It’s been a mediocre start in terms of sales for Microsoft’s Surface tablets, but the Windows 8 tablets are at least starting to curry favor with chief information officers (CIOs).
Kevin Pashuk is chief information officer at Appleby College in Oakville, Ontario in Canada and recently blogged on his experience after purchasing a 128GB Surface Pro with a Type Cover keyboard and Targus USB 3.0 docking station.
Pashuk quickly noted the speed of the device. “It was as fast, if not faster than my laptop, even in processor-heavy applications like Adobe Lightroom,” he wrote for CRN.
The CIO went onto connect the Surface Pro to the corporate network, so that he could access network drives, applications and printers, as well as SkyDrive files and Lync contacts when he signed into his Windows Live ID account.
The Appleby College exec used the Targus docking station to plug-in two high-definition monitors to expand his real screen estate and added his own mouse, USB hard drives and speakers.
Prior to purchasing the tablet, Pashuk had lamented the absence of the Windows Start button on his Windows 8 laptop and said that the Metro interface was “amusing but inconsequential”. It was to some surprise then, that he said that the Surface Pro changed his opinion completely.
“The Surface Pro has changed my mind about the validity of Windows 8. I had been trying to use the operating system on the wrong device,” he wrote.
“The most remarkable discovery for me was how useful the operating system is in the tablet format. I forced myself to give Metro an honest try and was quickly rewarded by seeing how the interface made sense. Using Internet Explorer 10 with my fingers and thumbs was actually quicker than using the mouse and keyboard.”
Even the Surface Pro’s lowly battery life, quoted at around four hours at launch, didn’t cause much problem.
“I could get more than five hours of operation. Since I was supposed to be paying attention in the sessions and meetings, this was more than adequate. The unit started fast enough to quickly check email and send responses during the breaks. In the hotel room, it worked well to compose long documents and emails, as well as do some photo editing.”
All of this led Pashuk, who has previously founded three companies, to make a radical decision; to replace his iPad and two laptops with the Surface Pro.
“I've actually retired three devices with this unit. I had a work laptop (usually left in the office), a home laptop, and an iPad. The Surface Pro takes the place of all of these, without any compromise in performance (with the exception of the iPad battery life) and in some very specialized apps.”
“The Microsoft Surface Pro is not the only player in this field, but it certainly set the standard for other manufacturers to follow. In the enterprise environment, this just doesn't compete with the iPad and Android tablets, it supersedes them.