Years ago, tablets were all the rage and cheap android based tablets were selling like hotcakes. But then they died out. Anybody in tech knows that tablet devices are consumer-friendly but is very limited in other ways.
When Microsoft decided to come out with their very own hardware devices, their main focus was a tablet PC. Again, I didn’t understand as I can’t imagine using a PC without a keyboard and mouse. Touch screen only input is very limited and just try typing up a report, let alone a decent length email and you’ll see what I mean.
Soon after, Microsoft realized that a keyboard was necessary. We’re now several generations into the Microsoft Surface Pro line of devices and they’re still one of the best selling 2-in-1 devices on the market. You’ll also notice that they always show the device now with the keyboard attached to the device. But, is that enough?
One of the key factors of the Microsoft Surface Pro line is its portability. If you have one or know someone that does, have you seen them use it anywhere but on a table?
This brings me to my main point in terms of the ergonomics of the Surface Pro device versus a traditional clamshell laptop. The Surface Pro device uses a kickstand on the back to stand it up. This kickstand doesn’t work very well when you’re trying to use this device on your lap. It becomes a balancing act and not an easy one at times.
When Microsoft launched the Surface Book alongside the Surface Pro 4, I finally saw a device I would buy from Microsoft. Even though it is categorized as a 2-in-1 like the Surface Pro, its design is more inline as a traditional clamshell device with a hinge that holds the screen portion upright. Now I can sit this device on my lap just like how a laptop would work.
For those that travel for work, I would still opt for a traditional laptop like the Surface Book or even the lower-end Surface Laptop instead of the Surface Pro. If you’re sitting at the airport or even on the plane itself, it’s easier to sit a laptop on your lap instead of a tablet. That’s why it’s called a “laptop”, duh.
If you’re sitting in your bed wanting to use your device, again a laptop works better than trying to balance the Surface Pro with the kickstand on your legs.
Also, even though the kickstand has a couple of angles it can lock to, you’re basically limited to those angles for the screen. With a laptop, you can angle the screen however you like so if you’re using it on your lap in bed, you can angle the screen at 90°, vertically straight up. Easier to view if you’re laying back. Try doing that with the Surface Pro.
In the end, if you’re only going to use the device on a table, then the Surface Pro might be ok for you. But, we’re talking about a portable device that you’re supposedly be using anywhere and everywhere. Which one makes more sense?