2 weeks with the Surface Pro 2 (Or How I Learned to Stop Using a Macbook and Love the Surface)
This post was born out of my original interest in the Surface Pro 2 (found here). I had a lot I wanted to say about the SP2 so PLEASE forgive this long ass post.
After a few unfruitful phone calls to local retailers, I randomly ran into a Microsoft store and was lucky enough to grab the 256GB model. First of all, this is my first Windows laptop in about 7 years. I use a Windows PC at work but have sworn by the Macbook/Macbook Pro line for almost a decade. OSX is a solid operating system and I have nothing but positive things to say about Apple's hardware. However I personally think Microsoft is on to something big with the Surface Pro idea and was willing to switch to Windows 8.1 to test that suspicion.
My initial impressions were NOT positive I have to say. The SP2 is pretty heavy at 2 pounds and kinda uncomfortable to use one handed. Once you turn on the device, all that nitpicking goes away though. Holding such a small yet powerful tablet just brings a smile to my face. It's a little too early to give a battery review, but it's impressive so far. I'm used to 4-5 hours with my late-2009 Macbook Pro so 7-8 hours of battery life with the SP2 is great in my eyes. Especially considering I can get 1-2 hours of gaming in and still have enough juice left to get me through the day.
Speaking of which, I was pleasantly surprised at how well the Pro 2 handled my Steam collection! I'm currently making my way through Fallout New Vegas and it defaults to high settings. But that's an older game...just for fun I threw Max Payne 3 at it and was amazed to find it was playable on low settings at 25-30 fps. Not bad Surface Pro 2...not bad at all. Suffice to say, I don't think the Surface Pro 2 will have trouble running indie titles or most games released before 2011 (except Crysis...it ran like poop for some reason). It will do in a pinch for sure, which is sooooo much more than I can say for my aging Macbook Pro.
After a few days of using it at home I decided to get the desk dock at use it at work. My work PC is a pretty beefy machine so I brought that home and connected it to my TV. I get more gaming done at home so it's power will go to use. Anyway, I can't overstate how great it feels to go from the comfort of my couch to my big screen at the office all with one device. I mean, I know nowadays with Microsoft's account syncing and various cloud services you can basically be on any machine and have your files. But nothing beats having all your settings, your desktop (mine is painstakingly set exactly how I like it, and all your installed applications with you at all times.
...whoa that was really long winded. There's so much to LIKE about the Surface Pro 2; I could probably gush for another 500 words to be honest. It's a pretty big deal for me to like any kind of laptop that's not a Macbook Pro (I've used soooo many clunky Windows laptops in my day). When I upgrade to the next generation Surface Pro I hope things like battery life and having a discrete graphics card will be resolved. We're so close to that no compromises experience Microsoft is striving for.
ALL that said, the Surface Pro 2 was one hell of a money sink. The 256GB model with the dock ran me nearly $1,500. You could buy any number of ultrabooks or gaming laptops for a hell of a lot less. I think for me it was more about getting a glimpse of owning one device for all my needs. It's tablet to read on when I'm on the couch, a light gaming machine when I'm bored, and a work horse at the office. Having one computer (ESPECIALLY one at only 10 inches) that does it all was worth $1500 to me.
Edit: Thank you so much for all the responses! I wanted to add this since it's another important part of why I love the Surface Pro 2 (from the comment section):
Like every computer I’ve used since Chrome’s release, the first thing I did was download Chrome for my default browser. I dig the (The Interface Formally Known As) Metro apps though, so after a few days I decided to give IE a shot in that mode. I was blown away by it’s speed and responsiveness to touch. I dare say it’s on par, if not BETTER, than Safari on an iPad. I just like how quickly you can zip around from bookmarks to new tabs. Plus it doesn't hurt that IE can run Flash (for those rare websites that still use it).
However, when I’m docked at work I still use Chrome. IE is not nearly as feature rich (extension wise I mean). I’m a believer however and will certainly use it when I’m on the couch or away from a keyboard.