Surface Pro 3: The Tablet that Replaces the Laptop? My thoughts

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Surface Pro 3: The Tablet that Replaces the Laptop? My thoughts

My thoughts on “The Tablet that Replaces the Laptop”

Surface Pro 3 is exciting, but expensive – who’s the audience? Me!

Why am I the perfect candidate for the Surface Pro 3? Because I AM Productivity + Creativity. 1. I love Office & SharePoint for productivity 2. My husband and are photographers and we edit photos 3. I’m constantly typing or writing, use OneNote and use LiveScribe  Are you Productivity + Creativity? Consider the Surface Pro 3…

Panay Introducing Microsoft's Surface Pro 3

Introducing Microsoft’s Surface Pro 3

Productivity People

Microsoft just announced the Surface Pro 3. Is it as exciting as we hope? There are some pretty cool features, and I loved their focus on Familiarity. Like many people, I’m reluctant to give up my laptops for tablets just yet. The keys for me will be productivity (for PCs, Windows are still my “work” computers) and creativity (Macs are my go to for our photography and film). As we’d expect in a newer version, the hardware is updated, with options up to i7 for the laptop replacers. Here are the specs.

Personally, I’ve been feeling a need to simplify lately. Do any of you feel like that? It was so much fun collecting them all and playing with them and comparing what you like on one better than another, etc.? This recent change in me has been surprising to my hubby that loves my love for techy gadgets. The only reason I hadn’t gone out and bought a Surface yet is because I currently own and actually do use all these:

  • 27″ iMac – for photography editing
  • Asus gaming laptop – all the good stuff for any dev and vm work I need that power for, using Windows 8.1 on it, but it’s not a touch screen
  • MacBook Pro – for photography work, do some editing on it but have preferred the iMac. The 17″ display is great for viewing but it’s not a touch screen. If it was a touch screen, I’d probably do  more editing on it (aha Surface!)
  • Dell laptop – for Windows7 work with my biggest client (most of my time)
  • Note3 Droid phone – I use this for my #1 client and for testing for field use for the technicians as a possibility of a tablet replacement. The voice recognition (Nuance) is much better than the other phones
  • Lumia 1020 Windows Phone – I use this personally. I love the camera; that’s why I bought it and why I haven’t upgraded to the newer larger Windows phone. It’s still got a great camera, but not as good as this one. I love it! No, I haven’t dev’d it and added Cortana, yet. I totally want to but have been so busy…
  • iPhone4 – I kept it because I have a password app on it with all my passwords & haven’t transferred it. I use it more as an iPod now, disconnected it from AT&T as a phone, but I do keep it on the desk and watch notifications roll in. Sure, the iPhone has more apps, but I don’t use them that much so I don’t miss it often. My hubby has the 5, and I had iPhones from the beginning when they came out up until I bought the Lumia. I was surprised how easy it was to switch over to the Windows phone and to the Droid phone (from BlackBerry)
  • Regular Kindle – for reading I prefer the regular Kindle to the backlit version. I don’t surf on it much, but it does have that accessibility. I use the 3G  more for downloading books, and every now and then posting a quote or note.
  • Kindle Fire – jailbroken to work as a tablet, I use this more for watching videos, shopping and occasionally playing games with my hubby on the plane. I read on it if the other one is dead or if I just happen to be already using it.

You’ll notice I don’t list a tablet computer there, or even a touchscreen true computer. I’ve played them, set them up for people, etc. but haven’t felt the need to buy one, yet. I’ve wanted a Surface just because I’d see everyone else using them at conferences and meetings and they sure are smaller than my laptop, but even with the hubby’s okay, couldn’t bring myself to buy another device. We just sent the smaller iMac to a brother and laptop to a nephew. I need to consolidate and get rid of things. I wish we could fit the power of the Asus into something smaller, but then I’d lose out on the good stuff, I know, I know. So the question becomes: When/how often do I really need all that?

For the Paper People: Stopping today’s presentation for a minute to pick up a pen and legal pad instead of the Surface, Microsoft discussed the thought behind many of the tweaks to the SurfacePro. There’s chemistry between the size of the tablet and a piece of paper. Pads of paper are familiar. Pens are familiar. Knowing that what can be digital will be digital, understand that some things are just analog – a pen and paper are as analog as you get. Is that replaceable? We need to remove the barrier of “feeling like technology” and Microsoft came together to build a device to do that, specifically. There’s never a barrier to writing with a pen on a piece of paper, so people feel like that’s personal – like writing a journal.

I love the feature that you can write immediately, even if your device is off. Like a pen and paper. Even with my Livescribe pen, I have to turn it on and then press the paper whether to record sound or just my pen strokes. You don’t have to turn the new Surface Pro 3 on at all to start writing and have your notes saved on OneNote.

