I didn't want to like Microsoft Winpads©™® - and with the Surface RT that's very easy - but the Surface Pro is undeniably sexy. Bugger. Now I want one
While the Surface RT was aimed at Apple's iDevices, its posh Pro cousin is Microsoft's Windows 8 showcase in the PC space, and on midnight on February 9 the first units will go on sale. But we got one early, lived with it for a week, and have, ahem, surfaced to tell of our experience. Microsoft is adamant that the Surface Pro …
That is true but the iPad is sexy and fashionable in Executive circles Microsoft is not. So if the price doesn't matter they'll still choose the iPad and the MDM that goes with it.
Also the iPad lets them display control over their IT/Procurement departments by getting something expensive and incompatible with the current system.
Maybe iPad remains fashionable in some circles but so was the MBA and Surface Pro can replace the iPad+MBA combination at a much lower price with an apparently good build quality. I'm surprised to say I'm impressed (although it would take a higher spec version to persuade me to dip hand in pocket).
Actually, iPad is now dated and unfashionable. Loads of people have one and they are no longer cool or unique.
Also, IT hardly ever allow executives to buy iPads. They are almost universally a personal purchase.
IT departments are going to be all over Surface Pro as it can be fully managed, domain joined, locked down, Bit Lockered, etc. and will be purchasing it as a corporate solution. Executives are going to queue up to get it, just like they do for every other new and flashy device...
"IT departments are going to be all over Surface Pro as it can be fully managed, domain joined, locked down, Bit Lockered, etc"
I suspect you may have inadvertently stumbled over the reason so many people bring their own devices in. Fancy being able to install the productivity software you like that helps you do your job. A plague on your locked down, Bit-Lockered, Internet monitored house.
Well at least one thing is certain, all the reviews are saying it's a stupidly designed, over priced, inadequately equipped, non portable, lacking in connectors, piece of shit....
ALL of the reviewers are saying "It's fucking CRAP!!"
Corporate Moron Design Team...... "Keyboard? Ummm no, they won't be needing that."
The Devil isn't in the detail - it's in the consumer reactions to being flogged shit.
A portable tablet-based device that requires a cooling vent and fans is obviously doing something wrong, and the battery life is hardly up there with "conventional" tablets (Nexus, ipad etc). It really needs a 7-9hour battery life, IMO, otherwise it's just another win8 laptop, albeit lighter/smaller.
That very short battery life figure was the result of the very intense PowerMark 1.2 battery benchmark, which is way less than what you would get with normal use. It would be nice if the review said something more exact about what a normal user can actually expect... but they do say "getting more than a day's business use without the charger is perfectly possible if you're not silly about what you do and use power saving modes"
Give yourself to the Dark Side. It is the only way you can save your friends. Yes, your thoughts betray you. Your feelings for them are strong. Especially for... sister. So, you have a twin sister. Your feelings have now betrayed her, too. Stevii-JobsWan was wise to hide her from me. Now his failure is complete. If you will not turn to the Dark Side... then perhaps she will...
Have an awesome day!
"A portable tablet-based device that requires a cooling vent and fans is obviously doing something wrong, and the battery life is hardly up there with "conventional" tablets (Nexus, ipad etc). It really needs a 7-9hour battery life, IMO, otherwise it's just another win8 laptop, albeit lighter/smaller."
Sounds like you didn't read or fully understand what was written.
Readers need to remember...the surface is not a "tablet" but a Tablet PC. Similar to the old Motion Tablet PC I have on my shelf. It's unable to run Win8 due to the small screen resolution or I'd be using that hardware as my tablet.
The key for any tool is...does it do what you need and are your needs simple or diverse? We have four directors who requested IPADs and none of them actually use them for work. They can't because our software is Java based. Yes they can RDP to their workstations and run the software but they are not that savvy and its too awkward. Also any apps needed had to be bought and loaded using the registered ITunes user. No corporate account can be used. Our MS site license is useless on these toys. The Admins have been waiting for the Surface Pro and We'll be purchasing four very soon.
Most general users of Ipads have very limited needs/use and the IOS works fine for that. It's just an overprice item IMO. I have a Android powered Xoom and use it daily, but my main work is in SQL Server and only a workstation will do.
Best wishes on your choice...but don't knock people who don't follow your choice.
"the battery life is hardly up there with "conventional" tablets (Nexus, ipad etc)."
Because its a COMPUTER. Its like saying the ipad is rubbish because it doesn't run photoshop, when the ipad is designed for a completely different purpose.
