10 reviews that defined The Verge’s first decade

7 / 10, October 12th, 2012

The website known as This Is My Next officially launched as The Verge on November 1st, 2011, which means that The Verge proper missed out on reviewing nearly all the major fall tech releases of 2011. 

2012, though, was a very different story, with the “Tech-tober” fall season bringing not just the usual pile of iPhones, Android phones, and laptops, but one of the most important new devices of the last decade: the Microsoft Surface. After years of taking a back seat on Windows hardware, the Surface was a bold entry by Microsoft into the world of building its own PCs — showing both the world and its own hardware partners what the future of Windows could look like. Microsoft was trying to follow in Apple’s footsteps, combining its hardware and software experience together for the ultimate mobile computer. 

The sleek hardware, with its colorful covers that housed their own keyboards, were meant to put bulky PCs to shame; their custom version of Windows intended to outclass the iPad’s mobile software sensibilities by showing what a real productivity tablet could look like. 

Unfortunately, as The Verge’s review showed, the original Surface was a misfire. The hardware, while nice looking, was underpowered; the lighter, more portable version of Windows half-baked. Microsoft was out of its depth with getting Windows to work on ARM (something it still continues to struggle with), it confused customers and employees with what the Surface could actually do, and eventually the company wrote off $900 million worth of unsold tablets. 

Microsoft’s PC hardware has gotten a lot more polished since the original Surface — and so have The Verge’s reviews of them. But this first slate was the biggest, most anticipated product review in the first year of our website and remains, to this day, the single most commented-on article ever posted to The Verge. — Chaim Gartenberg