Re: Good for Students
@fjrangel1, thanks for the comments. You bring up a number of good points.
Regarding the screen's aspect ratio-- you're right: the Surface 2 is a terrific media tablet. It doesn't have the iTunes ecosystem behind it, which will matter to some people, but everything else is great. I've watched a ton of Netflix on the Surface 2.
If you like to watch videos with your tablet in a static position, rather than held in your hands, the Surface 2's kickstand is an asset. For the purposes you describe, I can definitely see someone preferring the Surface 2 over an iPad. But tablets have many purposes, and I don't think the Surface 2 stacks up as well with some of the other tasks. It's clearly subjective, but for handheld use, I find the iPad Mini and the iPad Air to be much more user-friendly, for example.
The screen-size issue is a bit ironic. The iPad has a reputation as a consumer device, but its aspect ratio is actually perfect for reviewing documents-- a trait that's helped iPads to become popular in the workplace. At the same time, the boxier aspect ratio can detract from on the device's alleged core strengths-- media consumption. With an iPad, you're sometimes forced to choose between viewing content at the desired resolution, the desired size, or the desired aspect ratio.
The Surface 2, meanwhile, has a reputation as a "productivity" tablet, but its screen is arguably better suited to watching movies than the iPad's, , as noted above. So in a small but noteworthy way, both devices defy their reputations.
I'm a little surprised to hear you don't find the keyboard cramped-- but again, it's subjective. I have medium-sized hands, and it's my job to produce a couple thousand words worth of content daily, so my relationship with keyboards is going to be different than those of many IW readers. As noted in the article, I think the Type Cover is perfectly usable, but I wouldn't recommend relying on it if heavy typing is part of your routine.
Ultimately, I think your positive experience with the Surface reaffirms that it can be a terrific device depending on your needs. For certain use cases, it's clearly better than other options, from small laptops to iPads. I still suspect the Surface will attract only a niche audience, as the areas in which it excels don't necessarily offset the ways in which other options are more desirable. But it's always possible I'm underestimating things.