I’ve been using my new Microsoft Surface for over 2 weeks now. At first, I was skeptical. I began to panic in the queue to pay for it as a flash of pre-purchase buyers remorse hit me in anxious waves. “Buying yet another gadget… Would this end up in the draw, cupboard or box of gadgets past, forgotten, dusty and decaying in silence?” I thought… A bit dramatic but… In the past, every time I’ve climber over the protective walls of the locked-down iOS garden and away from iPads, I’ve regretted it.
It was always a great novelty at first to finally be free from the walled and restrictive ecosystem of iOS, however after a while I just became disappointed and longed to go back to a tablet where things just worked. I became frustrated with Androids lack of responsiveness and frequent ‘hanging’ or ‘freezing’. Yet now… For the first time… I have to say that I LOVE using the Surface Pro 3 and all my other (very jealous) devices have been neglected with the entrance of this new bold member of my gadget family.
It truly is the perfect blend of tablet and PC. When I want it to be a tablet, I can use simple, touch screen apps from the Windows App Store as I tap around gleefully on the various coloured tiles amusing myself with everything from news to Facebook and e-books. However, when I want a fully blown PC it also does that brilliantly. I can seamlessly go from reading a book or watching YouTube straight to throwing an SD card in the built-in card reader to edit RAW images in Lightroom and Photoshop exporting my finished art to my external hard drive via the built-in USB 3.0 port.
In the past, when I tried to just work from a tablet such as an iPad, I was always clearly aware that I was only working from a tablet because… Well… I could. I wasn’t doing it for the pleasure. I wasn’t tapping away awkwardly on glass because it was a better or a more enjoyable experience than a laptop. I always became frustrated and went back to my laptop or desktop to do any ‘real work’ meaning I was essentially double-handling everything and actually increasing my workload by starting work on my iPad that I would later have to finish on a PC. But now my iMac and laptops are now gathering dust as I carry my surface around everywhere with me. It really is my life. All my files, my images and my writing, all in a thin metal folio ready for when I need anything.
For a photographer it is sensational. I’ve even found that the built-in editing functions in the stock Windows photo app are so impressive that sometimes I don’t even open the heavyweight editing programs. Features like white balance adjustment, highlight and shadow control as well as selective colour saturation are just a few really cool features that I did not expect. It’s also so easy to make edits. I simply hold my finger on the round toggle on the screen and twist it one way to increase the effect and the other way to decrease it with the results rendering instantly. It really gives you the feeling that you’re physically manipulating the image.
However, now comes the real test. I leave tomorrow for South East Asia. I’ll be on the road doing a lot of heavy writing, shooting and editing. At present, I’m feeling so confident with the ability of the Surface that I’m NOT taking my laptop… This is a first for me! However I feel I can do it because in the last few weeks, I have not yearned for a ‘proper keyboard’, ‘faster speed’ or ‘proper file management’ because the Surface easily completes all tasks I throw at it.
So can I answer the question: Is the Surface the ultimate travel writing, blogging and photography tool? It may just be, but I’ll see how I feel after being on the road with it for a month. Let’s just hope that my brash positivity pays off and I won’t regret leaving the laptop in my draw back home… Stay tuned!