How My Surface Tablet Paid For Itself In The First Month

How My Surface Tablet Paid For Itself In The First Month

A couple months ago I bought myself a Microsoft Surface Pro 7 with the intention of replacing my old iPad and using it as a real productivity device instead of one that is mainly useful for consumption and research.

I could not have predicted that it would pay for itself in the first month, but as you will see it has served me well since and continues to earn me money and so I want to show you the different aspects of it that make it such a great purchase for me.

It Runs Real Windows Which Allows Me To Properly Work In Real Time

I know that some people agree or disagree with me when I say that Windows has a ridiculous edge over the competition when it comes to productivity – but I stand by that claim.

Every sentence I write is an example of that since I run an AutoHotkey script that corrects and expands words as I type and saves me literally hours each day and strain on my fingers. Other operating systems do not get that, especially not in a way that is as easily extendable as the AutoHotkey script files are.

And then there are other things like window handling, the start menu search bar that allows you to completely forget about the mouse and so many other poweruser hacks that I rely on each day, each hour.

I used an iPad before I got the Surface for over two years and while I generally liked it the two devices are just two worlds apart when it comes to getting work done.

The surface being a Windows tablet allows me to run everything, the coding tools I use (iPad doesn’t let you do that at all which is frankly ridiculous), video editing and most importantly I can script anything I need to instead of being limited by a handful of automation steps that often fall short of the thing you actually needed to automate.

And as a last benefit the supply of tools and apps is just that much larger than you get on any other tablet since it has about twenty years of development for the Windows ecosystem at large.

It Runs Vs Code and Github Desktop Which Is Just Amazing For Productivity

While this is starting to become less of an issue with the upcoming release of Github codespaces right now it’s still too much of a hassle to run VS Code on any other tablet.

Coding in general feels very limites

In the time since I got the Surface I already worked on websites, wrote a good dozen different Python scripts on it and made code changes to about a dozen more existing repositories – and I also use VS Code for 90% of my writing.

It Saves Me Literally Hours A Week When It Comes To File Handling

If you never worked with either android or apple tablets you may not understand just how much struggle the seemingly simple act of file handling presents on either of those.

I run most of my daily work through Google Drive folders and the fact that they integrate so perfectly with Windows like any other folder is just huge for productivity and swapping between devices. Something so simple as downloading an image and editing it to then upload it back will take you minutes on other tablets while it can be done in under a minute using my workflow and will even do the synchronization automatically.

This has allowed me to make quick work of many tasks, especially once you factor in the option of automating tasks using Python that lets me resize a whole folder of images and optimize their file size for web in under a minute. In that time I don’t even have the first image opened manually, let alone done any resizing on it.

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It Allowed Me To Write A 1,000$ Post On Medium (And Most Of My Writing Since)

My most popular post on Medium is – funnily enough – about using your keyboard like a professional and all the productivity hacks I talked about. Well, I wrote that on my Surface using the exact same techniques that I talked about – and that post alone paid for the whole device.

I want to add that when I wrote it I had not a single follower on Medium, nor any other kind of promotional tool and the post just took off on its own so that was a 100% self-contained success that I still profit from to this day.

I Used It To Write My First Paid Freelance Writing Post

I will be out of a job in April of next year and so I have started a personal journey to become self-sufficient and cover my rent and food until then – and freelance writing will be a huge contributor to that goal.

For the first gig – one that I am quite excited about and that will turn into an ongoing gig – I did everything on my Surface – from the research over the application to the writing test and all further communication.

The pay here is quite decent for enjoyable work with great people – and so this will quickly pay for the tablet all over again as I continue to write for the site.

I get to work properly on the train to work now

Personally I could never really work properly using my company issued laptop – a great device at the office, but too large to fit onto the little folding tables. It always got in the way, also at 15 inches it is slightly too large for my favorite bag and it also weighs a surprising lot compared to the grab-and-go tablet style of the Surface.

Now I get to actually get work done when I’m in the train (and when it’s not raining and I keep gazing out into the foggy landscape) and that is just a huge boost to my daily productivity.

I Used It To Write Major Parts Of My Website Cms That I Use As A Portfolio Piece To Apply For Jobs

While I did a fair amount of work on JackalCMS on my desktop computer I also ran about half of all commits from my tablet sitting either on my couch or even out in nature when the weather was still nice enough to work outside.

I have found that the 13 inch screen size is not just surprisingly usable, but in fact perfect for mobile work and that it offers plenty of space to read and write code.

This is especially true when you make use of the line wrapping in VS Code (Alt-Z) and the Zen writing mode (Ctrl-K-Z) that give you plenty of writing and coding space.

Summary: The Surface Tablet Line Is Worth The Hype It Doesn’t Really Get

The Surface series is a bit of an underdog in the grand scheme of things which frankly does not do it justice. It’s not like nobody knows of its existence, but I believe that too many look at it and see a small, unusable laptop computer that also has a touchscreen and then don’t buy one.

Personally I absolutely love the whole device, especially when coupled with my favorite MX Keys Bluetooth keyboard that turns any device into a sublime typing experience and has replaced all my other keyboards since I got it. The mobility is unmatched, the drawing experience is great as well and the fact that it actually puts a computer in your pocket (well, bag) is just an amazing productivity enhancer.



  • Z Z Oktober 30, at 00:36

    Regards from a fellow Surface lover! Great post.

    • freedomadmin freedomadmin November 13, at 18:53

      Thank you! It’s a great device for sure, I love the versatility.


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