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The Surface RT Challenge

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#1 +DConnell

DConnell

    Madman with a blue box

  • Joined: 16-July 04
  • Location: Honey Brook PA
  • OS: Windows 8.1u1, Win RT 8.1u1
  • Phone: Lumia 1520 running Windows Phone 8.1

Posted 09 June 2014 - 18:46

I got my Surface RT (the original) as a Black Friday special, and love it. Does nearly everything I'd want from it, and a lot that I never expected a tablet to be capable of.

 

There are a few desktop programs that I use on my laptop, but for the most part, I've been using my Surface more. My laptop is more my casual computing machine. For serious heavy-lifting programs, I have my big Dell tower. The main reasons I fire up my laptop these days are Minecraft and Yahoo Instant Messenger (on rare occasions). I even tend to do my remote support on the Surface, since the Metro Teamviewer app is quite nice.

 

And the larger screen and full keyboard of the laptop - I'd actually bought it to upgrade from a netbook which I'd used maxed out and pushed far beyond what the manufacturer intended. The Surface is smaller than the laptop, but doesn't feel cramped like the netbook did.

 

I'm frequently moving the laptop out of the way so I can have my Surface comfortable on my desk.

 

So I'm wondering . . . could I get by without the laptop? It's entirely possible that between my tower computer and my Surface, my computing needs are completely covered. Will I miss the portable "full desktop" experience? (Especially since the laptop rarely moves.)

 

I seem comfortable with the size and feel of the Surface, but am I comfortable enough to make it my main "casual computing machine"?

 

It might pay to find out. Starting tonight, I'll put the laptop away and just use the SurfRT in its place. And the tower (either in person or with Teamviewer) for the desktop-based stuff.

 

There are a few students in my family who might benefit from a laptop if I discover I don't really need it.




#2 OP +DConnell

DConnell

    Madman with a blue box

  • Joined: 16-July 04
  • Location: Honey Brook PA
  • OS: Windows 8.1u1, Win RT 8.1u1
  • Phone: Lumia 1520 running Windows Phone 8.1

Posted 10 June 2014 - 12:40

Day 1:

 

  I copied the content I thought I'd want readily to my Surface, and put the laptop away. Did a little reading, Facebook and gaming on the RT, but nothing too strenuous.

 

  Experimented with a Torrent client. but found it kind of useless. But I didn't do much of that on the ASUS either.

 

  I haven't really tried to push the envelope yet, but I'm off to a decent start.



#3 jakem1

jakem1

    Neowinian Senior

  • Tech Issues Solved: 3
  • Joined: 17-November 06

Posted 10 June 2014 - 12:57

I was thinking of something similar last night.  My laptop is on its last legs and I'll probably have to replace it sometime in the next year and I started wondering if I could replace it with my Surface 2.

 

I only really use the laptop when I work from home and that generally involves logging on to remote servers via Citrix or Remote Desktop.  I can do both on my Surface so all I would need to do is plug it into a monitor via HDMI and add a Logitech universal receiver to get my wireless keyboard and mouse working.  The Surface has Office which is the only desktop app I tend to use locally when working so it could easily work as a laptop replacement for me.



#4 OP +DConnell

DConnell

    Madman with a blue box

  • Joined: 16-July 04
  • Location: Honey Brook PA
  • OS: Windows 8.1u1, Win RT 8.1u1
  • Phone: Lumia 1520 running Windows Phone 8.1

Posted 10 June 2014 - 13:11

I was thinking of something similar last night.  My laptop is on its last legs and I'll probably have to replace it sometime in the next year and I started wondering if I could replace it with my Surface 2.

 

I only really use the laptop when I work from home and that generally involves logging on to remote servers via Citrix or Remote Desktop.  I can do both on my Surface so all I would need to do is plug it into a monitor via HDMI and add a Logitech universal receiver to get my wireless keyboard and mouse working.  The Surface has Office which is the only desktop app I tend to use locally when working so it could easily work as a laptop replacement for me.

