I’ve been a Linux user for a bit more than 14 years now and during that time I haven’t really messed with anything Microsoft/Windows related for any length of time. My last real stint with Windows was right when Microsoft Windows ME(Millennium Edition) was released. After only a few months with that, I discovered Linux and never looked back. Today I’m going to give you something some of you least expect from me. My first impressions of a Microsoft Surface Pro that I acquired from a friend of mine just a few days ago for the cheap price of $50.
Microsoft Surface Pro Specs
The Story Of How I Acquired The Device
My next door neighbor is disabled and currently awaiting on workers comp to give him his settlement check. So right now, he’s not doing very well financially because we all know how the US Government takes their sweet time on things like this. However, that’s another post all together.
Needless to say, he hasn’t worked in a couple of years now and he’s trying to live on a very small, fixed income. The sad news is, his stepson passed away a few weeks ago who happened to be an Lt. on the local police force. Last year for Christmas, the Chief Of Police gave him this Microsoft Surface Pro 128GB device with the Type 2 keyboard as a gift. My neighbor got it when his stepson passed away and was in need of some money and knew he could sell it, quick.
Knowing that I’m a tech fanatic, he brought it to me. I had never touched one before and wasn’t really interested. Until he stated he was selling it for $50. I tried for almost an hour to talk him out of it, telling him the retail price and how much he could probably get for it. But he wanted and needed money on the spot. After another 30 minutes or so, I decided to jump on the deal. Knowing I could easily resell as I have no interest in anything Windows or Microsoft related. Another 30 minutes later or so and the device was mine. I needed to factory reset it and then I’d be good to go.
My Initial Thoughts On The Device
The first thing I noticed about the device was the weight. Take note that this is of course the original Microsoft Surface Pro from last year so it’s a bit older, which makes it understandable why it’s a bit heavy. However, with weight often comes durability and as of my first week of use of this device, so far I’d have to say it definitely seems durable.
This thing has Windows on it, obviously, and to me, it’s pretty much an entirely new world. At least for a day to day use type of thing. I feel lost a bit, yet more so I feel a bit limited. Simply because I don’t know all the ways I can customize the look of a Windows OS the way I do a Linux OS.
Instantly, after doing the factory reset, it told me there was 182,000 updates that it needed to install. Ok, maybe that’s a bit of an exaggeration as there was only about 90 updates. Those 90 updates took about 2 1/2 hours and literally about 10 reboots. Kind of scary, but hey, welcome to Windows.
Updates completed, setup done, customizing done as best as I know how which involved setting up a screensaver, moving around and deleting some tiles off the start screen, changing the wallpaper on both my desktop and the start screen, and I believe I’m ready to jump into using this Microsoft Surface Pro.
Microsoft Surface Pro Performance
Remember, I’ve only had this device a few days, nearly a week now, so I’ve not installed a lot of things on it at this point. I’ve got Google Chrome which is the browser I just can’t live without. I’ve got a few other basic things installed as well for photo editing and that’s really about it. So far, it runs like a champion. I’m sure it’s a combination of the i5 processor and the 4GB of RAM that it has.
Clicking on things such as My Computer, Control Panel, the Start menu or whatever, things just seem to open instantly without any waiting. Starting up Google Chrome doesn’t take very long either. About 15 seconds for all the tabs to fully load, as I load 5 tabs by default, and then for me to be able to see all my webpages and to begin surfing the world wide web.
I’ve even managed to play a few basic games on this Microsoft Surface Pro and again things were quite snappy. I haven’t really dove off into the app store yet to try anything, but that’s coming soon and will be in my follow up post which I’ll do somewhere around 30 – 45 days with the device.
I’ve also yet to check out the camera on the device. But my intentions are to do that on this weeks episode of The BOATT, which is our weekly Hangout On-Air that we do where we talk about any and all things tech related. Going to be interested to see how well the camera works for the Google Hangout compared to my Chromebook that I’ve used in the past.
The one downfall I’ve found so far with the device is the Type 2 keyboard. I’ve got the light blue one and the one thing I like is how it easily attaches to the Microsoft Surface Pro via a magnet. Therefore it’s very easily detached from the device as well. My issue however is that it often quits working. If I leave the device idle for a few minutes without doing anything with it, then go to type, the keyboard is unresponsive. Simply turning the screen off then turning it back on fixes the issue. However, this happens quite often and there’s no rhyme or reason as to why. Hopefully I’ll figure out what’s causing it and get it fixed soon.
Final Thoughts On The Microsoft Surface Pro
For $50 I think I made a great decision. Retail price these things go for $600 and up to around $900 and that’s figuring in $120 or so for the detachable keyboard. Would I have paid that price for one of these? Absolutely not simply because I’m an open-source guy who doesn’t support Microsoft in any way. Now that I’ve used one for a week, would I pay that much? The answer would be no once again. However, this device is definitely worth more than the $50 I paid for it. I’m actually pretty impressed with how well it runs so far.
If you’re an avid Microsoft Windows user looking for something in a tablet form factor, I’d say a Microsoft Surface Pro is for you without a doubt. While it might be a bit on the heavy side, it’s not too terribly bad. Then throw in the nice little detachable keyboard, and the device is instantly a lot better when not having to use an on-screen keyboard.
Keep an eye open for my follow up post in 30 – 45 days. I’m going to give this device a thorough testing and use it daily as much as possible and then give my full thoughts on how the device runs and performs, what I like and dislike at that time after a bit more use for doing daily tasks and such.
If you currently own a Microsoft Surface Pro, please tell me your thoughts in the comments below. Tell me how you think it compares to other devices as well as some of the apps you prefer to install and use on your personal Microsoft Surface Pro tablet as I’m always looking for new apps to use that help me with my day to day use of the device.