The arm version of Surface (Surface RT) is comparable to ipad, nexus 10 et al
That's actually pretty standard for phone/tablet quality cameras photographing black cats. I get exactly the same sort of results taking photos of my 2 black cats with my both iphone/ipad and the wife's samsung kit.
Further to that, can we have more of this sort of sample pic, please? All the usual brightly lit postboxes and fruit and whatnot do not match my real world use, which is almost exclusively to capture images of my cats being cute. I deeply appreciated this journalist finally catering to my own use case.
Black furry animals are a good test for digital cameras- for correct exposure, shutter speed and resolution. I have a constantly-moving black cocker spaniel, and taking pictures of him is a very good way familiarising yourself with a camera's controls. Left to 'automatic', pictures will often be incorrectly exposed, or motion-blurred. The autofocus is usually too slow for him, so encouraging workarounds.
Then wants to charge you four times the price for something that does exactly the same job and that has a worse keyboard. It's just too expensive.
Blah blah full blown office, god I'm sick of that argument from MS apologists. Only a masochist would torture themselves using Office on a 9.2 inch screen.
Why on earth did MS just not scale up WP8 to a tablet ?
But if you're stacking the Surface Pro up against other Ultrabooks, then the system's cost is within the bounds of sanity.
You're using the absurd cost of Ultrabooks compared to other laptop/tablet solutions as a yardstick of spending >$1000 being sane?
How about "The cost of the Surface Pro is just as insane as that of any other Ultrabook around" as a better tranlation? Nice kit, but at that price it's executive toy territory, or those with more cash than sense.
At current exchange rates, the Surface at a $1k costs only £100ish more than the current top of the range 64GB ipad, but is way more functional and by all accounts much, much tougher. I think the prices stack up fairly well, in my experience if you want good, physically robust, well designed and performant hardware, you need to pony up some cash. If you don't pay a reasonable amount of money for hardware it gets battered to death in a very short amount of time.
Case in point: My partner and I have had the same X series thinkpad for about ten years, it is only just at the point of needing to be replaced. It did, however cost a lot of money. My Acer aspire one is only a couple of years old, has been treated much better and is dropping apart, it cost a fraction of what the Thinkpad cost.
Yes. Its too expensive (if 128Gb and keboard) were included at the $899 if could still sell at a decent margin so a missed opportunity for a hit product). But even at this price it makes the MacBook Air look like a device from yesteryear, no way would I consider buying an MBA anymore now these multitouch detachables are out. In that sense, its already a win for Microsoft.
The 128GB iPAD seems to cost between $800 and $930, it's going to have a little more storage space inside, but it's not going to be able to run all your legacy software, have external storage, USB, become a member of a domain, have a stylus and handwriting recognition out of the box, etc. etc.
I'd say Apple are probably kacking it, certainly from the point of view of losing their enterprise toe hold.
If you want to run legacy software you can buy yourself a much cheaper laptop. If you want to run tablet software then the catalogue available under Windows 8 is slim and unimpressive, the iPad has it beaten into the ground here. What Microsoft have ended up producing is a machine that isn't good in either environment and is 25% more expensive than Apple's top end iPad model (cellular data and GPS not being options that Microsoft offer so I'm not including that model). I'd guess that Apple are laughing their socks off.
Comparisons with the iPad are wholly fair even if not an Apples for Apples comparison, because this device is at the very root of it's conception a response to the iPad. To avoid making the comparison is to let Microsoft off the hook and avoid the most obvious measure of success, will this device show the way to reverse the trend in fortune of the Windows PC platform.
The answer is a rapidly emerging and increasingly resolute "no." Not because it isn't an interesting device or well made. Not because it doesn't have strong points. It just isn't a thoroughbred addressing a clear market / use case. IT history is littered with quality devices that, if quality were the only measure, deserved better. The batton of "more than worthy also ran" has passed the hands of Archmedies, Psion series 3 and Revo, Palm and now to Microsoft Surface.
It's worth for a moment considering the circumstances of the genesis of the two devices: iPad and Surface. The iPad emerged after much experimentation and under no real market pressure to release. It was the product of a process if trying and rejecting many different approaches and choosing the one that felt right. For those that know their IT history, though the iPhone came out first, the project it came out from was actually the iPad project with the iPad held back until large touchscreen display prices made it feasible.
The Surface on the other hand, though also built with a laudable degree if commitment to quality and engineering design, is the product, if not in actuality, in spirit, of a bullet point list from a presentation titled something along the lines of "how we respond to the tablet threat." In other words the parameters for it's design for both time to market and political reasons, were cast in stone, long before the many claimed prototypes were produced. This notional presentation would have had to be one that could obtain Steve Ballmer's approval. 'Nuff said.
