There was a lot of brouhaha about typing in Word of Office 2013 on Surface yesterday around the video you see here above. I was wondering what the noise was all about. Was Surface now really that laggy as the guy claimed or is this some kind of cheap publicity stunt from haters’ camp. I didn’t have the chance to really watch the video until just a few minutes ago, and I was amazed at what I saw. Notice in the guy’s video he mentioned that if you type on any other text app or in the email app it was normal! The whole brouhaha was based on lack of knowledge of the person who created the video as what he saw was not a failure of Surface nor that of Office 2013, but what he saw was by design. In fact this is old news!
If you don’t believe me, see the following post from Paul Thurrott as early as April was this a known design issues Office 2013 on any platform, ARM or Intel! Paul even made the following video about it:
This is a feature of Office 2013 that is called Office Animation. Because Office is now a GPU Accelerated Package, Microsoft can afford to offload most of the Screen intensive rendering to the GPU, in fact, they get proficient in GPU usage that they could afford to add screen animations like the one you saw in the video called Text Flow smoothing. The text kind-of flow on the screen. You will notice this effect a lot in Excel too and other Office 2013 applications. Of course for someone that works a lot with Office, these animations can be a hindrance than a nicety as we’ve seen, that is why the same Paul Thurrott proposed turning off the Office Animation completely in this post. This was posted as of July this year!
So there you have it, somebody using a known design feature to bash Surface. What mostly disturbed me is that the guy is a Microsoft MVP, which means he is supposed to know above average this kind of things. Going to public to tarnish a product without performing a standard industry agreed steps like calling for support, visiting the forum or twitterverse for advise. It was later discovered that he failed to download the Updates for Surface that would have alleviated this issues. What he did is sensationalism. The fact that he waited more than a minute to run Mail app is ridiculous, I don’t see the effect he was talking about, neither are a lot of people. So, Mr. MVP, you’d better invest more time to know about the stuff you profess and stop making a fool of yourself.
[Addendum: I personally will not advice turning off Office Animation especially on mobile devices like Surface until Microsoft takes a stand on this issue. The reason I said this is because it is not clear if the Registry hack that Paul proposses turned off GPU acceleration which will load screen rendering back on the CPU, and will subsequently severely impact battery life! So, wait till MS tune this screen animation thing, don’t turn it off.]