Alasdair, Digital Learning Leader. The DLLs are a group of students who are reviewing a number of portable devices at Senior School this term.

Blog Post:  by Alasdair, SSV Digital Learning Leader

For the past few weeks, I have been reviewing the Microsoft Surface Pro 4 i5 4Gb.

This is a 2 in 1 that is a tablet with laptop capabilities – portable while powerful. This means it is extremely versatile. It is a stunning piece of design, sleek and with a very useful kickstand.

This is a Windows 10 device, the full windows experience. This means that it runs desktop applications, not slimmed down, reduced functionality apps. This gives you the ability to do everything that a laptop or PC can do, provided the RAM and processor is enough for the application. I have found no problem with the running of applications, even SketchUp, 2D Design CAD software although the RAM is almost fully used when running SketchUp.

The remote access is very useful, and due to the increased specs over the iPad, it is as if you are on the school computer when you use it – seamless.

The note taking capabilities are phenomenal. The Surface pen facilitates this because it is precise and pressure sensitive, which allows your handwriting to flow. Coupled with OneNote, it is fully poised to replace paper in many subjects – it has all the functionalities of paper, and many more – and everything is stored in the cloud (so it is with you everywhere you go) on OneDrive.

The battery life lasts a day at school, but not much after, so it is wise to bring it to school at 100%! Fortunately, the battery charges quickly, a few hours, so this greatly relieves the issue of batteries running out of charge.

For those that like to listen to music and audio, the speakers are great. They are stereo with a loud sound that plays music clearly – great for video editing.

The interface and setup was easy and intuitive, despite some problems setting it up with a school/work account. The Windows 10 operating system is easy to use and simple to understand, one of Apple’s signature features, while still allowing the use of advanced settings and full control over the device. It is also much more compatible than the iPad, as you have a lot more freedom in how to save and send files, with the Windows platform being universal.

Microsoft Office 365 is fully integrated and works seamlessly on this device, a major advantage.
The cost of the device is higher than the iPad, with my model coming in at € 1.029,00, plus the keyboard. This is expensive for a tablet, but you have to think of it as a laptop, for which it is a good price, especially since it is a 2 in 1 with great specs. It is more expensive than the iPad, but it is much better and has many more functions.

Overall this is a fantastic device and I thoroughly enjoyed using it. It allowed me to take better notes, use all the programs that I need for school, and in the end replace my iPad and laptop at the same time!