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So, who types with the Surface on the lap?


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I am annoyed every time I read a reviewer state that "you can't type with the Surface on your lap". I am composing this post with my Pro on exactly that part of my anatomy. With the kickstand out and the type cover out, there is more than enough stability for me to type as fast as I can under any other conditions.

So, let's hear it from you who "lap-type"; the public needs to know the truth...
Any serious work is done on a desk/table. When I'm on a chair it's tablet mode for me. Although I must confess I have used the keyboard on my lap a few times.
Is it possible to use on your lap in certain positions? Absolutely.

Is it as stable as a traditional laptop, which can be used effectively in a wide variety of positions? Nope, and for that reason it's a fair point in a review.
Let’s face it, any laptop type of setup on a actual lap is only good for a burst of activity. This holds true for a Surface RT/Pro.
Other things need to be taken into consideration here such as the kind of chair a person is sitting in. Are you reclining? Maybe laying in bed? Etc.

Anyone beating up the concept of Microsoft missing the mark with a keyboard is a troll looking to stir a pot IMO (are they jealous because the Surface has one and the others may not?). I have seen such posts primarily common on iPad centric sites.

Yes, I have used it directly on my lap with keyboard but as noted it is only good for so long.
What does work is I have a laptop stand (?) for my lap that I use. It has a bean bag kind of bottom with a wrist guard and a flat surface that holds a laptop (and my Surface RT) just fine. I have used such a setup for hours at a time without issue/complaint primarily while reclined in a chair (TV on, beverage in hand, remote next to me, wife massaging the feet….. you get the point). However I typically only use this while the keyboard is attached.
I have tried using my Pro on my lap. It works fine but honestly I wouldn't use any laptop that way given the option of a counter or desktop.
What does work is I have a laptop stand (?) for my lap that I use. It has a bean bag kind of bottom with a wrist guard and a flat surface that holds a laptop (and my Surface RT) just fine.

Can you use a laptop on your lap? Yes. Can you use a Surface on your lap? Yes. Does the Surface need to rest on your lap differently than a laptop? Maybe.

There is a reason these lap desks exist and they were out long before the Surface or any other tablet. Not only that but there is a large market for them. Using a laptop from your lap is not ideal, period.

While it may be a valid point that it isn't great to use a Surface device on your lap that is consistent with laptops in general. This is only pointed out in the case of the Surface and not laptops which shows bias. A better line would be to say that you have to position the Surface on your lap differently than a laptop and that may need to be taken into consideration. Extended periods on a laptop or Surface are both better suited to the use of a lap desk or flat surface.
It's not bias to say that the existing form factor that we have had works better in this way than this new form factor that Microsoft is inventing.

If you think people don't do work from their laps, I'd maintain that you have fairly narrow view of work environs.

At any airport in the world you will see laptops being used on laps, often for hours on end.

I work regularly in the field and on job sites. I may be in one the cab of a truck, a cramped office, or who knows where else for up to a day or two at a time. Laptops work just fine in those less than ideal scenarios; the Surface would be a big step backwards.

Until someone develops an alternative form factor that is somehow better, the 'laptop' is, in fact, ideal for use in those times when a lap is the only available desk.
It is bias to say that only laptops can be used on your lap and the Surface can't be used on your lap. Both can actually be used on your lap. You may or may not have to make special considerations for a Surface compared to a laptop. You also may or may not need to make special considerations to use a laptop on your lap. It is fair to point out how the design differs from a laptop while using the Surface in "laptop" mode but not to blanket the differences as flaws.

People do use their devices from their laps but the position is not ideal. This is not about the device but the working position itself. Given the option most people would prefer to have a solid, elevated platform to work on (to their credit airports are stating to include counters with stools and desks for use).

Can you use the laptop as a tablet? The Surface can generally be used any place a laptop can be used so I don't see how it is a step back. It also has the benefit of not needing a keyboard and can be used with the kickstand or laid on its back to accommodate alternative positions. It can also be held with one or both hands and used with the onscreen keyboard (or split thumb board) or stylus. Traditional laptops can't match these uses.
The thing is, I don't recall a serious review where the author stated flat out that the Surface cannot be used on your lap.
The thing is, I don't recall a serious review where the author stated flat out that the Surface cannot be used on your lap.

Well that is the point some reviewers don't flat out say that you can't use it on your lap (and I believe a couple do) but they go out of their way to detail how it is inconvenient to do so. Laptops are also inconvenient to use from your lap if alternatives are available but some reviewers are neglecting to mention that instead painting a picture that "using a laptop on your lap is the model of efficiency and they way they everybody uses their device."

I think the reason this thread exists and what people who have been using the Surface are saying is that a) you can use the Surface on your lap fairly easily despite reviews that make it sound otherwise and b) that using laptops in the lap isn't all it is cracked up to be and given the choice that is not where they would use one. Because a) is addressed in an over the top manner in some reviews and b) is given as laptops are always used in the lap in those reviews that it paints a picture that is not representative of their experience and they therefore don't understand where the reviewers in those articles are coming from. I introduced the term bias to describe the discrepancy between reviews people are referring to that go out of their way to say how difficult the Surface is to use on your lap and their own personal experiences as described here.

Here are a couple of statements I was quickly able to Google.

One thing you cannot do with the Touch Cover is type on your lap.
An iPad Lover?s Take On The Surface With Windows RT | TechCrunch

The tablet's weight probably rules out a properly hinged keyboard dock; as it stands, the combination of a flappy keyboard cover and a kickstand (even an adjustable one) effectively rules out on-lap typing for all but the most determined of users.
Microsoft Surface Pro review | ZDNet

That keyboard needs a flat, rigid surface to work, and the average human being’s legs aren’t going to do the job. Likewise, getting the kickstand to work comfortably against your thighs would challenge even the most committed Microsoft fans.
Microsoft Surface Won't Replace Your Laptop - Forbes

And here is the worst article I have ever seen on the issue. When you go this far out of the way I think we have a good case for bias given that many points are flat out incorrect. There are a lot of good points but the tone of the article negates those and the it just comes off as silly.
Here's why Surface Pro is less portable than an Ultrabook | ZDNet

In contrast here is a critique that doesn't let bias get in the way and still makes the point that the Surface may not be the best lap option.

It is possible to use Surface on your lap, but it's not the most comfortable typing position, and you do need to get used to how the TouchCover flexes as you type. One option is to type with the Surface on your lap with the kickstand folded away. It's a reasonable way to use the Surface when taking notes, when you don't need to look at the screen — but it's a lot easier to put it on a table or a desk when you're interacting with applications.

Of course there's also the option to use the on-screen keyboard, and there I've found the split-keyboard option good for taking notes via thumb-typing while talking to people, or for when you don't have much space.
Surface RT: My week on the road with Microsoft's tablet | ZDNet
I was actually going to start up a thread for this same reason. I laugh whenever I read a review which says it is not possible to use a Surface on your lap, because I have and I do and I am only 5' 6" and there is still plenty of real estate left on my lap and the Surface is totally stable. Is that particular use ideal, no, is it possible and workable, hell yes. The reviewers were clearly trying to discredit the Surfaces awesomely designed kickstand in anyway possible. The other one I find funny it the lack of an adjustable angle for the kickstand......seriously, you are complaining about the lack of an adjustment for something that only the surface has. Fine, then my complaint with every other tablet is a lack of an adjustable kickstand, in fact, a lack of a kickstand period. Its something I take for granted daily, but the kickstand I a big feature on the Surface which is why it is so great.