crippled version of MetroTwit (or any other client), but I'm enjoying using it for email, web, and games. I'm a Cut-the-Rope addict now. :\

    I think if I were using Surface RT as my exclusive device, the only change I'd make (within Microsoft's control) is to enable an option to allow me full Flash site functionality without mucking about with the whitelist. I want their protection MOST of the time, but I want to have an option to override/bypass it... just like I can with SmartScreen filtering.
    • It is really fantastic, said 2005

      Unfortunately there have been 4 generations of iPad and Surface doesn't even stack up against the Gen 1 iPad. Why not? iPad 1 had legacy apps - about 200,000 or 250,000 iPhone apps and a blossoming market of iPad optimized apps. iPad 1 had wifi plus cellular data, Surface just has limited wifi (which has worked poorly for many on the Microsoft boards). iPad 1 had an array of cases in multiple configurations which allowed iPad to sit at multiple angles both in landscape and portrait. Surface has an uncomfortable plastic kickstand which allows for exactly one viewing angle in exactly one orientation. iPad 1 worked in the simplicity of one OS, the familiar iOS, whereas Surface has two kludgey environments that users had better want to learn and which requires a keyboard to work. iPad 1 works flawlessly by touch, which is what a tablet should do. iPad 1 had a better screen, with deeper blacks and richer colors. Surface hasn't even caught up to iPad 1, but if this were 2005 it would be all the rage.
      • Are you unemployed?

        Or are you a professional idiot?
        • Professional?

          Is he an idiot - goes without saying. Is he professional? Can't see him ever reaching that grande title.

          The biggest irony is that most of what he says is complete BS, yet that's all he ever accuses other people of spouting. When it's challenged with facts, greg conveniently forgets his original arguments and rants about something else, in this case, the number of pretty coloured cases for the ipad. The true benchmark of tablet quality.

          How stupid can someone be to complain about cables while promoting apple tv which requires just as many cables to function in a far more limited fashion ie. you need one for every tv or to carry it around with you (v's hdmi cable that will connect to any hdmi enabled tv and is a lot more mobile).
          Little Old Man
  • I've had no hardware issues...

    my only gripes are the low sound, and lack of ability to stream recorded/live TV from my media centre PC. I'm don't really require loud sound, and I'm sure an app will pop up soon enough to fill in the gap with the media centre.
    • About the sound...

      Oh, yeah, I forgot about the low/garbled sound issues... when the device is asleep music playback stutters a lot. I haven't been using it for music since I have all my music on my phone and play it that way, so thanks for the reminder. I'm assuming it's just a firmware issue they can resolve though. I'll mention it when I get the survey.
      • The latest patch should have fix it.

        At least on mine. the sound is not stuttering any more when device is in sleep and playing music.
        Ram U
        • That's our Microsoft

          All patches and stutters and reboots and BSOD. Enjoy!
          • Holding it wrong

            So it's UE and the owners are at fault.

            How's the patch for apple maps coming along greg?
            Little Old Man
          • Since you brought it up, maps is working great

            in the six months I have been using iOS 6 I have had zero issues with Apple Maps and find it to be better than what Google provided in iOS 5 and previous, thanks for asking.
    • Does Remote Desktop work?

      I haven't bought one yet, but I plan to.... I was thinking that Remote Desktop app could be used (at least over your home network) to connect to your media centre PC to play live recorded/Live TV on the Surface.
      • Remote Desktop is excellent

        You can use the Remote Desktop app from the Windows Store, or the preinstalled desktop version. Both work perfectly fine.

        Actually, the app version not only allows multiple connections, it gives you easy access to these instances via a simple swipe from the top edge - voila! all of your RDP instances there for selection.

        You can also access your network via the desktop. The desktop interface, although scoffed at, offers a ton of flexibility for users from an administrative standpoint. In a word, flexible.
      • Yes the Remote desktop app is good.

        if you have Cisco VPN, there are ways to connect to your servers.
        Ram U
      • YES!

        It most certainly works AND even better, I use RemoteApps to get my backwards compatibility fix when I'm really in a pinch.
      • It's good...

        I mostly use the Tiled version but it's nice to have the full blown RDP app that you use on your desktop available from the Surface desktop as well. One thing that kind of sucks though is that neither of the RDP clients work well with the on-screen keyboard; unlike most 3rd party RDP clients on iOS or Android which take advantage of the built-in on-screen keyboards. However, there are ways to work around that. What I've been doing lately is using the "Ease of Access" on-screen keyboard instead; I just pinned it to the taskbar on my terminal server for quick access and it works fine.

        The physical keyboard of course works great with either RDP client. I use the physical one for heavy lifting and the touch screen for quick and simple tasks.

        And by the way, I keep seeing people saying that the Surface is useless without a physical keyboard; that's hogwash. I use mine without the keyboard 99% of the time and it's no different from using my iPad or Android tablets without physical keyboards. Heck, I've got the touch keyboard and I use it primarily as a cover, not for typing. But it's nice to have the keyboard for that 1% of the time when I need high productivity.
    • Cool

      That will be nice. I think ALL smartphones and tablets should have this feature.
  • No issues

    Runs almost perfectly. I am just a wee bit annoyed with the strange delay when you navigate "back" in IE10 "metro". It sometimes takes 5 seconds to retrieve and render the previous page. It is *much* faster to simply navigate directly to the page. This issue is more outspoken at some sites, so perhaps it is some strange JavaScript bug.

    Otherwise it is an awesome device
    • strange javascript bug?

      Safari, Chrome, Firefox, Opera, Camino, click back, instantaneous response. No javascript involved in fact, the page is served from cache. Click back in IE10, you wait 5 seconds, and you blame javascript? Me I think is IE10 the culprit.
  • Is Windows 8 "ever-increasing" in size at each update?

    With Windows 7 and Windows 2008 R2 both 64 bits. One thing I don't like is that Windows always increases in size at each Windows Update and it seems as there is no way to reduce the size. I hope Windows 8 is not designed in similar fashion because otherwise the tablet would be filled entirely by Windows 8 alone.
    • try Disk Clean-up

      updates have to take space on your disk or they wouldn't actually do anything, but the Windows 8 footprint is smaller than 7 and you can clean up the update files after use with the Disk Clean-up tool