Zit Seng's Blog

A Singaporean's technology and lifestyle blog

Microsoft Surface Devices

I currently have on hand a couple of Microsoft Surface devices, namely the Surface Go, Surface Pro 6, and Surface Laptop 2. I’ve also been quite backlogged with a variety of product reviews, so I just want to write a quick post to share some thoughts about these Surface devices.

Microsoft has done an excellent job with their Surface devices. I’ve been mighty impressed with them ever since I attended their Surface Pro 4 launch in 2015. Their style of a hybrid convertible device isn’t perfect, but there’s a lot to like about them.

Since switching from Mac to Windows last year, and during my exploratory research prior to that, I’ve been looking at Microsoft Surface devices, and followed their every development. Each new update is better, in small little ways. Better is good, but unfortunately the small steps are a little frustrating.

Microsoft now has three distinct styles of portable Surface devices. The new Surface Go is mostly a miniaturised Surface Pro, so I don’t quite count that as a new category of its own. Of the Surface Pro, Surface Laptop, and Surface Book devices, I find the latter’s design to be most controversial. I’m sure it works for some users, just not me. It’s good to see Microsoft offering those choices. Pick whichever works best for you.

For most purposes, I like a conventional laptop design. Touch and pen on Windows 10 is really, very, nice. For that, one would do best to get a hybrid convertible devices. This is what the first Surface, the Surface Pro, aimed to be. It was great, except that it won’t quite work on your lap.

There is also the matter of port offering on these devices. With USB Type-C, with Thunderbolt 3, gaining so much traction, it’s really disappointing to see that Microsoft still doesn’t offer that in the Surface devices. The Surface Go has a USB Type-C port, which you can use for charging the device, but it is not Thunderbolt 3. The Surface Go, unfortunately, is not a laptop replacement. Microsoft didn’t mean it to be, anyway; it was designed to compete with the iPad.

This is a big letdown, at least for me. Had it been five years ago, Surface Connect might have been a better connector than Apple’s MagSafe and MagSafe 2. They’re all magnetic, but Microsoft’s connector does so much more than just deliver power.

However, to not have USB Type-C and Thunderbolt 3 today, on a flagship device, is just not okay.

Those gripes aside, I do like the Surface Pro 6, and almost, the Surface Laptop 2. Battery life is amazing. Running PCMark 8 Home Conventional battery benchmark, the Surface Pro 6 lasted 5 hours 47 minutes, while the Surface Laptop 2 went further at 6 hours 23 minutes. This is way better than many other notebooks.

These Microsoft Surface devices are great. The Surface Go is under-powered, but perhaps bearable, if you really need a very portable mobile device that can run Windows 10. Look out for my reviews coming soon.

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