In progress: My week with a Surface Pro

So based on availability and a perverse love for gadgets, I’ve decided to spend a week using a Surface Pro exclusively at work.  I didn’t purchase this unit, but I’m allowed to use it both at work and as a take-home.  Though I’ll be using it at home as well, my primary focus is to see if this machine does the job, at my job.

Some background info:

– My primary ecosystems are Google and Android; I own a Galaxy S3 and a Nexus 7, and I’m very immersed in Google services.  My Chrome Sync is pretty much something I can’t live without at this point, and services like Google Music and Drive are pretty much non-negotiable (though Spotify has quickly made a move in recent weeks).

– I don’t have any true Microsoft bias; I’m actually going in with a middling opinion on the Surface and Windows 8, the latter of which I’ve used both at home and work for months now.

– The “work” in particular: I’m currently performing IT support at a school.  The job includes a good deal of classroom-to-classroom travel, so a device to keep notes in order is very useful.  My company uses an internet-dependent ticketing system whose web GUI is pretty atrocious, so my solution thus far has been using Evernote on my phone or tablet to keep track of things, then dumping this info into the system once I get back to a desktop (where the Windows app for this system is usable compared to vomit-inducing).  This is where the Surface Pro could truly shine, as I can run this ticketing system app right on a portable device, cutting out the Evernote middle man.

– I’ve started to use this yesterday, and I’ll post my thoughts as they come to me.  So far though, here are a few.

#1: Despite what one would think, the touch cover is clearly superior to the type cover.  The type cover’s tactile feedback isn’t bad, it’s just cramped, thicker, uncomfortable, and I consistently make errors on it.  In stark contrast, the touch cover is creepily accurate, and my typing speed rivals the speed on my favorite keyboard (currently the Logitech Solar Keyboard).  This touch cover has creeped me out, frankly, because I didn’t expect it to be this good.

#2: My approach to the use of this device is quickly changing from “hybrid tablet/laptop” to “just a really portable laptop”.  I think I’ve used the onscreen keyboard twice, and the vast majority of my use with it is on its stand, as if it were a laptop with the superpower of “not as bulky and more comfortable”.

#3: I’ve had some issues with WiFi thus far (which is obviously a huge problem, potentially), but that might be the wireless network setup I’m on rather than the device.

#4: I really wish this thing had a dock accessory.  I have a feeling I’ll be typing a whole lot of words about that at some point.

Stay tuned for more.  Or don’t, this post will likely reach 5 people, and that’s generous.

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