Microsoft Surface "a worthy option in mobile computing"

I’m a professional writer with hobbies in art and gaming…and an enthusiastic Surface Pro owner. I have played honest-to-God, full PC games while killing time on an international flight. The thing basically stands in perfectly for a normally $3000+ Cintiq drawing tablet. And I have a fully functional series of different writing programs that I can toss in my purse and cart to the local cafe without any trouble at all, without having to settle for an appy interface. The keyboard is great. The setup and Windows 8 learning curve only took me about an hour. I tossed a big microSD card in the thing and haven’t had storage problems since. Believe me: like lots of writers in their 20s I’m as poor as they come but I would buy this thing again without any hesitation.

The complaints I’m hearing in this thread really seem to originate with the user. Not the device. At the very least, they don’t resemble my experience with either the marketing or the functionality of the device at all.

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There you go again with your anti-Amiga propaganda. Here, let me change your mind with my latest demo. :smile:


You are Tobias Richter, AICMFP.

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For a writer or researcher, I’d recommend OneNote. OneNote is amazing. Used multiple times to help research and convert byzantine CMS websites by keeping my pages & pages of notes organized within it. That alone would make me consider a Surface Pro even with its quirks. OneNote comes built-in I hear.

The only downside, and what’s kept me from jumping on board, is that I hear you can’t dual boot Linux on the machine. Or is that only the Surface RT? Until my bank account grows slightly fatter I won’t worry with the decision for awhile longer.

I understand your assumption, but the way things have worked out, if anyone is discussing a Surface tablet, you have to assume they are talking about Surface Pro, unless they specifically say Surface RT. You might not be familiar enough with the tablet market to have known that. Similar to how when someone says “my macbook” they typically mean Mac Book Pro, unless they specifically say Mac Book Air.

Also, I find if there is any ambiguity, reading the linked to articles more often than not clears that ambiguity up 100%. In this case if you were unclear if the blog post was referring to the Surface Pro to the Surface RT, reading the linked to article clears it up immediately. Not all BoingBoing blog posts are articles themselves, sometimes like this one, they are simply point one onward to an article with a brief intro. Understanding this key fact will greatly improve your BoingBoing experience.


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Except that there is no Surface RT. It’s called the Surface or Surface 2. So what you’re saying is that when someone talks about a Surface, they’re talking about the Surface Pro, not the Surface. If they wanted to talk about the Surface they’d call it the Surface RT, which isn’t its name.

I fully understand the official labels, I also know what people call them. The sales on the regular Surface (Surface RT) have been horrible and they are being discontinued by MS. The Surface Pro has been a success and is being continued. Whenever someone is talking about the Surface, they are almost always talking about the Surface Pro unless they specify otherwise. Maybe a better example for you naming wise would be the iPad line. If someone says I just bought an iPad, chances are they bought and iPad Air, not the first gen iPad which is the only one officially called just iPad with no number or designator attached. The only iPad is the first one, there are iPad, iPad 2, iPad 3, and iPad 4, and iPad Air (not counting iPad Mini and iPad Mini Retina).

Trust me I get that this is confusing for people who aren’t familiar with the tablet market, which is why I was clarifying for people who are making the wrong assumptions. I would have named them differently if it were up to me, but when people say Surface they mean Surface Pro.

Funnily enough neither the iPad 3 or 4 were officially called that. I think they were The New iPad and the iPad with Retina.

The Surface (not Pro) is actually okay, and I suspect the 2 is even better. Like the WP8 devices, if there was any app support they’d be fine. They just don’t offer any compelling reason to be chosen over established alternatives.

The Pros should be good, given their price. I’m not surprised people like them. If I’d had the cash I’d have bought one.

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Hi, I’m Josh Centers, the managing editor of TidBITS, and I worked with Julio on this piece.

I’m not sure where people are getting the idea that it’s an “anything but Apple” article? TidBITS is an Apple-focused publication (as we have been for almost 24 years), and if you read through, you’ll find that he still prefers the iPad and MacBook Air to the Surface.

Nor is it some sort of Microsoft ad. It’s the third in a series looking at mobile computing for writers. We previously covered the iPad Air and Chromebook in this series.

Anyway, thanks to Rob for linking to us!


For people in graphic design, being able to use Photoshop and Illustrator with a stylus right on the screen is a pretty compelling reason. Granted that is a niche that won’t matter for everyone.

I’d personally prefer an apple made device, Mac Book Air Tablet, but Apple has yet to materialize anything in that market space (full computer tablet). The iPad is great, I love mine, but it falls short of being a full computer at this point in time in the same way the android tablets do.

Before I bought my Surface Pro 2 two weeks ago, I shopped and compared for over a year to ensure I got the best tablet form factor PC hybrid made, and Surface was the best computer on the market compared to the other hybrids. Since getting it, I have been surprised that it is far better than I realized, and I am absolutely delighted.

I write a lot, and so a laptop has to be thrown into the landfill once it’s keyboard is typed out, and laptop keyboards last about a year of constant writing. Other hybrids had “laptop” style keyboard landfill, but only Surface has conveniently replacable keyboards, so one never has to throw the computer away after a number of months of typing.

