Surface Pro 3 versus Apple: Hell Just Froze Over

PSX_20140817_233845Make no mistake: I am a die hard Apple fan. I love their innovation, design, user interface, and the overall cool factor of shopping, owning, using, and proudly sharing my love for all things Apple. You won’t catch me using anything that Microsoft makes until hell freezes over.

So, I must be sitting in the Arctic Tundra because my latest device is a Surface Pro 3 and I’ve sold my MacBook Pro Retina and my iPad Air has been relegated to media and social networking while the SP3 becomes my new all-around workhorse. Hell has indeed frozen over and I can’t say that I’m not pleased with the experience.

The SP3 is heavy–you won’t find me trying to use it as an eReader or a single-handed magazine reader for extended periods of time but it does do well as a tablet with a shape and form-factor not much bigger than the Galaxy Note Pro 12.2 that I also sold when I got this bad boy. It does a great job of filling the space between needing something more powerful and software capable than the apps or OS of a tablet whether Samsung or Apple, while also providing you the full experience of a desktop computer in a package far easier to carry with the option of using a keyboard when you have the need. Before the SP3, I would carry my MacBook Pro Retina along with my iPad Air and then I might even have the Galaxy Note Pro in tow because I couldn’t decide if it was better than the iPad for some websites where the iPad seemed to struggle and vice versa. It was all overkill and overweight.

Now, I pop the SP3 in a small sleeve that is just big enough for both the slate and the keyboard (attached or non-attached; I tend to carry them non-attached so that I can quickly pull out the slate and only use the keyboard if I know I need to do some extensive work but it’s good to carry both) and a small pocket on the front provides the perfect space for a hotspot and room for the Surface pen. It’s a lean and mean solution that gets as much done as the prior three devices while being a bit smaller and much lighter than the MacBook Pro was in the form-fitting sleeve I was using just for it.

I’m a bit concerned about the complexity that Windows 8.1 is in terms of the system architecture and folders that keep everything humming in the background but the UI that is laid on top of all that is pretty easy to use and almost too simplistic in some respects–I’m sure it’s just the newness of it all and in time, I’ll understand how to either become more comfortable diving into the background interface or adding to the front end to give it the kind of customization that I’d like.

So far so good. Battery life is ok and I recharge the device every evening. Whether I was using a tablet or a laptop, I found that I could easily get by with five to six hours of battery-only use and then plug in for a recharge as necessary. The slim form factor of the SP3 is truly amazing once you accept that you’re working with a full-fledged ultrabook that is equally as slim as some of the best tablets out today. The integrated fan is silent but will kick in with extended use and the device can get a little hot in the upper right hand corner when you push it hard but it keeps humming and is fast and responsive. Even the keyboard and trackpad are easy to use and well built for a two-in-one device like this. I’m surprised because everything about the device exudes that kind of quality and craftsmanship that I love about Apple products. Microsoft is learning and finally becoming dangerously relevant in the innovation space.

I won’t ever fully depart from Apple. I still have my iMac as the my principal home machine and as nice as the SP3 is, it’s still feels a bit like a tool or appliance where it hasn’t quite reached the Apple standard of a creative, ‘magical’ device. With continued use, it might get there but until Microsoft really takes Windows to a level where you can trust that the system isn’t complicated with a overly difficult to understand and navigate background architecture, isn’t thought to be prone to being riddled with viruses (though I haven’t experienced any issues), and isn’t subject to update after update after update (as soon as I turned on my SP3 for the first time, I had to install 35 updates), I’ll still have a preference for the simplicity that Apple represents.

I am really loving this thing and apparently, the cold never bothered me anyway.

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    • Iceman Baldy
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