Let's be brutally honest: anyone that has lived or studied the last 15-20 years of IT history, must admit to the Surface as being a laughable device.
This is simply a warmer-over $2000 Tablet PC with Windows from 2000 that has now been upgraded with the laziest design sense to a....$1000 Surface with Windows for 2013.
Whatever or however you feel about Steve Jobs & Apple, the iPad has, simply and irrevocably, changed the world.
Let's try a counter-factual: the iPhone & iPad were never invented by Apple. Would Microsoft have released this Surface POS now?
One step further: let's grant that MS actually does care about R&D and innovation, and they actually did release this in 2010 (again, with no iPad). Would the world give a rat's ass about the Surface as "a game changer"...? No. They would've sold 5,000 Surfaces, as many as Tablet PCs were sold in 10 years, and we'd be stuck still buying ugly, lame netbooks that were slow and crashed every week (and/or that sucked hours per week of my life to do personal and family and colleagues' tech support).
And while there is a Cupertino bubble, the Redmond bubble is a much different place with really shortsighted outcomes and unoriginal results.
The confusion stems from Apple not fearing to cannibalize OSX, while Microsoft can't see beyond protecting their Windows & Office monopolies. Judge Thomas Penfield Jackson, in 1999, could have been allowed to beak up Microsoft (like Standard Oil or AT&T) into separate Windows & Productivity entities, and we would have Office, identically, on 10 platforms now and who knows what else.
There. I said it.
"This is simply a warmer-over $2000 Tablet PC with Windows from 2000 that has now been upgraded with the laziest design sense to a....$1000 Surface with Windows for 2013."
With 10x the processing speed, more RAM, dramatically faster and more durable storage, way better battery life, higher quality and resolution screen and a redesigned interface. Yeah, terrible progress that...
The ipad essentially hasn't changed significantly since it was introduced, CPU and screen tweaks, the interface and form factor is pretty much the same etc yet that doesn't seem to be a terribly unsuccessful product!
"Whatever or however you feel about Steve Jobs & Apple, the iPad has, simply and irrevocably, changed the world."
Has it cured cancer? ensured world peace? ended poverty? Gimme a f'n break
"The confusion stems from Apple not fearing to cannibalize OSX"
Hard to be worried about a single digit market share (and I'm typing this on a Macbook Pro)
"Microsoft can't see beyond protecting their ... Office monopolies."
You mean Apple and others have tried and failed to make an office suite that rivals MS Office's meagre standards.
"separate Windows & Productivity entities, and we would have Office, identically, on 10 platforms now and who knows what else."
What garbage. In fact that would be a world where office would only be made for windows, with maybe cut down versions for ipad and Android - MS lose money on Office for OSX, they are only making it because of a legal/licensing settlement - they would lose more making a linux version, and WINE et al have eliminated the need for it in any case.
BTW - what are the other 5 platforms you think MS is holding back from to protect windows??
" this device is at the very root of it's conception a response to the iPad."
Strange comment from someone that knows their IT history. "Surface," is an evolution of stuff Microsoft have been doing since the good old days when Apple was moribund and Steve Jobs seemed to have run out of healthy hosts. The iPad may have made it more relevant (or thrown its irrelevance into sharp relief depending on your perspective), but it's naive at best to suggest that it prompted its existence.
" but it's naive at best to suggest that it prompted its existence."
So are you suggesting Microsoft would have designed the Surface without the iPad. That they would have implemented a tablet on an Arm chip, that they would have bifurcated the navigation paradigm of Windows as they did, that the iPad didn't push them into entering the hardware business, attempting their own marriage of hardware and software, or panic them into radically overhauling their business model. I guess would have attempted their own retail strategy too, with no cash tills Zen like layout and their staff would have been wearing blue polo tops. And iPad inspired iOS didn't push them into making phones without a keyboard (and Ballmer laughing at the keyboard-less iPhone was just a ghost). Sure they would have rushed out an OS where the fundamental design and navigation paradigm is so much at odds with their cash-cow office suite. They would have done that anyway. The magnetic snap on cover, that was just waiting in the wings too.
Of course defining the motives of men is always a matter of perspective, and there are no facts here. But really, your perspective is so radically different to mine, I find it simply staggering.
