For many years now I’ve used a laptop as my primary workhorse, in addition to an iPhone and iPad + all the associated power devices!
Today, more so than ever before, I work in a truly mobile sense. My office is my backpack and, to a large extent, where I am physically doesn’t affect my ability to work. All I really need is connectivity.
I do like the iPad a lot. Its convenient and easy to use whilst traveling, but for me its never quite been the complete package. When I really consider what I get from the iPad, it’s not a true necessity. Like most Apple products!
I’ve long been an Apple fan, the iPhone is exceptional. But it seems to me that everything else is really an extension of the phone – or an alternative to the Windows based PC, which for most businesses isn’t that practical to convert to. The Apple Watch still confuses me. It’s cool perhaps, but its just another extension to the phone?
Our IT manager contacted me recently; “We’d like you hand back your laptop and iPad. You’ll be using a Microsoft Surface Pro going forward. Is that ok?”. I’d already spoken to a couple of colleagues who’d been using the Surface and had been impressed, so I agreed. The idea of finally having one combined laptop and iPad device is appealing!
So I’m a few days in. The Surface is good. Exceptionally good in fact. It really does seem to blend the laptop and iPad functionality very well; I’d even go as far as to say its better than an iPad! The pen (stylus) is very realistic, allowing you to write and draw naturally, rather than using a clumsy rubber blob-like thing on the iPad. The pen can also be used as a mouse alternative which is very intuitive. The screen is as good as the iPad and in terms of performance it is more powerful than my 20 month old Dell laptop. The option to use the screen keyboard or the smooth magnetic add-on keyboard are both good. The integrated stand on the back of the Surface is also good and offers many positions. The power-pack is compact and has a second USB port which is handy to charge a second device. It also has a very slick magnetic connector which goes onto the side of the Surface. Some of the more demanding programmes I use (Revit, AutoCAD, Photoshop, InDesign) all seem to cope fine which is encouraging.
There are only two negatives. There is only one USB port. Admittedly this is one more than the iPad, but 2-3 would save the need for a USB hub if you want to connect an Ethernet cable, monitor, mouse etc. Also, bizarrely, there is no SIM slot for mobile connectivity? WiFi is the only option. Surely if the Surface is looking to take on the iPad/ tablet market, this is an essential! I’ve been given a seperate EE WiFi device for this, so I’m now a walking WiFi hotspot!
So my early view on the Surface is really very good. If you’re tempted to make life simpler, go for it. The Surface could be the future! I am a big fan of it already.