Tech Talk

Tech Talk: Switch to the Surface

I started 2019 off by making a big technology change. My ASUS laptop was showing its age; the Q key not working was the final straw. (You don’t realize how often you use the Q until you are without it.) One of my team members changed to an iPad Pro as his primary work device, and based on his satisfaction and my year of research, l decided to switch to the Microsoft Surface Pro 6. Overall, the transition to the new device has been very smooth.

Switching to a tablet wasn’t really a big leap for me. My ASUS laptop was a touch screen, so I could use my finger to scroll and digitally sign (although very awkwardly), and the browsers behaved as if it was a tablet. The major issue I had was that the screen hindered conversation, so a tablet was a must for my days full of meetings. The Surface, however, isn’t technically a tablet since it has the full Microsoft Windows 10 operating system and functions as a laptop.

I really thought I would get a Lenovo Yoga laptop until I tried one out. The fact that the keyboard turns into the backside of the device is a cool concept, but it felt extremely bulky compared to a Surface. The Surface keyboard is light, and the fabric ones are luxurious. The keyboard also acts as a case that protects the screen. Two improvements over the Surface Pro 5 are performance (the 6 is supposed to be 67 percent faster) and battery life (this one lasts up to 13 hours).

So far, one of my favorite features is the pen, which always is conveniently available thanks to a magnet on the side. If I want to write a quick note, I click the pen and my sticky note app appears without any navigation. I love using it to advance slides in presentations, and when using OneNote, you can draw and erase any mistakes. I’m not an artist, so I will have to learn how to take advantage of the drawing applications.

Many people ask for my advice on what type of computer they should buy. The first step is to understand what you do on your computer daily. Then, think about your expectations regarding video/image quality, ability to run multiple applications at the same time, storage needs and speed. These items all determine cost. I admit that my Surface was a splurge, and I ended up spending more on it (with accessories) than I ever have on a computer in my life. If you are thinking about purchasing a Surface, remember that the keyboard and pen are not included in the base price.

Did you make a big computer switch recently? I would love to hear what you selected and why. It’s been fun spending these cold, wintery nights exploring the features of the Surface. Now I’m off to research a new cell phone!

Sheila Burkett is an information technology expert and CEO of Spry Digital, an interactive design agency delivering smart digital solutions. Follow Spry Digital on Twitter (@sprydigital), Facebook (, Instagram (@sprydigital) or LinkedIn (