Blogging (and photo editing) with Microsoft Surface Pro 3

I really do hate laptops. For years I’ve pulled out my Mac-Book on aeroplane tray tables only to have my screen abruptly closed and battered as the person in-front aggressively reclines, thrusting their careless body back with haste, before bouncing back and forth, ensuring their seat is ‘really’ reclined the full distance capable.

Laptop

I’ve tried iPads as a substitute, however I still end up frustrated. I have draws full of dusty and neglected iPad cases past as over the years I’ve tried every type of case with a keyboard (I hate typing on glass), yet for blogging and photo editing, the iPad has let me down for three main reasons:

1. No file management. iOS lacks an inbuilt file management system, which forces you to do everything within an app. I find this incredibly restrictive and have spent days of my life on the App Store searching for some ‘perfect’ mythical app that does everything I need.  Don’t get me wrong, I’ve used some very capable apps and I know the belief is “there’s an app for that… (whatever ‘that’ may be)” however for every ‘good’ app I find, it’s still always lacking something… Something significant enough that it forces me back to my laptop.

2. Crashes and no auto-save. I’ve tried every note taking, blogging, word processing app, and far too often, I’ve been in the middle of writing something only to have the app close for no reason and take me back to the home screen. As most of these apps don’t have auto-save functionality, this has left me having to re-write articles many times over and again becomes a deterrent to using a tablet over a notebook.

The familiar home that suddenly presents itself, unwelcomed after an app crashes for no reason.
The familiar home that suddenly presents itself, unwelcomed after an app crashes for no reason.

3. Photo editing. I travelled Thailand with the iPad’s SD card adaptor and imported my RAW photos from my Nikon D90 direct on to the iPad. I used iPhoto for iOS to edit them which did a decent job, however to then integrate this with my Lightroom library at home was a nightmare. Instead of having edited RAW files with adjustments I was left with the original RAW files and a bunch of Jpegs which were my edits. iPhoto would also constantly crash when trying to upload a large number of images to Facebook or any other photo sharing site.

The iPad SD card reader is slow to import large files and iPhoto is not robust enough to handle RAW images
The iPad SD card reader is slow to import large files and iPhoto is not robust enough to handle RAW images

What I yearned for was a tablet that I could write on and then save my articles and images in a file structure to my liking, as well as something capable of editing RAW images like I do on my home computer in Adobe Lightroom.

So here I am – I’ve purchased the Microsoft Surface Pro running Windows 8.1. I’m running the full version of Lightroom and Photoshop and using the in-built USB or SD card slot I can import my images and edit them just as I do on my home PC. The benefit is, I’ve always felt that photo editing lends itself to a touch-screen. It takes me back to the days of darkrooms and the arid smell of chemicals as you would manipulate images with your hands under a dim red light. To be able to touch and manipulate photos makes sense and with the stylus that’s come with my surface I’m looking forward to trying this out – especially with effects like ‘masking’, touch-ups and ‘dodging and burning’.

I’m writing this from my Surface now, using the extra keyboard that’s sold separately, and it feels like a real keyboard. For the next few weeks I’m going to use only this device to edit photos and write blogs and see if I have indeed, finally found a portable device that can do it all! Stay tuned.

 

 

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