Recently I decided that the time had come to sell my old Asus laptop and get a new computer. I have to hand it to Asus, I didn’t really know much about them when I bought it and didn’t really expect it to last more than 2 years but after 5 years it was still going strong.
The problem was it was slowing down A LOT. We are talking 2-3 minutes to boot and open any applications or software. It was also getting extremely hot by just browsing the internet. It was time to take it out to pasture.
Now, let me preface by saying that my journey to find a new computer may not be anything like yours. Everyone has different wants, needs, likes, and dislikes when it comes to your personal computer. Also, this will NOT be a spec for spec comparison because there are plenty of those. This is my personal experience using these devices.
My job is mainly performed using multiple chrome tabs, email, Slack, Microsoft Office, and light Photoshop. These are not highly intensive applications so I was not looking for a “top spec” computer. I also don’t game and most of my personal usage is spent… well, you are reading it now.
I am somewhat of a perfectionist when it comes to my tech. The hardware is as important to me as to how the laptop/tablet performs. I wanted something light, ultraportable, great keyboard, long-lasting battery, and a sturdy build. That said, I was looking in the $600-1200 range, nothing bigger than a 13.3” screen or heavier than 3lbs. A 2 in 1 feature would be nice but not absolutely necessary.
I’ll fast forward a bit through my testing and returning phase. I tried the Dell XPS 2 in 1, HP Spectre, Macbook, Pixelbook, Asus Zenbook, and Surface Laptop. For the most part, these are all great computers but each had one or multiple trade-offs in either software, hardware or specs that I couldn’t justify the price.
Then, in my desperate search deep into YouTube review videos, I saw it… The iPad Pro. I am not an “Apple Fan Boy” but I have an iPhone and have had iPads before. They have all worked great but thought there would be no way an iPad could replace my laptop. I researched ios 11 and the new “Smart Keyboard” for the iPad Pro and thought that this could potentially work. Off to Best Buy!
At this point, the Best Buy security guard (or whatever that guy does in the entrance of the store) knows me by name and greets me as I enter. I head over to the iPad section and start testing. Folks, this thing is amazing! Even android fans have to admit that this is one fine piece of tech. The build is better than any tablet or laptop I have ever held. Its light, smooth, sturdy, and the display is unreal.
I’ll be the first to admit that much of Apple’s “new features” on their devices are just gimmicks and renaming what already exists. But, the “ProMotion” or 120Hz refresh rate is truly pleasing to the eye and the A10x chip was as fast and snappy as I have ever seen. I pulled the trigger on the 10.5” with the “Smart Keyboard” which came out to over $800 after taxes… typical Apple.
After using the iPad Pro 10.5” as my daily driver for about 3 weeks I was pretty impressed but also (again) found trade-offs. As much as Apple tries to convince the world that this is built for business professionals, in the end, it’s still a tablet. Granted a very versatile tablet, but still, a tablet.
One of my biggest issues was with the Smart Keyboard as I just could not get used to it replacing my traditional keyboard. And, let’s face it, without a keyboard this can’t replace a laptop. Writing content on it was a pain with the cramped keyboard, no backlight, small key travel, and no trackpad. The magnetic connection to the iPad Pro was strong but the “folio” style of the cover felt flimsy and was tough to use on anything that wasn’t perfectly flat (like your lap).
I looked into other keyboard cases but they all added a ton of bulk and weight to the iPad Pro. It didn’t make sense to me to buy this beautiful tablet that is barely 1lb and then throw a 2lb keyboard case on it. I wanted so bad for this to work but I was getting frustrated.
Alas, I knew what I had to do… swallow my pride, go back to Best Buy, and find a proper computer for my daily driver.
I’ve never been a big fan of Microsoft products. I always felt like they try to jack up prices on their products like Apple but without the Apple design or intuitive software. But, I saw the new 2017 Surface Pro and was intrigued by its very nice design, size, weight, and display. On top of all that, they had a bundle for the Core M3 model with a Microsoft Type Cover for $699 which was more than $100 less than my iPad Pro with Smart Keyboard price.
I took the Surface Pro home, set it up, and waited for the usual Windows 10 bugs or computer issues to plague my experience. However, this time, there was none. The Surface Pro updated like it should, the Type Keyboard connected perfectly and the trackpad was responsive, and the computer ran faster than expected even with a Core M3. Also, the battery life was great. I was getting about 10 hours of use which was about the same as the iPad Pro.
I was dumbfounded, a Windows 10 device with no issues? What is this sorcery? In all seriousness, this device is great for the casual user. I consistently have 5-10 Chrome tabs open, email, Slack, and Photoshop open all at the same time with no slowdowns. The display is not as nice as the iPad Pro but still one of the best you can buy. At a little over 2lbs with the keyboard attached, it is very portable and easy to take with you on the go. The kickstand is SO much more sturdy than the folio Smart Keyboard. The screen is 2 inches larger than the Pro which makes a big difference when viewing web pages.
Overall, I just felt like I got more bang for the buck with the Surface Pro over the iPad Pro. Plus, you still get the 2 in 1 feature like the iPad… even though Windows tablet mode, for a lack of a better word, sucks. All I use the tablet feature for is watching things like Netflix, HBO GO, Showtime, and Hulu, which you can do just fine on the Surface Pro. The built-in kickstand also makes it easier to watch hands-free, you would need a case to do this on the iPad Pro.
Don’t get me wrong, I am not ripping on the iPad Pro. It is a great device if you want a tablet that can do a few professional tasks as well. But, can it be your daily driver for business use? Maybe. If you are ok with some trade-offs. For me, the Surface Pro was cheaper and had fewer trade-offs at the end of the day which is the reason why I switched.
Hopefully, this helps you make a buying decision if you are contemplating a new ultraportable computer so you don’t have to go through months of testing like me.