Friday, January 17, 2014

Surface Pro First Impressions

The other day, I mentioned that I picked up the Surface Pro, and you know that I also posted about the horrible experience getting it was. That was thanks to the idiot working at Best Buy, since switching out the bad ones for a good one should have only taken a few minutes. Well that is now over, and now I have a working Surface Pro, which I am typing this on now.

Using my Lenovo G500s, I hated Windows 8, but using it on the surface is actually quite different, and dare I say, quite a bit nicer. It should be optional to use Metro, which has been renamed to Modern UI, if you don't have a touch screen, since using it with a mouse can be more of a pain to me. This is my opinion, but I do know some people who agree with me there. This post, while mostly about the hardware, needs to at least mention Windows 8 a bit.

So, let's start with the software since that will be a little brief for now. I spend a lot of time using the desktop mode personally, but I do try to use Modern UI a bit. I am typing a lot of this up using the onscreen keyboard, which sadly works a LOT better when using Modern UI apps, so I have a notepad app that I downloaded. I think this is why having either a type cover or some other keyboard, such as the Bluetooth K810 I use from Logitech is really needed.

The problem is, when using a desktop app, let's say its Office, which I am using for an example because they do include I with the RT model Surface's and even some of the other tablets that used RT and died off. That is one thing I see Microsoft actually doing soon. The Intel Atom, also known as the BayTrail, is getting to be just as fast and good on the battery as the ARM based processors like the Tegra that they use on the Surface RT now. This makes me question why they even keep the RT model at all, especially when you can get something like the Dell Venue 11 Pro for around the same price.

Then you also have the newer class of 8 inch tablets that also use the BayTrail, so what is the reason to even keep around RT? I understand people did buy them and are quite happy with them, but they don't fit my needs personally. If given the choice between Windows RT, Android, and even iOS, I would have a hard time picking Windows RT unless I only needed office and maybe some games. The problem is that quite frankly, Android and iOS have now, and I think might always have more software for them. They are already established in the market and people who already have bought apps on either one will not want to switch.

But let's get down to the real reason yon are reading this, the hardware! The Surface Pro uses the Core i5 processor, versus the other models that I mentioned, like the Dell Venue 8 Pro, and the cheaper models of the Venue 11 Pro, which can be configured with an i3 or i5, but that is s different computer. The way I like to look at the Surface Pro is more of a computer than a tablet, or you can use the old term Tablet PC since it does comer with a stylus. The thing that should be mentioned here is this is an ACTIVE digitizer, which means the pen, which you can note I didn't call a stylus, is actually a Wacom tablet.

To those not sure what that is, the simple explanation is those drawing pads people buy for doing stuff like Photoshop and drawing things. This also means that the pen needs no battery, such as the one that I had for my HTC Flyer. This is similar to the one that Samsung Galaxy Note devices use if I am remembering right. This gives you the same things that a capacitive stylus, but gives you more options like a right click and eraser button.

It is quite a nice feature to have for sure, but the main problem with it is that there is nowhere to put it. Sure, you can put it onto the magnetic charge port, but that is hardly useful unless you are using it on battery. Even then, it is only good idea when using it on the stand, since it will fall off quite easy, which means that I end up leaving it on my desk more often than I take it with me.

I am going to end this here so I can start working on the review, since most of the things I want to say are hardware related and better left to the review anyway.

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