Surface Pro 2 - Mini Review
This is just going to be a short review of the Surface Pro 2. A computer that I've used every single day for the past two months. I'm going to take into account that you know the specs and what it's capable of, this is just a users comment on using this as a workhorse day in day out.
What I do
I'm a current second year Product Design Student at university; sketchbooker, doodler, creator, inventor, designer, essay writer, SolidWorks modeller, Keyshot renderer, movie watcher, Facebook scroller, Instagram snapper, lite-to-casual gamer.
I plucked up the courage to purchase a new computer as my old 6 year old Compaq laptop was dying and limiting my workload. The Surface Pro intrigued me as a product designer, the tactility of the device and technological potential was exciting, yet the performance and battery life wasn't justifiable to spend so much precious money on such a device, so I waited a year and immediately bought the Surface Pro 2 256GB.
Initial Response - (Myself and various friends responses)
Weight - Because it's in a tablet form factor it's "heavy for a tablet rather than light for an ultrabook".
Size - Unfamiliar, but highly efficient aspect ratio
- Legacy apps are tiny on desktop, however still operatable (Photoshop)
Speed - Tablet wise: FASTFASTFAST.
- Ultrabook wise: pretty darn quick.
Accessories - Pens' pressure sensitivity is so intuitive and fluid.
-Backlight type keyboard is amazingly thin and light.
When I'm at University I often exchange files from the PC to the Surface, SkyDrive is a great implementation, but it doesn't beat the speed of just using a memory stick. During the first week I began to get annoyed with having 1 USB port; using my wireless mouse (works with a tiny USB) and also my memory stick as it only has one port I continually had to decide and switch between them. However now I use the new Arc touch mouse (the mouse that I should have purchased instead on my cheap one), it works via Bluetooth and so the USB port is free for external storage.
This maybe down to personal use but sometimes I often mistake where I or my Surface chose to save a file, whether in My Documents, my SkyDrive Documents, my USB Documents, or my University Network Documents. This often caused a headache during assessment hand ins, I don't know if any other windows 8 users experience this problem, very frustrating.
After using this computer for my everything including university assignment hand-ins and all of my personal use cases above, I've begun to fall in love with it even more.
Every time I use it, it surprises me whether it's the fluidity and speed of loading up an app or 3D CAD and rendering, fluid high quality drawings in Sketchbook Pro, dozens of tabbed browsing and miracasting a game like MW3 butter smooth with settings akin (if not higher) than the 360.
The worry of using such a small screened device is in the past with the feature of either casting my screen to a smart TV or an Xbox or even plugging it in old style using a mini display to HDMI. I don't even bother taking my Surface charger to University with me anymore (unless I forget to charge my phone overnight) as it can easily last on a full charge from 9am-6pm.
Fast and Fluid. All day battery life. Small form factor. Designers best choice for a portable computer.
Bad Stuff (Not essential, just nit-picking here)
No Full Office apps preloaded. No OOTB support for Xbox One Controller. No metro File Explorer or Office UI. Tracker is needed for the pen.
I agree somewhat with The Verge's review that companies are confused in regards to what the next form factor of touch enabled ultrabooks should look like and how users interact with them. People are becoming increasingly reliant on their smart phones and have become subconsciously familiar with their rapid response due to flash based storage or their touches, taps and swipes. These are features that many companies have tried to intuitively implement into their line up of computers. What I do think is that Microsoft have hit the nail on the head with the Surface line. I understand how people can relate it to an iPad due to its form factor, however what it should be compared to is the 11" MacBook Air, and in the real world where not every device is an Apple product, the Surface has so much potential to interact and spec for spec, the Pro 2 blows all of its competition out of the water. Once a few issues are ironed out as technology progresses, more and more companies will turn to producing devices like the Microsoft Surface Pro 2.
Design 10. Display 9. Cameras 6. Speakers 8. Performance 10. Software 9. Battery Life 9. Ecosystem 8. Accessorises 9.
An empty pocketed yet happy student.