Microsoft Surface RT

Last updated date: March 11, 2019

DWYM Score
7.5

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We looked at the top 1 Microsoft Surface Tablets and dug through the reviews from 8 of the most popular review sites including Tech Radar, Alphr, CNET, Trusted Reviews, Tech Spot, Laptop Magazine, PC World, Tablet PC Review and more. Through this analysis, we've determined the best Microsoft Surface Tablet you should buy.

Overall Take

In our analysis of 91 expert reviews, the Microsoft Microsoft Surface RT placed 7th when we looked at the top 8 products in the category. For the full ranking, see below.

Editor's Note May 15, 2019:
Checkout The Best Microsoft Surface Tablet for a detailed review of all the top microsoft surface tablets.

Expert Summarized Score
7.4
8 expert reviews
User Summarized Score
7.8
1,397 user reviews
Our Favorite Video Reviews
What experts liked
The Surface RT boasts a distinctive design, helped by those unmistakable keyboard covers, enjoys a 10.6-inch widescreen display, and runs a version of the most popular operating system on the planet.
- Tech Radar
September 27, 2013 | Full review
The mechanics of the kickstand are beautifully simple. The bottom half of the back of the tablet casing flicks out to create a stand, turning the device into a pseudo-laptop when used with one of the keyboards.
- Alphr
July 15, 2013 | Full review
The Microsoft Surface's Metro interface is innovative, elegant, powerful, and versatile. The tablet feels strong and well-built, runs Office 2013, and includes rich video and music services.
- CNET
October 15, 2013 | Full review
Contrast on the Surface’s screen is pretty good, with a lot of dark detail visible without compromising whites too much – here the Microsoft tab outperforms most rivals including the iPad.
- Trusted Reviews
October 22, 2013 | Full review
Ability to run two apps next to one another.
- Tech Spot
The 1366 x 768, 10.6-inch display on the Surface offered bright, colorful images, wide viewing angles and sharp text, though its screen just isn't as sharp or colorful as the iPad's.
- Laptop Magazine
October 23, 2012 | Full review
You never need to worry about aligning finicky connection points. In fact, you don't even need to look at the tablet and keyboard when snapping them together. Just move them toward each other, and magnetic attraction will attach the two sides—perfectly, every time.
- PC World
October 23, 2012 | Full review
The excellent touchpad on the Touch Cover is praise-worthy — it is better and more precise than many touchpads that come with real notebooks, and while working with Windows RT offers priceless practical value.
- Tablet PC Review
November 14, 2012 | Full review
What experts didn't like
At 690g Microsoft Surface is noticeably heavier than its rivals.
- Tech Radar
September 27, 2013 | Full review
However, the stand is set at a fixed position, leaving no means of adjusting the angle of the screen as you would on a conventional laptop.
- Alphr
July 15, 2013 | Full review
The tablet's performance can be sluggish, its Windows Store is lacking, Metro takes getting used to, and the Desktop interface feels clunky and useless.
- CNET
October 15, 2013 | Full review
Compared to the fast glass, high fps shooting, quick AF, 1080p video and LED flash support on some rival tablets, the cameras here are pitiful. Even relatively well-lit stills lack detail, decent contrast, good focus and all the other essentials for a nice pic.
- Trusted Reviews
October 22, 2013 | Full review
Random lock up and pauses with its performance.
- Tech Spot
If you're planning to take pictures with your tablet, don't plan on buying the Surface. The 1-MP front and rear facing cameras provided provide some of the worst-quality images and video we've seen on a premium mobile device.
- Laptop Magazine
October 23, 2012 | Full review
The kickstand is not adjustable, and I often found myself drifting out of the angle’s sweet spot depending on my table height.
- PC World
October 23, 2012 | Full review
This makes using the Touch Cover frustrating, given that it costs $100 dollars (or $120 if you want it in a specific color). This is too great a price for something that is far more than just a cover and far less than a functional keyboard.
- Tablet PC Review
November 14, 2012 | Full review

From The Manufacturer

Windows RT; 10.6-Inch ClearType HD Display Quad-core NVIDIA Tegra 3 32 GB Storage, 2 GB RAM, Up to 8 Hours of Battery Life Two 720p HD LifeCams, front and rear facing Wi-Fi (802.11a/b/g/n); Bluetooth 4.0 Technology; Ambient light sensor, Accelerometer, Gyroscope, Magnetometer; 31.5 W-h, up to 8 hours mixed activity, 7-15 days idle life.

