Like many mobile business professionals, I have been looking for ways to work on the move. For a while, this meant using my laptop; if any of you have ever used a laptop on a train, in a cafe, or on a flight, you will be familiar with just how inconvenient they can be. A netbook was a step in the right direction, but I found myself leaning over it like the Hunchback of Notre Dame.
Tablets have made things a lot easier. They are lighter than netbooks and laptops, and when I feel like taking a break, there are millions of games I can distract myself with. However, I now face a new problem: there are now so many tablets that I am a bit too spoiled for choice.
I love iPads for many reasons. They let me strike the balance between owning something that looks like a piece of space age equipment and a usable tablet. The battery life lasts long enough to last all day. I also have a thing for whiteboards, and an iPad is practically a whiteboard on the go.
Despite all of these perks, the iPad is not without its problems. The operating system iOS is totally locked down which means I can’t tinker with it at all. When it comes to using legacy applications, the iPad refuses to cooperate, rendering all of those shiny features useless. I love technology, but I am a tech traditionalist at heart, so I need something that works legacy style.
I am well aware that there are endless amounts of fun to be had with an Android-based tablet. Android loves to open its door to all manner of developers, which means weird apps and pointless games flood in on a daily basis. This is fun for a while, but it does leave me feeling a little bit nervous when it comes to security. Since Android does let practically anyone create their own version of their operating system, there’s lots of room for security issues.
Microsoft Surface Pro Tablet
The bulk of my work is done on the old school programs, like Word, Excel and Outlook. They let me do ‘real’ work while I am in the office and on the go. I also love the comfort that comes with sitting at a desk and using a keyboard and mouse. Microsoft’s recent Surface Pro (not the watered down RT) has produced a tablet that may be a dark horse in the tablet race and its powerful enough to replace a tablet on the road with the keyboard.
Okay, so the Microsoft Surface Pro may be a bit of a head scratcher for those of you who have grown used to the low-cost prices that tablets come with. You may be left wondering why you should not just go off and by a Macbook Air. However, it does come with the following benefits:
- It works with legacy applications, meeting my need for old school programs.
- It is still a tablet, so I can still have fun.
- It has a keyboard, so there is no more prodding at a screen.
- Optional Bluetooth mouse means no more dragging my finger across the screen.
It’s not all smooth sailing for the Surface. The keyboard connector into the tablet is little clumsy and doesn’t work very well on unstable surfaces like a air plane tray but I’m hoping they will improve this in future models.
Another key issue that Microsoft needs to overcome is apps. At the moment there are 35,000 apps available in the Windows 8 app store, 750,000+ in for Android and 700,000+ apps for iOS. Most popular apps have been converted to the Windows 8 app store but you should check that your favorite apps are available. This could become irrelevant through with recent advances such as the BlueStacks app player allows you to run your Andriod apps on Windows computers.
It now looks as though the Windows Surface Pro tablet can act as a viable alternative to a laptop for people like me, who are constantly on the move. As this is the first version of this device, Microsoft and its competitors are bound to create better models in the coming future.