Notes for the Microsoft Surface Review Video that I Uploaded Earlier Today

Click Here to see the video. 

1. How to get the Kindle for Microsoft 8 App on your Microsoft Surface

Store -> Search for Kindle -> Install -> Register to your Amazon account

2. What you can do on Surface, iPad and Fire HD 8.9”

Access books in cloud – Whispersync to last place read

Adjust settings for reading – extent of choices varies

Font sizes:

Surface: 4

iPad: 15

Fire HD 8.9”: 11

Notes and highlights

You can make them on all three and they will end up accessible in the cloud at But the most complete view of your notes and highlights will be on the Fire. Surface leaves some out, and iPad squeezes them into a small window.

Dictionary lookup – with voice pronunciation on Surface; the New Oxford American Dictionary on the iPad and Fire HD

3. What you can do only on Surface

Pin an individual book to Start screen.

But on Fire you can save a book to your favorites area.

4. What you can do on iPad and Fire HD


Deliver a newspaper issue from a Kindle subscription

Similar ability to toggle between print edition’s page view, zoomable, and the Kindle view with dictionary lookup. On Fire you double tap the page view to switch to text view. On the iPad there is a button to tap.

Share to Twitter and Facebook, but Fire shows you other people’s shared highlights on the device, as well as posting them at Twitter and Facebook.

 5. What you can do only on the Fire HD


Free borrowing from Kindle Owners’ Lending Library for Prime Members

$2.99/ month / child with Prime membership for Kindle FreeTime Unlimited

6. Aesthetic considerations

Surface with case weighs about 4 ounces more than the iPad or Fire HD 8.9” with their most popular cases. But you can’t read the surface in lean-back mode with its clever keyboard-case combo attached. So the comparison that matters, pitting the naked Surface, without its cover, against the two other tablets used with their covers. That’s means advantage Surface, by about 4 ounces.

However, the dimensions of the three tablets go against the Surface. When you hold it in portrait mode, which I think feels most natural, the way you hold a physical book, the Surface feels top heavy and awkward. It is an inch and a quarter taller than the iPad and the Fire HD 8.9”. The surface is a half inch narrower than the iPad and just a hair wider than the Fire HD. The surface tugs at your hands as you hold it, trying to topple over backward onto your lap.

The Surface is also slow. It takes about 5 seconds to open War and Peace with the book already downloaded from the cloud. By comparison, the Kindle for iPad app opens the same book in a second, with the Kindle Fire taking perhaps a fraction of a second longer.

7. Reading eBooks from other platforms

For the Surface you can get free apps from the Windows Store for Kindle, Nook and Kobo eBooks but not the Sony Reader.

The iTunes store has free apps for Kindle, Nook, Kobo, and Sony Reader.

Using on your Fire you can download apps for Nook and Kobo but not the Sony Reader.

8. Conclusion

If reading Kindle books and subscriptions is important to you, the Surface is probably a poor bet. If you have other reasons to buy one, you will find a rudimentary Kindle app available with one notable advantage over the other two platforms – the ability to hear the correct pronunciation of words you want to look up.

The Kindle Fire understandably has the best tools for reading Kindle content and, since Kindle hardware is sold at breakeven prices, it’s no surprise to find out that the Fire HD is by far the most affordable of these three full-size tablets. The following prices are for comparable 32 GB models with the most popular covers:

Surface – $499 + $119 for blue keyboard cover = $618

iPad w/ Retina display – $599 + $39 polyurethane cover = $638

Kindle Fire HD 8.9” – $299 $369 +$55 leather cover = $354   $424

I have to say that, as an Apple and Kindle devotee I have been surprised at how much I am enjoying the Surface. I love the case that serves as a full keyboard, and the design of the Windows 8 RT interface is clean, clever and fresh.

Nonetheless, I find the Kindle Fire the best option for serious and technology-enhanced long-form reading.

I hope this has been helpful! If you have questions about the Microsoft Surface or other topics mentioned in the video, please leave them as a comment.




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