And did it with a smile! It was an interesting decision process as so many reviews are mixed on the SP2 but for me, it fit the bill and fit it well.
I feel like most of the reviews were crude attempts to fit the SP2 into the iPad/apple box instead of letting it breath on its own. It’s a bit of an “Apples” to Oranges (hah!) comparison depending on your needs and workflow.
Like shopping for cars, some need cars, others need trucks - some like Ford, some like Chevy, some like Tesla (me). So I’m sure others will draw different conclusions but I figured I’d share mine.
Lets jump into the pros/cons and thoughts vs. my MacBook Air/iPad… FOR ME.
- Portability - it is a 10” tablet with a slim cover that doubles as the keyboard, extremely portable and keyboard is great.
- Great couch surfer - since it is a tablet AND a laptop, it is great to surf the web and relax on the couch, much better than the MB air.
- Built in kickstand - this is money… The convenience of having a kickstand built in (and executed quite well) is something I never knew I missed with the iPad until now.
- The UI - yes, it is different but different isn’t bad and frankly I like it now (once I got used to it a bit). Its fresh and new instead of the same ol’. And you can always retreat to the classic desktop when the real work needs getting done.
- Multitasking & gestures - this is likely the best part. The ability to snap apps into place, split screen very easily and just move things around, in between, etc. is fabulous. The trick is learning all the gestures and options but once you see them, they are simple, pretty intuitive and great to use.
- Its Windows - it syncs perfectly with my desktop (which has always been windows) and has all the program options and compatibility offered by Windows.
- One tool to rule them all - I like the ability to go from watching a show on Netflix, playing on twitter, couch surfing etc. to busting out the keyboard and hunkering down to get some work done. I can’t do that with the iPad, having to go grab the other device and I never carried both of them when out of the house.
- Wacom Digitizer/Stylus - I’ve finally dropped my notebook from the bag and replaced it with the SP2 (oneNote and Evernote). If you are unfamiliar, this allows the stylus to be super accurate and ignore other inputs, it is taking notes with paper & pen. Editing photos, art, etc. is also fantastic and blows the iPad out of the water. This was a big checkbox for me when shopping.
- The “blades” concept - I really hope they play with this concept and create more attachments and blades as this would be sweet - they need to open up an SDK and get developers/makers experimenting…
- The keyboard trackpad - its terrible compared to the MB Air. It does have multi-touch but is not nearly as responsive and way smaller (size is understandable given the constraints)
- Keyboard connection glitches - occasionally the keyboard will glitch out and I can’t find the mouse until I detach and reconnect. Has happened about 5 times in 2 weeks. Easy fix but annoying nonetheless.
- Tablet APPS - not nearly enough tablet-centric apps. This is of course mentioned all over the web and is a real issue. Fortunately, the essentials are there or have an equivalent (i.e. email, social, news, readers, etc.) I’m not a gamer so the lack of games means little to me though I’ve heard its rough too. Of course the full desktop mode compensates in many cases but it would be nice to have more for sure and those that they do have are rarely as deeply developed as their iOS/Android counterparts.
Additional thoughs on MB Air & iPad:
I’m not a fan of having to deal with too many devices, especially with very different UI environments (don’t “sync” well in my opinion). Actually 3 UIs as my home desktop is Windows 8… actually… 4! since I have an Android phone (Note 3)… By dropping iOS & Mac OS, I’m left with just Windows & Android.
I can understand situations where people are heavily invested in the Apple ecosystem, utilizing iCloud, iMessage, have a lot of paid for, or exclusive, apps - tons of itunes music, etc. making a transition like this much more unlikely (good anchored business model Apple!). Fortunately for this decision, I am definitely not one of those and typically choose tools, apps, music, etc. that are platform agnostic (or at least mostly so… I am pretty invested in the Google ecosystem with gmail, calendar, etc. but that tends to cross platforms quite well). This made my decision much simpler.
The iPad was good for surfing and playing for me but never really a “productivity” device. I’m no gamer so never took advantage of that side of things. There are obviously some solid productivity apps but it becomes a mute point when I can only get so far before needing to get on a different machine to finish projects, transfer to another app that isn’t iOS friendly, or simply need the precision of a mouse and keyboard, etc.
The iPad has seen MUCH more use and been more valuable to my 4 year old son. He is a pro on it (thanks to iOS simplicity) and loves it. There are also a ton of great learning apps, games, video apps, etc. It now is officially his…
Well there you go. My decision to become a Surface Pro 2 user… Let me know any questions or additional thoughts!