I have found nothing that I do not like about Surface Pro 2. I have everything in one powerful desktop PC tablet, and can run software I have written in Visual Basic on my tablet now, and I have a powerful new desktop computer at home, and I can use it as a tablet, or as a netbook sized laptop, and so I only need one computer, rather than many, like those with iPads and so on. The Surface Pro 2 represents the ultimate form factor for the modern PC, and there is no reason anymore to have other than a single tablet for all one’s computing needs.

While the Apple App market is saturated, the Windows App market still has opportunities for developers, while having what I found to be a very broad selection of apps now available, and I view the rumors of “no apps available” for Windows as just that, Apple user rumors.

It is not fair to compare the Surface Pro 2 with an iPad or Android tablet, as those are just consumer computing appliances, while the Surface Pro 2 is a Personal Computer in the classic sense, which is housed in a tablet, with a tablet interface and tablet style apps available. The Surface Pro 2 is built rugged and is not like some bling, but is very masculine in design.

Surface Pro 2 is a new paradigm for the “Personal Computer”, and represents the ultimate form factor for a PC heading into the future.

Microsoft made the mark, and they did so well that people expecting and seeking fault fail to realize what they are even looking at, where in fact nothing made by any other computer maker even comes close to being as excellent as the Surface Pro 2, which the Microsoft hardware team worked hard to make the very best by scrutinizing every detail.

My only regret is that I did not spend the extra money for the 512gb version and only got 128gb, but at least I can look forward to buying a new one later on sometime, for I am staying on this most excellent platform. Well done Microsoft!

Scott Kurtz found Photoshop almost impossible to use on a Surface.

Personally I have both an MBA and an iPad, I use them for totally different things and personally do not want a Frankentablet but thats me. I prefer to use a Wacom and a larger screen for image editing work that would require the equiv of Photoshop.

Or, you could buy a replacement laptop keyboard for like $100 or less. But if you’re just going to throw out your next one, let me know. :smile:

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Yes, but his friend who recommended it to him gave it stellar reviews. His main complaints were, he was used to the mac keyboard/shortcuts, he was used to the wacom quick keys, at times it would lag, and he had trouble seeing things on the screen. The only complaint that wasn’t the user, was the lagging. I’ll agree it isn’t for everyone, but even my Motion Computing windows tablet which is over 8 years old, runs photoshop fine, and it doesn’t have nearly the chops of the Surface Pro 2.

I also use my iPad for totally different purposes, and yes I too have large apple monitors and a wacom at my desk. When traveling, away from my desk, on the road, etc. those large monitors and wacom don’t do me any good, and like you said you can’t do the same things on the iPad, that is when having a wacom enabled tablet pc really out shines a mac book air. During the summer I sometimes like to sit out on the deck in the sun and use it. It is no franken computer, far from it. It is a great device and well worth it for anyone who isn’t a deskbound type of person. If you are deskbound then it probably isn’t for you, if you aren’t then it sure beats the crap out of a mac book air. If only apple would step up their game and make one, then i’d be a happy person.

That was the one feature that piqued my interest, but I get the impression that Microsoft isn’t exactly going out of their way to woo the artist market. The few artist-centric reviews I’ve read make it sound like it took some tweaking with system settings just to get the thing ready to use as an artist’s tool.

What I really want is something with the graphic processing power of a full-fledged PC, a Wacom-style stylus with palm rejection, and an OS and some illustration apps that were designed from the ground up to be used with a tablet. (And ideally cheaper than the one Wacom is currently selling.)

After screwing with Android tablets for a very long time all the way up to 4.4.2 and testing out Microsoft Surface, and iPads… I’m just saying the hell with all of them and try to figure out a way to run straight up OS X on a hacked tablet of some kind.

I’m tired of all the limitations and massive privacy invasions from using tablets. The best, least limited is Android, but it just doesn’t cut it compared to running OS X.

When I’m sitting outside is exactly when I don’t want to be doing the kind of work I’d do at my desk :smiley:

To each their own right?

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Did you use a family that is literally approaching 5 digits of spending on Apple products for their family’s tech infrastructure as a reason the Surface is bad? She should be upset at Apple that their products are incapable of communicating with other devices, that’s a reasonable complaint.

Tried the surface (not the pro), and by the end of the third day I was ready to throw it out the window, the hardware is ok, but the OS is a kafkian nightmare.

I’m not fond of apple products, but surface is the worst tablet ever, at least for me the preference order is:

1 android tablet by a major brand other than sony (asus, samsung, etc)
2 sony android tablet
3 ipad
4 chinese unknown brand or knock off android tablet
5 etch-a-sketch
6 microsoft surface

That is undeniable, but Still, I’d rather wait for this windows 8 fad to pass and try again the surface when it packs a better OS.

As a matter of fact, windows 8 is what keeps me from buying a cntiq companion.

Than and the lack of money of course, that puppy is really expensive.