Paul Everton, CEO of Yapmo, which creates enterprise software applications that are social media mobile/tablet apps designed to solve specific business needs, gave the Microsoft Surface a try and came away loving it.
He initially went in with low expectations, particularly because the Surface lacked GPS and 4G connectivity.
The utility of the tablet however soon won him over.
He writes “I have been using the product now daily and here are the features I love”:
1. Microsoft Office
- You would think this is an obvious one, but just the addition of Microsoft office has made this a device that can actually stop me from pulling out a laptop. All other tablets I have owned in the past were strictly devices for consuming, not producing content. To give you an example, I am using the Surface right now to write this blog post in Word. On any other tablet I would have given up after the first two sentences.
2. Type cover
- Microsoft Surface offers two cover options, a touch keyboard and type cover. The type cover is a keyboard that has tactile buttons that go up and down. The touch cover is like typing on glass. My typing accuracy was atrocious with the touch cover, but the second I used the type cover, I fell in love with it. It adds only two millimeters of thickness, and with it I can type as fast as on my laptop.
3. USB connector
- A couple of days ago, a vendor came into my office to give a PowerPoint presentation from a USB thumb drive. I connected my Surface tablet to the conference room projector, insert the thumb drive and immediately we are off and running with the presentation. Surface handles USB native file browsing beautifully.
4. Form Factor
- I have read a ton of critical reviews about not calling the Surface a tablet but to call it a laptop. These are just flat out wrong. Does it feel like an iPad in my hand? Yes. Can I lie down on the couch and read a book or website with the feel of a book? Yes. Does it have a touch screen with a touch optimized OS? Yes. Can I carry it around with one hand all day and feel like I’m carrying a small notepad? Yes.
- This form factor might be the perfect blend of leisure and work device. If I am just lying around and reading through documents, PowerPoint, websites, books I just tear off the keyboard and throw it next to me and enjoy reading. If I am working on a creating a document, I snap on the keyboard and kick out the kickstand and it instantly feels like my laptop.
5. A real file system
- This might be one of the most important features. iPad’s inability to share files between apps is frustrating and ridiculous. With Surface if someone sends me a word document and I want to download it to a folder and access it with 10 other programs I can do it with ease! This is another place the Surface wins hands down!
6. A real browsing experience
- I have become numb to mobile device browsers failing on all sorts of websites. So I was pleasantly surprised to discover that Surface will load every web page, no matter what (content?) it’s running. A good example of this was sitting on my couch the other day watching TV. I wanted to order a pizza from Dominos (yes, I know I live in Chicago and this is a sin to like Dominos over other pizza restaurants). In the past, this site never worked on any mobile or tablet browser I have used. While I waited for my pizza I opened up Amazon EC2 and also checked the status of our server infrastructure. Finally, something that doesn’t show me half the page or fails to load key functionality.
7. Apps, Apps and More Apps
- Initially, I thought that the lack of apps was where the Surface would really struggle. My assumption here was only half true. When you have a tablet that has a full web browser that can load anything, the need for apps greatly diminishes. Instead I just went to my favorite "Apps" on the web and pinned them to my start page. Now I get the full experience of everything, and not some slimmed down version to make it an app.
8. Telepresence or Instant Messenger
- At Yapmo, we use both Google instant messenger and Microsoft Lync internally. Lync is really a telepresence application that allows us to quickly chat, video chat, white board, and share desktops. The application created for Surface seems to work extremely well for us so far.
9. Battery Life
- I have no complaints on the battery. I have been using the tablet constantly throughout the day and it will usually last 10 hours before recharging.
10. Cloud Files
- While I love having a file system on my tablet, I also know the importance of saving and sharing files in the cloud. Microsoft Skydrive does this seamlessly with the Surface. Even saving this document to my Skydrive was a breeze.
Some issues however still remained, including the inability to install more desktop apps, which does make him feel that waiting for the Surface Pro may be a good idea.
He does however conclude:
The Microsoft Surface RT is a step in the right direction for tablets for business use. I finally have a tablet that doesn’t cause me to reach for my laptop every time I need to do work.
If you’re thinking about getting a tablet for business, you should strongly consider the Microsoft Surface.
Read much more detail at the Huffington Post here.