Being able to run Windows software and with decent USB support I guess it's a good device to connect to my Canon EOS 5 camera, both for remote control using EOS Utility and a 5m USB cable, and to check images directly from the cards, thanks to the good screen. It looks easier to carry around than any other Ultrabook in a photo bag, the pen makes the mouse not needed even when some precision is needed, and you can get rid of the keyboard when you don't need it. The fact it can run Lightroom or Photoshop is a surely plus. Only battery life could have been better.... but I guess I'll give it a try.
Suspect the down-voters have not interest in DSLR's - it'll be a winner in that market. The USB port in unbelievably useful, I couldn't survive without one. If you're looking for direct comparisons, check the Sony gear which has a very similar spec and price point. Don't compare it with an iPad, they are merely toys that are uber restrictive.
I would have thought that DSLR owners would find an iPad the better companion device- its higher resolution 4:3 screen is closer to the 3:2 ratio that most DSLRs use, and there are already iOS DSLR remote-control options available.
With the low cost of SD cards these days, dumping a series of pictures onto a portable HDD isn't as handy as once it was.
I was also thinking the same thing - also great for processing photos out of the house (i.e. on location or holiday).
@ Dave126 - iPad is useless for DSLR owners due to lttle in the way of options, a reliance mainly on expensive additional cables or wireless adapters (unless you have the latest generation of high end professional cameras - assuming you have access to a wirelss network for connectivity - I still seem to find hotels with either no conenctivity, Internet only in the foyer/louge/bar area, or cable conenction in the room) and no high end photo processing options. With a Surface Pro tablet (or a PC or MAC laptop) you can have full camera control (again missing from the tablet toy apps) and decent processing software.
@Dapprman"a reliance mainly on expensive additional cables or wireless adapters"
You think someone holding a £1000 camera body with a £2000 lens gives a stuff about £15 for a cable? DSLR photographers don't even consider Photoshop to be expensive so a cable is not an issue at all. The screen resolution might be though, and here the iPad wins over the Surface.
The iPad can't run Canon original software - sure, there are some apps that try to duplicate them but I'd prefer to use the original software which can access all the camera features as designed without any need to reverse engineer the protocol and try to duplicate it.
Nor the iPad can run the full Lightroom or Photoshop - or any other software designed for Windows (or Mac). Nor the iPad has a real digitizer. An USB 3.0 port will allow to access the raw images on the CF much faster than downloading them from the camera (which unluckily has only USB 2.0 support), without the need of ad-hoc cables. The only advantage would be the Retina display, but a 1920 x 1080 is not that bad after all.
Right now I'm using a laptop, something like the Surface Pro can be a lighter alternative which you can hold with one hand.
I'd suggest the downvoter to look first at what you could do with EOS Utility and what you can do what the available iPad apps. There's no match. As long as Canon does not release an iPad or Android version of EOS Utility, whatever can run it natively on the field in a highly portable format is very welcome. And if it can also run the professional imaging software you're used to the better, sorry if iPad can't, but that's life...
I have a suspect the downvoters are those funny people who use their iPads as cameras... and probably don't like to face the fact that no matter how good iPad can be, they are not the "definitive" device and there are tasks they are not good at, and where other devices can work better. My example was not a mainstream use, but it's a task where a device running x86 Windows, digitizer and full USB support can deliver more than devices designed to be less flexible, although smaller and with a longer battery life. Every device - including iPad - is a compromise - one has to choose the compromise that fits better his needs.
I am seriously struggling to understand why I would pay over $1000 dollars for something that has LESS capability than a laptop for double the price. The fact that a 64GB model only gives you 20GB of useable space is a complete con. I have an Asus Transformer TF300 32GB and that gives me 27GB of usable space, so all it proves is that Windows is FAR less efficient as an OS than Android. I paid £379 for my Asus Transformer and it has completely replaced my laptop. Considering that you are now getting laptops coming out with touch screens (and detachable ones at that) MS is going to have to halve the price tag to get Surface to sell. The distinction between laptops and tablets is getting smaller day by day, and the price tags will have to adjust to that environment.
Qwarty, it does meet my needs. I am an IT professional and can see some aspects that it lacks, such as running enterprise solutions such as SQL databases, exchange servers and the like, but for everything else, Android does the job perfectly whether it is writing office documents or email, I no longer need a PC at all, my PC has been gathering dust for over 4 months now and I have not once needed to go back to it, which pretty much covers 95% of all PC users and what they generally use their PCs for. And if for any reason someone does need a Windows machine, they can pick up a laptop (or desktop) for half the price of a surface device, which brings me back to my original point, what is a Surface device for at that price tag?
