Just shy of twelve months ago, I transitioned from a Macbook Pro and iPad combo to a Microsoft Surface Pro 128GB. In mild of this week’s declaration of Surface Pro three and my acquisition of a Surface Pro 2, I assume it’s time to mirror on what that revel in becoming like. Like most oldsters, I turned into a little skeptical about the concept of mixing a pc and tablet right into an unmarried unit. Would or not it’s too heavy? Would the performance be too low? Would the battery life be awful? And what approximately the new Windows 8 OS it’s been the concern of a lot teeth-gnashing? I’ll try to the solution most of these questions and extra as succinctly as viable. Hit the soar and let’s get into the query: what is it like to stay with Microsoft’s imaginative and prescient for computing in the future?

1. The Operating System, starring Windows eight/8.1:

Windows 8.1 Update 1 had an amazing head begin with Windows 8, as I began the usage of it for the duration of the first publicly available betas approximately 9 months earlier than release, twin booting on my Macbook Pro. That revel in gave me lots of time to parent out how to navigate the OS properly before launch, so I did not have the conflict that quite a few human beings did. Of path, it probable facilitates that I just obviously experience exploring and coming across new matters. The early Windows 8 experience did have its struggles, although. I’d emerge as aware of the iPad or even to my Windows Phone 7 tool, both of which had plenty of apps available in their stores. Windows 8’s store becomes notoriously barren through assessment, and that caused some early frustration when trying to use Surface Pro as only a pill. Too many apps and functions were missing to make for a satisfying experience.

Nevertheless, the device’s potential to deal with legacy Windows computer apps with aplomb kept me happy enough to preserve, and the app save predicament has become less vital with the aid of the day. If there may be one factor Windows truly wishes to repair, although, is its manner of offering the laptop. The computer remains wrapped inside the trappings of an archaic gadget whose time has surpassed, and it is time for Microsoft to replace it to an extra modern-day presentation that has fonts massive sufficient to read on high DPI screens and huge enough to operate with a finger.

With 8.1 and the brand new eight.1 Spring Update (clearly? We could not simply name it 8.2?), simply all my lawsuits approximately Windows 8 evaporated. While some dislike the new aesthetic, I’ve individually found myself loving the flat colors, active tiles and removal of extraneous effects. My sincere desire is that as Windows evolves it gets even flatter and the metro aesthetic turns into greater pervasive.

Suggestion: Use a Microsoft account, and use OneDrive! I can’t stress these sufficient. If you’re using Windows eight–and on a Surface Pro, you will be–you should not create an old style local account. Doing so cuts you off from a number of Windows 8’s nice capabilities. Among these is the capacity to have nearly your whole PC configuration, right all the way down to tile sizes, places and apps installed, backed up in your OneDrive account within the occasion you both want to repair your PC otherwise you signal right into an exclusive Windows 8.1 PC. Best, even though, is that with OneDrive you get 7GB storage without spending a dime, which, at the same time as no longer sufficient to the cowl, say, your tune and photos collection, might be massed to ensure your vital files are all correctly subsidized up inside moments of you making any change. It’s smooth to learn how to keep on your OneDrive folder, and once you have come to be conversant in having that safety internet you may surprise how you ever lived with out it.

2. The Hardware: Build Quality, Heft, and Capability.

Surface Pro Docking Station

I used to lug around a 2010 Macbook Pro 13.Three”, which weighed four.5 kilos, and an iPad 1, which weighed 1.5 pounds for a total of 6 kilos. So after I say that the 2.Five pound general of the Surface Pro and Type Cover changed into a huge weight off my again, I’m clearly now not kidding. The sacrifice turned into that I had a smaller display, but the gain became a far more effective processor and a ways advanced screen resolution and pixel density. The construct exceptional is extraordinary: there’s actually 0 flex to this device, its magnesium shell is hard and sturdy enough to resist probable greater abuse than you must sense comfy making your PC undergo. As a tablet, it is half of a pound heavier than that original iPad turned into, however as a computer it has a massive gain over anything Apple offers. But you probable surprise what I use my Surface Pro for?


