The Surface that Replaced My Laptop
DISCLAIMER: I have never used a PC or Windows extensively to be familiar enough with the platform, let alone Windows 8, so I apologize in advance if I am mistaken in my assessment. Please correct me if I am misunderstanding anything.
This is not a story of why Surface is better than Mac, nor is it a story of why Mac is better than Surface. This is a story of why I love my Surface Pro 3. However, before I begin, it is only proper if I introduce a background story of who I am and what I do. I am 20 years old, currently in college, and looking to major in Business and Finance. As such, I do plenty of writing and math. Now, before getting the Surface Pro 3 I was a complete alien to the world of Windows. Sure, I had used Windows before, but only for school and that was when I was in high school! As was the case, it was never my go-to platform. To this point, my life has revolved around Mac computers. Further, when one is unfamiliar to the world of Windows, one instantly thinks of all the problems one reads or hears of that pertain to it, such as: Windows 8 is unusable, Windows 8 lacks an appstore like the one found with Apple’s OS, the start screen and desktop mode are gone (yes, I still hear this from people), but more importantly, the claim that the Surface Pro 3 cannot replace one’s laptop (these are only some, among many others). Hence, I was a product of these conceptions or misconceptions, or whatever you choose to call them. But whatever the case, the premise is this: I was afraid of giving Windows a try, partly because I was comfortable with my iMac and MacBook, and thought a Surface wouldn't fit my needs; and also because of what I had heard of Windows. Either way, I am glad I gave it a try.
From the moment I picked up the Surface Pro 3, I fell in love. The Surface Pro 3 has an exceptional design, if not the best design found on a laptop. But don’t take my word for it, because to me, it is product of great quality, and the magnesium that surrounds the back body only adds to the quality and feel of the device. Opening and holding a product has never felt this good. It has received numerous compliments from buddy’s at school to folks at my local Starbucks. When I allowed them hold the device, they awed in astonishment. In respect to the design and quality of the Surface Pro 3, I thank the folks over at MIcrosoft for creating this beautiful machine. And on top of a beautiful design, it has a beautiful display to complement it.
As stated earlier, I am (or was) unfamiliar with Windows overall. I think my lack of knowledge with the OS, however, serves to highlight how easy and intuitive Windows 8 is. All it takes is a bit of effort and some swiping of the touch screen to get working. There are plenty of people I know who claim it's hard, when they have not tried it. In Tiles mode (I believe that’s what it’s called), swipe down and all your programs appear in alphabetical order, making them easy to find. Much easier still, just type from the home screen menu for anything you’re looking for and it automatically starts searching for whatever it is you’re looking to find. I can also narrow down my search to just files, web images, web videos, and settings. For instance, when I look up the actress "Victoria Justice," I get images of her that are locally stored on my hard drive, and I also get other information from her, such as her background, social networking profiles, etc. -- on the same screen! This is an exceptional and useful feature, especially when used with split screen.
Using desktop mode is as easy as switching to it. From the home screen I can just click on the "desktop" tile and...voila! And reverting back to the Windows homescreen only requires the click of the Windows icon on the bottom left corner. Everything on desktop mode is neat and organized. My applications I have opened are shown at the bottom and I can just switch between them rather easily with either my finger, or the touchpad. When I am not using the type cover, I can bring up the virtual keyboard from the bottom right corner where all the essential settings are found, such as battery life, volume, wifi, time, date and so on. I've actually grown fond to using my fingers rather than the touchpad.
But another notable characteristic of the Surface Pro 3 is its portability and flexibility. It’s light, and I can carry it while standing up without getting as quickly tired as I did with my laptop. I throw it in my messenger bag, and I don’t notice it exists. I can use it on the train while getting to school, and it’s a pleasure to use. When I lay in bed with it, I have no problems using the type cover. In fact, I used it on the train to write the first few paragraphs of this post, and I’m currently using it on my bed, and I’m not afraid of it falling. Of course, that’s all because of the new and refined kickstand.
But do you know what is also amazing? The pen and OneNote. I write all my math homework problems on OneNote and just print it out to turn in. I asked my professor if she could help me out with a problem, but asked her to use the Surface Pro 3. Within seconds, she was freely using the pen without any trouble to explain the problem. In fact, she was amazed by what she was able to do. The pen was clear and precise. Also, I can annotate when I’m reading a book in the "reader" application. When watching math videos to take notes, I use the split screen feature to play the video on one side of the screen, and take notes using OneNote on the other portion of the screen. When reading a book, I do the same thing. If I happen to find an interesting or important point, I grab my pen and write down important things on the other portion of the screen. Multitasking has never been this fun and pleasurable.
As for battery life, I can use my Surface Pro 3 extensively without worrying if it’s going to die. I usually keep about six or seven tabs open on internet explorer, OneNote is open all the time, and a few other applications, but the battery somehow manages to live from seven in the morning to nine at night. Yes, I know these aren’t precise battery tests, but from my experience, the battery has been exceptional these past couple of days.
Perhaps it's to soon to make a call. But believe me when I say I once thought using Windows 8 and the Surface Pro 3 would be a hassle to use; but I am glad to say it is not. Although it took a couple hours to learn my way around, I got the hang of how things work much faster than I expected. Even more still, I have much to learn about Windows, and I’m sure this is just the beginning. However, while no device is perfect, I thought I would share my experience with you all, and focus on what makes this a great product, instead of the saying the same common and tiring complaints from this beautiful device. It is a pleasure to say that the Surface Pro 3 has replaced my Retina Macbook Pro. I believe people just need to give it a fair shot. And though I’m not a journalist, writing two research papers that consisted of 8-12 pages each in length over the past couple of days, with the Surface Pro 3, was a pleasure.
In the end, I believe Microsoft has created an entire new category here. The best of both worlds: laptop and tablet. It can be a tablet when I'm taking math notes, reading and annotating books or PDFs, and a computer when I need to type up a research paper, or whatever it is I need it to be. I'm sure they will only continue to refine it, so as to improve its shortcomings. Again, I apologize for not fully understanding how Windows works. Like I said, I come from a different neighborhood. For now, I will just sit back and laugh to all the people who say it can't replace a laptop, since it replaced mine. :)