Almost everyone recommends the Microsoft Surface Pro 128 GB at the moment, so much so that there is overwhelming demand and the rest the models including RT are left in the warehouse. In fact, some writers even recommends against getting RT and waiting for the “full PC” version.
But honestly speaking, I think that there is too much hype around perceived un-usability of the RT and lack of storage space. Sure, there are those who really needs that much storage, performance and really need the full Windows experience, but for the average tablet user, does paying more with less battery life and a heavier device really better for them.
For me, I think that its important to understand one’s need and requirements before buying too much into the hype and end up disappointed of a money not well spent. The most important factor is what you intend to do with your device, but this is not obvious for everyone. Most people will think that they will want the device to this and that, but after they bought them, all they ever do is play simple games like bejeweled, Facebook at bit, read some news and what some videos.
Personally, I will look into my own current habits first and what I want to do with the device when I get it.
Basically, I want a tablet that can also be used as a notebook for writing down my thoughts. The tablet’s virtual keyboard just will not do as I preferred a real keyboard to type on and the virtual keyboard takes up too much real estate and makes it difficult to follow your thoughts when writing long articles, but they are good for taking short notes. I also want to be able use it like a tablet to catch up on news and updates and read online magazines.
Weight is important since I need to carry it around; there are some 11 inches and very light ultrabooks like Apple’s Macbook Air or Acer’s S7 out there, however, they are not convertable to a tablet to allow me to also follow up on news and friend’s updates without the keyboard being in the way. The many convertible notebooks like Asus Taichi and Lenovo Yoga are way heavier than a tablet and not fun lugging around.
Interesting one of the best and most mature offering is really the iPAD with a Brydge keyboard. The OS is mature, so you have tons of application and the Brydge keyboard gives you the notebook experience when you need to, but I am not looking to commit to yet another OS, plus I am not that fond of Apple product although I agree that they are well made.
The Asus VivoTab Smart with its Transleeves and keyboard looks like a great combination, but for some reasons they never got to release the accessory together with the device launch, making it an unattractive offer just like any other Windows 8 tablet out there.
Surface RT or Pro?
At this point, Microsoft Surface is the only device that stands out. So the decision is whether to go for RT or Pro. The advantage of Pro is obviously that you can install and run traditional Windows application. RT is limited to what the application store offers and it is way behind Android and Apple for sure. I looked at what I installed on my notebook and…. nothing! Really! I only used stock programs that came with my notebook because I mostly connect to the Internet from my notebook when I use it. Granted I don’t use it for work too much, so I don’t need to install any Windows program.
Battery Life and Speed
Now the battery life is almost twice as long for RT than the Pro. I prefer a longer batter life (who don’t) over functionality. This allows me to use the tablet almost the whole day without worrying about looking for a power socket or carting a spare battery pack (I already have one for the phone).
Sure the Pro runs on Intel i5 and is blazingly fast, but I really doubt that I need those speed when I am writing an article or surfing the Internet, which depends more on the Wi-Fi connectivity and speed. I don’t play 3D games and don’t need to run intensive Windows programs neither. So speed is not a major criteria for me.
Now we are down to the amount of memory one needs. One of the reason for the demand of the Pro 128 GB compared to 64 GB model is the actual available and usual disk space in the device. Pundits of course will cry that the more memory the better, but we must also know that memory comes with a price, $100 to be precise. I guess if you are not concerned about cost, then buy the biggest capacity possible. For me, I don’t use storage too much. I already have my music collection in my phone and I don’t need to keep lots of video files; 32 GB is good enough for me and its $100 cheaper which allows me to spend on other gadgets! Further, you can add another 64GB of storage with a Micro SDXC card to it.
At the end of the day….
Anyway, the point of the post is just to remind people to look beyond the hype and sometimes even recommendations from techie sites. The goal at the end is to match your needs to the most cost effective purchase and so that you don’t end up buying an oversized device and only use 1/10 of its capabilities.