Surface = MacBook Air + iPad – Something

I am on my way back from a 1-week vacation oversees and decided to only take my WinRT Surface with me. On my trips, I usually take my MacBook air and iPad. I take the MacBook air because you can’t get any real work done on the iPad. I take my iPad to play games and watch movies.  Oh and the kindle for reading.

Right before the trip, I sold my MacBook air and have no other laptop and my only option was the Surface. So, I dragged along with me the freakishly amazing Type Keyboard – the touch keyboard is terrible (although cool). I couldn’t justify carrying the iPad just for movies and games since I can get games and movies on the Surface. So the night before my trip, I rented Bourne Legacy which downloaded overnight. I also downloaded a couple of games – Sudoku and some other quick games.

Renting the movie was pretty straight forward and it downloaded without a hitch. Games downloaded just fine too. The plane took off and I started doing some work – for the first time on the surface. Microsoft Word and Excel are freaking amazing. Nothing comes even close on the iPad. Full office capabilities with some nice “touch” niceties. I wrote 3 blog posts in Word and created 3 spreadsheets in Excel – simply amazing.

NOTE: So amazing that I had to blog about. I am writing this blog post in Word on Surface on the flight back.

On the trip out, after working for a couple of hours, I decided to take a break and watch the movie I rented. I switched to the Video app, tapped the movie, hit play and to my dismay – I got an error. I can’t remember what the error message was but it had to do with “inability to play video format”… WTF? I rented the movie from Microsoft. I am using Microsoft player on a Microsoft operating system on a Microsoft device. How is that possible? The only explanation I could think of is that the app needed internet access to verify the movie rental – but then that would be just stupid of Microsoft to require Internet access to play a rented movie… I restarted and messed around with different setting to no avail. It was FRUSTRATING and left me wishing I had the iPad. How could Microsoft screw up something so simple that Apple has been doing for several years (and doing it very well)???

While messing around in the video app, I saw an “open file” icon. I tapped it and navigated to the videos folder where I found my rented movie file. I clicked it to open it and voila, it started playing. WHAT!!!! This makes no sense. Very frustrating experience but at least I got to watch the movie and got some work done. It did waste an hour of my time but wasting an hour on a nine-hour flight is not really a bad thing.

Microsoft: this is inexcusable!!! If you want me to replace my laptop and iPad with Surface then get your shit together and make sure stuff works the way it is intended to. I am pretty nervous taking just my Surface on my next trip but overall I got done what I needed to get done.

So, yes Surface is MacBook Air + iPad + more but it is still missing something – the “it just works” feeling.

Once the Surface Pro comes out, I can run Visual Studio and linux in a VM and get real work (programming) done.

What do you think?  Can the Surface replace your laptop and iPad?