5 Things to Know Before Buying A Cheap Surface RT

The Surface RT is now on sale for $350 at Staples, and we may see a bunch of new Surface RT deals as rumors point to a far-reaching Surface RT price drop which offers a tempting cheap Windows tablet.

Though it only debuted a year ago, the Microsoft Surface RT has changed the way most people think about Windows, or at least it will once users get their hands on one. Following its announcement that it would create an operating system that’s tailored for use with ARM processors typically found in smartphones and tablets, Microsoft shocked the world by announcing its own brand of tablets.

Since then, Microsoft’s Surface RT tablet hasn’t taken the tablet world by storm, although it and the Surface Pro have earned the company a respectable 5th place among tablet manufacturers. That’s huge for a company that doesn’t make its own computing hardware.

If you are looking into buying one of Microsoft’s Surface RT tablets, here are few handy things to know.

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It Runs Windows RT

The Surface RT runs Windows RT not Windows 8, this can’t be stressed enough. To Microsoft’s credit this allows the Surface RT to get some pretty lofty battery usage but it also comes with the very real penalty. You will not be able to add desktop applications to this operating system. Desktop apps, include things like iTunes.

It is not all doom and gloom though, Surface RT users can install Metro applications from the Windows Store.

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It is Long in the Tooth

Inside the Microsoft Surface

A new Surface RT with better internal components could be on the way.

This October, the Surface RT will turn a year old, putting it into what can safely be described as a prime buying season. For example, next week’s advertisement from Staples includes an instant discount on Microsoft’s Surface RT tablets, bringing the entry price down to just $349. Microsoft has also been offering heavily discounted units to educational institutions for the last month. Lower pricing is always a good thing, except for when you are this far into a product’s life cycle.

That’s because most consumer electronics have a typical shelf life of about a year, after which they are replaced by devices with updated processors and new innovations. There’s been no concrete proof that this is what is going on with the Surface RT – Microsoft has been relatively quiet about new additions of the tablet. However, it’s not exactly unusual to see these kind of sales and price cuts as Microsoft attempts to prepare for a next-generation Surface.

Your Needs

Before diving into a Surface RT, regularly priced or otherwise, you’ve got to know what features you need to decide if this is the right tablet for you. If having a free copy of Microsoft Office is important to you and so is a full-sized USB port that connects to most printers and cameras, than the Surface RT might be your thing. However, if you’re looking for the latest and greatest applications and a wealth of third-party accessories, Apple’s latest iPad might be more up your alley.

Touch and Type Cover

Microsoft Surface Touch Cover Gallery Thumb

The Touch and Type Covers for Surface tablets.

Ever since Microsoft began airing its Surface Movement commercials with non-stop hipsters dancing on a college campus opening and closing their covers, the Surface RT and Surface Pro have become synonymous with their detachable keyboard and track pad wielding accessories.

That would be fine if all Surface RT devices included a Surface Cover. Unfortunately, they don’t. The lowest end Surface RT that is regularly priced at $499 doesn’t include the accessory, forcing those users to pay an extra $119 for it separately, or upgrade to the $599 bundle that includes it. No Surface includes the Type Cover, the all black version with physical keys. That cover costs users $129.

It Will Run Windows 8.1

The updated Start Screen in Windows 8.1

The updated Start Screen in Windows 8.1

Though it’s often described as a simple update to Windows 8, the Windows 8.1 update to Windows RT that is coming to consumers later this year, might address many of the software problems you’ll have with the device out of the box. These fixes include more customization, an updated version of Microsoft Office 2013 RT that includes the Outlook email client and even the return of the Start Button.

Read: 26 Awesome Features in Windows 8.1

All Surface RT users will get this update when it debuts this fall for free.

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GottaBeMobile reviewed the Surface RT when it debuted last October. At the time we found it to be slightly confusing for first time users, however your experience may vary. It’s important to note that while lower pricing and fire sales indicate that a new Surface RT is imminent, Microsoft has publicly pledged to support the Surface RT for at least another three years.

Comments

  1. zUnit says

    “You will not be able to add desktop applications to this operating system. Desktop apps, include things like iTunes.”

    Ummm, no duh. Its a tablet. Can you run desktop aps on an ipad? NO. Why? because it runs ios rather than osx. This is why an ipad can’t run useful apps like Office, which happens to be included with WIndows RT….

    No sure why anyone would want to put iTunes on any computer.

  2. Gerald Yamoah says

    I really want Microsoft to release iTunes on surface rt. Thanks. Please do something about it it’s very necessary.

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