Imperfect, Heavy, Light, Powerful, and Excellent.

Just shy of merely one year ago, I transitioned from the Macbook Pro and iPad combo to your Microsoft Surface Pro 128GB. In light of this week’s announcement of Surface Pro 3 and my purchase of a Surface Pro 2, I think you’re ready reflect on what that experience was like. Like most folks, I was a bit skeptical around the idea of combining a laptop and tablet to a single unit. Would it be too much? Would the performance be too low? Would it life be awful? And what concerning the new Windows 8 OS that was the subject of much teeth-gnashing? I’ll try and answer all of these questions plus much more as succinctly as you possibly can. Hit the jump and consider into the question: what’s it want to live with Microsoft’s vision for computing in the foreseeable future?

1. The Operating System, starring Windows 8/8.1:

Windows 8.1 Update 1 stood a good jump start with Windows 8, as I started making use of it during the first publicly published betas about 9 months before launch, dual booting in this little Macbook Pro. That experience provided me plenty of time to determine how to navigate the OS some time before launch, so I did not have the struggle that the majority of people did. Of course, it likely helps that I just naturally enjoy exploring and discovering something totally new. The early Windows 8 experience did have its struggles, though. I’d become acquainted with the iPad as well as to my Windows Phone 7 device, each of which had plenty of apps obtainable in their stores. Windows 8’s store was notoriously barren in comparison, which led to some early frustration when attemping to use Surface Pro as simply a tablet. Too many apps and features were missing to make for just a satisfying experience.

Nevertheless, the device’s capability to handle legacy Windows desktop apps with aplomb kept me satisfied enough to remain, as well as the app store dilemma became less important each day. If there’s a very important factor Windows really has to fix, though, is its technique of presenting the desktop. The desktop remains wrapped in the trappings associated with an archaic system whose the years have passed, and it is time for Microsoft to update it to some more modern presentation which includes fonts large enough to read on high DPI screens and big enough to use with a finger.

With 8.1 and the brand new 8.1 Spring Update (really? We couldn’t just it is known as 8.2?), practically all my complaints about Windows 8 evaporated. While some dislike the revolutionary aesthetic, I’ve personally found myself loving the flat colors, active tiles and removing of extraneous effects. My sincere hope is as Windows evolves it gets even flatter and also the metro aesthetic gets to be more pervasive.

Suggestion: Use a Microsoft account, and employ OneDrive! I can’t stress these enough. If you’re using Windows 8–and over a Surface Pro, you are going to be–you shouldn’t create an old-fashioned local account. Doing so cuts you far from some of Windows 8’s best features. Among these is the capacity to have almost all your PC configuration, to tile sizes, locations and apps installed, copied to your OneDrive account for those who either should restore your PC or perhaps you sign right into a different Windows 8.1 PC. Best, though, is the fact that with OneDrive you have 7GB storage at no cost, which, although not enough to pay for, say, your music and photos collection, may perhaps be plenty to guarantee your critical documents are typically safely secured within moments person making any change. It’s easy to discover how to save on your OneDrive folder, once you’ve become familiar with having that safety net you’ll wonder how you will ever lived without them.

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

Surface Pro Docking Station

I employed to lug around a 2010 Macbook Pro 13.3″, which weighed 4.5 pounds, with an iPad 1, which weighed 1.5 pounds for just a total of 6 pounds. So when I say that this 2.5 pound total with the Surface Pro and Type Cover was obviously a big weight off my back, I’m really not kidding. The sacrifice was that I experienced a smaller screen, even so the gain would have been a far more powerful processor and superior screen resolution and pixel density. The building is exceptional: there exists literally zero flex to this particular device, its magnesium shell is challenging and sturdy enough to face up to probably more abuse than it is best to feel comfortable making your PC move through. As a tablet, it’s half a pound heavier than that original iPad was, but being a laptop it features a huge advantage over anything Apple offers. But you probably wonder what I use my Surface Pro for?


I’ve spent most with the past year being a film school student at UCLA, which means that quite a few my workload involves editing and transcoding video, compositing aftereffects compositions, transferring footage across different media etc. I use Adobe Premiere for some of these tasks, and my Surface Pro has handled all of them with grace. I’ve had no problems editing and rendering 1080p video in real-time. And as you’d expect from the Windows machine which has a full size USB port, using the services of external harddrives and optical drives effortless. Suffice to state, I also carry out the basics including in Microsoft Office, writing in Final Draft, checking email, browsing the world wide web, yada yada. Overall, I’ve had no complaints save one: in the beginning, my first Surface Pro had some serious difficulty with the Marvell Avastar wifi chip coupled with to be exchanged, a difficulty that’s not entirely uncommon using this type of device. More on that later.


Let’s be truthful: the webcams for this device suck. They’re flat-out terrible, and there is no making your way around that fact. They’re for basic Skype video calls, but that is pretty much it. If you really must record video, use another thing. Anything else.


I frequently take notes in OneNote MX (this is the metro version), especially lately. Like most students, I have tended during the last few years to type my notes, but recent reports show that students taking notes manually , tend to learn better on tests. Well, I’m all for evidence based research, so I took this to heart, but I’m also lazy, which implies I don’t want to type things after I’ve written them down. Enter Surface Pro’s stylus and voila: I can hand write my notes and also have them in a digi pics all as well. Hell yes. I find which the stylus, despite its cheap plastic feel, works well like a digital inking device. Some complain concerning the lack of a dock for that stylus, but honestly, I’ve no difficulties with that. I’ve been with it for a year and also have yet to shed the thing.