The Surface

 

The reviews for Microsoft’s brand new tablets, the Surface RT and the Surface Pro, were less than stellar. In fact, the reviews for the Surface RT were damning. The latest release, The Surface Pro was touted by Microsoft as a tablet with no compromises. It was billed as a full PC, capable of running all of Microsoft’s processor intensive legacy business softwares. Critics unfortunately disagreed. The tablet, at 2.0 pounds was mocked as obese. It’s battery life, determined to be around 4 hours, was ridiculed as paltry compared to the iPads 10 hours. Microsoft, the critics declared failed to create a tablet computer with “no compromises” and instead created a tablet PC that was itself defined by compromises. The critics charged that it was too heavy to comfortably function in the casual use-case of a tablet and the effort to grease and squeeze a PC into the form of a tablet, created a laptop that was awkward and clumsy: a poor value when compared to other options on the market. The critics, we believe, were wrong!

 

For those unfamiliar with the surface pro, it is a full PC. It has a kickstand imbedded flush with the tablets body. It has a thin cover with a touch type keyboard embedded into it or an option for a slightly thicker cover with real type-able keys. When users want a tablet, they can have a tablet by simply flipping the cover back just as they would an iPad. When they want a laptop they simply open the cover, flip out the kickstand and they now have a full PC or laptop.

 

Why are the critics wrong? They fail to see how trivial their concerns are and they are writing about products with only the particular needs of journalists in mind.They claim the device can’t sit on their laps when they want to type articles ( in airports for instance). This claim is contradicted by many that have used the Surface but it’s also small and nit-picky. I’ve always found the term “laptop” to be a misnomer because I never enjoyed using my laptops on my lap. I didn’t enjoy that warm heat on my legs after extended use nor did I enjoy using cooling fan trays to prevent that feeling. When critics charge that the surface is too thick, Its this clumsy history that I think about.  It’s thinner than most laptops and ultra books. Its thinner than many ipads wrapped in thick cases for users that wanted stands.

 

The Surface Pro is blistering fast and most importantly it offers so many interesting uses that its difficult to understand what reviewers aren’t seeing. The Surface Pro can mirror itself on a larger monitor. I imagine my desktop at working consisting of nothing more than a monitor (and maybe a Bluetooth key board) with a similar setup at home. This means that for really serious tasks for which a tablet is always going to be too small, users can effectively carry their desktops with them. The surface simplifies the desktop, eliminating the need to have separate laptops and desktops.

 

The critics have failed to see the potential in the digitizing pen that comes with the Surface Pro. They have displayed a monumental lack of vision, treating this innovative input mechanism as an after thought. They have treated the pen, which allows for onscreen editing of documents, graphics work, and designing, as a cute but kitschy add on. I believe that in the initial reviews, many tech journalists were in a maddening rush to declare Microsoft a failure. Lazier journalists were so use to the familiar (and true) refrain of Apple’s dominance that they simply repeated the memes they were use to composing. Now, later reviewers, those with admittedly less access seem to be more fond of the Surface Pro. They are pointing out that the device can handle, with ease some of the most popular and demanding gaming titles. They are correcting the myths about the comfort of using the device, pointing out that it is different than an iPad—but wasn’t that the whole point of this venture?

 

The Surface isn’t perfect. It is heavy but only slightly heavier then the original IPad (which I still use). It’s battery life is abysmal but on par with ultra books in the same class. For those that think Apple’s walled gardens are too restrictive and IT directors that need devices that plug easily into existing software infrastructures, The Surface Pro offers the hope of reducing redundancies down to a single, elegantly designed, magnesium covered device!

 

After a shameful parade of iPad clones, Microsoft has delivered a truly unique device.