It’s been just over two years since I got my first generation Surface Pro. While both of its successors, the Surface Pro 2 and Surface Pro 3, have offered their own significant improvements, I still find myself hesitating about committing to the inevitable upgrade that will push my original Pro to the side (and probably into the hands of a friend or family member in need of better tech) and have me embracing something admittedly much more powerful, lighter and slimmer.
Now, don’t get me wrong. I’m not some sort of tech hipster who likes to hang onto old tech for the sake of old tech. If I was, I wouldn’t have gone to the effort of pre-ordering the Surface Pro and having it shipped to me all the way from the U.S. to my apartment in Tokyo, Japan, so I could be one of the first people to experience it. I love new tech. It’s just that despite all of the technical improvements with the Surface Pro 3, such as the new stylus and lighter weight, there are several features on the first gen model that they simply don’t have and that I prefer.
The main feature of the Surface Pro (and Surface Pro 2) that has me second-guessing an upgrade to the Surface Pro 3 is the aspect ratio. The 10.6" ClearType display offers a great experience when viewing movies and TV shows as the media fills the screen entirely, unlike the Surface Pro 3 which adds bars to the top and bottom due to the aspect difference. The widescreen display also provides a more consistent experience when mirroring the Surface Pro on a television set, with the only real difference being the increased resolution.
Another benefit of the widescreen aspect ratio is the smaller physical size compared to newer Surface Pro models. It may be a lot heavier and thicker than the Surface Pro 3 but its smaller width and height allows it to fit in my man-bag perfectly. Anything larger would require the purchase of something a lot more cumbersome. This smaller size is particularly useful for a lot of the travel writing I do which requires me to explore cities on foot. Being able to throw the Surface Pro into the same small bag as my wallet and phone is a massive convenience.
One of my favorite features, which is also shared by the Surface Pro 2, is its black finish. The clean, black casing looks and feels solid while the color creates a rather nice visual synergy between my collection of Microsoft devices like my Windows Phone and Xbox One. Apparently one of the reasons the Surface Pro 3 shifted to its silver casing was due to reports of chipping or scratching of the Surface Pro and Surface Pro 2’s exterior though I’ve traveled with mine extensively and it still looks as clean as it did when I got it at launch.
My appreciation for the Surface Pro isn’t just about its visual appearance though. It’s also serving me very well when it comes to processing power. In my line of work, all I really need from a computer is Photoshop, an internet browser and several Office apps. While newer models do have faster processing speed, for the programs and apps I use, that increased power for the most part goes unnoticed and unneeded.
I’m sure one day I will upgrade to a future Surface Pro model and with games like Fable Legends and Killer Instinct coming to Windows 10 in the near future (and likely requiring something faster than my Surface Pro to run them properly) it is something I’m considering. The thought of a Surface Pro that’s thinner and lighter and whose kickstand provides more than one viewing angle also holds great appeal but when I think about the increased screen size and silver casing I can’t help but hesitate just a little.
With the (yet to be officially announced) Surface Pro 4 expected to get a release sometime before the end of 2015, we’re bound to see another step in the Surface Pro line’s evolution Are there any features from previous models that you would like to see return in future Surface Pro models? Would you like to see the return of the black casing or widescreen aspect ratio? Maybe you want to see as much change and innovation as possible. Share your thoughts with other members of the WinBeta community in the comments below.