Microsoft Surface Pro

On Friday, while on site perform Hard Drive replacing and reimaging hard drives for my clients. I realized that while they are reimaging the drives I have nothing else to do. And it gets quite boring after a while. The only thing I had was my phone which doesn’t really make a great browsing experience as 1.) it drains battery that I might need to make calls with.

I decided I needed to buy a smaller PC as I don’t think carrying a 17″ laptop around is a great idea and not much of a low profile. I needed something more than just a simple tablet. So Android tablets were essentially out of the question. I also wanted it so that I can do work on it. Whether its actually work related or do some programming or web development while I wait for the computer to finish it’s task.

The decision was between a few machines. The Lenovo Helix (Not yet released), the ASUS Transformer Book (Also not released yet), the Lenovo Yoga, or the Microsoft Surface Pro. Originally I was going to go with the Surface RT because of the battery life. But later realized that what I needed it for might not be a good idea to invest in the Surface RT. The next one up would be the Pro, which is essentially an ultrabook in a tablet form factor with a full i5 processor.

The first 3 choices were at least 1500+ and I was tight on budget. So I decided to pick up the Surface Pro to try it. Picked it up at Futureshop, therefore I have 14 days to decide if I want to keep it or return it and get the other ones that probably won’t be out anytime soon. I picked up the 64GB as the 128GB versions ($100 more) were sold out at the time. I have all my programs installed already and I still have around 20GB of storage remaining, so the 64GB might do fine for me. There is also the microSDXC and USB 3 connector I can use to get more storage. But for Application wise, I believe I can suffice with just 64GB.

So far initial impression on the device is pretty good. I had the Surface RT in the past, but returned it to wait for the Pro. The Surface RT was a great device for what it was capable of doing, but I needed something that was more productive. I was also looking for an ultrabook to begin with, so the Surface Pro seem like the best of both world. Being a full fledge ultrabook in a tablet form factor means I can easily carry it around with me. The only down side I see right now is the battery life is not on par with the average tablet. Not even close. It’s not even on par with most ultrabooks. However I’ve been using it for about 2 days now. I have noticed the battery life around 4-6 hours depending on what I do. So I might work for me for what I need. But after that I’ll definitively need to use a power source for it.

The screen is awesome though, the 10.6″ LCD with a 1080p resolution is one of the better ones I’ve seen on a table. Not counting the iPad of course, but you can’t really do anything powerful on the iPad that you can do on a proper PC. I also picked up the Type Cover over the Touch Cover. I prefer it over the Touch. Used it when I had the Surface RT as well as played with it while I was working at the Microsoft Kiosk over the Holidays. The Type Cover is so much better than the Touch Cover that it was a no brainer which one to get. It doesn’t really impact a whole lot on battery life. And with a Bluetooth enabled mouse. It’s like I’m using an ultrabook already. LOL

In terms of running applications, that is the good thing about the Surface Pro. It runs a full unrestricted version of Windows 8 Pro. Meaning all your windows programs will run on the device like it would on a laptop or desktop. Performance of the application will obviously vary depending on what you install. Don’t think about running Premiere Pro at full speed if you want to encode on it. Not to mention how badly it would kill the battery. This device would be great for business users needing something light enough to carry yet powerful and secure enough to join a work domain.

The included style is a wacom stylus, it feels cheap but works quite well. It attaches to the side of the tablet through the magnetic power connector which means if you’re charging your device your stylus would be either on the table or in your bag.

I shall play around with it for another week and report my findings then. 🙂

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