Microsoft Surface Pro for math?

I’ve been looking to replace our math department’s aging convertible tablet computers with something new for next school year. I was really excited about the Microsoft Surface Book, but found the detachable screen to be somewhat cumbersome. I also felt that through the process of pressing the eject button, waiting anywhere from 2 to 20 seconds, and manually turning the screen around, the screen would get dropped. The shell was somewhat slippery, and made it difficult to hold securely. So I shipped the demo unit back and picked up the Surface Pro 4 tablet instead.

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I like nearly everything about the tablet, as far as the hardware goes. The hardware really has a top-shelf look and feel to it. Windows 10 however, seems to be rather bipolar with this whole “tablet mode” thing.  It really wants you to believe it’s a tablet, but all of the traditional Windows features are still there, just more difficult to find now.

My biggest complaint has to be with the on-screen keyboard. When in tablet mode the on-screen keyboard seems to work as it should – most of the time. When not in tablet mode and external keyboard not connected, the on-screen keyboard doesn’t show up when it should. You can manually launch the keyboard, but that doesn’t seem to be a consistent experience. In fact, I couldn’t get through the out of the box setup wizard without attaching the $129 (optional) keyboard cover.

As for using this with our math teachers, I’m not sure I can explain to them why Windows behaves the way it does. I really had high hopes for this system, but I feel like I will have to train users twice on this system. For someone switching from Windows 7, you have to learn Windows 10 AND this whole tablet mode.

Perhaps I’m making a bigger deal of it than it really is but shouldn’t technology be easy? I guess I expected more for my $1300 than I got.

 

 

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