Surface RT poll results show a divided reaction for Windows Phone users

The Surface RT is not quite out yet but with pre-orders underway and the pricing finally announced we tossed up two polls to quantify your reactions. Perhaps not too surprisingly the results are a bit complicated and we bet that has to do with the amount of choices now out there (and in the future).

Priced too high or just right?

First up we asked whether or not the base price of $499 dissuaded you from considering the Surface RT. The majority of you (46% of 5,770 votes) said that in fact it did not affect your decision while a smaller but still significant 36% said it did impact your decision. A full 18% were unsure, obviously waiting on the sidelines for early reviews and initial market response to influence their decision.

Although a majority seemed unfazed by the $500 price tag clearly a chunk of our audience were seriously hoping for something more dramatic from Microsoft—whether in the form of a lower base price or a subscription model (akin to the $99 Xbox 360 plan), potential buyers reflected negatively on the price. Of course by most accounts, the 32GB Surface RT is competitively priced and you do get more bang for your buck in terms of hardware compared to an iPad, but it still remains to be seen whether it’s enough to woo new customers.

Clearly Microsoft is in a tough position as they could have easily absorbed a lot of the cost of the Surface RT for a lower base price but it would have completely knee-capped their OEM partners who surely would have bailed due to being unable to compete. It's also an odd question to have to answer because in theory prices are never low enough for any technology when consumers are asked.

Did you preorder?

After the pricing was announced and pre-orders had begun Windows Phone Central polled its users to see how many had committed to the new device. This poll had a larger turnout with 8,104 respondents.

Nearly 20% (1,579) of you had placed a pre-order for the Surface RT in either the 32GB or 64GB varieties. That number may seem low but in fact as a percentage it seems quite high for a pre-order as presumably many more will make a purchase when it actually goes on sale in a Microsoft Store or holiday kiosk. Even more will make purchases if early reviews give heavy praise to the device or it catches on socially.

In fact 13% of you said you were waiting to buy it in the Store, either to get a hands-on or presumably to have more options when purchasing. For instance, the 64GB version of the Surface RT only has the black Touch Cover available even though it comes in four other colors (white, cyan, magenta and orange). That sort of limitation even prevented some of the WPCentral staff from pre-ordering, as we wanted a different combination.

Another 26% fall into the “waiting a bit longer” category presumably for more information and reviews as the tablet becomes available---a fair and rational position. Finally, 40% of the respondents are waiting for the Surface Pro or to purchase another, non-Microsoft tablet running Windows 8. Clearly that number reflects users who want a “no compromise” experience when running Microsoft’s latest operating system.

Kind of want...

Wrap up

In conclusion, if we had to summarize the responses it would seem the initial response to the Surface RT is lukewarm, due to a few reasons:

  • Consumers want a Pro device
  • Consumers want to find out more information (reviews, etc.)
  • Consumers want a different configuration for colors (64GB)

Having said that, we can see on the website that the 32GB base version is back-ordered by 3 weeks suggesting that initial demand has been high. But we’ll have to wait and see how the October 26th hard launch and subsequent holiday season progresses to really get an idea if Surface RT is a hit or miss.

Daniel Rubino

Daniel Rubino is the Editor-in-chief of Windows Central. He is also the head reviewer, podcast co-host, and analyst. He has been covering Microsoft since 2007, when this site was called WMExperts (and later Windows Phone Central). His interests include Windows, laptops, next-gen computing, and watches. He has been reviewing laptops since 2015 and is particularly fond of 2-in-1 convertibles, ARM processors, new form factors, and thin-and-light PCs. Before all this tech stuff, he worked on a Ph.D. in linguistics, watched people sleep (for medical purposes!), and ran the projectors at movie theaters because it was fun.