A True Tablet/Laptop Hybrid Arrives

With Christmas fast approaching I wanted to write one more time before the end of the year about Microsoft Surface line of tablets. This is truly the first affordable and usable tablet/laptop hybrid available today.

There are two distinct versions here so be aware of the differences before you decide to purchase one.

First there is the Surface RT (gen 1) or Surface 2 (gen 2). This version does not run Windows Pro and therefore you can not run native Windows applications and you are restricted to the Windows Store for your applications. However this one does come with Microsoft Word, Excel, PowerPoint and Outlook pre-installed. If you primarily only use your tablet for Microsoft Office services, email and internet this one can be found for under $300 (RT) and $449 (Surface 2).

The more powerful (and expansive) version is the Surface Pro (gen 1) and Surface Pro 2 (gen 2). Here you get everything that comes with the RT or Surface 2 but because it is running full Windows 8.1 you can run any native Windows application. This one starts at $899.

For me I have the Surface Pro 2 and during my recent vacation away from the office I was able to travel with this exclusively with no need to also drag along a laptop. This is a big deal to me because I often have to work on the road, connect in to various workstations and servers to provide remote support. I was called upon to do this several times this past trip and the Surface Pro 2 performed admirably. What a sense of freedom it was to only have to bring this small form factor tablet/PC with me!  I have never before found anything that could handle these tasks outside of a laptop. Because this also acts as a tablet you can get away with leaving your iPAD behind as well.

The Surface Pro and Surface Pro 2 can also be connected to a dock ($199) at your office which when connected to your local network can act as an office PC. When you work day is done you simply disconnect from the dock and travel how with your tablet/PC.

The dock has plenty of USB ports, video/audio out, LAN and is self powered.
The Surface sits very nice in the dock and connects by pushing the 2 sides in.
Once connected you can use your Surface on your local network.
With the dock you can of course use a large monitor, keyboard, mouse and external speakers. This is a great setup for your office and allows you to truly have a travelling office.
If someone is looking for a good laptop/tablet hybrid this is what I currently recommend

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