A few updates on the Surface Pro 7 that I purchased in November as a Chromebook replacement:
Downtime While Traveling
Earlier in March, when travel was still allowed, my family and I were out of town for a wedding. Friday morning, I woke up to a barrage of downtime alerts on my phone.
I grabbed my Surface Pro out of my luggage, booted up, and starting digging in. It was perplexing because our server was up and looked fine, but Detailed Image wasn’t loading. I immediately contacted LiquidWeb. They quickly diagnosed the issue as a problem with SSL stapling. Gloablsign, our SSL certificate provider, had posted a known issue. We temporarily disabled SSL stapling, got the site back online, and LiquidWeb scheduled a time to re-enable it when the issue was resolved.
The desktop environment was so similar to my laptop that I almost didn’t notice the difference. I would have been hindered with a Chromebook, which just reaffirms that this was the right decision (at the right price). And when packing for a wedding with just a carry on, the space savings from being slim and not needing a charger is huge. I was able to use my phone’s USB-C charger with no problems, aside from the cord being short. You probably won’t need to charge while in use, just in between uses, so cord length doesn’t much matter.
It’s Like a Laptop! The BRYDGE 12.3 Bluetooth Wireless Keyboard
One of the big downsides of the Surface Pro is using it on your lap. The lack of a hinge makes it nearly impossible. This wasn’t a big factor in my purchasing decision because I almost never use a laptop like this.
That all changed with my daughter home from daycare for an indefinite about of time. Now, I sometimes find pockets of time to get work done while we’re on the couch watching a show or movie. But I didn’t want to use my Lenovo ThinkPad X1 Carbon for all of the reasons that I like having a secondary computer: the likelihood of a 3 year old spilling something on it or throwing it when I look away is pretty high. Destroying my Surface Pro would be annoying, but nowhere near as big of a deal as if it was my ThinkPad.
In doing some searching around, I came across the brilliant BRYDGE 12.3 Bluetooth Wireless Keyboard. Normally $149.99, I purchased it on sale for $79.99. If that price seems high, it’s not once you get your hands on it. The build quality is A+.
Seen in the photo above, it’s a solid keyboard that adds a sturdy hinge, effectively making the Surface Pro a laptop. It’s not light and it doubles the thickness when attached, but around the house that doesn’t matter. As a bluetooth device, the main downside is that it needs to be charged (unlike the Surface Pro type cover). However, you do get a backlit keyboard and an apparent 3 months per charge, so the tradeoff is worth it.