half and half
I actually wanted to buy a surface machine. The only thing that prevented me was the lack of credit. I ended up buying a HP notebook at Amazon using their credit card. Any of the current crop of laptops, PCs, surfaces and what nots are not the problem. The machines are fast, the memory is amazingly large, the startup is quick etc. Nothing is wrong on the machine side of things. Surface machines in particular are striking, and were really what I wanted to buy.
The other side of the coin is not so nice: all of these windows machines are being sold with Windows 8/8.1; arguably the worst piece of garbage disguised as an OS in the history of computing.
The secure start up feature was poorly thought through: you can't access the BIOS unless the OS is working; but the OS is rarely working well or at all when you need to access the BIOS to fix stuff!!! I understand the need for security, and allowing anyone to boot up a PC with a CD/disk is certainly a security risk. But they should have come up with some other method for people who aren't concerned about that kind of security. A secure boot is great for a company environment, but lousy for an individual. They used a hammer to kill a fly here, and it stinks badly.
The menu system under the start button wasn't broke; in fact, it worked exactly like a good sorting routine: breaking the selection down into main groups of easily recognizable folders, so you could easily and rapidly launch any application with little effort. But Win 8 forces you to scan a huge group of icons to find the app you want to launch, which is a complete waste of time!!! You can put shortcuts to the apps you want to use most on the taskbar, which is the only good part of this story.
Going back to the secure boot: trying to find the option to allow you to boot from a CD-ROM is ridiculously complex and unnecessary.
In short, I think MS had a huge problem with Windows 7: it was such a success that they had to "make up stuff" in order to be able to say to customers that it was "something different" than Win7, and supposedly better. MS's problem is that they are so dependent on revenues from a few products like Office and Windows that they have to keep coming out with "new products" every few years to keep the money coming in the door; but these products are mature and need very little improvement. I'll bet 90% of the "new features" of both of these products are just rearrangements of old features of previous products, but made to appear like they are really knew.
They need to stick with Windows 7-like products for the next 20-40 years for the large computing market (PCs, laptops/notebooks), and create specialized editions aimed at tablets and smaller devices instead of trying to make one size fit all; it just doesn't work.
Windows 8 and 8.1 are a very bad dream, both for loyal customers like me who are now going back to Win 7 after incredible frustration with Win8, and for Microsoft, because they are going to lose money badly on any product that tries to force this awful thing down customer's throats. I'm rooting for MS to get their act together and do better next time. I still have no plans to move to another OS, YET.