About a year ago, I got a brand-new machine in the mail; a new computer manufactured by Microsoft called the Surface Pro. The idea was that it would function equally as well as a tablet as a computer; something that, I think, makes it unique in today’s world. Sure, you can buy a keyboard for your tablet, but this is a real computer, with all the power of a full computer, in the size of a tablet.
We had it for about 6 months, and got pretty attached to it, so we were happy when Microsoft emailed and asked if we’d like to test-drive the newest version of the Surface Pro, the i5.
You can watch me unboxing it (BTW, it does come with a stylus, more on that later, because it’s awesome):
Ostensibly, the computer looks very similar to the last version, but there are lots of improvements hidden inside. I’ve been using a macbook for ages, and my current computer is heavy. I know that sounds weird, because remember when computers were huge towers that chained us to our desks? We couldn’t move them at all, so I feel weird complaining about the fact that I find my laptop heavy. But one of the things I love the most about the Surface Pro is how light it is (slightly under 2 lbs). I have, in fact, been choosing not to take my computer with me, especially when I travel, but taking the Surface Pro instead, for exactly that reason.
They made some good improvements to this version. First off, the battery life is way longer. One charge will run for 13.5 hours, which basically means that if I’m going away for a weekend, I don’t really need to even bring the charger with me. Which means I can travel even lighter.
The computer runs on Windows 10. There are a couple of things I like about this. First off, it has this “tile” system, where you can customize the welcome screen with your favourite, most-used apps. Also, I was happy to notice a much-improved photo/video app in this version of the software, which allows you to do some cool stuff, like create animated-gifs, videos and more.
The other major advantage that the Surface has over my old macbook is the graphics. When I look at photos on the Surface Pro, there’s a huge difference in clarity and colour.
They also added a few cool new features, like face recognition for sign in and you can also purchase it with LTE abilities–meaning you can surf the net even when you’re not connected through wi-fi.
Okay, so let’s talk stylus for a while. For me, as a creative person, I really love the ability to sketch stuff out. Not literally–I’m a terrible drawer–but with words. I like to have a large clean surface that I can just kind of barf my thoughts out onto. Later, I can organize it, make sense of it, and put it into action. But I regularly have brainstorming sessions where I think about stuff I want to accomplish and write down ideas.
I love using the Surface for this. The pen has also been greatly updated in this version–it comes with 4 different nibs, though to be honest, you don’t really need them, as the on-board tool selection gives you a massive range of colours and stroke sizes. You can highlight, there’s pens, pencils, coloured pencils… you get the idea. They’ve also done this really cool thing where, even though you may rest your hand on the surface of the tablet, it won’t create lines anywhere but from the pen. How cool is that? And if you make a mistake? Just flip the pen over and erase it. Yeah, it has a fully-functioning eraser.
So, I use it to take screengrabs and write on them as I’m researching, I highlight right on articles I’m reading online, and I make copious amounts of brainstorming notes. Then I can just email them to myself, or I can login to my OneNote account from anywhere to access them. I feel like this is a great machine for creative people.
They start at around $1000.
Have you tried the new Surface Pro? I’d love to hear what you thought of it in the comments below.