 

That's basically my thinking. Most of my serious computing is done on my tower, either sitting in front of it or Teamviewered in. (I may spring for 8.1 Pro for the tower to get Remote Desktop host capability if I decide to sell/pass on the laptop.) The RT has counterparts to the main productivity programs I used on the laptop - Office, Teamviewer, Remote Desktop.

 

I've said on a few occasions that I really only need the desktop for file management and a small number of desktop programs (Office being the important one for me). So this is an experiment to see if that's really true. I figure in a week or 3 I'll know if I really miss the full desktop on my 8.1 laptop that much.

 

My goddaughter will be in third grade come September. She might like a laptop of her own for schoolwork . . . But for now the ASUS is in its bag in my office. I'm not deciding its fate just yet.



#5 OP +DConnell

DConnell

    Madman with a blue box

  • Joined: 16-July 04
  • Location: Honey Brook PA
  • OS: Windows 8.1u1, Win RT 8.1u1
  • Phone: Lumia 1520 running Windows Phone 8.1

Posted 11 June 2014 - 13:02

Day 2:

 

Not really missing desktop programs yet, but I am sort of missing the laptop's keyboard. I have the touch cover on my Surface, and it's adequate for light typing, but I may have to pick up a type cover next time Micro Center has them on sale. Unfortunately I just missed a sale on them last week, so it might be a while. In the meantime I have a wireless keyboard I can use with the tablet.

 

I'm researching travel bags for the RT. I could use my laptop bag, but that seems excessive for a small device. Besides, if I do pass the laptop to someone else, the bag should go with it.

 

I'd want one that can hold the charger, a mouse, etc. Any recommendations?



#6 Dashel

Dashel

    Disgustipator

  • Joined: 03-December 01
  • Location: USA

Posted 11 June 2014 - 16:13

My biggest qualm, especially with the G1, is browsing speed/compatibility in the living room.  I've pretty much turned my touch IdeaPad into my HTPC when I'm not travelling and just move to my desktop when I need to be more efficient or get stuff done.



#7 neo158

neo158

    Neowinian Senior

  • Joined: 18-July 02
  • OS: Windows 8.1 Professional x64; Windows RT 8.1
  • Phone: Samsung ATIV S i8750

Posted 11 June 2014 - 16:20

Day 2:

 

Not really missing desktop programs yet, but I am sort of missing the laptop's keyboard. I have the touch cover on my Surface, and it's adequate for light typing, but I may have to pick up a type cover next time Micro Center has them on sale. Unfortunately I just missed a sale on them last week, so it might be a while. In the meantime I have a wireless keyboard I can use with the tablet.

 

I'm researching travel bags for the RT. I could use my laptop bag, but that seems excessive for a small device. Besides, if I do pass the laptop to someone else, the bag should go with it.

 

I'd want one that can hold the charger, a mouse, etc. Any recommendations?

 

I have this: http://www.amazon.co...c=1&s=computers for my Surface RT, has plenty of room for the charger, mouse, external HDD and even my PS Vita.



#8 OP +DConnell

DConnell

    Madman with a blue box

  • Joined: 16-July 04
  • Location: Honey Brook PA
  • OS: Windows 8.1u1, Win RT 8.1u1
  • Phone: Lumia 1520 running Windows Phone 8.1

Posted 11 June 2014 - 18:41

I have this: http://www.amazon.co...c=1&s=computers for my Surface RT, has plenty of room for the charger, mouse, external HDD and even my PS Vita.

 

Looks like a good choice. I might order this tonight.



#9 OP +DConnell

DConnell

    Madman with a blue box

  • Joined: 16-July 04
  • Location: Honey Brook PA
  • OS: Windows 8.1u1, Win RT 8.1u1
  • Phone: Lumia 1520 running Windows Phone 8.1

Posted 12 June 2014 - 12:59

Day 3:

 

Still not really missing desktop programs, and I'm adjusting to the touch keyboard a little better now that I'm using it more. I'll probably still pick up a type cover next time i see it on sale, but the need isn't quite as strong.

