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There are lots of computers in my house. I might have a problem.
I have one computer running CentOS (Linux) as a dedicated Plex Server. If you have a Plex server or are considering it trust me when I tell you Linux is the way to go. I have tried both Windows and Linux and it runs so much better on Linux. It is a little harder to set up and manage but it runs great. I am using a 10-year-old Dell with 4 GB of RAM and I never have a problem.
I have several older laptops that all now run Linux (sensing a theme yet?). Either CentOS or Kali. We’ll get to Kali another time. Don’t ask questions.
I have my main laptop which I call my beast. It’s an Asus Gaming machine but I don’t game. I got it more for photo and video editing. It has 24GB of RAM, an i7 processor, and an awesome video card. It has a 17-inch screen and Windows 10.
This is the closest I could find on Amazon.
I have had it for about 3.5 years now and it has been great. It’s so awesome that my wife often commandeers it to do her school work or enter notes for her job.
So what’s a dad to do when his wife commandeers his main laptop? The one he does most of what he does on?
The two Linux based laptops are not really set up for what I do professionally. They’re hobby machines and the kids use them for some things.
I also do travel sometimes and my Asus is heavy. So if I am in NYC walking around I don’t want to lug it with me.
Here’s what I decided. I needed something that was light but still powerful enough to do most of my tasks. I was not going to use Photoshop or some of my other more resource hogging software on the computer. Having something that could also act as a tablet would be great. I do like to read sometimes and having all my books in Kindle is awesome to me.
Yes, I do have real books too.
I did some research. I considered an iPad and Keyboard set up. I have tried this before and didn’t really like it. I feel the iPad is too restrictive. My kids have iPads (technically one of them is mine) and I am really not impressed. I am team Android.
I researched a few other models of tablet type computers from Dell and Lenovo. I was really trying to avoid going to Microsoft. Then one day I tried one.
The Surface Pro 4 rocks. It’s fast, it’s very light. It can easily be used as a tablet.
I made the leap to a Microsoft Surface Pro 4.
While I still use my Asus a lot I now have a laptop that I don’t mind switching to when the Asus is being used by my wife. I have a laptop that I can easily travel with and still have room for other things in my backpack. I do have to bring other tech toys too you know.
This is the model I purchased. It came with the following:
- 256 GB SSD Drive. I still like more storage space
- 8 GB of RAM
- i5 Processor
- 12.3 Inch Screen (very high resolution)
- Battery lasts for a few days on standby and I can easily go 3-4 hours of constant usage before having to consider plugging it in
- Very responsive touch screen
The detachable keyboard is great. It’s so easy to attach and detach.
I have had it for over a year now with no issues.
My only complaints are the keyboard is a little small for my big hands. I almost always use full-size keyboards so there is a bit of an adjustment when I switch to the Surface Pro.
And there is only one USB port. I am not sure if other models have more.
What Do I Use it For?
Of course, I write blog posts and content for myself and my clients. I wrote this blog post on it last night.
Google Chrome is always open with at least 10 tabs.
I have Office 365 installed and use Excel all the time, and Word when I am putting longer posts together.
I read books using Kindle.
I watch shows and movies using Netflix, Hulu, and Plex. The resolution and display are great for this.
I use it for learning. I have a few dozen courses to go through in Udemy still and some other stuff I need to get through.
It Makes a Great College Gift!!
I know it’s back to school time for a lot of families in the US. I thought it was a good time to share this with other dads and families who need a reliable and efficient solution for their college students computer needs.
No need to lug a desktop up to the dorm anymore. The Surface Pro is light and fast. The facial recognition feature is a great theft deterrent bonus as well. It recognizes my face quickly but prevents others from being able to log in.
I still do some IT for families that I have had as clients for many years. I have watched their kids grow up and go off to college.
When the kids go off to college the parents always ask me what would be a good computer to send them off with. In the last year, I have recommended the Surface Pro exclusively.
It’s powerful enough to get the job done, versatile enough to take the place of a tablet and a TV, and light enough to run from class to class. We all know college students are always late for class.
In case you’re wondering, no I will not help you salvage your old desktop into a Plex server.
If you have or decide to purchase a Surface Pro let me know what you think! Do you fat finger everything like I do?