Re: Looks nice, but horrible to use
I've actually been using one for the last month, and I mostly quite like it. The out-of-box experience with Office was pretty awful as you note, except that I found it was actually losing my keystrokes rather than just buffering them and being laggy. Following one of the many updates that have happened since, it got fixed and works well now.
I find Word to be the perfect fit for the device, and have used the Surface RT as a second screen for leafing through requirements docs, etc. reasonably often. The mail client still sucks like a vacuum, however - this needs sorting out next, given what I imagine their target market is.
IE works well, as do a few of the other apps. There's much work to be done still on the app front, and it obviously remains to be seen how well-adopted the platform will become with developers. I've yet to write anything for it, but it doesn't look particularly complicated.
I do like the idea of the slimline detachable keyboards. I have both the Touch and Type covers, but only really use the Type one as I can't cope with the zero-travel of the Touch. The left shift key is painfully small, but at least the nearby backslash could be remapped to operate as shift too, I suppose (regedit is still there).
My personal opinion is that it's not horrible to use, and I haven't experienced any audio problems. I'd agree that it's too expensive for what it is, however - would have wanted a built-in 3G radio at the very least.
People I've shown it to have been impressed with the screen (despite not having an insane pixel density) and keyboards. One was particularly taken with the ability to shoot a high-def video on an RX100, whip the SD card out and connect to the Surface with a normal cheap USB -> SD adapter, then just play it straight-off with no issues or faffing about - it just worked. The same can't be said of some other platforms at the moment.
I have several Android tablets and a 1st gen iPad, and understand the merits of each platform. I do think Microsoft is offering something a bit new with this, and admire the effort (if not always the execution).