CIO Road Test: Microsoft Surface Pro Beats Apple iPad


So, you can see that I was impressed with the hardware, but the real test of this device was to take it on the road. I used to be one of those people with three devices. For this trip, I took just the Surface Pro and my phone. I set the power settings to optimize the battery (but carried the charger with me just in case) and found I could get more than five hours of operation. Since I was supposed to be paying attention in the sessions and meetings, this was more than adequate. The unit started fast enough to quickly check email and send responses during the breaks. In the hotel room, it worked well to compose long documents and emails, as well as do some photo editing.

I've actually retired three devices with this unit. I had a work laptop (usually left in the office), a home laptop, and an iPad. The Surface Pro takes the place of all of these, without any compromise in performance (with the exception of the iPad battery life) and in some very specialized apps.

The docking station and monitors on my desk give me the screen real estate I need as well as a fast connection to the corporate network. To go to a meeting, I just unplug the power cord and one USB cord, and take my work with me.

This format of a high-power processor in a tablet format is a game changer. The Microsoft Surface Pro is not the only player in this field, but it certainly set the standard for other manufacturers to follow. In the enterprise environment, this just doesn't compete with the iPad and Android tablets, it supersedes them. And because it is part of the corporate domain, my network engineer sleeps easier since the same security policies that protect the network work for the Surface Pro too.

As for me, it's not like I'm driving a "me too" device, but a new modality in mobile computing. In my opinion this is not a passing fad, but a platform to strongly consider moving to on your next refresh.

After three weeks with Surface Pro, I believe Apple should not assume that the tablet market is impenetrable.

Kevin Pashuk is chief information officer at Appleby College in Oakville, Ontario, Canada. He has started three companies, consulted internationally and is now attempting to change the way education is delivered to our kids. He looks for every opportunity to share his ideas around the changing role of the CIO. Read his blog at www.TurningTechInvisible.com.

PUBLISHED MAY 9, 2013