It's Finally Here!!!! Order Your Microsoft Surface Pro Today!!!!
Finally, today we can finally order the Microsoft Surface Pro. This is going to be my new machine, no doubt about it. I was supposed to get a new laptop this time last year, but let's just say that turned out bad. The silver lining is I can now get what I believe to be one of the best options for the future of computing, here's why.
This time last year I was looking for a new laptop. I wanted something with better battery life than I was getting from my Dell XPS (I typically get 2-2.5 hours if I am lucky), ran faster and did not run as hot as the XPS. This thing can fry an egg many days. When the plans for my new laptop fell through last February I did not give up my pursuit of a new machine. I had decided I wanted an HP Envy from the Microsoft Store, which would have come in around $1600, and would have featured a ample storage space, plenty of RAM, 17" screen and of course Beats Audio. Today the closest HP would be their Spectre at $1349.
But again it was around $1600 and about 8-9 pounds. The weight was a put off because I was getting really tired of carrying my 8.5 pound XPS around. I have 4, yes 4 tablets of various types and sizes. They are nice and light, extremely portable and generally capable of doing most things I want to do, except programming and writing. So I really wanted something like that, light, portable and a touch screen. The touch screen is probably more important than many think because everyone is buying touch devices and developers must develop touch, mobile first now.
So as I waited and had to allocate my budget otherwise. Microsoft eventually announced the Surface, I was extremely curious. The week before I was at Microsoft's TechEd in Orlando. I talked to several Microsoft developers I know and discovered many were using the Samsung Series 7 tablet given away at Build 2011. I watched them actually write code on the Series 7 and completely changed my mind about a new machine. I started looking into getting a Series 7 or something better. The Surface was announced the next week and I decided to discipline myself to wait, and wait, and wait some more. I was so excited I even made the trip to Times Square on October 26 just to get my hands on an RT unit to see how it functioned.
I generally like the specs, an i5, 128GB SSD storage and a high definition touch screen. A whopping 2 pounds and around 5 hours battery life. The only thing I am a little disappointed by is the 4GB RAM, as a developer I want more. The 128GB (I know around 90GB usable) storage would have been an issue to me this time last year, but things have changed. I started using more and more cloud services to store my stuff. I have SkyDrive, GDrive, Cloud Drive, DropBox and Box.net. I keep my personal project's source code at BitBucket.org and keep my notes in Evernote (which I am writing using right now). My music is of course an XBox music pass and I generally listen to that on my phone, so that is not on my machine anymore. All this cloud storage is awesome because I can share files across all my devices, did I mention I have 4 tablets and several phones? Plus it has MicroSD slot which you can find cards that go up to 64GB today if you want. I ordered a 64GB Sandisk, myself, which I would get a 128GB, but you take what you can get. And of course there is a USB slot.
Of course there are trade offs. Any new machine I would order would have trade offs. I could get a new laptop that weighs 8 pounds, 1TB hard drive, 16GB of RAM but only have 3 hours of battery life and much more limited mobility and of course pay another thousand dollars. I have grown to enjoy my mobility and instant on experiences. Heavy laptops seem more like yesterday's desktops now.
So today I consider this a great milestone because for the first time we have a machine that mixes modern needs with legacy applications. Something missing with the iPad and Android devices and even the Surface RT. The iPad was revolutionary because it showed you could have a very useful computer with the guts behind the glass and not the keyboard. Something the iPad missed though was a better keyboard and of course the ability to run legacy applications.
Sure there are going to be many of you that will cling to your old school laptops for now, and that's fine. But as a developer I have learned over the past two+ years you must have the devices your customers are using to truly get the how the experience feels. As more and more enterprise employees bring tablets to the office to do work the more you are going to have to understand the experience. Nothing better than living the experience 100% of the time. You will be able to better think like your customers and stakeholders.
I have tried out many of the new Windows 8 laptops and tablets. Most leave me disappointed. There are a few good ultrabooks and of course heavy laptops available. I am shocked at how many do not have touch. Its really no surprise to me that PC sales are slipping. The Dell's, HPs, etc of the world just don't seem to get it. They want to keep making yesterday's machines when the market wants the machines of tomorrow. I am not surprise the Surface RT sales are slow, they are only available at a few locations and on line. And lets face it Best Buy completely failed at their Surface presentation with the big giant security block restricting the kickstand from opening. Distribution is probably the Surface's biggest issue.
So for now you can either do what I am doing and go to a Microsoft Store, I am heading to Delaware where there is no sales tax, head to a Staples or Best Buy. Or order your Surface Pro online and have your Surface Pro delivered right to you. Sadly I can't do that today as I am in Dallas for the Day of .NET, but will make a bee-line from the airport to Delaware tomorrow afternoon!
I am also getting some accessories for my Surface Pro. First I am going to get the Type Cover. I debated back and forth about the Touch or Type cover and think after listening to peers that have done both the Type Cover is what I need. Too bad it only comes in Black. Next I want to be able to connect to my TV, external monitor or overhead projectors, so I am getting both the HD and VGA adapters. Finally I am going to think about the screen protector. They are a little pricey, but may be worth it in the end. I will let you know once I decide.
Despite the negative press Microsoft constantly gets, the Surface Pro promises to be a game changer at least to me. Its honestly the first game changer for the enterprise can be comfortable with as a BYOD option. It offers the excitement iPads offer us as a consumer with rich games, video and of course general reading. Its a productivity tool that just about any adult and student alike can appreciate. It's mobile, yet extremely functional as a desktop presence. It is the minimal bar any Windows 8 device should exceed in my opinion. Sure there are things I would like to see in the near future, more RAM, more storage, larger screen and maybe another USB port. I think the Surface Pro will be a great machine for my day to day productivity over the next year. I will follow up from time to time with my experiences, good and bad over the next few months. I also fully expect more Surface announcements to be made over the coming months and maybe this time next year I will get some of those features, along with possibly a cheaper model for general consumers. Either way today I am excited and I hope you are too.