Even though I don't expect MS to sell many of these - the problems of using the keyboard while sitting will be a significant problem for many prospective buyers - it will raise expectations by continuing to blur the difference between tablets and laptops/notebooks.
Many of us have been expecting to release an I-Pad Pro for a while which would be an I-Pad running Mac OS. Extremely good sales of both I-Pads and MacBook Airs have meant that they haven't needed to yet. Whether this has been for fear that ARMs don't have enough oomph, the problems of fat binaries/translation for existing apps, or Intel chippery needing too much power. Those problems are all likely to be resolved this year: the new ARMs are getting beefier all the time; OpenCL is encouraging use of the ubiquitous GPUs for calculations; and Intel and Apple have successfully demoed just how efficient x86 can be made to run. Much as I'd love to see all ARM-based hardware in this area I imagine that the inertia of getting software companies to recompile for ARM or adding a new version of Rosetta favour Apple continuing with their current strategy until they have enough "killer" I-Pad apps to warrant an I-Pad based notebook.
All things considered it's a bold move from Microsoft which I think will continue to ginger the market which should be good for customers.
Why would Apple want to create a mongrel Surface lookalike? Something that's neither a fully portable device for lightweight content consumption (think planes, trains & automobiles); too heavy for holding book-style; too short a battery life; expensive compared with the tablet competition (iPad & Android); nor is it a fully-functional laptop like any laptop (cough and the thing will fall to pieces off your lap); nor is it a desktop-style replacement....
In short, it's a bit of a mess.
Apple needn't -- and certainly won't -- do anything. This mongrel Surface won't be around for long.
@Charlie Clark, why would Apple do anything? They designed the MacBook Air as a small and light computer. They designed the iPad as a tablet. Each of these do different jobs and it's only geeks that can't tell the difference. The lack of 3G in the Surface is a dead giveaway, a mobile device needs mobile connectivity and Apple designed that in. A mobile device needs location based services, so GPS is necessary. The ability to run Word on a train is secondary, as is virtualisation support and other geeky use cases. If adding any of these compromises the use of the tablet for it's function as a tablet then it should not be done. The reason sales figures are lower for Microsoft is simply that it's only geeks that want what they offer. For everyone else, the battery lasting several days is higher on the list, along with an easy to use app store with apps which have been quality checked, or an easy to use way to buy content on the move. We already have computers to do the hard stuff, and eventually they will get smaller - the surface is a step towards that end, as was the MBA but don't try to fudge together tablets and computers just because they have a similar form factor. The reason NetBooks failed was because the screens got bigger, memory was added and prices went up while battery life went down. We'd all like the device at the end of this particular rainbow but current technology cannot offer that. Yet.
Why would Apple do anything?
I obviously expressed myself poorly. I agree that at the moment they have no need to do so. Apple can continue to "do nothing" (in reality continuing to update and expand their product lines) and still earn more cash than you and I can comfortably imagine.
However, innovation is about doing things when they don't appear necessary or obvious. Devices like the Transformer Prime are pointing the way and if Android gets proper mouse support then I can see people like myself abandoning notebooks for convertibles in droves: an extremely lightweight and portable device that is usable on the move with a sensible docking station solution.
"However, innovation is about doing things when they don't appear necessary or obvious."
Like the MacBook Air being considerably smaller than anything at the time, leading to the Ultrabook? the original iPhone changing phones completely?, The iPad single handedly creating the market that led to the Transformer Prime which basically copied it but added a keyboard? Like the Retina display causing the whole industry to rethink "HD"? Apple have done their fair share of innovation. Adding every feature a geek can think of (I'm looking at you NFC!) is not innovation, it's what happens where there is a lack of innovation. True, Apple may be out of ideas, but if they are then frankly the Android people are screwed first because at least Apple have the cash to survive 10 years without a good product. When HTC, Samsung and the rest have nothing to copy then we'll see if innovation continues.
Microsoft invested billions and it was a "noble" attempt, again, to create something fantastic in the tablet space. But, alas, it is on its way to failing. The battery life is too short, it looks ridiculous with the kickstand on someone's "lap", the screen is too small for real work in the majority of use cases and it is too expensive compared to other devices in the laptop category. Oh, and it alienated critical partners. Microsoft had to know all this going in. Someone at Microsoft had to put this thing on their legs like a laptop, or try to change the screen angle when using it as a desktop, or watch the battery run down too soon when using it as a tablet and wonder why they were doing it at all. Early usability reports had to be negative in many, many areas, but they proceeded anyway. It's not really a laptop, nor a desktop, nor a tablet and they can throw all the marketing money they want at it, but that won't make it usable. Billions spent, and for what, really? What has Microsoft done with Surface that partners could not have done better? Truly epic fail.