I’ve spent a maximum of the past or as a film faculty-student at UCLA, which means that a whole lot of my workload involves editing and transcoding video, compositing after consequences compositions, transferring footage throughout special media and so on. I use Adobe Premiere for most of those duties, and my Surface Pro has treated them all with grace. I’ve had no issues editing and rendering 1080p video in real-time. And as you’ll expect from a Windows machine with a complete length USB port, working with external difficult drives and optical drives is a breeze. Suffice to say, I additionally do the fundamentals including running in Microsoft Office, writing in Final Draft, checking e-mail, browsing the web, yadda yadda. Overall, I’ve had no complaints save one: early on, my first Surface Pro had some severe issues with the Marvell Avastar wifi chip and needed to be exchanged, a problem it really is now not totally unusual with this device. More on that later.


Let’s be honest: the webcams in this device suck. They’re flat-out terrible, and there may be no getting around that fact. They’re high-quality for fundamental Skype video calls, but it is pretty tons it. If you actually need to document video, use something else. Anything else.


I frequently take notes in OneNote MX (this is the metro model), mainly these days. Like maximum students, I even have tended over the last few years to kind my notes, however current research shows that students who take notes with the aid of hand generally tend to do better on assessments. Well, I’m fascinated by proof based totally research, so I took this to heart, however, I’m also lazy, which means that I don’t want to kind things once I’ve written them down. Enter Surface Pro’s stylus and voila: I can handwrite my notes and feature them in a virtual layout all at the same time. Hell sure. I locate that the stylus, notwithstanding its reasonably-priced plastic experience, works properly as a digital inking tool. Some complaint about the dearth of a dock for the stylus, but genuinely, I’ve no problems with that. I’ve been using it for 12 months and have not begun to lose the component.

Art Related Work

Last notice on usability: my fiancée, artist Kelley Frisby, got her Surface Pro on release day precisely because of the incorporated Wacom digitizer with 1,024 levels of pressure sensitivity. From the outset, the utilization right here became contentious because Surface Pro shipped without a pressure touchy driving force that Photoshop should understand. However, as soon as that driving force materialized, she took to the usage of the stylus all the time. And whilst we discovered about Manga Studio Pro from artist Jonathan Case’s website, things clearly went off the hook as she discovered it to be far advanced to photoshop for creating hand-drawn illustrations. That she can have her Surface Pro on her lap with pressure sensitivity whilst she attracts, and her keyboard available for the use of keyboard shortcuts is a big benefit that other pills clearly do not provide. Truly, if you’re an artist who draws and paints digitally, Surface Pro is the device for you. Nothing else combines so many hardware capabilities and extensive software program availability.

3. Battery Life

Surface Pro Kickstand

This is the one severe trouble that has dogged the Surface Pro in view that its original release, no matter the reality that it was in no way as awful as human beings claimed or the fact that Surface Pro 2 completely mitigated the problem (and by using all reports, Surface Pro 3 does even better). Early claims had been that Surface Pro was given approximately 3.Five hours of battery lifestyles. And beneath sure situations, this is genuine: looking 1080p movies with the brightness up even as downloading stuff in the heritage will, like another device, consume battery existence plenty greater than average utilization will. But that is the handiest part of the check, is not it? Under normal usage, which I’ll outline as internet, e-mail and phrase processing, Surface Pro 1 gets 5 hours battery lifestyles proper out of the field. With some slight tweaks to the power profile, which I’ve specified in one in every of our most famous posts, it’s totally feasible to get 6-7 hours of battery existence. My high-quality time become simply over 8 hours total, however with a caveat: I changed into working with the wifi turned off, writing in Word, in a low light state of affairs wherein I should effectively turn down the screen brightness to minimum. Most human beings I realize get in the range of five-6 hours.