iMacs, MacBooks, iPads and iPhones…when it comes to my tech kit, I’ve had both feet firmly in the Apple camp since 2006. So why, in November 2018, did I choose to spend just over £2,000 on a top-of-the-range Microsoft Surface?

Although I use a Mac at home, I have never actually left the Windows world. Most of my professional work is done in Windows. I deliver training to users and support users on Windows based software (MS Office – especially Excel).

Although there is a Mac version of Microsoft Office, it doesn’t contain as much functionality as the Windows version. Most significantly, for me the business intelligence/data analysis tools are missing (Power Pivot & Power Query). These are tools that I use and that I offer training on.

Up to now, whenever I’ve needed to run Windows, I’ve done it on my iMac using either VMWare Fusion or Parallels – two applications that enable you to run an instance of Windows on a Mac as a virtual machine.

Until I got my 27″ iMac last year I was running Windows on a 2013 iMac with 16 GB of RAM. 8GB of that was handed over to Windows. In other words, when Windows was running, it had 8GB of RAM available to it. The other 8GB was used by OSX. Running Windows on that iMac wasn’t a great experience. It was slow to boot and it was slow to run.

The 27″ iMac has 64GB RAM so I decided to do the same 50:50 split. So when Windows is running, it has 32GB of RAM available to it. The other 32GB is used by OSX. The result…both Windows and the Mac are lightning fast!

Now before I go on, a little admission here…I did buy a Windows laptop a couple of years ago. It wasn’t a top-spec one. It cost me about £500 and really it was just to have a backup in case something happened to the Mac. When it comes to portability, it’s quite heavy to carry around.

But back to the Surface.

I bought a Surface Pro i7 16GB RAM, 512GB HD. This cost £1799. I also bought the Type Cover Keyboard at £124 and the Microsoft Pen at £99

I bought it from John Lewis, a large UK based department store. Although it was the same price as Microsoft, John Lewis offer a 2 year guarantee instead of 1.

Before buying the Surface, I did consider getting a 13″ MacBook Pro and running Windows within Parallels but the equivalent spec (i7, 16GB, 512GB) would have been more expensive and the 16GB of RAM would need to be split between Windows and MacOS.

In Part 2 of Beneath The Surface, I’ll cover what software I installed on my new device.

In the meanwhile, if you’d like to see the Surface in action, I did a video-based review on MacBites After Hours Show 0002. My review starts at 8 minutes.