 

Did a little "window shopping" on Amazon, and purchased a video from Rifftrax, though not actually on the Surface. I teamviewer'd into my tower/media server and ordered the video there. Teamviewer choked a bit on the preview videos Rifftrax has on autoplay on the site, but overall performance was adequate. I might actually fire up the laptop just to use as a Remote Desktop host so I can test just how much I can do with RD on the Surface. I have Win 8.1 Pro on the laptop, Home on the tower. I'd like to see just how much I can do remoted in from the Surface before I upgrade to Pro on the tower.

 

I found a second device in my collection that RT doesn't support - my USB webcam. Not really an issue, since the Surface has one built in, and I don't really use any webcam much. This was just out of curiosity.

 

Overall, the experiment is going well. The weekend will be the first serious test - more free time to play!



#10 OP +DConnell

DConnell

    Madman with a blue box

  • Joined: 16-July 04
  • Location: Honey Brook PA
  • OS: Windows 8.1u1, Win RT 8.1u1
  • Phone: Lumia 1520 running Windows Phone 8.1

Posted 12 June 2014 - 19:33

I'm liking the fact that the smaller size of the Surface lets me let it up more readily and in tighter spaces than the laptop. I don't have to clear a space on the coffee table for the Surface in "laptab" form.

 

And the smaller size of the Surface means I get fewer dirty looks from the cat when putting it on "her" coffee table.



#11 OP +DConnell

DConnell

    Madman with a blue box

  • Joined: 16-July 04
  • Location: Honey Brook PA
  • OS: Windows 8.1u1, Win RT 8.1u1
  • Phone: Lumia 1520 running Windows Phone 8.1

Posted 13 June 2014 - 11:28

Day 4:

 

Picked up a Targus bag for the "laptab" at Walmart - everything I need fits, and it's got a nice hard shell. It'll do nicely when I go to my brother's place for ComicCon next week.

 

I'm still not really missing the desktop programs on my laptop, but the weekend will be the real test of that.

 

This  weekend I'll probably fire up the laptop just to see what exactly I can do on the Surface in Remote Desktop (won't be touching the laptop except to power it on/off.) I'd use the tower as the host, but it doesn't have Pro.



#12 siah1214

siah1214

    Neowinian Senior

  • Tech Issues Solved: 2
  • Joined: 09-April 12

Posted 13 June 2014 - 11:35

My RT is my daily driver and has been for a few months.  I travel constantly and have felt no need for a laptop or x86 programs, all I need is Office and internet explorer.  I may get a Pro 3 when it comes out but only for the pen, the writing experience on the RT leaves a lot to be desired. And it gets a bit slow sometimes. 



#13 neo158

neo158

    Neowinian Senior

  • Joined: 18-July 02
  • OS: Windows 8.1 Professional x64; Windows RT 8.1
  • Phone: Samsung ATIV S i8750

Posted 13 June 2014 - 12:17

Day 4:

 

Picked up a Targus bag for the "laptab" at Walmart - everything I need fits, and it's got a nice hard shell. It'll do nicely when I go to my brother's place for ComicCon next week.

 

I'm still not really missing the desktop programs on my laptop, but the weekend will be the real test of that.

 

This  weekend I'll probably fire up the laptop just to see what exactly I can do on the Surface in Remote Desktop (won't be touching the laptop except to power it on/off.) I'd use the tower as the host, but it doesn't have Pro.

 

I use Splashtop when I'm at home as it seems better for Remote Desktop in that environment.



#14 OP +DConnell

DConnell

    Madman with a blue box

  • Joined: 16-July 04
  • Location: Honey Brook PA
  • OS: Windows 8.1u1, Win RT 8.1u1
  • Phone: Lumia 1520 running Windows Phone 8.1

Posted 13 June 2014 - 12:38

I use Splashtop when I'm at home as it seems better for Remote Desktop in that environment.

 

I'll give that a look. Thanks.



#15 bdsams

bdsams

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  • Joined: 28-April 03
  • Location: Cincinnati, Ohio

Posted 13 June 2014 - 12:45

Enjoying this thread, keep the posts coming.