Top critical review
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Getting work done on the Surface, touch edition
on March 10, 2013
I've had about three weeks to get used to the Touch Cover and see if it acts as a suitable alternative to the Black Type Cover for Microsoft Surface. The magnetic force holding the cover to the Surface is strong, and it takes quite a bit of pull to separate the two. Even when dangling the Surface freely by the cover, cover and tablet stay firmly attached. Flipping the cover over the screen puts the Surface in standby. When flipping the cover back past 180 degrees, key and touchpad input is disabled, allowing you to hold it against the back of the Surface or use it as a flat kickstand Surface without registering any unwanted keystrokes or clicks.
In general, the Type Cover is much better for typing, but if you allow yourself time to get used to it, the Touch Cover's keyboard is still very capable. After about 3 weeks of using it, I manage about 80-100 words per minute, compared to about 100-110 with the Type Cover. Both share the same layout with full-size keys. The slight indentations separating the keys actually help with touch typing more than one might think. As opposed to the Type Cover, the Touch Cover's keyboard works reliably on any surface, and the touchpad actually feels much more responsive, especially with two-finger scrolling. One common complaint that I have with both keyboards is that the top row is used for volume/playback control, charms, and navigation, and that the Fn button on the bottom row has to be held down to input the function keys (F1, F2, etc.). A Fn lock would've been nice to have. Unlike the Type Cover, none of the F-keys are labeled, which adds to the frustration.
I purchased the white Touch Cover, which looks really classy with the Surface. Unfortunately, the material stains very easily, and after three weeks the back of the cover is starting to look dirty.
The Touch Cover retails for $120, just $10 below the price for the Type Cover. However, at the time of the review, Amazon's seller currently has it marked down by $30 while the Type Cover is actually marked UP by a staggering $70. Purely for the better typing experience, I would recommend Type over Touch, though I would certainly try finding it at another retailer. Either solution is preferable to using the on-screen keyboard.