Googler to Microserf: an Epic Journey [EDITED]
It all started here, an extremely ignorant and seemingly trollish post I made entitled "Windows Phone: is it a Joke?". It is that very post that changed my tech life from there on out (on a side note, I apologies to anyone who partook in that post). In that post I was looking to find out if Windows Phone was a viable option, what were some of the better options (Lumia 920, 8X etc.). I was soon taken aback by one of the most gorgeous pieces of hardware I had ever seen, a yellow 920, and I was captivated from there on out. I had begun to research more, compare the HTC option to the Lumias, lurk in any and all WP related posts, and I eventually got my grubby little hands on the Lumia 928, a beauty to behold with a great camera and a UI I personally prefer over any other to this day. It was also then that I had become, at least slightly, enlightened to the fact that Microsoft, is perhaps not as bad as the media and other like to portray them. At the time, as the title of this post suggests, I was an avid Googler, I had/ have a Chromebook, used all of Google's services and considered everything they touched to be pure gold, but slowly, and surely, my little phone whispered in my ears that there was alternatives of equal or perhaps even greater value that I could partake in. This whisper came in the form of apps such as Bing Weather and News, Outlook, Skydrive and OneNote which I had to use due to the lack of Google services. These services not only looked better than what I was using on my laptop but in some cases, such as OneNote, worked better as well, at first I tried to brush them off, but beauty is not so easily unseen. My Chromebook did everything I needed at the time, but this changed rather abruptly when something went wrong with the servers that my school used and made wifi use extremely limited, to the point where even emailing was a task to behold. It was clear that I needed something else, if not just for school, and the whispers in my ear became shouts that could not be ignored, and the Surface became the solution.
Getting along with the new UI
If you haven't figured out by now, I value looks over most everything, functionality is important to me, but if all the functionality in the world was offered to me for free in an ugly shell, I'd quickly dash for the better looking more limited alternative. The fact that I'm not an extremely needy user only strengthens this fact. So the new look was of course, as you might have imagined, accepted with open arms. However not everything was smooth sailing some of the more basic things were a little confusing at first, such as moving and changing the apps, the hidden chrome was fine, but moving those apps around took me probably a solid five minutes to figure out, it wasn't anything like Windows Phone, and it wasn't very intuitive either, I eventually figures out that you had to pull down the app ever so slightly, wait and release for setting, and proceed to moving it around after the short wait to position it else where. Finding out how to search in the app store was a bit of a pain as well, but that took far less time to figure out how to do. Aside from this though, I had few issues.
The new sevices
I've already mentioned that it all looked great, but performance has been yet to be mentioned. Rest assured of course that most everything works splendidly, the live tiles make everything easily readable, finding out what the weather is is just as quick as looking out a window (which is something we probably ought to do more of), and I have very few complaints, if any, IE, despite the reputation it has, works great, has an amazing UI for touch, and of course like everything else looks splendid, although it isn't quite perfect, I'm a bit angered by the fact that you can't make a site a favorite from the Metro browser [EDIT: At the time I did not know how to make a site a favorite through the Metro browser, but the ability to do so was still there], as well as the fact that I'm forced to type this out on my Chromebook because apparently the Verge and IE don't play well together [EDIT: No longer an issue]. These are my only complaints at the moment though.
I think it is safe to say that the look and feel of the surface makes it at least one of the most gorgeous tablets on the market, the kick stand come in handy in a great multitude of situations and the USB port and mini sd card slot are greatly appreciated. The click on keyboard is unmatched as far as tablet keyboards are concerned in my opinion, and I take great joy in hearing the click in a quiet room. It is well known that the internals of the Surface don't make it a speed demon, but it is plenty quick for me, and isn't nearly as slow as others like to make it out to be. My only concern with the hardware is the screen quality, where Microsoft should have given their all with this, they really kind of shrugged off as if assuming no one cares about such things, this still hasn't really been addressed with the Surface 2 and I find it rather concerning to say the least.
Aside from the obvious reasons of needing more offline functionality, the question may be asked, "Why Windows?", for me personally it is more than just the looks and performance but how future proofed the company is, as well as their services. In the past, Microsoft has been known as the ugly slow moving gorilla of the tech jungle, and perhaps rightfully so, I haven't been interested in Windows until they shook up the industry with Windows 8, the looks of there past UIs I found to be boring, and in some cases, plain ugly. As far as being slow, I don't think anyone would disagree with such a statement, they were slow with mobile, and tablets alike, as well as services beyond legacy programs. However, now, they are perhaps one of the most forward thinking companies out there, we'll soon see a unified Windows App store across phones, tablets and desk/laptops alike. Cortana is the next step in personal computing assistance, moving beyond a talking search engine, and the XboxOne, despite being a major PR failure, is in my opinion, the next step in gaming. Of course you already know what I think of the looks.
So why do you choose Microsoft, or any other companies services for that matter, I'm curious? You've heard my reasons, now I'd like to hear yours.