Monday, July 22, 2013

Fortnight with Surface Pro tablet

While away for two weeks, I relied solely on the Surface Pro to take notes, read, websurf and write.  I used only the tablet as I did not bring the keyboard cover or the pen/stylus with me.

Notes taken at the NCVER conference were posted on this blog with transfer of the text via a memory stick and PC. Typing on the screen based keyboard worked OK as I was already used to using the onscreen keyboard on the ipad. Only bugbear is the screen blocks off half the screen, minimising the visible area for working with text. I found a openmap to be more user friendly than the generic map app that came with the tablet.

WiFi was accessed through various cafes, museums / libraries and on the Brisbane trains. Always handy to bring up relevant map of where I was headed and then taking a screenshot so the map is accessible in places with no WiFi. The camera worked well and I used Skitch to share annotated photos and map images with friends I had organised to meet up with.  Kindle app worked well for some leisure reading. The ‘windows’ button on the surface is sensitive to light touch, so took me a few uses to work out how to best hold the tablet for reading without continually being re-directed to the start screen every time I brushed the tablet near the windows button. Used Adobe XI to read journal articles etc. stored on a memory stick.

The Bing web browser performed satisfactorily but I also downloaded and used google Chrome which provided easier synching with gmail, blogger and igoogle. Accessed RSS feeds via Feedly which I now use as a replacement for google reader. Most used apps were openmap, NZ Herald, noteanytime, kindle, adobe reader XI and skydrive.

So all in, there are pluses in having a USB port. Apps used performed to expectations. After the usual binge downloading of apps on iPad a few years ago, I am much more circumspect about downloading apps as there are only a few I use regularly. So the Surface being my 'work' tablet means download of relevant apps that are useful for various work projects or for technology-enhanced learning try outs.

However, batteries only allowed for ½ a day of intensive use before recharging was required. The tablet gets hot enough to be uncomfortable on your lab if you use it while it is recharging! So need to plan ahead, reccy various possible areas to recharge the table over lunch time and remember to recharge each evening.