09-27-2013, 09:22 PM #1
- 1 Posts
Hey all and thank you for reading. This is my first time ever posting on a forum; forgive my maladroitness in the gracious art of forum discourse. As suggested by my username, I am from England and I have always (since the initial announcement) been interested in the 'Surface' line of products.
Now I have entered my first year of University, I am in need of a device which fulfils my needs: let's delve deeper.
I have systematically ruled out alternative devices and sifted my personal computer options down to two products; Surface 2 or Surface Pro 2.
In England if you are a University student, the government assists/subsidises many living expenses, more so than in America for example. The most relevant to this thread is the 'Student Discount' given for technology. Apple offers around 15-20% discount on 1 computer and 1 tablet a year and a bucket load of amazing offers (this is mentioned in context of their deplorable prices for arguably 'under-specced' products). My immediate family is fully integrated into the Apple ecosystem: from my little brother (aged 9) who received an iPhone 4 and getting an iPad 5 later on this year to my Father recently purchasing the horrendous Apple TV. But I do not like Apple of course, and I want to intergrate into an ecosystem which I personally prefer: hey ho, that is Windows!
I am exceptionally picky about branding and 'synergy' of products. If I am to own a MacBook Air for example, I will have to buy all Apple products and to be perfectly honest I hate having products which are the same as everyone else.
I have also looked at OEMs products built on Windows 8.1 and they are absolute bollocks. I do not discount the profound capabilities of SOME products from OEMs but I just...do not like them. I say thank you to a bad experience with Android and Samsung's God-awful TouchWiz which trolled my life and was a burden to my existence for two years.
So now, I am sticking with the purest of the pure experience. Let us peel another layer.
I am reading Philosophy and my course is structured for 70% coursework, that means a considerable amount of time spent typing, and general use of the internet. Now here is the predicament: I am not a power user. Although I was very close to shelling out £1,439 (or $2,321.68 for those reading from America) for the Surface Pro 2 512GB model w/ 8GB RAM because I just wanted it. But then, epiphany. I do not use the computer for anything but going on national news websites, FaceBook, Tumblr, University Intranet, BBC iPlayer, websites for quick information, Office 365 and of course feeling ashamed of my Britishness at watching Piers Morgan's chauvinist forays into attempting to understand the American Constitution and only accomplishing bigotry on YouTube. But I think you get the picture; I do not need the power.
So I have come to ask for some advice; am I correct in believing a mere 64GB Surface 2 will meet aforementioned needs/tasks?
I am not diving into another bamboozling discussion about Windows 8.1 and Windows 8.1 RT and .x86 applications and how horrid the ecosystem is and all the emotionally laden drama that goes on in that uncivilised bar brawl called a discussion. I know that Windows 8.1 RT will meet all the Office requirements. I have just come to ask for whether I am correct in coming to this conclusion from those of you who actually like Windows/Microsoft and will give an unbiased opinion. Unlike the so called tech bloggers at TheVerge or CNET or Engadget who are mostly, lets be honest, just a bunch of wankers in suits.
As it is 02:18am when posting here in the UK, I will not get to reply immediately as I am rather busy for the next 24 hours. I have thus expounded upon my predicament to give you all an idea of my position. I am looking forward to what you may or may not say and will respond as soon as possible.
- 09-27-2013, 10:35 PM #2
Hello there sir, it's a pleasure to meet you!
Anyway, I don't want to give you a simple yes or no as there are a number of factors to consider. Now you come off as someone who does a fair bit of research, so I assume you already know a fair bit about the Surface, so I'll try not to patronize you. So, the first thing to consider is the form factor. Now, the screen size is going to be larger than your Samsung device, so if you were happy with that I would assume you'd be happy with this as well. Although I am curious as to why a laptop is off the table, or even a convertable like the Asus T1000. The reason you might want to consider such a thing is that having a rigid hinge means it is more stable on uneven surfaces and requires less table space to sit flat without tipping.
Now if that's not an issue for you and the app ecosystem isn't either (and really, you can do most anything from inside a browser these days so it's not awful) then I'd say it's probably a good choice. You just have to keep in mind that you're going to be limited to using Internet Explorer (which also is not at all bad) and any browsers that do come out in the future will likely be crippled versions, unfortunately.
All of that said, Surface is small, light, portable, has great battery life, provides a surprisingly good typing experience (provided you get one of the keyboard covers, of course) and is capable as an entertainment device as well. In short, if the form factor looks appealing to you, you don't mind the fact that it is has no rigid hinge and you don't need old Windows apps then go for it. It's a wonderful device on the whole, it just has it's own unique strengths and weaknesses.
If I was going to recommend Surface to anyone it would be a student like you who needs something to take notes and maybe to fill some basic entertainment needs. It's certainly not for heavy-duty stuff like PC gaming, photoshop, etc... But that's not what it's meant to be- and what it does do it does very well.
And there's always the 30 day return policy if you don't like it.
09-27-2013, 10:46 PM #3
- 2,429 Posts
Considering the extremely long-winded replies before this, it seems apt to pull off a short one, right?
A 64GB Surface 2 would suffice. Just get a Battery Cover and a 64GB microSD card along with it. That is all.I'm also over at the Moriya Shrine! Go there if you're also a fan of Touhou. After all, it is a small community, like WP, right?
