Microsoft will launch its Surface 2 tablet later this month. Now seems a good time to take a last look at the original Surface, a year on from its launch.
Earlier this month I attended BoxWorks, the annual conference from online document storage and collaboration specialists Box. It was a fantastic event - which I'd heartily recommend to anyone with even a passing interest in the subject matter - but it was also the first time I ventured overseas for work without my trusty Lenovo Thinkpad. This time, I decided to rely totally on the Surface.
Actually that's not entirely true - I also took an iPhone, and a mobile battery charger in the form of the Innergie Powercell because the phone leaves a lot to be desired in the longevity stakes - but the Surface was the main device, and the only one I used for content creation.
Like most conference attendees, what I needed was something light and portable, with a decent WiFi capability and good keyboard. In the past that was the laptop - and yes my back paid the price. By the end of a long week of marching around meeting halls and exhibition areas I've usually developed a limp, a grimace, and the early symptoms of a slipped disc.
But no more. The reason why I trumpet the Surface over other tablets, is that it can do so much more. Having access to Outlook, Word, Excel, Powerpoint, and everything else you expect on your work machine means I can write and publish stories straight from the conference hall itself - which in modern journalism means the difference between the audience reading the article, or going elsewhere.
The instant on and off means that I don't have to wait for it to boot up or shut down - so I'm free to leap up and grab the speaker as soon as he or she has left the stage, or equally beat the rush and be first at the bar (delete according to priorities).
And the decent battery means that if I'm not near a power socket all day - no matter. Though it has been maligned by some commentators, I've found the Surface Pro to outlast most other devices of a similar ilk - and it's fine for a day of reasonably heavy use without a top up. Which is certainly more than I can say for my iPhone 4S - but we're straying into apples and oranges territory there.