Can a price cut save the Surface RT?

Over the weekend, Microsoft announced stiff price cuts to the Surface RT in the US. Here there’s been no announcements, but some slightly more limp cuts in any case. Just a case of clearing the decks before a new model comes out, or a flag of surrender?
Back when I reviewed the original Surface RT for ABC’s Technology+Games, I came to the rather swift conclusion that it wasn’t a tablet computer that was particularly worth investing the full asking price in. A bit too slow, a solid kickstand that never quite works on the lap and a whole heap of program incompatibility made it less than optimal in my opinion. I haven’t yet reviewed the Pro, because it took some time to launch here in Australia, and when it did, according to Microsoft, they had no review units they could provide to me.
Over the weekend, Microsoft cut the US asking price by $150 for the retail Surface RT. Here in Australia, as Gus over at Lifehacker notes, there’s no official cut, but JB Hi-Fi is offering between $71-$80 off the prices of various Surface RT units, making them between $388-$608.
That’s better, and undeniably better value… but I still can’t help thinking it’d be wise to hold off, for two distinct reasons.
If it’s just a case that Surface RT: The Next Generation is imminent, then you’ll be left with a slower, less capable unit on your hands, and one that’s more likely to miss out on any future software updates. Remember that Surface RT doesn’t run Windows 8, because it’s not running on an x86 core.
What if it’s a run-out because Microsoft’s decided that all the money is in x86 anyway? I’d still advise caution. Surface RT’s application compatibility problems run deep, and unless you’re satisfied with just the basic office apps and IE, and can live with having the rest of your standard Windows apps inaccessible save through remote apps, it’s still a tough ask. That kind of money can easily buy a competent enough basic Windows 8 laptop, after all.
Before the hordes of RT defenders jump on me, I’m not the only one who draws that conclusion; Paul Thurrott’s view, based on the tastier US pricing, is essentially identical. I don’t hate touch-based Windows (indeed, I’m in the middle of testing out a pair of very tasty Windows 8 based devices right now), but I just can’t see the ongoing value in Windows RT.
There probably is a price point where I’d pick up an RT on a whim; the $99 TechEd pricing, for example, saw plenty of folks lining up to buy, and I would have been amongst them. But at $498 (I wouldn’t buy one without at least a keyboard) minimum, it’s still not a great buy.

Source: Lifehacker

4 thoughts on “Can a price cut save the Surface RT?”

  1. Beg to differ Alex.
    The Surface RT is admittedly better value at the newer lower prices (obviously).
    * However RT is not dead. MS have committed to further Surface devices (incl RT).
    * Nokia have their own RT device in the hands of select partners right now!
    * Additional Surface accessories are coming as well
    * For productivity – the Surface RT offers better than ipad value (Office bundled + Touchcover)
    1) Full Browser (IE – not some cut down version)
    2) Full Browser Flash Support
    Yes, as a new OS/platform, the App store is far superior for Android/iOS – but if you require content creation AS WELL AS consumption and are prepared to have leaner App pickings, then the RT delivers.
    Of course newer models will run faster and have better gfx etc etc – but that’s the same in EVERY IT field. At some point you need to step into the wheel rather than just observe the ratrace or else you will always be saying “but if I wait till Haswell or TegraX….what about the NEXT big refesh 9m later!)
    PS The MS Store AU (and HN/JB) have dropped around $170 off the AU price.

    1. No dramas with differences in opinions (and I figured I’d know your thoughts already), but my comparison was more on the front of RT vs an inexpensive Windows laptop. I’d say that’s a much better productivity option in any case.

      1. Alex it really depends on the user and the form factor they require.
        I needed a windows 8 tablet that could function as my office productivity machine (and it is, despite also having a more ‘capable’ laptop), it needed long battery life, and the Surface RT was absolutely perfect.
        Now with the Windows 8.1 beta installed, the entire operating system feels much much more slick than it already did (which is saying a lot), and I must say I don’t think I have ever been happier with one of my purchases. This fantastic.

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