As you probably know, the Surface RT and Pro have integrated kick stands that prop the tablet at a 26 degree angle, this has proved to be a controversial addition. The case made out in many reviews is that the kick stand is fine and dandy when you are using it on a table but makes the Surface impossible to use on your lap.
Now, call me crazy but I like to make fair comparisons, and so in the interest of fairness I tried using my HP Touchpad without a case in the same circumstances:
- Seated: worked fine, slides about a tad
- Knees up: worked fine
Amazing insight right? Now I tried doing those again with but this time using a bluetooth keyboard and it was a major PITA. This should not shock you, just because its possible to use a bluetooth or external keyboard on your knees, does not mean you should. Just as you might be able to use the Surface Kickstand and touch cover on your knees (or not as the case may be), doesn’t make it a good idea.
In fact, I would argue that most people would know this, so why is it being used to bash the Surface?
Surface at its core is a convergence device – full power pc when you need it, tablet when you don’t, so it begs the question – why use it like a laptop all the time? It seems to me that people are stuck in the mindset that you can only use Surface with the touch cover and kickstand, but Windows Store apps can be used with the on screen keyboard. Sure if you want to use desktop apps on the go, then you will most likely need to use the touch cover but think about the use case for a second: what are you doing and do you really need to use the desktop app?
I would argue in most cases that you could use Windows Store apps for the majority of mobile situations, unless you need to spend serious time typing.
My typical usage of a laptop covers these sorts of apps:
- Some form of IDE (Visual Studio etc)
Now, apart from IDE’s everything else is covered by Windows Store apps and if I was on the train, tube or in a cab I would default to metro apps first. If want to spend time writing long form entries or messing around with APIs I would do it somewhere more comfortable i.e. a table and chair. Everyone makes a like for like comparison with the iPad but they seem to be forgetting that typing on a naked iPad is fine for around the house, but on the go it can slip and sometimes fall off. Which is why 99% of people have invested in some form of smart cover as it stops the iPad slipping around and gives you angled typing position.
Which, funnily enough are starting to become available for the Surface:
It’s “worth to have apparently” but offers a decent solution to on the go usage i.e. RT Apps and on screen keyboard on the move and then keyboard goodness when you have a table.
Or to put it another way, exactly how you would use an iPad with a bluetooth keyboard.
This week Microsoft confirmed that the Surface Pro would have just 23GB free space on the 64GB model and 83GB on the 128GB variant.
Even if you factor in the ability to use external storage and memory cards, having 41GB of storage taken up by the operating system, recovery and default applications is poor. Windows 8 comes preinstalled with a range of default applications and you can view the size of them in metro settings but to save time I’ve collated a list of apps and their size in MB:
Bing Weather – 62.7
Bing Travel – 372
Bing Sports – 90.6
Bing News – 68.9
Bing Maps – 18.4
Bing Finance – 104
Bing – 10mb
Mail, People, Calendar, Messenger – 247
Sky Drive – 14.7
Zune Music – 40.04
Xbox Live games – 73.6
Xbox Companion – 61.6
Photos – 19.3
For a total of 1195.44mb (or 1.16GB)
Apps stay around longer than you want
If you navigate to the Windows Apps folder, which contains the metro apps (Its hidden by default and you will need to add your user to the admin group to view its contents) it appears that by default Windows 8 seems to retain all versions of the application. This means that for each update, the previous version of the app is kept, for example I have four versions of Zune Music, three versions of the Music, it’s not clear if they will ever get deleted or if the user has to do something to make that happen. Either way they all take up space unnecessarily and could easily be avoided when the app updates.
1.16GB is not exactly a lot of space, 5GB is taken up by recovery partition, the question is what else is taking up the remaining 34.84GB and more importantly, is there a way to remove it?