Performance: IE10 And Multi-Monitor Browsing
We went into quite a bit of depth on the relationship between Windows RT and today's fastest SoCs on the second page of Microsoft Surface Review, Part 2: Battery Life, Multi-Monitor, And More. Briefly, the operating system's flexibility makes it possible to run a number of tasks in parallel, just as you might in Windows 8. But modern SoCs still aren't powerful enough to shoulder this load smoothly.
If you have multiple tabs open in Internet Explorer 10, for instance, the tablets we've tested slow down appreciably. Moving your cursor around causes content streaming from YouTube to stutter. And occasionally, tabs become completely unresponsive. This is even more problematic in a multi-monitor configuration (don't get us wrong; we're still thankful to have a solution able to extend the desktop, rather than simply mirror it).
We had some hope that our issues with the Surface were hardware-specific, and that Qualcomm's APQ8060A would enable a more fluid Windows RT experience. After all, we've already seen the Krait architecture deliver better performance than the reference Cortex-A9s in Tegra 3.
It turns out that we have the same issues using IE10 and an extended desktop though, suggesting that Microsoft has some optimization left to do or that today's ARM-based SoCs simply struggle under the demands of a parallelized workload. That might sound bad, but remember you can't even replicate this functionality on iOS or Android. Windows RT continues to deserve credit for enabling more effective productivity than its competition, even in light of the restrictions on development.