Oh Tablet, My Tablet Part 2

I can’t believe you came back for part 2! Part 1 was long, thanks for hanging in there. For part 2 I thought I’d highlight some things I can do on the Surface, but not on the iPad

1) Create, view and edit Office documents, presentations, and spreadsheets
I know there are some Office-like apps for the iPad, but to me there is no substitute for the originals. Plus they’re included on the Surface, no extra cost. I use Excel and Word a fair amount, I don’t make PowerPoint presentations very often, but I work with them daily for my job, so it’s nice to have that flexibility. I can also sync my office items with SkyDrive (Microsoft’s cloud service), so that I can, with an internet connection, access the items on any device (including my iPad). Nothing’s more annoying than getting an e-mail on the iPad with some spreadsheet or PowerPoint that I really need to make changes to but I can’t, I have to wait to get on the laptop. No more of that problem with the Surface.

2) Do two things at once (e.g., check e-mail while instant messaging a friend, etc.)
I hate jogging back and forth between 2 apps on the iPad and trying to remember, for example, what the time was for the event in my calendar when I jump back into my e-mail. On the Surface I can keep both on the screen at once.
Screenshot (7)
3) Leave an app without closing it
Ok, I know you can do this on the iPad, but I think it’s more elegant on the Surface. Just tap the start charm, open your new app, then swipe from the left when you’re ready to go back to your other open app(s). Nothing changes about the app you left, you just pick up where you left off.

4) Watch Hulu (without being a subscriber to Hulu Plus!)
On the iPad when I go to hulu.com, it basically says “sorry, you must be a subscriber to Hulu Plus and use our app if you want to use our site on your mobile device.” I used to accept that. Now I think it’s lame. Keep in mind, most of my year I don’t have access to an internet connection that would support streaming video, so Hulu Plus is not a practical solution for me at the moment. But when I’m on vacation, I watch a lot of Hulu, and it’s annoying to pull out the laptop if that’s all I’m using it for. I don’t have to anymore. IE10, the browser for Windows 8 and RT, can support the full Hulu site. So I just watch it like normal.

For the record, there is a Hulu Plus app in the Windows Store, I just like that I don’t have to use it, since I’m not currently a subscriber.

5) Use it in direct sunlight.
Have you ever tried doing this on the iPad? It’s like looking in a mirror. It’s not perfect on the Surface, but I’m writing this post in the car right now in broad daylight with very little trouble. A tip: go to settings and tap the screen icon and drag the slider all the way up to the top for optimal viewing.

I’ll pause my love fest to let you know that it’s not all puppies and rainbows in tablet land. Here are some things that I need in a computer and I can’t do with either device. These are things that I drag out my laptop for.

1) Post blogs
I hate posting my blogs directly through WordPress. Partially because I like to work offline, and partially because their interface is cluttered and difficult to muck through for a non-coder like me. My preferred blogging client is Windows Writer (formerly Windows Live Writer). Working offline and with lots of media is so easy with this program, but neither device can run it, which is a shame because it’s really great and it’s free. I draft my blog posts in the OneNote app on my Surface, though, which works pretty nicely, I just have to copy and paste to Writer on the laptop. I’m hoping Windows makes a touch optimized version of Writer for the Windows Store. Even if it wasn’t free I would buy it, because it’s that useful to me.

2) Photo organization
I use Windows Photo Gallery (formerly Windows Live Photo Gallery) to tag and organize photos. It doesn’t run on either device. There are some photo manager apps for the Surface, but I’m just really committed to Photo Gallery. This is by no means a deal breaker since I don’t use either device as a primary storage source for photos. But it is something that confines me to the laptop.

3) Heavy storage
Both devices have limited storage. I get around this by using SkyDrive and saving things online (would be more practical if I had access to high speed internet regularly) and taking advantage of the surface’s usb and microsd ports.

4) Play cd’s and dvd’s
Not a huge deal, but it does come up.

So there you go. Stay tuned for part 3 where I’ll talk about tablet computers vs. Tablet companions.


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