Surface Pro review

My son stuck in the Surface Pro
It's been 2 weeks now since I got the Surface Pro in the mail. Packaging was nice, pulling tapes that has tabs at the end before getting the mother lode out of the box.

Using the Surface Pro, you can be an coder, writer, artist, tv addict, video caller, and a gamer. My prior laptop with SSD, Core Duo, even with a new battery gave me 2, maybe 1.5 hours.

As a writer, you may have a choice of plethora of keyboards that you can connect via USB or Bluetooth if for some reason you don't like the limiting factor of the Touch/Type covers that hooks to the base of the Surface Pro. The Type cover that I bought separately is awesome, and very responsive.

I find myself coding in Visual Studio 2012 and throughout that time with Mail and Internet Explorer, I can get 4+ hours of battery time. I think the Surface Pro could be a little thicker to accommodate extra battery storage, after all everyone knows it's a shoehorned-in PC. Of course, when I stream videos, battery life goes down dramatically, but that's to be expected. The screen is really tiny even if you're used to even a 13.3" 4:3 screen. Really seems to be on the small side and it feels like one of those kids toy laptops, however you can see more of the display, more than my older 800px (height) laptop, thanks to the 1080px height.

The pen input garble
As an artist, the Surface Pro tablet and pen comes from Wacom technology, the same technology that one of my friend uses for his comic strips. Granted, he's a Mac person and I won't push it on him, but its amazing that the technology is incorporated onto a tablet and not as a separate device that you hook up with USB. I can open a Windows Metro Reader app, and start using the pen on it, annotating it, add some scribbles and boom it's saved. However, when I save it, I see a whole bunch of garbles. I checked online and other people reported the same problem. THIS definitely has to be fixed but the concept shows great promise!

I don't watch TV enough since I'm always busy with family and work (family comes first, but I seem to work more unfortunately). I do have some favorites I watch tho', but all that probably total 2-4 hours a week of TV time. (Sorry advertisers!) Streamed Hulu, YouTube, and Vimeo on it -- all I can say is -- whoa, the picture is crisp, crisper than any of my LCD screens in the house! And with the 16:9 footprint, the whole screen is used to watch the video and we won't see the annoying black bars across the top and bottom. It's an OMG top-notch experience!

What video relay interpreters see...
Because I'm deaf, I primarily use video to communicate with the world. Most of my readers may be reluctant to be in front of the video camera, but not I, nor most of, if not all, the Deaf community. I enjoy seeing the people I talk to and even the ever-friendly video relay interpreters! Installed ConvoDesktop... it works flawlessly with the camera and with the kickstand in its proper position. No need to adjust the angle or sitting up higher or lower than where the camera is pointing to. Except when I stand on the kitchen counter, I need to back away from the Surface Pro a bit so the video interpreter can see the top o' my head.

The awesome -- I can use touch gestures with Silverlight and Flash. Touch gestures makes all your business apps have a new lease on life. Pretty nice to be able to use touch with an interactive media interface. A 6-year old WinForm app I developed for a client works great using touch. I can see app developers making navigation items and buttons bigger to accommodate touch now and in the future if the users demands it.

Now let's cover the bad which will be scrutinized even more the the positives above. It's like some of us rubbernecking pass some accidents on the road, where it's not always good to obsess about, while you need to keep your eyes on the ball and think of the future.

As an old-tymer Luddite Netflix DVD subscriber due to the fact that streaming isn't all captioned and we as a family still borrow DVDs from the library. I'm thinking of setting aside an old server as our media server and then get streams out of there. That's another story-- WMC, XMBC, or whatever... haven't decided yet. Again, the Windows 8 Reader (pdf) needs work on saving annotations made with the Surface Pro Pen - that's probably my most disappointed aspect of it. It's hot as all Intel computers are and understandably so, but thankfully it isn't hot to the touch. We'll see how much of a beating the computer goes through with daily use, especially with the heat factor. Would I get scalded like a boiling frog?

Another bad, the Surface Pro font's are TINY when you have display settings at 100% or 125%. However, it has a small footprint, so there has to be some give in order to get a take.

An emphatic thumbs up!
A funny story -- when I was playing with OneNote with the pen input and started writing things down, I made a mistake and wanted to undo, instinctively I reached for Ctrl + Z, and that didn't undo the mistake all the way. Humph. Then my 8-year old son said "Give me the pen!" -- He took the pen from me, then turned it around to the opposite side, and started wiping my mistake away on the screen. Turns out the "eraser" worked! Nice touch to the pen operation. I asked him "How'd you know that?", he said "I don't know." Wow, kids.

Hope you find this review beneficial and helps in making a decision on whether you buy a Surface Pro or not.