You might say “gadget geek” or “tech nerd”, I prefer the term “tech savvy” or “gadget enthusiast”. Whatever you call it, I am guilty as charged. Yes, I am that guy, the one that battles the body’s desperate need for sleep in the early hours of the morning while surfing the tech sections of such web-sites as mashable and Kick starter.
On more than one occasion, while slowly drifting to sleep, I have lost that battle and have even been startled to consciousness by the heavy thump of my smartphone falling flat on my face. It’s embarrassing to admit, but I suspect many of you reading this are smiling because you or someone you know has done the same. On the rare occasions, my mind wins the battle over how long I can stay awake scouring the internet for write ups and YouTube tutorials by Tech Savvy Agent, iPhone Up link, App Advice or The Verge (to name a few). On those glorious nights, I often stumble upon a nugget or two of useful technology that helps me simplify, customize and tweak my busy lifestyle. Until now, I have mostly focused on iPhone, iPad, Galaxy and other Apple, Google, or Samsung products that have largely dominated the mobile market in recent memory.
Today I would like to bring your attention to a device that came out of left field which pleasantly surprised me, Microsoft’s Surface Pro running Window’s 8. Let me give you a little back story. A couple months ago, my briefcase, along with my iPad and laptop, were stolen from my car (horrible, I know). Before running to Apple to replace them, I gave some thought to what I might be missing by other manufacturers. Now, unless you were hiding under a rock, you were no doubt glued to the television for all seven of the nail biting Heat vs. Spurs NBA Finals games. In between time-outs and half-times, you must have seen one of the dozens of Surface RT, Surface Pro, or Windows 8 commercials. By this time, I had read some reviews and after seeing the commercials, the deal was sealed and my curiosity was sufficiently aroused.
I have been playing with the Surface for a little while now, and it is a pretty magnificent device! I have the Surface Pro, which is a fully functioning computer with tablet capabilities. Not to be confused with the Surface RT, which is a tablet with computer abilities. The Pro can run, download, or install any program or software that a PC laptop or desktop can. It runs a complete Microsoft Office suite including excel, word, outlook, access, power point and so on. You can install drivers, run flash, and use it in the exact same way you use any other laptop. However, this little guy is unlike any other laptop I have ever used! The touch screen capabilities, compact design, smooth graphics, stylus pen, Bluetooth mouse, apps, and removable keyboard/cover, set this device apart from any other I have ever used. The other day, I sat at a Starbucks and put in almost four solid hours of work without any of the limitations that tablet devices are plagued by.
This gadget is definitely in a class of its own. Once you go touch screen on a full operating system like this one, you are never the same. I now find myself disappointingly trying to use finger gestures on lesser non touchscreen devices before sadly realizing that they don’t possess those magical abilities. With the Surface, you can use finger gestures to switch between programs, split the screen to run two programs simultaneously for a true multitasking experience, pull up the settings panels with a swipe, touch to open hyperlinks, sign documents with a finger or stylus, and that is only “scratching the surface” (I couldn’t help myself on that pun).
So what of my iPad?? I bought a used one from a friend and still use it daily, and until Microsoft releases a Surface with a mobile data plan and until their app store develops further to rival that of Google or Apple, I intend to continue doing so. As for my laptop?? The Surface Pro has replaced that, indefinitely. At this moment, I am sitting on a bar stool by the island in our kitchen, typing this very article on it. Microsoft may have been a little late to the mobile device game, but they are coming out of the gate strong with the Surface. Not unlike the fourth quarter of game 6, when many people thought it was over for the HEAT, they pushed harder and got back in the game. Similarly, Microsoft doesn’t seem ready to secede to their rivals and is making a strong push to compete for their share of the market. I look forward to being a part of the Windows community as it flourishes and I hope to see other companies take a page out of their book.