Spork – (noun) : a utensil that is a combination of a spoon and a fork
While I spend most of my day working on a MacBook Air I do have a daily need to use Windows so about 2 months ago I ordered and received my Microsoft Surface Pro 3. Prior to this I used a Windows virtual machine running on a MacBook Pro but the hardware was old and the VM too slow for impatient me. I was also intrigued to see if Microsoft’s laptop / tablet combination was any better than when I tried it out a couple years ago. Two months have now passed and while I use the Surface Pro 3 daily as a laptop I have stopped using it ever as a tablet.
As a laptop the Microsoft Surface Pro 3 is fast, (especially compared to a 3 year old MacBook Air) light, compact, with a beautiful screen. However I’d still prefer a traditional laptop over the magnetically attached keyboard, small trackpad, and novelty kickstand.
As a tablet this thing sucks. It is too large, too heavy, the app ecosystem lacks most of the applications I use on my other tablets, and I keep ending up on a desktop when I want to use it as a tablet. Even Microsoft’s Internet Explorer browser never seems to understand how I want to use it, popping into tablet mode when I’m using it as a laptop and vice versa. Looking back I’d rather have purchased a laptop like the Lenovo X1 or Yoga, great laptops first.
I was reminded of my experience on the Surface Pro 3 a few weeks ago when on a twitter chat the question was asked, “How should PC’s and mobile interact?” Ben Goodman @benontech had by far the best answer I’ve ever heard for this question:
“As well coordinated peers not as identical twins”
Taking that statement and looking at my experience on the Surface Pro 3 and Windows 8 it’s apparent Microsoft does not agree with Ben. In their effort to create a device that does everything and satisfies the laptop and tablet needs they’ve created a device that does neither well. Additionally in their effort to create 1 user experience across all devices and form factors (twins) they’ve alienated desktop users by forcing them into a tablet interface and “Modern UI” when they’d rather interact with their device as a desktop/laptop.
All that negativity out I am hopeful from what I’ve read about
Windows 9 Windows 10 that Microsoft will finally stop fighting their users and give us back the menu we want on the desktop…but I hope they go further in controlling my user experience based on how I’m using the device. If I have a keyboard and trackpad I want to use it as a laptop, if those don’t exist lock me into tablet mode. If Microsoft can create a common platform with a single application install that adapts to how I’m using the device I’m willing keep trying Windows…until then I’m looking forward to a new MacBook Air release this fall.