(disclaimer: I work for Microsoft, but beyond using the Surface RT as a consumer I have no other connection to the Surface team/device).
No, before you ask, this is not HOW to develop software on the Surface RT but rather is the device any use for someone who spends most of his time in Visual Studio.
Firstly let me say, BUY A TYPECOVER. For me it completely changed the way I use the device. With the touchcover I could type, but not very efficiently. I gave it several months but honestly it just wasn’t for me. The TypeCover on the other hand feels and reacts like a real keyboard, it makes emails, blog posts (this one included), general text editing a pleasure.
Now, the question is, what do I use this for, and if I need to have another machine anyway for Visual Studio why not just use that machine for everything?
The key benefit is the daily commute. To be specific, commuting on trains for well over 3 and a half hours a day. Even my modest sized Lenovo Carbon Touch X1 feels far too bulky when sitting in a crammed intercity train. The Surface RT though has 2 major benefits in my eyes. Its small footprint (only 10.6″ screen size) when in “laptop mode” (ie keyboard attached) still allows easy use and you don’t feel your elbows are causing issues for the person sitting next to you. The other obvious benefit is that you fold the cover back (or remove it) and you have a fairly decent tablet which allows for my morning routine of checking out all the tech websites, facebook, twitter and going through my emails. The benefit of doing this on a tablet device cannot be overstated. IT IS JUST BETTER!s isn
Now this obviously isn’t specific to a developer (duh) but before I got my hands on the RT I was really wondering what I’d use it for when I have my Lenovos. Well, I know now.
I just wish the RT had a bit more grunt (why did we pick the Tegra ?!?!?) and the more I like the form factor the more I want to buy a Pro (purely for Visual Studio use).
Now, how to get that decision past “the boss”.