If you have been reading one of my posts in this website, you will probably notice that I have gone through a number of android tablets and to some extend I am very familiar with the iPad as well as it is using the same iOS as the iPhone. In addition my family has them as well. So when it’s time to hunt for a new tablet, the Surface was the only one that I haven’t try out before.
My requirement was quite simple. As an all round technologists, I want a tablet that is stable, fast and able to run software development tools so that I can work and play wherever I am.
The android tablets, the high end ones like the Samsung Galaxy S Tabs can be pretty snappy and there are a degree of customisability that they offer. However I have had so much issues with long term performances with Android tablets, so I did not consider them.
On the other hand, the iPad while it’s generally well built and relatively stable, is much more of a content consuming device. Of course there are great apps for multimedia, but it’s not what I’m after.
So, enter the Microsoft Surface Pro 4, a device that cost more than $1000. The main reservation is there is no one that I know that actually use the device and that this is actually a table with cooling fans inside. However it seems that this is the only device that can cover most of my needs, so I decided to take my chances.
Let’s just say that when I walked out of the store with the surface in my hands, I was still unsure that In actually made a good buy. After using this device more than a week though, it became apparent that this device is really useful.
The great things that I found very useful are:
- The Pen and OneNote. I haven’t use my paper notebook ever since I walked around with the Surface.
- All my usual Windows apps worked, such as NetBeans, vagrant, Atom, notepad++ and more.
- Since this is just like a full fledged laptop, virtualisation is also supported, something that I needed in a daily basis.
- Micro SD support is also very useful. Unlike android tablets, it’s possible to install applications within the micro SD card. 128gb micro SD cards are quite cheap these days, which makes it one of the best alternatives to increase the tablet’s capacity.
- The USB3 slot also proves very useful. Basically I can attach any external hard disk when required or attach any keyboards when hot-desking with ease.
- Needless to say, the display port is extremely useful when I need to hook the tablet for any presentation or just when I need a bigger screen.
- Windows 10. What can I say? I think this is the best Windows so far since Windows XP. Everything is just running well. Could be caused by the fact the Surface is designed by Microsoft themselves.
Of course, there are always some weakness in every devices and the Surface Pro 4 is not an exception. Below is the list of the weaknesses.
- Battery life. The device did last around 9 hours without charging, however it’s just barely enough to get through a full day’s work. So just to be sure, I always carry the charger in the sleeve case.
- Not all apps are created for touchscreen. As an example: Atom, while it is a good editor it won’t work with the touchscreen properly. I had to scroll it using the scrollbar.
- We have to be careful with applications that we install. I remembered installing iCloud for Windows and Surface Pro 4 heats up for a whole day for no particular reason. So I always have to remember what I installed previously and make sure that the application doesn’t constantly tax the CPU. Ignoring this will suck the battery life quite gloriously.
All in all though, I think the Surface is one of the best tablets that any one of us can get these days. It is basically the tablet that you can truly use for business and productivity, even for some lightweight gaming too such as those beautifully rendered point and click games.gadget, surface, tablet