That kickstand implementation is just daft- a super portable device that isn't as easy to use on your lap as a conventional netbook/laptop?
MS could remedy this issue by bringing out a folding keyboard/case variant that does a better job of holding the screen at an angle. They could even bring out a keyboard/case that holds the tablet 6" above the back of the keyboard, so that the typing position is better for the user's posture. The difficulty is that unlike a conventional laptop, the Surface is top-heavy.
So, for the same price as this and keyboard, and for the same weight too, you could get a MacBook Air. And therefore type properly, use on your lap, and have an OS that doesn't look like Fisher Price. And none of that touchscreen smugde either. Pretty clear which way I'd go, but to each their own of course.
I looked up the mouse. It's described as "Easily paired with Bluetooth technology", which presumably means that it incorporated Bluetooth technology and is easily paired, i.e. virtually pludgged in to the PC. Of course, any Bluetooth mouse will do, if you find one cheap, but it may not have the touch top surface feature. BlueTrack, on the other hand, seems to me to be named specifically to trick you into thinking that you're buying a Bluetooth device when you're not, if you aren't paying attention. But in this case it actually is Bluetooth (but check to make sure).
This matters, when other wireless pointers operate only with a USB adapter of their own, and you've only got one USB port.
As for SD card expansion, on the one hand it's easily pinched, or lost, and on the other, in my experience, SD card slots and cards quickly suffer wear and become unreliable when inserting or removing. So, if using a card, I'd say leave it in there, and put strong adhesive tape over the slot, so that it isn't nicked. Finally, it may be less reliable storage than an SSD hard disc. So make a backup frequently.
As for the price, the exchange rate seems to be $1 to €1 these days, which means we're getting stung once for that, and once more because the € has gone up in value this month. So this may be one of those cases where the cheapest way to buy the thing is to take an Underground train to Tottenham Court Road and then fly to New York (for instance) to buy it there. Can you get a day return?
Yeah, it does seem daft that my laptop always has a very small 'nano' dongle plugged in for the mouse (though I have plenty of USB sockets at the moment). It would seem trivial to incorporate it into the machine itself, a la Bluetooth (though I don't think my Bluetooth can kept on when my wireless is turned off for battery saving). If Bluetooth isn't up to the job for mice, I wish Logitech would license their dongles to be built into these machines that have a scarcity of USB sockets.
In fact, do female USB sockets have to be as big as there are? There seem to be plenty of card-reader dongles that seem perfectly happy using only a PCB-thick male plug? Obviously a smaller female plug wouldn't be directly backward-compatible, but an adaptors would be very cheap, and flexible adaptors would avoid the component damage that can result from having rigid objects protruding from a mobile device.
not taking price into account, from an enterprise perspective,
I've just spent a month with a Dell Latitude 10 , a dual core atom with windows 8 pro, the child in me didn't want to like it, the adult in me finds that I do. damn that adult.... :-)
I have over a hundred ipads in my estate, however there is a lot of looking at stuff and little actual productivity coming out of these people....
So the Latitude ? , immediately and painlessly connected to my wireless, authenticated to the AD domain and I can access all my files immediately without the the ipad's need for additional software and fannying about with webdav on IIS (not pretty btw) to get access to files.
I spent three months working with my ipad to see if I could live with it as a primary, or even secondary device, for me, my principal use case is taking notes and drawing stuff and presentations, mostly to explain technical stuff in fisher price language to people paid twice what I get...
Here's the thing, the handwriting experience on the Dell wins hands down over the ipad, the stylus isn't a rubbery blobby thing required by yhe screen design on the ipad but a hard pointy thing which can recognise my doctor quality scrawling almost flawlessly.
Of course there's comfort in what you know, but for me it's what does the business rather than my consuimer needs.
Loaded office 2003 on it, the apps start quicker than any other device I've seen, with the docking station I could pretty much live with this.... if I had better spectacles :-)
"I have over a hundred ipads in my estate, however there is a lot of looking at stuff and little actual productivity coming out of these people...."
Just don't forget that you work in IT, so your job probably will be better with an MS based device. Those 100 people don't work in IT and I'd bet you have no clue what they spend their day doing. I'm not saying don't swap, I'm just saying ask the users first because you'd be surprised at the reasons I've heard for needing a tablet are, and almost none of them include Word.
