This winter Microsoft provided all MVPs at the annual summit with a heavily discounted Microsoft Surface RT second generation. It promptly got sequestered by my wife, but I was intrigued enough to go out and purchase a Surface Pro 2 and give up my cherished IPad Mini in the process.
I would use the Mini on the road to provide support at a moments notice to our clients, but for the most part, I needed to travel with the Mini and the Air. No longer.
Finally, the PC I’ve been dreaming about
Prior to the surface, my favorite PC was a Mac Book Air running parallels. I loved the fact windows ran best on a Mac than it ever did on the PC, and I also loved the small form factor and lightweight of the Air. But the Surface quickly won me over:
- It’s just as portable as the Mac Book Air
- I love the docking station, allowing me to quickly dock it when I get to my office and take it with me when I hit the road. (Apple does not have a dock for their laptops)
- The touch keyboard 2 was underperforming, so I purchased the Type Cover 2, which serves as a cover for my surface and a great keyboard. (Apple has no keyboard cover for the IPad line)
- I’m 50 years old and not relishing looking at a small screen all day, so I purchased the outstanding Acer 23″ touch LCD screen. Having a large touch surface in my office is glorious, I tried out the 27″ model at the Microsoft store and I immediately got hooked. I don’t even bother with a mouse anymore.
- No need to do backups of the OS, just keep your docks in the cloud and restore/refresh Windows as needed from the device
If you add it all up I ended buying almost $2k of equipment, but now I travel with just one device and use it both on the road and in the office.
Making Microsoft cool again
I love the Windows 8.1 experience on this device, it’s snappy running Access 2013 with SQL Server Express 2012, allowing me to demo our work on the road as well as providing a full PC experience in the office. Microsoft sold out all of their Surface inventory and many of the accessories last Xmas, (the store now has them in stock again), further evidence they have a winner on their hands.
Where does Microsoft go from here?
I’ve heard horror stories of people buying the RT only to realize it’s not going to run the needed legacy software, so Redmond needs to a better job of educating the public. All of the ads I see on TV only mention Surface, not Surface RT or Pro.
I promptly lost my pen since there is nowhere to store it on the device, so now I use the trackpad or an external USB mouse. Having a hole for the pen in the future version would be nice. Having a built in Cell modem would be nice too.
This is the second iteration of Surface, I’d love to see Surface 3 be even slimmer and lighter, as well as see my favorite IOS apps be ported over to Microsoft.
The Surface is the only tablet that can run Access natively and can quickly become the standard for corporate America, I hope it’s the golden ticket to making Microsoft a giant on par with Apple and Google.