Archive for the ‘ Software ’ Category

Unboxing the Surface Pro 2

Last week I purchased the Surface Pro 2 along with the Type 2 keyboard. (See Specs below)  I heard rumors that Microsoft was going to announce a Surface Pro Mini but I didn’t want a tablet with anything less than a 10.6″ screen.  I couldn’t wait for it to arrive so I could set it up just the way I like it and start using it.  The packaging was simple and minimalist, sure to please all the environmentalist out there.

The Surface Pro 2 weighs two pounds and feels very solid. It’s small enough to carry like a book or share space with my laptop in the same bag and large enough to comfortably get some work done or surf the Web comfortably.

The power cord has a built-in USB slot to charge your cell phone or another electronic device while plugged into the outlet.  The other end connects magnetically to the right side of the Surface.  The magnetic connection is a great idea, especially in high traffic areas where the threat of someone tripping on the cord is a possibility.  After a full charge, the battery lasts a respectable 8 plus hours.

I purchased the Type 2 keyboard because I spend countless hours programming, so to me, it’s imperative that it feels like a traditional keyboard.  The keyboard attached as seamless as advertised and when closed, it provides a layer of protection for the touch screen when not in use.

After pressing the power button I was greeted with a screen asking me to enter or create a Microsoft account.  I have a Microsoft account  for my HP ProBook 4540s running Windows 8.1 so I entered it and waited for Windows to complete the setup process.  I was pleasantly surprised to find my desktop and settings were setup exactly the way I have it on my laptop.  All of my apps were there and some required installing which took only a few minutes.

The screen is beautiful, the colors are vivid and the sensitivity of the tough screen is perfect.  The Surface Pro 2 is very responsive whether you’re using an attachable keyboard or the OnScreen Keyboard.  Windows 8.1 makes perfect sense on a touch screen vs the clunky feel that I reported in previous blogs.

The Surface Pro 2 also came with a pen that Microsoft claims to be paired to your specific tablet, right out of the box.  To test this, I opened Fresh Paint and decided to dabble with a few samples that were provided.  I was very impressed with the results.  It has the same length and feel of a ball point pen.  I adapted to it immediately.  For the left handed users out there, myself included, Microsoft has us covered too.  Simply click on the Search charm and type “Hand” then select search result “select which hand you write with” and change the default to Left Handed.

The Bluetooth 4.0 Technology, made connecting my Bluetooth Microsoft Wedge Mouse and my Logitech K810 Bluetooth keyboard effortless.

The volume rocker button feels solid and is conveniently located, on the upper left side of the device and the sound quality from the front facing speakers are very good.  The one and only USB 3.0 port is also located on the left side.

The right side facilitates a Micro SD port, the magnetic power connection and an HD Video Out Port.  (HDMI Cable and adaptor sold separately)

The front and rear are equipped with dual 720p webcams for Skype or taking pictures.  The 720p takes good quality photos even in low light situations.

From the moment I pressed the power button on the top right corner, till the “Logon Screen” appeared, took exactly 5 seconds.  To go from the “Logon Screen” to a fully loaded “Desktop”, ready to rock and roll, took 5 seconds respectively.  The shutdown process took exactly 10 seconds from selecting “Shut Down” till the lighted keyboard turned off.  In comparison, performing the same test on my laptop from the “Power Button” to the Logon Screen” took 16 seconds and from the “Logon Screen” to a fully loaded “Desktop”, ready to rock and roll, took 45 seconds respectively.  That’s a full 51 seconds longer than the Surface Pro 2.  With that said, if I want to surf the Web or check my email, I tend to grab the Surface rather than fire up my laptop.

I would highly recommend the Surface Pro 2 to anyone who is looking for a tablet that can truly replace your laptop computer.

Specs

  • 4th Generation Intel Core i5 CPU and 8GB RAM; performs superbly to manage all of your workloads
  • 256GB Storage; stores plenty of files
  • 10.6-inch Full HD 10-point Multi-Touch Display; ensures vibrant visuals and responsive touch functionality
  • Wi-Fi technology; allows stable wireless networking experience
  • Dual 720p webcams; offers instant image and video captures
  • HD Video Out Port; integrates to a bigger screen
  • USB port and Bluetooth 4.0 Technology; ensures clutter-free connections with wireless mice and headsets
  • Dual 2 x 2 MIMO Antennas; allows reliable Internet connections
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Who’s side are you on anyways?

I post many technology ezine (electronic magazine) articles that I think may be of interest to the average user.  Today a customer sent me an e-mail and asked “Who’s side are you on anyways?” after he read one articles that claims “Window 8” will be the greatest thing since sliced bread and another article that pointed out everything that is wrong with the new OS (operating system).  He also mentioned one article that told him everything he wanted to know about the latest iPad and a more recent post that read “16 reasons not to buy the new iPad.”

I take what I post very seriously and I only post articles that are factual not speculative.  I feel it is my responsibility to give you both sides of the argument so you can make an informed decision that best fits your needs.

When I go on a consult to a customer’s houses or businesses to help them pick out their next computer, I take time to find out what their particular needs are.  I ask if they are looking for a stationary desktop computer or for the portability and convenience of a laptop or tablet.

Once I know what their needs and goals are, I look for the best deal for that particular device.  Whether I find it on “ACME’s Discount Computer Emporium” or “Mega Computer’s Inc.” I don’t get any financial compensation from these companies.  My goal is to help the consumer get the computer or software that best fits their needs for the cheapest price possible.

The majority of my customers are 55 and older.  They use their computer to check e-mail, surf the web and view photographs of the grandchildren–so to suggest a $2,000 gaming rig would be irresponsible.  On the other hand, one of my customers does a lot of video editing, so an entry-level computer or a tablet would not suffice for his needs.

Another consideration is their openness to change.  A younger user may be more inclined to switch to a new OS, where others draw the line in the sand and wouldn’t dream of switching sides.  Either way, I have a responsibility to give you the pros and cons of a computing device, software requirement or an OS to help you make an informed decision that best suits your needs.  So to answer the question “Who’s side are you on anyway?” the answer is always “Your side!”