The problem with big new shiny toys
Yesterday Microsoft announced the launch of its shiny new toys including the Surface Pro 4 and the Surface book. I have eagerly been awaiting this announcement as I need to buy myself a new “laptop”. As luck would have it I heard about this announcement (thank you Twitter) as otherwise I would have already gone ahead and bought myself a new laptop or tablet hybrid like the Surface Pro 3. I was dawdling though as none of the tablet hybrids quite fitted all my expectations (the Surface Pro 3 for example apparently has a bad battery life). Whilst I actually could do with a new shiny toy like this sooner rather than later as always I would rather buy the latest.
This has in fact been my issue in the past – I want the latest and the best when it comes to technology (well within my price range of course). Way back in the day I was a mini-disc user (and huge fan – loved that technology). My mini-disc sadly faded into obsolescence. For my MBA I bought a top end Toshiba laptop which I loved (and still have gathering dust at my parents house). When it became time to buy a new laptop I did my research. I did not want an Apple (I am not, nor will I ever be an Apple fan). I wanted a high end, high speed, high capacity laptop with an mindblowingly awesome screen for working but also watching films. My research led me to the desktop replacement Acer Aspire, with a whopping 18inch screen and for the time awesome capacity and speed. My friends wowed when I told them I had over 300 films sitting on my hard-drive (legally obtained in Switzerland I might add). No one else’s laptop at the time came close to my big shiny boy. It even survived a full onslaught from a delinquent large glass of wine. I still use this laptop to this day and I still love it. It is now over 6 years old and going strong. It does however need an MOT and it is not really the most portable of laptops.
When it came to choosing a tablet (all the kids where buying them) I went through a similar process of doing my research and finding something that met my exact needs. I wanted a non-Apple tablet that had an attachable keyboard, was great for film watching and had a good battery life. I found the Asus Transformer which was at the time rated as the best tablet out there (some rated it higher than the iPad). It truly is a shiny toy – again everyone who sees it is impressed. It is a great tablet but it is the keyboard that makes it so special. It is a solid attachable “normal” keyboard with a trackpad but that acts as an extra battery source giving the tablet up to 10 hours of battery life. When on it looks like a very small neat laptop that is easy and light to carry with one hand. I love my tablet and have watched many hours of video and written many a blog post on it. It runs on Android which is great – bar the fact that it makes it fairly useless for working on with Office. While I had a company laptop this was not really an issue but now that I am independent again and traveling to client sites it presents an issue.
My issue now then is that I have two awesome top of the range in their day devices, that still rock, but which no longer quite meet my needs. I found myself having to travel to the client site with my big laptop to work on there and my table to entertain myself and read documents on for the 4 1/2 hour train journey. This was not optimal given the weight and size of my laptop. So it was that I started considering buying a new shiny toy. The thing was did not really want an “old fashioned” laptop but I also didn’t want a hard core tablet either.
And so it was that I have been eagerly awaiting the announcement from Microsoft on their new & improved Surface Pro 4. I was then doubly happy to hear about the Surface Book which sounds very much like my tablet but way better as it is a true laptop- tablet hybrid (the keyboard like the Asus acts as an extra batter). Now I face the dilemma – Pro 4 or Book? However seeing as neither device is on the market just yet so I have to wait a few weeks before purchasing them giving me a little more time to think. Right now I am leaning towards the Surface Book – but I welcome any feedback or thoughts! In the meantime I will continue to use and enjoy my old shiny toys.