I have a shitty neck. It was broken and severe muscle damage was done to it close to eighteen years ago. While It’s more or less healed, there’s a lot of scarring in the surrounding tissues. Arthritis has set in. What I’m saying here is that I’m typically in pain and carrying heavy shit on my back or over my shoulder makes it worse. Having used nothing but Apple hardware for over a decade, I’m well sucked into their ecosystem. I’ve spent thousands of dollars on software for OS X and iOS. I like it a lot! But as I get older and my neck gets worse, hauling along my MacBook Pro has become less than ideal. Even a three kilometre walk to the coffee shop leaves me sore and unable to turn my head.
I was hoping that The iPad Pro would be the lightweight, yet powerful, mobile work platform that I’ve been looking for. Unfortunately, it can’t be paired with a mouse without jailbreaking (life’s too short for that shit,) and it’s damn near as expensive as an entry level ultraportable laptop. That’s less than ideal for me, given that I churn out words for a living and already have a computer at home. It also, at least for the time being, lacks the ability to open and work on Scrivener files.
I’m not going to lie to you: The Surface 3, even with the 4GB RAM/128GB iteration that I picked up, is far from perfect. It’s underpowered and takes a decade to charge. Its keyboard costs $160 and has a baked-in mousepad that’s so shitty that it may as well not be there at all. But I’ll tell you, it weighs next to nothing and lets me get work done in a timely manner.
Given what an uncontrollable tire fire Windows 8 was, I was leery about investing in the hardware. But as I bought my Surface directly from Microsoft, I had 30 days to return it if it turned out to be a piece of shit I wanted nothing to do with. I’m happy and surprised to report that Windows 10 is downright useable. Do I dig it as much as OS X? No. But I suspect that my bias likely comes from familiarity. There’s a number of apps that I miss, which I use on a daily basis with my Mac and iPhone: Fantastical, Day One, iA Writer and Pixelmator. But damned if it doesn’t run Scrivener, Evernote, Slack and Google Chrome: everything I need to get my work done when I’m away from home, be it on a trip for work or a jaunt to the coffee shop. Being able to pair it with a mouse means that I can crank through edits to my writing quickly. And unlike my iPhone or old iPad mini, the Surface 3’s display is large enough that I don’t feel like ripping out my eyes after working on a spreadsheet or doing a bit of research for work.
So yeah, for the time being, I’m digging it.