It’s hard to believe that I’ve already reached the end of my self-imposed 30 day challenge to make Windows 8 and the Surface Pro 2 my only technology (aside from my cell). In that short amount of time the whole family has enjoyed the benefits of Windows 8 and the convenience of the Surface Pro 2. We have played games, read books, watched shows, worked, surfed the internet, sent emails, created art, completed school projects and pretty much taken the Surface everywhere.
My goal at the beginning of this challenge was to see if the Surface Pro 2 could become the “One Device for Everything in my Life”. I can confidently say that aside from some getting to know the device hiccups that the Surface has become not only my one device, but my family’s. Below are my thoughts on how the Surface Pro 2 fared in each of the ways we have used it so far.
Blogging: The Surface Pro 2 was wonderful for blogging. Since the Surface Pro 2 essentially functions as a laptop I was able to use WordPress the same way I would on my desktop or laptop, even when in the IE app,. There was no messing with having to do everything in text mode and no worries about apps crashing. Uploading photos from OneDrive was as seamless as from the desktop and the ability to navigate through multiple tabs while writing was a welcome change from other devices. Best of all there was no learning curve. Plus because of the portability of the surface I was able to toss it into my camera bag and easily bring it with me on my Montreal road trip.
Other benefits the Surface Pro 2 has when loaded with Office 2013:
- Access to Excell for managing blogging and personal finances, blog giveaways, creating polls and more.
- Write blog posts in Word and then publish directly to WordPress.
- Powerpoint for projects or presentations.
- Publisher for pamphlets business cards and more.
- OneNote for those before bed ideas, planning, and to do lists
- Work in desktop and save to OneDrive for access across devices.
Photography: This was one area that I was a little worried about at the start of the challenge. I shouldn’t have worried. Not only was I able to get photographs (in both jpeg and raw) from my 6D to the Surface Pro 2 I was able to edit them with Lightroom 5. This alone rocked my world. Never before have I been able to do full edits on raw files while on the go with the editing program I am most comfortable in. All I had to do to get the 6D to talk to the Surface Pro 2 was download Digital Photo Professional from Canon.ca and Lightroom 5 in the desktop. Then install both following the prompts.
TIP: Before connecting your camera to download photos make sure that you have the WiFi on the camera disabled or it won’t work.
From there you can save the photos to the device hard-drive, an eternal hard drive or to Onedrive. Raw Files take up a lot of room, especially from a full format camera so saving the raw files to an external device is my recommendation then upload the edited jpegs to OneDrive for easy sharing.
School work: My Surface Pro 2 came loaded with the full Office suite which has made working on homework projects easy for my oldest daughter. She has borrowed the Surface to work on a variety of projects including English Essays, stories, pamphlets, social studies PowerPoints and art projects in the FreshPaint App. Printing her projects has proven easy and I didn’t even have to install the printer software, they just started talking to each other. Best of all the keyboard shortcuts we already know and love are accessible in touch mode as well as when the keyboard is attached.
Play: No tablet would be able to compete without the ability to entertain my kids, and at this the Surface excels. We have enjoyed streaming videos, playing games, doodling, coloring and making goofy videos. The windows app store boasts apps sure to entertain every member in the family. My youngest is partial to Caillou House of Puzzles, my son loves Rayman Jungle Run and I have been known to kill 5 minutes (or 10) playing Flappy Bird.
Streaming videos is easy. Download them from Xbox video or stream Netflix and KidoodleTV shows right from the Surface using a mini HDMI connection. My kids are also loving the ability to stream YouTube videos for music and Minecraft Tutorials on our big TV.
Reading on the surface is easy with the Kobo app. I love that because the surface is larger the print can be larger without having to turn pages too often. I do find it’s less comfortable to hold while laying in bed because the Surface is heavier, but for tabletop or sitting it’s as good if not better than my e-reader because of the screen size.
Listening to music through the Xbox Music app is fantastic! Xbox Music gives you access to millions of songs to stream for free with Windows 8 and on the web at music.xbox.com. I can search for any artist, song, or full album and instantly play what I want. I can even create and save playlists for easy access to the songs I love. The free service does have ads and limits, but in a month I haven’t been bothered by the ads or reached my limit so I count that as a win. I also have the Songza app on the Surface because I can’t seem to get enough of the Uplifting Pop Motivation soundtrack. Connectivity to my Bluetooth speakers is easy and works great without lags.
I loved the built-in kick stand because it has 2 settings and it means not having to jerry rig something or pay for a case. Having the surface on my lap whit my feet up made typing on the keyboard a little awkward. In tablet mode it wasn’t an issue and I welcomed the ability to tilt the screen more or less depending on where I was sitting.
Surface Pro 2 Specs:
Dimensions: 10.81 x 6.81 x 0.53 in
A little Wider and narrower than my Ipad 4 and larger all around than my Note 8.
Storage: 64GB, 128GB, 256GB, 512GB available
Mine is 128 GB and with Lightroom and Office installed I still have plenty of memory left.
Screen: Aspect Ratio: 16:9 (widescreen) Resolution:1920 x 1080
While not as high-resolution as my iPad I didn’t notice the difference in day-to-day use. Rendering when streaming to my TV was more than adequate.
System memory: 4GB or 8GB
I have loved my time with the Surface Pro 2 and will continue to use it as my primary computer. The only thing I am planning on doing to make using it even more enjoyable is adding a Bluetooth adapter to my Type Cover 2 so that I can connect my Surface to the TV and type while sitting on my couch. I think being able to work on a 42″ screen would be amazing! The Surface Pro 2 with Windows 8 offers the functionality that I need for daily life. Now to upgrade the kids desktop so they can enjoy the benefits of Windows 8 and a touchscreen device.
Don’t forget to enter to win up to $300 in Windows Online Store Credit!