iView: iPad, Chrome­book, & Sur­face Pro Com­pared

Por­ta­ble Com­put­ing 2016: iPad, Chrome­book, & Mi­crosoft Sur­face Pro

iPhone Life Magazine - - NEWS - By Hal Goldstein

Our com­pany started in 1985 with the pub­li­ca­tion of a news­let­ter about the first PC-com­pat­i­ble lap­top. The rugged, $2,995 Hewlett-Packard 110 lap­top com­puter came with solid stor­age, a bat­tery that lasted sev­eral days, a mo­dem, a suite of apps, spread­sheet, word pro­ces­sor, data­base man­ager, and the abil­ity to in­stall third-party apps. Us­ing that lap­top at the air­port brought strange stares.

Fast-for­ward 30 years, and I now own an iPhone 6 Plus, an iPad Mini 4, an ASUS Chrome­book Flip, and a Mi­crosoft Sur­face Pro 4—all for less than what I paid for the HP Por­ta­ble. Al­though my col­lec­tion ad­mit­tedly seems like overkill, I enjoy the dif­fer­ent fla­vors of to­day's por­ta­ble com­put­ing.

Most Used: iPad Mini 4

With­out a press­ing need, I couldn't jus­tify the ex­pense of the iPad Pro. How­ever, want­ing the lat­est, I re­placed my cur­rently un­used, orig­i­nal iPad mini with a mini 4 for its faster pro­ces­sor, bet­ter dis­play, and split-screen mul­ti­task­ing.

Al­though dis­ap­pointed by the lack of 3D Touch and the Mini's poor speaker qual­ity (the iPhone 6 Plus speak­ers are ac­tu­ally much louder), I love its light­ness and porta­bil­ity. I use it all the time, par­tic­u­larly for email, surf­ing the web, read­ing e-books, and play­ing games. I'm sur­prised by how lit­tle I miss the larger iPad Air dis­play and how much I pre­fer the mini's screen size to that of the iPhone 6 Plus.

Best Value: ASUS Chrome­book

Flip

For $239, I pur­chased the ASUS Chrome­book Flip at Ama­zon. Its 10.1-inch dis­play, built-in key­board and touch­pad, touch­screen dis­play, and 360-de­gree hinge al­low the Flip to eas­ily act as a lap­top or tablet. Slim and light­weight, the Flip fea­tures ex­cel­lent per­for- mance, im­pres­sive bat­tery life, Blue­tooth con­nec­tiv­ity, two USB 2.0 ports, a head­set jack, a mi­cro-HDMI port, and a mi­croSD card slot.

Rather than iOS or Win­dows, the Chrome­book uses the Google Chrome web browser as its op­er­at­ing sys­tem. With the abil­ity to add ex­ten­sions and work off­line, Chrome­books are suf­fi­cient for many users' needs. I turn to mine of­ten for sim­ple tasks re­quir­ing a key­board, such as send­ing emails or get­ting on so­cial me­dia.

Full-Fea­tured: Sur­face Pro 4

Af­ter read­ing glow­ing CNET and PC Mag re­views, and com­ing from the legacy of MS-DOS and Win­dows, I pur­chased the new Sur­face Pro 4. I loved its thin, light­weight de­sign, as well as its 12.3-inch high­res­o­lu­tion dis­play and de­tach­able key­board and cover, which al­lows the Sur­face to suc­cess­fully func­tion as a Win­dows tablet or lap­top. With a multi-func­tion pen and built-in stand, the Sur­face Pro takes on shapes that work for me at any given time. The Sur­face starts at $899 and has thus far ex­ceeded my expectations.

Which One Is My Fa­vorite?

I use the uber-por­ta­ble iPad Mini the most—mostly for en­ter­tain­ment and com­mu­ni­ca­tion. Mean­while, I use the Chrome­book for sim­ple tasks re­quir­ing a key­board and the Sur­face Pro when I need a true desk­top PC sub­sti­tute. How­ever, if I could only have one de­vice to ac­com­pany my iPhone, it would be the full-fea­tured Sur­face Pro.

Hal, along with his wife Rita, founded iPhone Life’s orig­i­nal pub­lish­ing com­pany, Thad­deus Com­put­ing, in 1985. You can reach him at hal@thad­deus.com. Check out Hal's new book at med­i­tatin­gen­trepreneur.com.

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