“Is that a Surface?” I asked my friend who had just pulled out a thin device way smaller than a laptop. It looked like a breeze to travel with and she had brought it along on our girls’ trip to Barcelona. Typing furiously on an external keyboard linked to the Surface, she replied yes and began to rave about the many reasons why its amazing at home and on the go.
Oddly enough, Intel had just sent me a brand new Microsoft Surface 3 (powered by an Intel Atom processor) that I hadn’t had time to familiarize myself with. My husband is the only one in the house without a tablet—he needs one for travel, too—and I thought it might be a good fit for him. The thing is, to say he’s not technologically savvy, is an understatement. The man is a Harvard graduate and a successful guy, but barely knows how to operate a smartphone or use a printer for that matter. However, with a quick tutorial, he learned how to use the Surface 3 without my help!
However, I’m not going to lie—I regretted letting him take ownership of the device the second I hit the power button. Immediately, I fell in love with the ease and cute sound (that you may disable if you like) of the on-screen keyboard and how the screen is so shiny and big. The screen is bigger and easier to see than my current tablet.
Plus, with a physical keyboard attached, it functions more-or-less like a laptop and is much smaller than my laptop. I travel so much and with so much gear that every single inch and ounce counts. In fact, many classify it as a tablet with many of the same functionalities as a laptop… a perfect hybrid.
We packed up the Surface 3 and took it with us to Four Seasons Resort, The Biltmore Santa Barbara last weekend.
How We Use the Intel Tablet While Traveling
When Sharing Hotel Rooms
My husband sleeps much less than we do so this tablet saved our life in our (albeit very big) hotel room. It’s small enough that he can turn it on while we’re still sleeping and it won’t light up the entire room or bother us since he listens to it with headphones.
It also gives us another option for entertainment. If my daughter wants to watch something on TV, he’ll turn to Netflix on the tablet or vice versa.
Outside of Hotel Rooms
When my daughter wanted to cartwheel around the resort lawns, I brought the tablet out to check emails and research upcoming article topics (the resort had WiFi throughout). I can see it being helpful if I had to take my daughter along to a meeting (which often happens on trips) and she needed a form of entertainment.
On the Plane
Believe it or not, even small laptops with cases have a hard time fitting in airplane seat pockets in any class of service (depending on the carrier and the airplane type, of course). The Surface 3 is thin and can slip into most of these pockets with ease for easy access throughout a flight. The stand in the back makes it easy to watch movies with, too. Most domestic flights these days have in-flight WiFi that could easily hook up to the Intel Tablet.
I also recently read that pilots on Delta Airlines are using Surface tablets in the cockpit to help fly the planes. How cool is that?
For Helpful Apps
You can Skype from the Surface 3! In addition, an app called Network Speed Connection helps check the speed of a hotel internet connection which can save you from buying premium internet in a room or convince you that it’s necessary. Of course, there is Netflix, Boingo Internet, and other helpful travel apps to help you stay entertained, sane and connected.
When a Laptop Is too Inconvenient
There are times that I’d like to check a TripAdvisor review or something that would be a little cumbersome on my phone and I don’t want to wait for my laptop to boot up. The Surface 3 is a much easier way to perform quick tasks before stepping out for the day. It powers on immediately.
Or, Convert it to a Laptop
Like my friend in Barcelona, we just ordered a Surface 3 keyboard. The Surface 3 can replace my laptop on short trips where I just need to long on to the internet, respond to emails quickly or write a blog post. I have yet to explore its photo editing capabilities but I hear they are fantastic!
Windows 10 Is Easy
The Surface 3 is one of the Intel Tablets that comes with a free upgrade to Windows 10. In fact, I just performed the upgrade. This is what’s new:
- Cortana virtual assistant (Like Apple’s Siri)
- Action Center
- “Virtual desktops” See guide here.
- For gamers: the ability to stream games
- Bottom line: OS is clean, familiar, easy to understand and a wealth of new features
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What is your preference for traveling… a laptop or a tablet?
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