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2 Weeks With The Surface Pro Have Left Me Questioning Everything



Having declared that users in the market for a new PC make it a point to track down and purchase an affordable convertible instead of laptops and desktops, two weeks ago I took my own advice and picked up Microsoft’s first-generation Surface Pro.

My experience has been exciting. There have been times when I’ve thought my entire digital life had finally come into focus. There have been early evenings when I’ve reconsidered everything I thought I knew about personal computing. There have even been coffee-fueled early morning brainstorming sessions when Microsoft’s entire Surface line made almost no sense to me. It’s during one of these early morning sessions today that it finally occurred to me that my purchase of the Surface Pro has made me question everything.

Read: Buying a Windows 2-In-1 or Tablet? Focus on Accessories

For starters I’ve begun to wonder about the nature of PCs themselves. While I always believed that the divide between what most users consider PCs and devices was a bit blurry, I never really stopped to consider that there is in fact, no real line between the two. The Surface Pro’s small stature and Windows 8.1 operating system make it feel just as comfortable as any iPad or Android tablet ever held. Yet, I have the power and apps that I need to get things done at any time. It’s a concept that’s new to me. Having come from the Surface RT and an XPS 13, that I can get everything in one single device still boggles my mind and makes me question why other users aren’t so eager to move to similar devices.

The original Surface Pro with a Type Cover.

The original Surface Pro with a Type Cover.

I’ve never been big on accessories either but suddenly that’s all changed. I find myself wanting to buy a Type Cover 2 so that I can turn the Surface Pro into a laptop when I need it. I’m even considering purchasing Microsoft’s dedicated Surface Pro Dock so that the tablet makes a great desktop companion when I’m in the office. In fact, there’s a Surface Pro case with a built-in adjustable kickstand on its way to my location now.

I broke down and made the purchase after I realized that spending $29.99 on a case that allows me to adjust the angle of the Surface Pro makes more sense than upgrading to the Surface Pro 2. I searched for a decent case for an hour before settling on the one I ordered. For the record, I’ve had a laptop since the age of 15 and a smartphone since 19. I’ve actively made it a point to not accessorize devices because I always felt that the practice was unsavory for some reason or another.

The Surface Pro’s built-in pen and digitizer even have me questioning why I spend $40 in Post-It notes at my local office supply store.

About the only thing I haven’t questioned is Microsoft’s decision to blend Windows with a mobile operating system. For me it’s that decision that fuels my curiosity. Having used it in every form factor now, I’m totally convinced that Microsoft’s decision was the right one for their ecosystem. Why shouldn’t their products all share one core and familiar interface?

True, I’ve wonder about other Microsoft hardware decisions before, but never in this way. I remember wondering why the company’s Zune HD media player didn’t have a particular feature. I don’t remember thinking that the device changed the way I looked at something, at least not the way I do with the Surface Pro.

It’s a good feeling, or is it?



  1. Just

    01/01/2014 at 10:51 am

    Nice write up. What specific case did you buy and is it compatible with the surface 2 pro?

  2. Christopher Durham

    01/01/2014 at 1:03 pm

    The original Surface Pro is a good pick now that it can be had in 128GB version for around $600.

  3. Shelley

    01/01/2014 at 1:33 pm

    uptil I saw the paycheck four $9466, I accept that my best friend was like really earning money part time from their computer.. there sisters neighbour started doing this for only seven months and just paid the debts on their house and got a great opel. visit this site right here ……..

  4. Bruce F. Donnelly

    01/02/2014 at 6:05 am

    I can understand running a tablet interface on top of the Windows desktop, but not the other way around.

    If you enjoy rethinking things, think about the ThinkVision LT1423p 13.3-inch IPS LED Backlit LCD Wireless Touch Monitor with digitizer & stylus, and how that could be used with the wireless technology the Tap 11 uses. Then think about the Ativ Q.

    Basically, with multiple monitors, you need a virtual space into which the monitors go when using “extended” desktop. Now, it’s easy to have a window in that virtual space running a tablet OS. In other words, your mobile phone screen could be a window on a desktop. But the other way around doesn’t really work. It doesn’t really work to have the Windows desktop be an app launched from the Modern UI.

    So the Modern UI makes sense as a window in Windows. It could obviously “snap” to the size of the monitor, but you will want to drag it between monitors when using several.

    • Chris

      01/02/2014 at 9:51 pm

      You’re reading too much into the new UI. The desktop isn’t really an app in Windows 8, the desktop tile is just a means to jump back to the desktop UI. I’ll still agree that the forcible eviction of the start menu was a mistake, but the Start Screen works just fine on the desktop, and works great on a tablet.

      If, by the other way around, you were also questioning running desktop applications (not just the desktop itself) on a tablet, I can say, every one I’ve tried has worked perfectly well, with the only limitation being inherent to a typically small screen size.

      And while your suggestions on other devices, multiple monitors, etc are interesting, this was an article about the Surface tablet. Pretty sure if someone is considering a tablet, multiple monitors aren’t really a substitute, useful as they may be.

      • Bruce F. Donnelly

        01/03/2014 at 3:41 am

        That’s fair, I was thinking more of the metaphor than the actual way the programming works. However, I find that tweaking the metaphor makes a big difference.

        I use two applications by Stardock to float the Modern UI within the desktop (so it doesn’t take over the whole screen) and to run Modern UI apps in windows. It’s just a UI tweak, but it makes it feel like one fluid workspace rather than like I’m teleporting between disconnected spaces.

        Maybe I’m a bit unusual, but I dock my Lenovo X220t at my desk with two monitors, so yes, I appreciate the portability combined with ample workspace when I’m working on multiplI documents

        I’m looking at the Surface Pro 2 with dock as a way to do the same with an even more portable device. I’m also looking at the Fujitsu Q704. Two completely different levels of build and cost, but similar use cases.

  5. Bruce F. Donnelly

    01/02/2014 at 6:14 am

    Oh, right. Forgot to mention to suggest you think about ShareMouse, which lets you share your mouse and clipboard across computers (with some limitations). So you can have a Mac and a Windows machine sharing the same virtual space.

    You may get dizzy.

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