Surface Go – Three Months Later

Back in September, I bought my Surface Go. After using it for almost four months, it seemed like a good idea to follow up with how it’s been working out.

So, in a nutshell, I do about 90% of my writing on it. I average 320 words per day, which for me is a real achievement. I use my own eclecdec (of course) for the writing. As an aside, I have a link to the eclecdec GitHub issues page on my toolbar so I can, um, ‘report’ problems or suggestions as I find them. I admit I’m a pretty demanding customer.

There are a few things that make the Surface Go a great writing device:

  • They keyboard is outstanding. It has satisfying travel, and satisfying sound (without being annoyingly loud). Backlighting is perfect. And the size doesn’t seem to bother me at all – by that, I mean that I’ve never found myself thinking that it’s too small. When I get going, I type at roughly 80 wpm, and the number of mistakes I make, which is usually indicative of keyboard size or key placement problems, is vanishingly small.
  • The screen is perfectly sized for running Windows Store applications (full screen). The aspect ratio (3 x 2) lends itself better to writing than what’s become the standard size (16 x 9). This is best illustrated when writing (or reading/reviewing) in portrait mode.
  • It’s small. I can carry it with me easily whenever I think I might have a bit of dead time to fill with writing. I do have to get better at this – it’s not like a phone where we all tend to not-leave-home-without-it. It takes some conscious effort. One thing I’ve done to encourage myself to carry it is to buy a vertical case with shoulder strap. Sadly, it does give me a creepy ‘man-bag’ kind of vibe that I have to work through.

Here’s the current list of what I have installed (strikeout for apps I’ve removed):

  • My own eclecdec (Because my primary use of the Surface Go will be writing.  And I like eclecdec.  Obviously, it works well, being a non-resource intensive UWP application)
  • Office 365 desktop apps. (Again, unsurprisingly, they work well)
  • Visual Studio Code
  • Git, Node, Yarn and Postman (via Chocolatey)
  • Visual Studio 2017 (Removed since I found I wasn’t using it at all on the Go)
  • Chrome (Has real issues with touch scrolling. I find I’m using Edge more as a result)
  • Spotify (The Surface Go’s sound is outstanding)
  • Kindle for desktop. (Not a Store application, but it’s improved dramatically since I last used it.  At least now, you can swipe between pages.  Tip: by default, the page width is phone size.  You can change the width where you change the font and other reading settings)
  • Cuphead Never found myself playing it.
  • Ubuntu (via WSL)
  • WLinux (Replaces Ubuntu above. Great WSL, developer focused distribution)
  • InSync (An, um, ‘non-resource intensive’ Google Drive sync utility)
  • Microsoft Solitaire Collection (Because sometimes you need a break)
  • Candy Crush Soda (See above)

So the net, over three months in: it’s as great a device as I’d hoped. I’ll go a little further and say “better than I’d hoped”.

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