For the first time since I purchased my Microsoft Surface RT last November I took it on a trip. The trip, which happened to be the annual Microsoft MVP Summit, was about the farthest I could travel within the Continental US as it took me from North East Florida to Seattle – basically corner to corner across the country.
The trip was painless, in regards to Surface RT anyway, and not once did I have to go and find a plug during any of my layovers or during the flights.
There has been much discussion about the Surface form factor and whether it properly fits on an airplane tray table but I did not get to try that out myself. I had selected a seat that had no seat in front of it so the tray table unfolded out of the arm of my seat. That means it was only supported by one extended arm and painfully out of balance. Attempting to type on Surface RT, or any other laptop, would have been miserable.
I am happy to say that the battery easily held up in use for the entire travel day which lasted from 6 AM EST to 2PM PST. In fact it did not go on a charge until that later afternoon in my hotel room. Wi-Fi connections were easy but you will always get asked about sharing your device presence on the network your accessing so make sure you select no – it is quite easy to quickly click the top box, which is yes to sharing, when that pops up. You of course do not want to be sharing your device and content when on a public network.
One great convenience aspect of travelling with Surface RT is its tablet form factor. During TSA screening these days tablets are allowed to stay in your bag while you go through screening and that makes for one less thing to remove when going through security checkpoints.
The Surface RT also used significantly less space in my computer bag and weighed less between itself and its minimal power plug. When I saw a guy sitting next to me pull out a heavy 20 inch laptop/desktop beast I was glad to be travelling light! He had to pack his laptop into his roll on bag it was so big and there was no telling how long that battery would last without a power source.
During the MVP Summit itself the Always On feature meant no waiting for things to boot up to share something with a fellow attendee. This happens numerous times during the week as discussions are held outside of the formal presentations so to be able to keep the flow of the discussion going without waiting minutes for a system to boot up is a nice change of pace.
I was also impressed with the number of Surface devices that were at Summit. In many of my sessions nearly 50% of the devices present were Surface either in the shape of an RT or Pro machine.
Of course many of the Microsoft employees who gave presentations were on Surface as well because the company, as everyone knows, distributed the devices last fall to all of the full time employee’s. They were used in most of the sessions I attended as well for displaying PowerPoints, photos and other services/apps.
The bottom line is that the Surface RT travels very well and I was hard pressed to find a negative about it during this trip. When you take into account its long battery life, its ability to be a device that you can get things done on and its tight integration with the Microsoft ecosystem then it makes a great travelling/companion device.