- 09-27-2013, 10:56 PM #4
A power cover seems excessive when it costs $200 (not sure what it costs in the uk, probably at least £120) when the thing already gets great battery life. Also the SD card is only necessary if you plan storing over 40-ish GB of stuff on it, which if you're just typing up documents you are unlikely to exceed. I'd just recommend a type cover or touch cover (I like both myself, but a touch cover comes with a steeper learning curve and the Type Cover is likely better for large amounts of typing anyway) and you can get an SD card later if you need it. Also if you have any external drives you can of course use those as well.
Oh, also I should ask- what was hanging you up about this decision? Because that could be important to know
Edit: Also.... AAAHHH, CIRNO IS EVIL! EVIL I SAY! MELT HER WITH FIRE!!!... That is all
09-27-2013, 11:01 PM #5
- 2,429 Posts
I'd recommend the Type Cover 2, but the Win8 touch keyboard is decent, so you may or may not need it.
(P.S. Cirno will only get sick when you heat her up. Source: a certain Touhou doujin)I'm also over at the Moriya Shrine! Go there if you're also a fan of Touhou. After all, it is a small community, like WP, right?
09-29-2013, 09:25 PM #7
- 29 Posts
Buy whatever covers better all your needs. I have used both, the iPad and the Surface for long period of time and this is what I can tell you: there is not in the market a better Tablet to be productive. For a student, creating documents of al types is basically your job, and the Surface is a better tool for that. Now, if you want to have fun, the iPad is the way to go due to the huge library of Apps and games. This will change in the next months and so this advice. In few months I'm hoping to have a simple answer: Surface.
Sent from my Windows 8 device using Board Express Pro
09-30-2013, 10:03 AM #8
- 98 Posts
Your best bet is to look through all the apps you have in your PC and ask yourself, do I need that app? If the answer's yes, then maybe you should stick with the Pro. An example, I sometimes use Miracast/WiDi to stream to our TV from my Win8 laptop. This feature is not available on the Surface RT/2, and thus I won't get it. If you have an xbox, then what I mentioned is a moot point.
MS does plan on releasing a native Miracast app into Win8.1 in the Spring, but I've learned to only purchase devices on what it currently has, and not on what it will have.
- 09-30-2013, 11:58 AM #9
Yeah, I think eventually the question of 'do I need this program?' is going to become less important as desktop apps get Metro versions. I do hope this can happen as quickly as possible though or it's going to be a long time before many Windows users will take the thing seriously (whether or not that's fair is another debate)
10-01-2013, 01:23 PM #10
- 13 Posts
I would not write off Windows 8.1 so quickly.
Take a look at the ThinkPad Tablet 2. It has the same screen size as the Surface, but it weighs less and runs full Windows. They have it on sale on their web site (here in the US for $566) for the 64 GB model, with the WACOM digitizer screen - so it supports eInk handwriting recognition for note taking, drawing, and marking up documents. (Windows RT can't do that.) The battery lasts for about 10 hours - so you are not giving up much in that department despite the Intel processor. The ThinkPad feels better in the hands (due to its rounded corners and grippy back), and to top it off the add-on keyboard is by far the best out there. You can actually type on it for hours. Do you want expand-ability? More ports? Full size wired Ethernet? There are docking devices for it that give you those options.
I'll finish with one last reason to consider full Windows instead of RT - driver support. You can plug any device into the ThinkPad and if it works on a Windows 8 laptop, it will work with your tablet. That covers a vast list of printers, scanners, keyboards, mice, Digital Audio Converters, firewire converters, headsets, cameras - any thing you can plug into a pc, really. RT's driver support is much narrower. Most printers, keyboards, mice, and external drives will attach at least in a compatibility mode, even if there isn't a driver that gives you all of their features. But the rest of the stuff - good luck.
If you can find a store that has both, pick them, up see how they feel.
10-01-2013, 02:30 PM #13
- 3,503 Posts
The Surface 2 at 64 GB with type cover is perfect for a student.
I would first try to find out if there are any specialty applications that are required for any of your courses.
For example, I teach some online classes through WebEx. A student who uses a Surface RT would not be able to attend my classes because they wouldn't be able to install the WebEx plugin, and there isn't an app for it yet. There is on an iPad (though with the iPad they can't make the PowerPoint, Excel, and Word documents that they need).
The Pro may be necessary if your classes have special software requirements.
Though if you can get away with using RT, go for it. Having Office 365 bundled is reason enough
10-01-2013, 03:23 PM #14
- 240 Posts
I'm hesitant to see the Surface 2 in person simply because I know that once I do, suddenly my Surface RT will feel like a hunk-o-junk which I know is not true. :D
10-02-2013, 06:06 AM #17
- 842 Posts
Echoing the comments above, Surface 2 will perform the tasks required, Office 365 integration is a given. The Office apps in desktop mode have a nice feel in touch mode without losing functionality you'd expect to see in 'proper' versions of Office.
The only caveat I might suggest is the network at your University. If it requires VPN to access certain features, then there might be issues. The same goes for any bespoke programs that the University might want you to use as part of the coursework/admin.
But yes, the Surface 2 will be able to perform the bulk of your work/play and be very good at it. To be on the safe side, I'd suggest getting a cheap Windows netbook for the few cases where you might need something that Windows RT can't deliver.Pete_______________________________
HTC 8X | Surface RT | Xbox | Office 365
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