Things I miss on my Surface Pro 7

I’ve been using the Surface Pro 7 instead rather than my iPad Pro for a week now, as part of my Surface Experiment. It’s a mixed bag.

When you challenge your tools and workflow, there will always be friction. That’s why I’ve committed to this experiment. I don’t really expect to make a full switch to a Windows-driven ecosystem, but I want to know what it’s like on that side of the fence.

These are the things I miss, thus far:

  1. iMessage. Almost every contact I have that I text with uses iMessage. It pings on my phone so I have to take it out, I can’t answer on the Surface Pro 7 because it doesn’t have an iMessage app. I’m surprised how much I miss answering from a keyboard…
  2. USB-C, by which I actually mean charging through USB-C. I’m invested in that, as is just about everyone else picking up modern good-to-premium gear these days. The Surface Pro 7 has a magnetic (yay!) proprietary (boo!) power adapter, and I dislike lugging it around.
  3. 4G/LTE. Being always online on a truly mobile device is a luxury. I share my internet connection from my phone, but it’s a hassle. Yeah, I know, I’m whining, but I dislike the friction it brings. I don’t want my mobile devices to be reliant on wifi or hotspots, they should just work.
  4. Comixology. I read quite a few comics as part of my workday (mostly research but there are some enjoyable ones), and the iPad app is great. There isn’t one for Windows 10, so I’m stuck with the less than ideal web interface. It’s not enjoyable.
  5. Spark. So Spark is a great email app that lets me collaborate on emails with my colleagues. It also has a bunch of nice to haves, like snoozing email and the like. I miss it. I did give the default email app a go, and feel sorry for people having to rely on that. Even Gmail in the browser is better, and that is saying something coming from yours truly.

You’ll note that iCloud Drive and Photos are missing from the list above. That’s because there is a fully functional sync app, published by Apple, that just works. So I can keep working on documents that live in iCloud, as long as I have a Windows app that can open them.

There are a lot of other things that just work, like Telegram and Dropbox, and also the Affinity apps (although I have to buy them again). There has also been a few pleasant surprises. More on this later.

We’re about one week in. I’ll get back to you.

ℹ️ Small footnote, for transparency’s sake. Microsoft has supplied me with a borrowed unit for my feature article. They’re not (yet) aware of my experiment here.

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