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Surface vs. my 2-year-old laptop - esp. for remote desktop working

martpol

New Member
Hi everyone, this is my first post so please be gentle...

I'm considering a Surface to replace what my iPad currently does. Basically I got the iPad as part casual browsing tablet at home, part business equipment. I've never been satisfied with it as a piece of business kit, largely because of the frustrating experience of trying to edit Office documents (and keyboard issues).

So to get an idea of how Surface performs, I'm wondering how it is likely to compare - performance wise - to my current laptop, which is a 2-year old Acer Aspire. The laptop has a Pentium P6100 processor (dual core, 2GHz), 4GB DDR3 memory and Intel HD Graphics.

I use the laptop for remote desktop working quite regularly (using MS Small Business Server 2008) and it's a bit laggy but acceptable. So the key question for me is whether Surface will be to remote desktop as well as the laptop? I'm unsure whether the lag is a hardware or broadband speed issue.


It might help if I provide some other info straight off, which will all be informing my decision:
1. The key requirement for me is to be able to create and edit Office documents. I assume Surface does this well as that's its key selling point.
2. I need my tablet to be able to sync well with my office network's Outlook.
3. I'm not bothered about having too many apps available, though I do use eBay, Amazon, IMDB and Facebook regularly.
4. I have no need for gaming on my tablet.


Many thanks in advance for your help!
 

J515OP

Super Moderator
Welcome martpol. As bosamar indicated, RT or Pro will make a difference in answers. Here are the generalities though.

Surface RT

Will run similarly fast compared to your current laptop.
Surface RT can run remote desktop. If the lag is already acceptable it shouldn't be any worse but would probably be similar (it depends on where the lag is occurring).
VNC and VPN access will be issues on the RT.
No Outlook though you may be able to sync the email and calendar apps via exchange or use Outlook Web Access.
Office will be just as good as a laptop or desktop experience as long as you don't need to run macros (or Outlook as mentioned above).
Surface RT is killer as long as you don't need certain specific enterprise features as noted above or other legacy apps. These few items can keep it from being enterprise ready depending on they way your company is setup.

Surface Pro

Will be faster than your current laptop.
Doesn't have the enterprise limitations of the RT mentioned above.
Doesn't include Office you will have to install that on your own. This will include Outlook and macro functionality though.
Is slightly heavier and thicker than RT.
Has ~5 hour battery life (good for laptop but less than a tablet with a mobile processor, ~8 hours).
Has a higher resolution screen, 1080.
Has active digitizer and stylus for pressure sensitive accurate pen input.


Both
Touch keyboard works amazingly well and is a traditional keyboard replacement for most people. If it doesn't quite work for you go with the type keyboard or any other usb/bluetooth keyboard you want to connect.
Include kickstands for ease of use.
Include usb ports for easy connection of peripherals including mice, keyboards, printers, memory stick and memory drives.
Include micro SD slot for additional on board storage.
Include video out options for displays and projectors.

Basically you should have a great Office experience on either version. The RT will work if you don't run into the IT issues or need Outlook and macros directly. The Pro would be an upgrade from your current laptop with no loss of functionality.

JP
 

compnovo

Active Member
The only thing I can add to J1505P's nicely detailed post is that the Outlook Web App (OWA) works extremely well for my work email, and I can access my personal Outlook POP email via the web, so the lack of Outlook on the RT has never been an issue for me.
 
OP
M

martpol

New Member
Welcome martpol. As bosamar indicated, RT or Pro will make a difference in answers. Here are the generalities though.

Surface RT

Will run similarly fast compared to your current laptop.
Surface RT can run remote desktop. If the lag is already acceptable it shouldn't be any worse but would probably be similar (it depends on where the lag is occurring).
VNC and VPN access will be issues on the RT.
No Outlook though you may be able to sync the email and calendar apps via exchange or use Outlook Web Access.
Office will be just as good as a laptop or desktop experience as long as you don't need to run macros (or Outlook as mentioned above).
Surface RT is killer as long as you don't need certain specific enterprise features as noted above or other legacy apps. These few items can keep it from being enterprise ready depending on they way your company is setup.

Surface Pro

Will be faster than your current laptop.
Doesn't have the enterprise limitations of the RT mentioned above.
Doesn't include Office you will have to install that on your own. This will include Outlook and macro functionality though.
Is slightly heavier and thicker than RT.
Has ~5 hour battery life (good for laptop but less than a tablet with a mobile processor, ~8 hours).
Has a higher resolution screen, 1080.
Has active digitizer and stylus for pressure sensitive accurate pen input.


Both
Touch keyboard works amazingly well and is a traditional keyboard replacement for most people. If it doesn't quite work for you go with the type keyboard or any other usb/bluetooth keyboard you want to connect.
Include kickstands for ease of use.
Include usb ports for easy connection of peripherals including mice, keyboards, printers, memory stick and memory drives.
Include micro SD slot for additional on board storage.
Include video out options for displays and projectors.

Basically you should have a great Office experience on either version. The RT will work if you don't run into the IT issues or need Outlook and macros directly. The Pro would be an upgrade from your current laptop with no loss of functionality.

JP

Thank you very much (and thanks Compnovo) - that pretty much covers everything I wanted to know!

I'm talking about buying the RT version, which as I understand it is just a mobile version of Windows 8. (Although I'd appreciate feedback on any 'standard' tasks, if any, that are only supported by the full version of Windows 8 and not by RT). For now, it sounds like the RT version could serve my needs perfectly well.
 

J515OP

Super Moderator
Things not supported by RT.

Legacy Apps- this means anything you would normally install in your Windows machine, including Chrome or Firefox, Office (if you wanted a version other than what is provided or were thinking you could add Outlook), web downloads (java, plugins, device drivers not already included), etc. Basically if it doesn't come with it or come from the App Store you can't install it.

Office macros. They don't work in the provided version of Office.

VNC is a common one that people wished the RT did but it doesn't (at least not yet and maybe never depending on third party developers submitting the appropriate apps).


So standard is relative, the Surface RT can do many more PC tasks than other tablets but at the same time it can't do everything a PC can do. From the sound of your situation you will probably find the Surface RT to be a great device and capable of replacing your laptop entirely.
 
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