Michele Nasti

Thoughts on what I learn

Microsoft Surface GO: more than a tablet

I've just received a new corporate PC, and my old computer (a Dell XPS, 15", 16 GB of RAM) was sitting at home, unused. So I decided to sell it and to buy a convertible - a tablet with a keyboard.

I wrote down the list of things I needed and, based on that, the best choice was the Microsoft Surface Go. Why have I preferred this to ipads or android tablets?

I'm a developer

So my first constraint is that I need to run some tools that are speciific to my work, like Visual Studio Code (an IDE to develop programs) and much more (NodeJS, Python, ...) I'm not going to do actual work on it, but for sure I'd love to follow tutorials and practice with side projects. The idea of locking in a platform that didn't allow me to do that was appalling.

I'm a blogger

Not a professional blogger, of course, but I love writing my blog and I want to do it also from home. Surprisingly, at home I rarely turn on the pc to write something, it looks an overkill. So yes, I needed something with a good keyboard.

I'm a traveller

When I'm on vacation I don't want to carry over a big computer, but just something to organize my trip and to be connected to the word. Mobile phone is fine most of the time, but have you ever tried to crosscheck trains/planes/guides/museums? Sometimes a bigger screen is just better.

Microsoft Surface Go

So why the Microsoft Surface Go? This tablet is probably conceived for students but it's performing incredibly well as a day-to-day pc. I'll try to outline two lists, what I like and what I don't like, so you can get an idea of pros and cons.

What I like

  • The keyboard. Seriously, it's super.
  • I can fix the keyboard's layout according to my preferences. In fact, I configured my italian keyboard to write characters ` and ~. Try to do that on Andoid or Apple...
  • The fact that I can install Visual Studio Code, NodeJS, and even Bash On Linux.
  • Many apps are not natively available but using the newer Microsoft Edge I could install many of them as html5 apps.

What I don't like

  • No apps. No kindle, for example. It's a shame that amazon did not create a dedicated kindle app for windows tablets. There are alternatives, for example there Kindle for PC (that is horrible) and kindle cloud reader (that doesn't work with no internet). I'm using Kindle for PC now.
  • Windows 10 can be used in two ways: tablet mode and desktop mode. Tablet mode is much slower than desktop mode, and by the way only some apps are really designed for it.
  • The launcher (aka the windows menu) is also crappy in tablet mode, I had to do a lot of rearranging.
  • The display is not the best ever. It works, and for what I have to do is fine, but modern smartphones have raised the bar and now I clearly see when a display is not 4k.

I guess this tablet is great fot those that only use Word, Excel, Outlook, so students or corporate users. Not so great if one wants to do photo editing, or photo/video related operations, altough you can install whatever Adobe product you desire. The ecosystem on Windows is more oriented to PROs rather than to amateurs, this means that many stupid apps (like photo organizing or video editing) are sincerly missing.

Anyway, my father just said that he loves this tablet. He likes it more than his mac. He truly wants to swap his laptop for this, and honestly I think this could be a good idea. He is not a tech person, he only wants to get things done. I'll let you know if he'll go through this path!