Its a surface area thing... holding a match to a log probably won't start a fire, but shavings of the same log will catch alight quite easily. Magnesium and magnesium aluminium alloys are widely used for products- in part because the magnesium makes the aluminium easier to cast.
I don't know if a li-ion battery fire creates enough heat and temperature to get a cast magnesium alloy laptop chassis going well.
The rumours are already all around the web about the Pro 2, see here for one example (there are many more variants on the theme if you search).
The word is three variants, one with Qualcomm processor (Snapdragon or successor), one with the new AMD Temash and one labelled the "Surface Book" with the Haswell. Then there's also rumours of the Xbox Surface tablet too.
HWR is build into Windows since XP Tablet and Win8 can do so just fine on EVERY tablet-pc I have around / tried that has a stylus. This is not a Surface/Pro "special feature". The input form shown is the same I get on my 2011s EP121 or Samsung ATIV.
Oh and the Surface/Pro definitly is NOT "inspired by the iPad". Tablet-PC in this form factor have been around since at least 2003! Price and the problem with a Harddisk in a device that is used like a legal pad have kept them rare but with SSDs they have come into the "mass market" in recent years.
Last point: Sure there are alternative keyboars. Any BT keyboard will do, even more so with the device having a build in kickstand.
At least that's the feeling I got from a brief play with absurdly expensive RT devices (Surface and the Lenovo Yoga). The only Windows 8 devices I've liked so far are those with a conventional laptop form factor + touch screen. Of course, YMMV, but at least Android and iOS feel like they're designed for the devices they run on.
compare it with a thinkpad x200.
2/3rds the price
4 times the processing power
5 times ad much storage
Best keyboard in the world
Only a couple of ounces heavier
A choice of real usable OSes
15 years on the black box is a classic design that still says "Kool"
The surface doesn't look quite so desirable any more.
Prices I found start well past 1000€ new. For a 2GB unit with a classic hard disk and a Core2Duo. Not to mention 1280x800 screen resolution. HDD and mobile devices are a "if you absolutely need that much storage" for me this days. NOT having to think about "spinning metal" makes live easier with mobile devices
I seriously doubt any notebook in this price/weight range can have 4 times the processing power. A Fujitzu T902 might get close - at more than 2kg/more than 2000€. Don't get me wrong, Thinkpad keyboards are GREAT and the hardware in general is sturdy. But it screams "work!" not "cool"
As for the OS:
+ I found Win8 to be VERY useable on Desktop and tablet pc
+ Don't see anythink that says "can't install something else"
Granted, that WACOM-support in Linux makes Alphas nuclear waste disposal sites look sturdy and controlled but even that exist.
On phones? Yes.
On tablets? Yes.
On a productive device with a keyboard? No.
Using a touch on any device with a keyboard attached is bat crap bonkers. You lean forward with out stretched arms to wipe greasy fingers on a screen, hoping not to look like a zombie whilst doing it. With a phone or tablet you hold it in one hand whilst manipulating the screen with the other, it makes sense but on any device with a keyboard is stupid.
Microsoft have seen the success of the iPad and gone touch mad. Its not the fact that the iPad had a touch screen that made it successful, its just a good, desirable consumer friendly device. If touch screens are so great, so must have then why having Apple incorporated it into machines running OSX? Because if Apple cant see a way to get touch screens to work on laptops and desktops then its probably because it doesn't work.In
And if anyone, anyone gets so much as s finger print on my 27in IMac. .. You'd better start running. Look but don't touch!
I have the slightly older sibling to the Surface/Pro (An ASUS EP121)(1) lying right next to me. Touch has been disabled on the unit since day one. I use the unit daily and will likely replace it with a Haswell-based tablet (A Surface/Pro v2 or a Helix/2) when they are out. Why?
+ If I have a work environment where I could use a notebook I dig out the BT keyboard/mouse and have a notebook where I can adjust the distance to the screen. The unit is older so no USB3 and USB3 docking but with that it could even replace a desktop at home(2)
+ If I lack the space I pull out the stylus and use the thing one handed or proped on a knee etc. Note taking is easy, Handwriting Recognition both directly and later is working fine. Using it on a train for annotating text etc. works fine
+ It is a full notebook. I never have to ask "will Presentation X work" - it will because the unit runs Office 2010.
+ The /Pro supports WIDI(3) so I could do the presentation free standing/walking with the unit in hand no longer needing a presenter, can react to comments by annotating.
