For those who might not know, Microsoft is opening pop-up stores in some big cities to help sell the Microsoft Surface tablet. One opened up in the middle of Times Square in NYC a few months ago but since I’m a native New Yorker, I had no urge to go to Times Square (tourists, ugh) to visit a store. That being said, there was a documentary being shown that I wanted to see and it was only being shown at the AMC theater on 42nd street so I had no choice other than to go to Times Square. Passing the store, I was apprehensive in entering. It looked a bit too similar to an Apple Store and seemed to not have much merchandise on display. I also thought the shirts saying “I’m a PC” was a bit over the top and silly. As I gained up the courage to enter the store, I heard a passerby say “Is that an Apple store?”, which only made me feel worse. Upon entering, I found the store sorta empty compared to the traffic on the sidewalk outside the store.
Like the Apple store, they have quite a few devices on display for people to use. The first Windows Phone 8 device I tried was the Nokia Lumia 920. Unlike the Apple store, but very similar to Best Buy, the phone would not turn on. I moved on to a working model and tested some things out. Being an iOS user, I was very pleased with the Windows Phone 8 home screen. The live tiles were very fun and the scrolling very smooth. I was curious what apps were available for the device which led me in an attempt to find the app store. Now I’m not sure if this was a problem with the icon for the Windows Phone store or the fact that the tile was so small on the screen but it took me awhile to find the app store. Once inside the store, I found the apps I wanted to find but was, of course, disappointed by the lack of apps that I use on my iPhone that aren’t so popular but still very useful to my daily life.
I then moved over to the Microsoft Surface tablet. My first shock was that the device was not tethered to any security cord at all. You could literally take it and move it around. While that’s good to show how easy it is to move and how you can buy more than one touch cover and swap them around quickly, but still, it’s New York…I hope they have cameras set up. My first time using the Touch Cover was surprisingly pleasant. It’s a flat slab of some soft material with touch sensitive keys in the layout of a full QWERTY keyboard. I thought the typing was rather nice, though being a keyboard guy, I probably wouldn’t like doing it for long periods of time. The Type Cover was nicer because that has real keyboard keys just like a laptop, but the trackpad was rather small for my liking. Being a guy who owned an iPad and returned it because I felt like it didn’t do enough of what I wanted to do, I thought the Surface did a lot more. Maybe it was because of the keyboard on the cover but I felt the Surface to be more of a laptop replacement than the iPad is.
Overall, the store was nice. The employees were there if you needed help but didn’t pester you. For being in the middle of Times Square, the store wasn’t very crowded but I did see a person purchasing a Surface when I was there. Most people have never used a Windows Phone before and I really think they should. It’s a nice OS and if the app situation improves, my next phone will probably be a phone running Windows Phone 8.