Overall Product Rankings

1. Microsoft Surface Pro 6
Overall Score: 8.6
Expert Reviews: 18
2. Microsoft Surface Pro 3 Tablet
Overall Score: 8.3
Expert Reviews: 6
3. Microsoft Surface Pro 5th Gen
Overall Score: 8.3
Expert Reviews: 9
4. Microsoft Surface 3 Tablet
Overall Score: 8.2
Expert Reviews: 11
5. Microsoft Surface Go
Overall Score: 8.1
Expert Reviews: 14
6. Microsoft Surface Pro 4
Overall Score: 8.0
Expert Reviews: 10
7. Microsoft Surface RT
Overall Score: 7.5
Expert Reviews: 8
8. Microsoft Surface 2
Overall Score: 7.5
Expert Reviews: 7

An Overview On Microsoft Surface Tablets

It’s been just over six years since Microsoft introduced the original Surface tablet. Flash forward to today, and Microsoft has a full range of Surface PCs that appeal to all kinds of buyers and budgets.

If you’re in the market for a versatile, portable Windows 10 machine, then there’s sure to be a Microsoft Surface device to fit your needs. While there have been plenty of upgrades, the Surface tablets launched in the last few years are each useful and versatile machines in their own right.

If having the latest and greatest model is a high priority for you, then look no further than the Surface Pro 6. It is ultra-light and faster than ever. It features the latest 8th Generation Intel Core processor as well as the full Windows 10 Home experience. It also happens to be the top value pick of the Microsoft Surface collection as well.

Similarly, the Surface Pro 5 is another excellent choice. It not only offers full PC performance in a thin and light design, but also boasts a high-resolution, oversized screen. Plus, it’s compatible with a variety of accessories, including a dock. One surprising downside is the thin, lightweight design makes it prone to bending if you’re not careful while handling or transporting this tablet.

Earlier variations, including the Surface Pro 3 and Surface 3, still remain solid machines today.  Both can easily convert into laptops with the proper accessories and can handle a full day’s work. Plus, the Surface 3 has a 10.8-inch display with the uncommon resolution of 1920 x 1280p, which is 200 pixels taller than the standard 1080p.  As a result, on-screen images appear colorful and sharp.

Keep an open mind, and consider laptops in addition to versatile tablets like the Microsoft Surface models. While laptops may be a bit pricier, they offer the convenience of a built-in keyboard for getting work done. In addition to the Microsoft Surface tablets, there are many tablet variations from manufacturers like Google, Apple, Amazon and more that offer unique options worth considering.

DYWM Fun Fact

Microsoft Surface Tablets had a bit of a rocky beginning. When they first debuted in 2012, people loved the hardware design but were baffled by the software. Since then, Microsoft has launched new software to better match the spot-on hardware.

The hybrid-PC style hardware was truly innovative and many other companies have copied its smart design. The built-in kickstand and add-on keyboard, still part of the newest Surface models, are industry standards now.

What started as one tablet has morphed into a full Microsoft Surface family of computers. The range includes tablets, standard laptops and oversized desktops. Quite frankly, the Microsoft Surface options have never been as diverse as they are today.

The Microsoft Surface Tablet Buying Guide

  • Check what comes with each tablet standard carefully before clicking purchase. Not all come with the accessories needed to make the most of the tablet, like the Surface Pen and keyboard cover.
  • Understand what ports and connections are compatible with your Microsoft Surface tablets. Microsoft continues to use USB-A and its magnetic Surface Connect charger. Unlike other manufacturers, it has not transitioned to the USB-C and Thunderbolt 3.
  • There are budget-friendly financing options available directly through Microsoft. If you come in to a physical retail location, you can buy a new Surface on an installment plan, for as little as $25 per month. The payment plan also includes Office 365 for the two-year duration of the installments.
  • The Microsoft Complete extended warranty is a smart add-on to any device. The plan starts at $149 and features additional warranty coverage and accidental damage protection. It includes a total of two accidental damage claims, with a $49 deductible.