Monday, February 17, 2014

Didn't He Just Say He Was Through With Surface???????

Yes, he did, and then he went to a guardianship hearing....

In my practice, I don't go to court often. More of an office practitioner. Then last week, among several "deal closings" I had to shuffle between client offices and a guardianship hearing for a long time, now elderly, client. And guess wasn't all there on that itty-bitty Asus VivoTab Note 8. Again I was stymied by "settling" for a multi-device solution.

Now, the remaining six readers I have left should recognize that I have not given the in-depth review of the AVN8 that I had promised. Here it is in a nutshell:

  • Very small, light, and mobile
  • Mediocre screen - major league fingerprint/smudge magnet
  • Screen also has "rough patches" which can't be seen but felt with pen while writing
  • Pretty good Wacom performance; weak within 1cm of edges
  • Plastic casing is nothing to write home about
  • Good WiFi performance
  • Speed and responsiveness very good
  • It's going back to Microsoft
Why is it going back - because the 8" screen is just too small for fast paced note taking during a meeting. I felt I was scrolling around a lot like you have to do on an iPad. Plus, 32GB, even with 64GB mSDXC, is not sufficient for all the junk I keep finding I need whether or not I have internet access.

That first reason deserves a better explanation. I found that the 8" screen, even with Wacom goodness, is not enough real estate for my old hands when it comes to note taking. Plus, this tablet lives for portrait mode, but I take notes in landscape in order to get the "feel" of a regular sheet (width) of paper. For many people, this will be a good quick note taking option (think small moleskin), but for me, it was just too small, and just introduces a third device to my life for no good reason. I'm beginning to see why some of my friends swear by a Galaxy Note 3/Surface combination rather than three separate devices - a phone device for the pinch hitting duties when the real computer is not around. It seems like my smartphone (iPhone 5) is NEVER far from my side, and I could see how a little note taker like the GN3 would be handy - but it is ANDROID - no, not ANOTHER OS in my life...

As for that SPro 2 - thanks to Best Buy's overly generous 45 day return policy for tech addicts, it hadn't quite made its way back to hell as I envisioned in last week's post. I dusted it off, updated the display and USB drivers as my friends at Tablet PC Review recommended, and it has been clean and sober for 72 hours now. Somehow, I've got to develop a little patience (which may have come in the form of my office manager who informed me there will be no more returns/exchanges/upgrades or shenanigans on her watch!) - wait...this is me we are talking about...I seem to remember penning a blog post about patience not being a virtue...

So, I am going to refocus my attention, and this blog, on making the best case I can for Surface Pro 2 and the Windows 8.1 tablet experience in the business world. That includes shining a big spotlight on OneNote, Microsoft's unsung hero (or red headed stepchild).


runningonempty said...

Are you sure you don't want to play with the Note Pro 12.2- displays OneNote wonderfully. Pen is pretty darn close to SP2 in some apps. Thinner, lighter...bigger!
45 day return policy....

Dale Strauss said...

Looked at one yesterday at Best Buy - intriguing, but I need full OneNote capability - not just handwritten notes, but search as well. Even the "Metro" version of OneNote is inferior.

Anonymous said...

So its 10.1 inch wacom or bust? Do you see yourself carrying around a surface pro 2 and your main device together at all times or more screen space?

Dale Strauss said...

It is 10" Wacom or bust. I plan to make the Surface Pro 2 my main and only device. For the "old eyes" I am looking to get a 20" (+/-) full HD monitor to use around the house when I have detail work to do, but basically I will have to pull up my britches and quit whining about the 10.6" screen. I have a colleague that actually carries one of those two pound USB monitors (I believe they are 15") to have a second screen at all times. I'm trying not to emulate that - otherwise why not just stick with the 15.6" on my Acer Aspire V7 laptop (4.65# there). I imagine that in the next year or two we will all be tempted by 12-13" super tablets, all sub 2#, which may come as close as we'll ever get to a true all in one device.

Notice I said "plan" above because of one remaining caveat - what will Lenovo do? I have to believe they are coming into the 10" space with a ThinkPad Tablet 10 (think they will adopt a size naming convention for the ThinkPad Tablets) at the same 1.3#, but with the same Wacom stylus, high end Bay Trail processor, 4GB ram, up to 128GB ssd, full HD display, 802.11 ac, and 4g LTE. Then what do we do?

Anonymous said...

Ok, I've got the sp2 256, no problems, does everything I want it to. BUT... it's not a tablet! It's the best small factor all-in-one pc on the market; like you, Mr. Strauss, I am old. It's just too heavy to lug about, and the screen ratio sucks for note taking.
So I'm pinning my hopes on the fujitsu q584 when it finally makes it to the antipodes, hopefully in a week or two.
I'm surprised you haven't given that a try, I know there have been some very mixed reviews at tablet pc review, but happy customers rarely post.

Dale Strauss said...

Well, I disagree (not that I am old) but it is not to heavy to lug around. Is it heavier than an iPad - definitely, but until last October's debut of the iPad Air only 0.6 lb more. I don't want to say it is an convenient as the iPad Air (I've tried it twice) but for me it is not lugging. As for the screen ratio - I really prefer it to the new generation of 8" devices. Would 4:3 or even 16:10 be better - most definitely. In fact, that 4:3 on the Apple, which is often criticized by the tech press as "old fashion" is PERFECT for reading documents, books, and magazines.

Although the q584 will be lighter, if I'm going this big, I may as well go Haswell and full power SSD over Bay Trail and eMMC.

Anonymous said...

"I'm beginning to see why some of my friends swear by a Galaxy Note 3/Surface combination rather than three separate devices - a phone device for the pinch hitting duties when the real computer is not around"

How do they work around the OneNote situation on android? I am thinking about going this route. Using the SP2 for the heavy lifting and the note 3 for lite notes, etc