"The Cloud” has been making promises to me for a long time. A concept that debuted before it was ready, the term “The Cloud” was coined in 2006 and promised that my files would be easily access from any device anywhere. The specific device I was using wouldn’t matter, I’d have the same experience and the same capabilities whether I was on my desktop, laptop or mobile device.
The problem is, these promises were made years before any of that was happening particularly well. There was some magic there, but it was nowhere near ready to run a business off of. So for the past decade plus we’ve been bombarded with marketing about how great the cloud is going to make our lives.
Something happened in the past few years, though. Encryption became the standard for internet communication, internet service got faster, cloud storage got cheap, and the software caught up. Today, services like Office 365 aren’t just as good and secure as old-fashioned servers they are more so. It happened quickly and a whole lot of options opened up for the modern worker, many of which organizations are just becoming aware of. At Protected Trust, for example, we use Surface and Microsoft 365 together to offer a complete workstation IT solution which is an appealing alternative to classic “managed IT” solutions.
What does the cloud have to do with the Surface Go?
The Surface Go is Microsoft’s smallest, most portable device they offer currently. With prices ranging from $399 to $549 for this 10”-screened device, they are inexpensive too considering their superior build quality and novel capabilities. They are powerful enough to run Windows 10 Pro and perform admirably as a workstation themselves, or as a second, more portable device.
For the past few days I’ve been using it at an accessory device along with my desktop computer. With Microsoft 365 on both machines seamlessly syncing my files to all my devices, I’m delighted to find there’s finally no hesitation when moving from device to device. If I start something on my desktop, I can keep working on it on the Go pretty much anywhere. And I mean anywhere. And not just laptop anywhere, I’m talking tablet anywhere.
Ultra-portables like the Surface Go are in a different class of portability. As an example, I was bringing some groceries into the office recently and just threw my Go in one of the plastic grocery bags and brought it up. My existing laptop would have immediately ripped the bag, fallen, and be broken forever. It’s then I realized I wanted this thing. Sounds trivial but having that many more options to stow my computer away is very liberating. It means I'll have it on me more often. Maybe not as my primary computer for some (if you're like me an need to edit video, you'll need access to something with more oopmh), but for just $400 this thing out portables a laptop and out computers a tablet. It’s more than enough computer for most people.
The Cloud makes it great
The experience of all your devices being continually synced to the cloud is transformative in business. In a given day I may use a desktop, a laptop, a Surface 2 in 1 and a Surface Hub all in the same day. Unless I’m doing video editing, I don’t really care what device I’m using anymore. Now, it’s more about setting and situation that determines what I want to use. Do I need a big screen? Will I be in a meeting? Will I be moving around? Am I working alone or with other people? Now I can bring the right tool for the job and not worry about which machine has what files on it.
What I use the Go for
For a while now the Surface Pro has been my go to device any time I’m away from my desk. The best use of it is when I need to read something lengthy. Sitting at my desk for an hour reading doesn’t feel right. The multiple monitors in front of me provide too much distraction and it feels uncomfortable. Being able to take a small device to a couch or park and settling in means I’m more focused, and better yet, more comfortable! In my time with the Surface Go I've found it be even better at being, pardon the pun, on the go.
I can take notes on what I’m reading and stay connected, I’ve got a full featured PC that can address most anything that comes up in a day. I’ve got access to everything I have access to at my desk except for my mini-fridge. I can be away from my desk without being away from work.
I haven’t gotten to travel with it yet, but I assume it will be even more of what I like about traveling with the Surface Pro. Having a full Windows 10 computer in a tiny, light 2 in 1 package is nearly as transformative as when laptops starting to become an alternative to desktops. You can take the Go that many more places without feeling encumbered, and that's the best part of the Go. Being able to have a full-on computer, more places, with less hassle opens the door to new possibilities you haven't even considered yet.