Eighteen months ago I swapped my laptop for a Windows Surface Pro tablet. Since that time, the tablet has been my exclusive personal computer. I also have a Kindle tablet and a smartphone. So how’s it working out for me?

I have to say fine. I will point out that I purchased the Surface Pro, which runs the full version of Windows 8 and later 8.1. Windows tablets that use the RT operating system are less expensive, but cannot always run full PC programs the way that a Windows tablet can. This device has a 10″ screen size.

In addition to the tablet, I purchased the Type keyboard cover for $129. It attaches magnetically in an instant to the tablet and also serves as a cover. A lighter Touch cover was available at a lower cost, but as a touch typist I wanted to feel physical keys while I typed. I also purchased the Bluetooth mouse.

Besides personal use, I also often use this computer at work. I work on a Windows 7 computer, but when answering questions about Windows 8.1, I use my Surface for screenshots and testing out solutions.

 How well does this Windows tablet work for my needs compared to a laptop? Let’s break it down:

1. Portability

This device wins hands down over a laptop. It is small enough to slip into a large purse and easy to carry in one hand. Though at 2 lbs, it’s still substantially heavier than my 7 inch Kindle tablet. When I’m not doing much in the way of typing, I’ll grab the 7″ Kindle to take with me for browsing, e-mail, reading and games. 

2. Screen Size

While the 10″ screen hasn’t caused too many problems, there are times when I miss having a larger monitor. It’s proven adequate for watching videos (in fact, things look beautiful on this device), for my writing, photo editing, Internet use and other office tasks. If something looks a bit small, I can easily enlarge it. I’m a bit spoiled by having a dual-monitor set-up at work. It is still fairly easily to switch between windows. However, I have been thinking about setting up a docking station in order to have a larger monitor available should I need it. I want to do some video editing projects and I think I will need a little more screen to handle that task.

3. Keyboard

The on-screen Windows keyboard works fine if you want to answer an e-mail or type in a web address. But since I write for a living and for fun, a keyboard was a must for me.

I’m a touch typist and I can get some pretty good speeds going. I really did like the Type keyboard. Sometimes it feels a bit crowded to fingers used to a bigger keyboard. But both the keyboard and the touch pad work well for me. Especially in conjunction with the touch screen.  I find that I move easily back and forth between touchscreen and keyboard. In fact, I never use my mouse. The mouse works fine, but between the touchpad and the touchscreen, I can move anywhere I need to go.

4. Functionality

I have had zero problems running Windows program and apps on this tablet. In fact, this is the fastest, most stable computer I have ever owned. It’s one of the reasons I tend to feel kindly towards Windows 8.1. No blue screens of death. No locking up while trying to watch a video. I multitask frequently on this device, listening to music while I write and search the Internet. I’ve never had a slow down or a crash. The built-in kickstand puts the device at a nice angle to use when the keyboard is attached and later versions of the Surface as well as other Windows 8.1 tablets offer adjustable angles.

The lack of a DVD drive is a bit of a drawback, though it does have a USB port and I can easily transfer data that way, though mostly I do it using the cloud. I was worried about having only two USB ports available (one in the tablet and another in the power cord), but that has yet to be an issue.

 

So, this tablet has worked out as a great replacement for my PC. the downside is that it’s not a great replacement for my tablet. I don’t very often use it like a tablet. It comes with a great “pen” for writing and drawing, but I haven’t used it often. To read eBooks or play games or Facebook, I grab my Kindle or more increasingly my Smartphone.

So, the dream of one device to handle everything hasn’t materialized. But my hope of having a portable, stable computer has been realized. Newer Windows tablets are lighter and thinner and the prices have dropped substantially. I am starting to gaze lovingly at the Surface Pro 3.

All in all, I’m satisfied with this device and would not want to go back to a heavier laptop.

~ Cynthia