Finally! Windows Surface Pro!

by admin on Feb 11th in Hardware Recommendations

In my constant desire to have the newest and coolest gadgets, I have been eagerly awaiting the arrival of Microsoft’s Surface Pro.  Why not an iPad or a Tab or something else?  Well, to be honest, I’ve already bought one of nearly every mainstream tablet…and to be honest, they are all sitting on a pile of expensive, gadgety technology with little or no use–very similar to my collection of home workout equipment…all very wonderful, but just not getting the use they need.  My complaint against most tablets is that they are yet another OS and another format…further splintering my attempts to be consolidated from a technological perspective.  That is why the Surface Pro seemed to be the ideal…a desktop computer, a notebook computer, a tablet–all in one unit…just what my splintered  life needed.  Let’s call it a need for a Notelet or maybe a Tabbook…whatever it’s called, it needs to be able to handle the work of both a tablet and a notebook.

The Surface Pro is a ‘tablet’ with an Intel i5 processor that runs full-blown Windows 8 (not the pathetic anomaly called Windows RT).  Due to the fact that it runs Windows 8 Professional, it would then run all of the legacy Windows software, allowing for it to be the ideal unit for an enterprise environment where compatibility is key!

The Surface Pro’s ‘release date’ was Saturday, February 9th.  I got up early and stood in line at the local Best Buy to purchase 6 of them.  However, as I was standing in line (I was first), I came to learn that they only had one 128GB version in stock.  Bummed that I would only get one, but thrilled that I would at least get one, I quickly bought the one unit and purchased both the touch and type models of the keyboard covers.Surface Pro 128

I was thrilled to have been able to get the one, so I quickly returned home the victor and opened the new toy tool.  It was gorgeous!  I charged it up and took to setting it up.  Right out of the box, it connected flawlessly to our home WiFi, making access to all my email, Dropbox, network files simple.  Next, I tried out the two keyboards.  Having watched the Surface ads on TV, I assumed that connecting the keyboards couldn’t be as easy as they appear in the ads, but it was…it connected magnetically, and since the connection is electronic, not blue tooth, the keyboard requires no ‘pairing’ or setup–it just works!  I first tried the membrane ‘Touch’ keyboard.  I was quite impressed with the ease with which I could type.  If you are a touch typist (meaning you actually know your keyboard), this keyboard will be fine.  I was able to type at my normal speed with normal errors on this very thin, non-haptic keyboard.  I then switched to the Type keyboard, which is an actual keyboard with ‘travel’.  Amazingly, the thickness of this cover wasn’t that much more than the membrane version.  The touch and travel of the keys was amazing.  In fact, it was better than many notebook keyboards I’ve used.  In reading reviews, the complaints were many regarding the touchpads on the keyboards…I’m not sure what the reviewers were expecting, but the touchpads worked just fine.  Are they the best ever?  No, but they are on a keyboard that is mere millimeters thick, so considering that, they are great!

The actual performance of the system was outstanding.  Using an i5 processor with a 128GB SSD, this system made short order of anything I threw at it.  The touchscreen was very responsive with minimal lag.  Even the audio was impressive compared to other tablets and notebooks.  In addition to the keyboards, it also comes with a stylus that works very well with the touchscreen, and is pressure sensitive (the harder you press, the darker/thicker the line is).

Overall, the system seems to be well made, seems solid, and performs well.  It is about the thickness of two iPads, and weighs in at almost 2 pounds.  While this seems thick and heavy, if it does replace the notebook and tablet, it is actually quite thin and light!   It has a full sized USB port, a min-display port, and a MicroSD card slot as well.  The whole brouhaha about the lack of storage space on the drive drives me crazy.  Any computer you buy doesn’t actually have the full size of the hard drive available for your use…but for some reason, we all want to pick on Microsoft and rip on them for ripping us off…compare the space on a MacBook Air to the Surface and we are looking at a difference of only 2GBs…hardly the basis for the scene that is being made over this…

Right now, the biggest shortcoming for the acceptance of the Surface Pro into the Enterprise environment is the glaring lack of a desktop dock.  I don’t understand why Microsoft didn’t release this with a dock that allows for connection to a wired network, an external monitor, and charging while in the dock.  While a home user may have the capability to individually connect and disconnect all the cables, a business user needs the speed of dropping this into a dock and having no cables to work with–this is one of the main reasons our company uses only Fujitsu notebooks–every model has a docking station that allows for quick and easy connections, without putting undue stress on the connection sites for all the inputs…

Second problem is the lack of availability.  I’m not sure if Microsoft was worried about the release so they just limited supplies, but they need to get the channels filled back up quickly.

If you are looking for a way to consolidate your tech, the Surface is a great option.  The price isn’t cheap, but it also isn’t fair to compare it to a tablet price…it is a true computer in a tablet form–a notelet! (OK, I’ve got dibs on that term!)

I will continue to update this as new stuff comes to light…but for now, I’m very pleased with the system, and am eagerly anticipating Microsoft’s release of a desktop dock!

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