+ Can be easily handed around the table like a legal pad, used to make a quick drawing etc. Again either beaming directly or (good viewing angle) lying flat in the middle. Stylus keeps it clean. And unlike paper I won't loose the notes, can mail them around (All Windows units have MS-Journal)
+ Has replaced the legal pad and most printouts for me. I write in OneNote or Journal (Depending on target audience), annotate PDF in Foxit by handwritten notes instead of printing them, same for Word-Dokuments / Powerpoints and mail them back(4)
+ Both units lack 3G but tethering (either to a mobile phone or a MIFI router) solves that. MIFI has the benefit of allowing LTE by switching an external component.
+ It is a Windows unit (Win8/Pro) and the company admins love it since it can be easily integrated in the Windows-based infrastructure
(1) Same weight class, same CPU / memory / SSD class. The kick-stand is in the sleeve not the case and the detachable keyboard is BT. Has around 30GB free (no recovery partition, MS-Office, GIMP, ArtRage, Eclipse and some tools installed) Data is on a 64GB SD-card
(2) And a unit like the Helix with 8GB and a "dock" surely can
(3) Changed the WLAN card on the EP so it does as well, carry an adapter box that takes HDMI or VGA
(4) Readable handwriting helps - I am old enough to have one
That thing really looks ugly IMO and is probably a lot heavier and thicker than an Intel powered tablet deserves to be. If you're going to end up with a slab like that you may as well get an Ultrabook.
There are a number of tablets built around an Atom z2760 coming down the pipe and *that's* what these things should be aiming for. They're never going to be speed demons but they'll probably be more than capable of browsing, MS office, casual games and other functionality and they'll do it with a similar form factor and power draw as an ARM chip. And they'll likely not cost much more either except to account for the extra SSD they need.
This Surface just has as fail written over it.
The Pro has written "niche market" all over it. But a market that has existed for more than a decade, has a loyal following and that has demands an Atom can not met due to the restrictions build into the platform (2GB, slow "SSD", low graphic performance) or the available/announced hardware (low screen resolution). This is the replacement for units like ASUS EP121, Samsung S7, Fujitsu Stylistic series (and the T580) and similar units. Resonably low priced, very sturdy, good screen resolution, resonable battery duration. A penable tablet PC and actually usable with touch (a first for Windows penables(1)).
Granted, it is not your typical "Couchy" for simple browsing/reading(2) but for drawing, drafting, graphics works, presenting (3), note taking and as a replacement for an upper class notebook they are fine. The unit has enough power for light-medium programming work at a customer site as well. Once you get used to the additional capacities tablet pc (and convertibles) have over a "simple" notebook you don't want to go back.
It's like driving a Mercedes G. Most of it's jobs could be done by a Ford Mondeo as well. But after you have gotten used to 4WD, high seat position and real cross-country suspension that can ignore the typical german 2nd/3rd level road with it's potholes you don't want to go back.(4)
(1) The last Win7 units had touch but Win7 and touch don't mix well
(2) Also quite useable for that as well
(3) Even more so if you need to go "past powerpoint" and present Java-based Web applications
(4) As much as I likes the Mondeo that I drove for a decade. But with german roads being what they are these days "Wolfie" is the better choice. No plastic - all metal
I just wonder with the Surface that in their zeal to shove a powerful chip in they've just defeated the reasons for doing it in the first place - it's thick, it's heavy, it sucks battery, it has a fan and vents, it costs a lot of money. I can't see many people wanting to hulk around a tablet like that even if it is faster than an Atom. They may as well just buy an ultrabook, many of which are beginning to sport touch screens and of course have hinged lids so you can balance them on your legs or narrow trays.
I also think when Atom based tablets do appear and don't suffer the problems of the surface that people will take the performance hit for something which is a decent tablet and a usable laptop PC.
+ The fan is not audible in a typical office/conference environment. Win7/Win8 have good power/heat management on the core-i platform. Even my old 1st gen core-i tablet is resonably quiet and from all reads MS went to some extra length in sound reduction through design
+ The unit in tablet mode is around a kilogram. I know one person that has problems with my 12''/1100g tablet and that is a very thin, 159cm female. For her even the Note 10.1 is borderline...
+ Touch != WACOM stylus. Believe one that has years of experience
+ Touch (or even WACOM) on a notebook != tablet.
This type of unit can be used cradled in the left arm writing on it with the stylus in a way no "touch only" unit can. And it's core-i gives it access to some technologies (WIDI/Miracast) that are blocked to Atoms.
The only stupid thing MS did IMHO is offer this WITH snap-on keyboards instead of classic Slates.