I have been using the Microsoft Surface a bit now. Here are my thoughts.
As I have used the Surface more, I have begun to become quite comfortable with how it works. It is now very easy for me now to remember to swipe from the right when I need to access search, or settings on a specific program. I have learned to swipe up from the bottom or down from the top to manage other items, such as adding more tabs for Internet Explorer. I still am extremely frustrated with efforts to move apps or change their settings. The clicking and dragging of tiles just doesn’t work well. Really, it is unacceptable. It needs to be fixed. I get how to do it, it just doesn’t work as easily as it should.
I am glad the new keyboard will be here shortly. In the meanwhile, I haven’t bothered with the touch keyboard very much. I don’t need aching hands. I can type quite quickly with the on screen keyboard so I am just using that. I should mention that my hands are very sensitive. Where I have a problem, you might not. My hands are also not particularly large, so it isn’t the size of the keyboard, I think it is just how I am using it. However, I simply cannot risk causing a problem with my hands in an effort to get used to the included keyboard.
On the whole, I find the Surface responsive, but for one issue. When a window pops up over another one, not a traditional window, but one of the smaller, slightly grayed out ones, I have trouble getting it to close. I am uncertain if that is a Surface issue or simply something that happens with any touch screen.
The apps issue has become more apparent to me, but as I have said before, I think that will resolve itself in time. So I won’t focus on it. It is what it is.
The email app that came with the Surface is not good enough. Since Microsoft just included the Home and Student version of Office 2013, the Surface doesn’t include Outlook. It needs to. Or Microsoft needs to provide a better app. I have turned everything on, but I don’t get any warning when I get an email that has been filtered into a specific folder, even though the app actually has each folder open and showing all the time. So, I will be forced to buy Office 2013 unless some good app comes out in the meanwhile. I don’t think I should have to do that just so I can have decent access to my email on a tablet.
I am very happy to use the Surface in the evenings, my main time for personal Facebook and Twitter work, and general web surfing. It is perfect for this. I would probably use it to read books if I didn’t already have a Kindle Fire. I still prefer the size of the Fire for my book reading, so I don’t have any intention of replacing the Fire with the Surface for this purpose. That is just a personal preference. The whole reason I bought the Fire was for reading books because of its size. I much prefer the Surface for everything else. However, when I travel, I won’t bring both the Kindle and the Surface. I’ll just bring the Surface.
Should I get the Pro?
Perhaps I should return this Surface and buy the Pro when it comes out. Given that the Pro won’t come out until after the return period for this Surface passes, that puts me in an awkward position. Also, of course, I don’t know what the cost will be. I have already spent quite a bit for my Surface, about the same as I would have spent on cheap a laptop. (I have never needed expensive laptops, because I need a desktop for my video work.)
Even without having the new keyboard, I have to say, for me, the Surface is not a laptop replacement. I find myself reaching for my laptop quite frequently. This is more due to the programs the Surface can and cannot run, and of course the keyboard issue. We will see if it changes with the new keyboard.
I still think that the Surface can be a laptop replacement for the average person. By the average person, I mean someone who mainly uses his or her laptop for email, surfing the web, and general document creation and editing.
I also think I would have no problem using the Surface as a laptop replacement when I am on business trips. (Again caveat on the keyboard.)
Should I get the Pro?
All this makes me wonder, should I get the Pro or should I look for a laptop that has a touchscreen instead of trying to find a tablet? I am not sure. I like the Surface a lot. I have no problem recommending it. And I still think Microsoft has done something quite extraordinary (as Apple did when it introduced the iPad.) I think Microsoft has stood on the shoulders of other tablet makers and created something very nice. Now I just have to decide, knowing that there will be a more powerful version of this tablet, should I keep this Surface, or should I return it and wait for the next version, or should I accept the limitations inherent in this particular version of the device.
I am not sure yet. Mainly because I don’t know how much the Pro will cost, and I am in need of a tablet right now, not whenever the Pro comes out. I am in a quandary. But it isn’t a bad one for Microsoft, because none of my quandary involves returning the Surface and getting a different brand of tablet. The ability to use Office 2013 is too important for me to consider buying an iPad.
Oh well. I’ll figure it out.