Still looking for the perfect Tablet

I have grown to hate all things Apple. I have had two ipads, and countless ipods – which these days are sort of obsolete anyway. The other day, my Ipad charger failed yet again; or rather, Apple clocked the fact it wasn’t an approved charger that they want to charge some ludicrous fortune for, and blocked it from charging. I then accidentally ripped it apart by picking up the stupid ipad without noticing it was plugged in, so that didn’t really help.

So, I announced very grandly that I was done with Apple. The predictive text sucks, iTunes seems to destroy half the PCs I’ve loaded it on, I can’t use any Adobe products, and basically it is not Android. I love Android, listing to myself the little details that delight, like some alcoholic making lists of the best drinks. Actually, alcoholics probably don’t do that, but it’s something I used to do as a student, when I was able to drink more than a pint of cider without being totally tipsy. The list was constantly revised, and written in the front or back page of my diary, with bits crossed out and added as the seasons changed. Sometimes it was Glühwein and whisky, and then Pimms and Hefeweizen. Or Campari. And gin, that never failed to make the top 10.

Anyway, Androids are wonderful. You can download different keyboards, toggle between English and German easily (important for us Citizens of the World), save documents in a logical manner, auto-tag photos, use Chrome all the time (rather than most of the time but settling for Safari when opening email links), add a bloody attachment to an email without having to get the attachment open first.  I do everything online, and my phone knows everything about me.

So, when I decided I was done with Apple tablets, you’d think an Android tablet would have me slathering at the thought of all I love about my phone, with a proper keyboard and loads of screen space for watching movies or whatever I end up doing with my commute. The idea is always to use commuting time to write, but it very rarely happens.

I looked at the Samsung S. It looked great. Very shiny super retina display (I’ve forgotten quite what was technically special about it, but it looked great), perfect aspect ratio, separate keyboard that doubles as a cover, Sim card slot, MicroSD slot, compatible charger. I was sold. I picked one up in a SAmsung shop. It was satisfying, not too heavy, neat keyboard slot, about £800 including the keyboard. Then I went online, and wanted to check out the Microsoft Surface, which I’d heard so much about, and which a guy at work swore by. And it has a proper i5 series processor, not a mobile one. And obviously has Windows 10. Oh, and it costs £958 with the keyboard.

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So obviously that’s what I bought. A laptop. It’s light, and small,  and has a flippy keyboard, but there are almost no compatible apps for it at all. And a Tablet with no compatible apps, and a keyboard, is a laptop. The only thing I do with my iPad , other than occasional blog posts I often end up synching through my phone, is download the Times on the app at home, so that I have something to read on the train. The Surface has no Times app, which I discovered after I bought it, and which effectively renders it useless for its intended purpose of replacing my iPad and allowing me to do useful admin on the commute as well. It does other cool stuff like letting you physically sign PDFs on the screen (bye bye scanner), but as I’m not buying a house or doing anything else legal anytime soon, that’s more of a fun feature to talk about. I found and installed an Android emulator, but all that does it take me all the way through to the end of the Times app subscription, and then says “page not found”, when I try to pay.

So now I will still be using my iPad on the train every day, and I am fairly sure I won’t take the Surface with me; otherwise I’d be taking the iPad to read the Times, the Surface for a bit of limited company admin, plus obviously the work laptop I cart around every day. Plus my lunch, and my flask of coffee, and all the other random junk that makes my stupid commuting life bearable.

That’s my review of the Surface: great laptop.

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