“Parallax is removed” was repeated over and over. I had to re-think about this as pen ink latency, I was thinking of parallax scrolling over images for websites. For you Wikipedia authors – here’s your opportunity, there’s no discussion about digital pens, writing on glass, etc. so you could add your own paragraph to the Parallax Wikipedia page.

I do like that as you write, your notes go “into the cloud” – in this case meaning that by the notes being saved directly to OneNote, they will be accessible on every single device you are using OneNote on. It is all brought to you everywhere so you don’t lose a thought. Is that powerful? Oh yeah it is! I use OneNote on each of my computers and also on my phones, including the iPhone I now use as an iPod – often I’ll grab it if it’s the closest device and I’ll add my notes into OneNote. I haven’t tried it as an app on my Kindles, but I don’t really use them as tablets so don’t feel like I’m missing anything. Side Note/HINT/FREEBIE: I use OneNote and OneDrive (formerly known as SkyDrive) a LOT. If you haven’t already been doing Bing searches to earn points and taken advantage of the free 100Gigs on your OneDrive, go do it now. Join Bing Rewards then if you haven’t already, Sign up with OneDrive using my link will give you an additional 0.5 GB.

Keyboard magnetic click-in, subtle but huge difference

Holding the pen has to be comfortable, it has to feel light. True. Microsoft says it feels very familiar. The pen is like a pen you would normally hold. Feels weighty, like a pen, not like a stylus. Is anyone going to write on a PC? Am I going to? I have not liked the handwriting-on-screen experience much, myself. I prefer to use the keyboard or write on paper. I want to feel this pen and hold it in my hand. IDEA?/something to search: I wonder if adding a screen protector like we do on iPads and phones would change the feel of writing on a screen. I hope it really feels like a pen writing on a piece of paper, and comes together in a natural way as they said today. One Example was the NY Times Crossword puzzle. You cross out the clue when you’ve found the answer – just like you do on paper. You still handwrite in the letters, then they’re changed into digital letters. It is seamless, but feels natural.

Surface Pro 3 filling out the NY Times Crossword Puzzle


As a creative, the Photoshop and Final Draft examples were very interesting for me. I still have to play around with it myself to form a complete opinion. I like the updated hardware, but the storage capacity is limited to 512 GB, meaning we’ll still be attaching external drives – which takes away from the whole pick up and go effect. Naturally the response would be that we don’t have to edit all pictures at the same time, just put the ones on the Surface that you’re going to edit – but my quick response to that is, “I’d like to be able to insert/attach the memory card and upload a full photo shoot, then select the images for editing and begin work. That’s what I do on my Mac.” So the Surface Pro 3 wouldn’t quite fill those needs, yet. As a unit that can do the editing and to use for quick viewing with clients, etc. it still looks like a great option.

Surface Pro 3 and Adobe Photoshop worked together to make this a tablet artists will like as well. Photoshop CC – shown on the SurfacePro3 is exciting! Microsoft increased the screen size to 12″ which I highly favor over the 38% smaller current Surface. I prefer large screens myself, but it’s true they’re harder to fit into my purse 🙂

Final Draft – Script editing like handwriting, without carrying all those scripts around. When you’re working on a script, you share your notes. This is the full power of the PC held in one hand – your hand/arm isn’t getting tired holding the paper script or a laptop.  You can edit the script in real time, with pixels being added from the pen, like using a real pen, and your hand touching the screen won’t mess up where you are. I love this technology! It’s called “Palm Block”. The pen tip is right where the “ink” is. You don’t see a gap between where you touch and where the “ink” is.

It won’t replace the Wacom tablet – as John Slaughter pointed out (maybe in the future?) but I don’t have a Wacom. If I were to buy one, it would cost as much as the top of the line Surface Pro 3, and their Cintiq Companion sounds like it would work for the creative editing, but would it be my office? It’s combines “all the features you’d expect in a premium Windows 8 tablet”. Hmm. I live on Microsoft Office – SharePoint is my FAV – and don’t want to buy another device to add to my collection unless it’s consolidating at least two of what I already have.

Decision Time

I’m not going to pre-order it without using it in person, and I’ll want to try both Office and Photoshop on it. Yes, I’ll definitely be going out of my way to get to use it and figure out if I’m going to buy it 🙂 If I do, though, I’m going to get rid of at least one device and hopefully two (which my family members will be happy to benefit from).

Anywhere anytime productivity is what I’m looking for. I don’t need all the games and apps, but I’ll use Office ’till the cows come home and would love to tie in some photography work at the same time. Simplification of Devices, getting more done while carrying less. I’ve moved more and more to mobile for this reason, and prefer to carry 3 phones to one laptop in my purse. When I’m planning on fully typing work or really editing an image/building a book or other products, though, I want a computer rather than a phone. Will Surface Pro 3 be what brings everything together for me? Office, Windows, hardware and Surface all come together to make this happen for you – immediate information across all your devices. We’ll see; I’m certainly looking forward to it!


Edting Final Draft script on the Surface Pro 3


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