Don't Waste Your Money: Is Microsoft's Surface tablet a must-have?

(Toledo News Now) - Microsoft is hoping you give one of its new products a look this holiday season. The software giant has just released Windows 8 and a new tablet. But will shoppers be interested, or shrug their shoulders?

You could easily mistake it for the opening of another Apple store: The bright lighting, the glass everywhere, the crowds. But this store says "Microsoft" on the sign. There are now 30 in the U.S., and the company is opening more all the time, as it attempts to get some of Apple's "wow" factor.

Surface Tablets Everywhere

The centerpiece of the new store is the company's new Surface tablet. While it may look like a cool new iPad, it's not. It's Microsoft's new tablet entry, which the company hopes will become the iPad's most serious competitor. It uses the brand new Windows 8, which store customers say took a little getting used to.

"I think it's pretty cool. It's definitely different, and a new start for Microsoft," said William Tan.

While it has a bit of a learning curve, most customers say they liked Surface.

"I like it. I think it's a lot easier to use than older Windows, especially when you are playing games. You don't have to worry about the keys messing up, you just touch the screen," said Taylor Gallinger.

Keyboard Biggest Selling Point

Perhaps Surface's best feature is the way the keyboard snaps onto the tablet, turning it instantly into a Windows laptop computer, complete with Word, Outlook, and Excel. It also has a built-in stand, so you can prop it up easily.

"Unlike other tablets," store manager Andrew Bowers said, "you can use this as a full fledged computer, doing all the same things you do with your keyboard and laptop mouse."

Will Consumers Want It?
The biggest question is whether consumers will be willing to shell out $500 for it, the same price as a new, third generation iPad. It's going to be up to consumers to decide if this will become a real hit, or just another wannabe.

Surface is no budget tablet, unlike the Kindle Fire, which is under $200.

Reviewers from tech blogs and the Wall Street Journal call the Surface a beautiful tablet, with its only real weakness a lack of apps. But from the snap-on keyboard, to easy access to Word and Excel, Microsoft is betting that people will pay a premium for it. 

If you are more comfortable with Windows than with Apple's iOs, the Surface is well worth checking out so you don't waste your money.

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