Saturday, 11 October 2014

Why isn't the Surface Pro more popular?

... That's what I was asked by my roommate after explaining to her what it is and what it does. I thought for a while. Then I thought about it some more. But in the end, I simply didn't know the answer.

October 10th I bought my Surface Pro, the 128 GB variant with a Typecover 2 attached - the lablet I wrote about earlier. One day in and already I can't tell why it's not one of the more popular laptops out there. I can understand why it wasn't popular at its release: last year it cost €1000,-, which was even without any keyboard (such as the Touch- or Typecover). However now that the Surface Pro 3 is out and the Surface Pro 2 is getting a reasonable discount, the original Surface Pro (#1) second-hand is an absolute bargain!

The Surface Pro is an ultrabook in essence - with a Core i5 processor it has plenty of horsepower; it sports a very crisp 1080p display as well and the battery life is better than some reviewers may make you believe. That is, if you know how to use it (on lowest brightness which is mostly bright enough indoors and on Energy Saving mode, the device can run over 6 hours doing basic tasks). You can buy the Surface Pro second hand in The Netherlands for around €350,-. You might be thinking that for its price tag you can get second hand laptops, or ultrabooks with better specifications. And that might be true. But then you're forgetting the main point: the Surface Pro is not just an ultrabook. It's not just a laptop at all. The Surface Pro combined with the Typecover provides a good laptop typing experience, and it can even be used for gaming. Of course the Typecover due to its size and slimness isn't as comfortable as your great ultrabook's keyboard. But it's far from being as bad as it looks!

I'm typing on this Surface Pro for only the second day now, and I'm already typing as fast on this as I was on my previous laptop, with just a little more mistakes I blame the learning curve for (any drastic change in keyboard size needs relearning anyway). Still, regarding the Surface Pro as a small portable ultrabook with slim keyboard doesn't cut it. There's still much more to this device. Really, the main point of this device is that it's as much an ultrabook as it is a tablet.

I've met quite a few people who used an iPad or Android tablet during lectures, possibly writing notes on good ol' paper and switching to cheaper laptops when there's work to be done. I'm sorry in advance for sounding like a salesperson [and nope, I'm not [yet] getting paid by Microsoft unfortunately] but with the Surface Pro, you don't need any paper, any cheap laptops or iOS/Android tablets. This is your pen & notepaper. This is your entertainment tablet. And this is your working computer. You will only have to carry one single portable rectangle to college.

The Surface Pro can be considered all of this separately. But the thing is, it's much more than that. I've already noticed that the device as a whole is greater than the sum of its parts. It's not either an ultrabook or a touchscreen tablet, or even a piece of notepaper. No - it's the combination of an ultrabook with touchscreen that allows for very quick navigation. It's the combination of pressure sensitive pen input and the powerful ultrabook i5 processor making it run Photoshop for a near-perfect drawing and editing experience. The ability to detach the keyboard (or fold it backwards) to hold the device as a tablet when watching a video on a website, making the entire web browsing experience a breeze. It's all of this that makes the whole not just the sum of its parts, but something even greater.

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