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Microsoft Surface Pro: Great for Business

Chris Dayby Chris Day @ Fully Managed™
Posted 1 year ago

With the release of Microsoft Surface Pro yesterday, I thought I would provide a quick rundown of my thoughts on this device as a business tool, now that I've been using it for about 24 hours. I used the Surface RT for several months, and while found it to be an innovative and refreshing platform, the Windows RT operating system was simply too limiting. The inability to install corporate applications, or even another browser (e.g. Chrome, Firefox), made it fairly useless as a business tool.

Many of the reviews I have read seem to focus on one aspect or another (e.g. battery life, weight, price) and I thought it would be useful to take a step back and look at this platform more holistically. So, what are my thoughts In a nutshell?

Microsoft Surface Pro is Great for Business.

Here are a few of the reasons why this stands apart from any other portable Windows 8 device at this time:

  1. It runs Windows 8 Professional - this operating system is new, and you will require some skills retrofitting if you are used to Windows 7/Windows XP. Just because it's new and you need to learn new gestures doesn't mean it's not a good platform. Once you get the hang of Windows 8, it's incredibly fun to work with - just give it some time. People generally hate change, so, like most new technology there will be a technology adoption lifecycle associated with acceptance of these new methods of interaction with a computer. If you like Windows 8 now, consider yourself an early adopter... if you strongly dislike, well, look right on the curve! The key is this: Windows 8 is no fun without a touch screen, so in my not-so-humble-opinion you shouldn't bother switching unless you have one.
  2. It's extremely portable - the naysayers whine about it being "so heavy" - which it is, if you are comparing against an iPad... but please don't do that, because that is insulting. This device is a full powered laptop, not a couch surfing device for playing games, music and reading books. This device easily fits inside a "man bag", weighs in at about 2 pounds, and does not require a full laptop case. 
  3. It's quick - the i5 processor, 4GB of memory and SSD disk provide a speedy experience under Windows 8. It's on par performance-wise with a $1700 HP EliteBook with SSD, so at $899 it's tough to complain about the value. Remember: this is not an Android tablet - this is a full blown PC!
  4. The battery life is good - I got about 3.5 hours of use on a full charge. That is absolutely acceptable to me, considering I'm lucky to get even close to that on an iPhone or Android device. Would I like to see 8 hours? Absolutely, but this is not a showstopper for me.
  5. The stylus brings Microsoft Office 2013 to life - this was probably the most incredible new experience for me. If you use the Microsoft Office suite, as most in business do, this device with the stylus pen brings a whole new world of possibilities to you. You can seamlessly annotate Word/Excel documents, take notes with OneNote (I am officially throwing out Evernote now). 

There are many other reasons why I'm confident that this platform will see significant adoption in business. There are certainly things that could be improved upon, but this is a solid, well-designed device which is as of this time the best option for a compact Windows 8 portable. Microsoft has thrown down the gauntlet and raised the bar for what a Windows 8 touch-enabled device should be like. If you're not in a rush for a new device, give it another year and there will probably be something better. For now, this is the one. Questions or comments? Twitter please.


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