Tag Archives: microsoft

Microsoft Surface – The ultimate tablet?

A few weeks ago in New York I was at a demo of Windows 8 and the new Surface tablet. There was nothing new on Windows 8 but getting to use the Surface did enforce just what a powerful tool Microsoft are bringing to the party.

From other posts here you will know that I really do like the iPad. Unfortunately, it could never replace my laptop for certain aspects of my work. Thus on days like today when travelling I am forced to carry the iPad and laptop and appropriate chargers. Granted the iPad is not a large device and not a huge inconvenience to carry but still.

The Surface will change that. The Surface (not the RT version) runs full apps like Excel and Word. They demo’d a little docking station for it and advised that you could hang 2 monitors off it and it also connected to your keyboard and mouse. So it became your full desktop solution. This little slab of tech could do it all. No more laptop and iPad needed. No more dropping stuff in dropbox so I could grab off the iPad. No more switching between devices depending on what I needed to do.

The device was very fast and responsive. Windows 8 was very easy to use on it. Of course as with any new OS there will be a learning curve and bugs to work out but initial view was very positive. The new version of Office interface was very clean with similarities to Outlook.com new interface. An added bonus was the pen\stylus. Unlike the iPad, that needs capacitive touch tip for writing, the Surface can us a fine tipped stylus. This tool meant that accurate writing was easily achievable and it means hand written note taking on the device is a real option.

The iPad is a wonderful device. For many it will continue to be so. The Surface however is a more complete tool especially for business. The ability to have full applications installed, the integration of the operating system with SkyDrive, the ability to dock it and use external monitors, a mouse and keyboard, the fine stylus all mean that it’s not just a real iPad competitor but it could spell the end for PCs and laptops as we currently know them. For the majority of people this device should be enough. There will be exceptions as there always is for those who need lots of processing power and memory. However, for the majority, like me, who need to access email, the Internet, and run Office applications for the most part then this device is ideal.

Over time as apps are added to the Microsoft store then it may turn from the ideal device into the perfect one. I hope it lives up to that potential.

The Nokia Lumia 900 Windows Phone

So as we gear up for Windows 8 with new phones and tablets a few thoughts on the current Windows Nokia Lumia 900 phone after using one for a few weeks.

Positives

  • Really liked the form factor.  Nice phone in the hand for shape, weight and size and easy to operate.
  • The device was very fast.  Never felt the device was struggling to do anything with always quick response in apps.
  • A nice touch screen that was very responsive. The slightly curved aspect made interacting with it very easy (pleasant even!).
  • Excellent integration with Windows Live, Office 365, Twitter and Facebook. E.g. from a text message I could jump onto my Live skydrive and attach an image. Posting to Twitter or Facebook from within apps worked better without logins such as those you get on the iPhone.
  • The OS was very clean with a real Windows 8 feel to it based on my exposure.  I really like the minimalistic aspect.  In parts it made the iPhone feel dated and clunky (and I love my iPhone!)
  • Phone piece of it was excellent with very nice interface and excellent call quality – a piece Apple all too often have forgotten.
  • Good battery life.  Better than both Blackberry and iPhone in recent comparison.
  • MS Office mobile such as Word, Excel, Onenote and Powerpoint.
  • Really liked the customisable tiles on your home screen.

Negatives

  • While I liked the OS it did have an unfinished look and feel to it at times.
  • Poor Camera – especially indoors and in poorer light compared with other phones.  It  often was quite difficult to take a good quality picture, or a picture with the same quality as the iPhone.  The camera app does has a lot more ‘real’ camera settings that many may like but for me I want to point and click and not spend 10 mins picking from 20 different settings just to get a good picture.
  • Obviously not the same volume of apps available for it so I could not replicate everything from my iPhone.
  • The phone was expensive.  The same cost roughly as recent iPhones or other devices we have got.  Considering it can’t quite offer what other devices offer they should be cutting their margins to make it more appealing.

So overall I was very pleasantly surprised with it.  I will seriously consider switching to the new Windows 8 version when it comes out if the camera is better and once the selection of apps improve.  Personally it would work better for me as my email is with Microsoft Outlook.com and work is on Microsoft Office 365.  The excellent integration with these products that the Windows phone offers might just get me to give up my iPhone!