Hollywood often withholds badly conceived movies from reviewers so that bad press doesn't adversely affect the opening weekend box office. So it was with Surface with Windows RT, for me at least: Microsoft refused to let me even peek at this machine ahead of the launch day. And although the Surface is no dud -- in fact, it's very well made -- Surface RT is no PC replacement.
Likewise, Windows RT is currently an unacceptable alternative to mainstream Windows 8 versions.
Although this information will come too late to save the many people who pre-ordered Surface with Windows RT, as well as the many who queued up at Microsoft stores around North America late last week -- thanks again, Microsoft -- it might at least ease the minds of those who waited, or who now face shipping delays. In its current, woefully incomplete form, Surface with Windows RT is nothing more than a PC companion, a secondary device like an iPad, Amazon Kindle Fire HD, or Android tablet.
Which is to say that it's pretty good for email, web browsing, Facebook updates, and media consumption, with a tiny but growing app and games store and a fun and useful set of surprisingly decent Touch and Type covers. (And yes, they're both surprisingly good, and a clear advantage for this machine.)