Many of our clients have been asking about the Microsoft Surface Pro tablet. After receiving ours in the mail recently, I put it to the test.
As a business owner, I work very much the same way our clients do. Portability with full functionality is important to me. I've been an iPad owner for quite some time but have never felt it very useful as a business device other than for email and web browsing. With the Surface Pro, I have a tablet with full business functionality as well.
Following are my thoughts on the Surface Pro after using it for a few weeks:
The Surface Pro is expensive. It costs just about as much as a laptop, so if you are expecting to save money you will be disappointed. I bought the 128 GB model and the Type Keyboard (which has depressible keys) and it was close to $1,300.
The Surface is smaller and lighter than a laptop, but heavier than an iPad. It would not be comfortable to hold one handed on an airplane for very long without switching hands, but it will fit much nicer when set upright on a tray table than a laptop. The Type keyboard is also smaller than a standard keyboard and as a result I often have typos to fix. That said, I think it is the right compromise for a business tablet. Small enough to use for personal entertainment, large enough to get work done!
The Windows 8 user interface takes some getting used to. I struggle with anything touchscreen in terms of keyboards and typing (that’s where the Type Keyboard and trackpad come in handy). What’s nice is the Surface is more of a hybrid tablet and laptop, so if you are having trouble with the tablet interface, you can always switch over to the familiar Windows desktop view. You can even plug in a USB mouse if needed. After a few weeks of using, I find that I’m using it in hybrid mode. I use Outlook for email just like a laptop, but then use the touchscreen application of Kindle to read books.
The Surface Pro is a great device for when out of the office but would be challenging to use as my only computing device. Business travelers will find this device a solid replacement for carrying both a laptop and an iPad. It has practical business use and can be very beneficial for field personnel, doctors, or any business person who is out of the office a great deal. I highly recommend it!