Microsoft Surface Go – for the win!

If you read my other blog about getting a tablet you know that the Chromebook wasn’t my fancy. So, when I returned that I needed to find an alternative. Rob, being super into tech and online shopping for all things technology, helped me find the Microsoft Surface Go.

I’ve been playing with this tablet for a little over ten days and I’m totally in love. It does everything the Chromebook couldn’t for my Cricut needs (I can use the Design Space website and download any and all the fonts I want) and so many of the Chromebook cons are all turned into Surface Go pros.

1) I’m a Microsoft user already so the interface is familiar and easy to use

2) the tablet is so light and easy to carry around – super portable

3) I really like the kick stand feature

4) the speakers seem more substantial (but I couldn’t compare them side by side so I’m not 100%)

5) I love how many keyboard formats it has built in. Depending on how I’m holding the tablet I prefer different keyboard styles and the surface makes it easy to switch between them.

For some, the usb-c port might be a downfall but my phone is already a usb-c so I’m used to that and already had an adapter to use for the Cricut (kinda like this one).

As for accessories I purchased, I got a Bluetooth keyboard and pen. I haven’t felt much need for the keyboard yet but it’s nice. The tablet was a tight squeeze though for the keyboard case. I definitely have to try to get it in there when I use it. The pen I linked to above was crap though. It wasn’t sensitive enough to truly draw with and, sometimes when I used it to click, I’d have to attempt multiple times to get it to register . Point is, no bueno. I am set to return it and have already received the second pen I’ve ordered.

This second pen was more expensive but totally worth it. It’s more responsive, feels more substantial, and even has a functioning eraser. It came in a legit Microsoft box and is the recommended pen (for a reason). It’s totally worth it.

Net net > the surface go was a solid buy. I’m even using it to write this blog now! If you’re in the market for a tablet/little agile computer for internetting/basic app usage/office stuff I’d totally recommend.

To Chromebook or Not to Chromebook?

I’ve always talked about getting a new tablet/laptop and when we sold our rental property in Savannah, GA I figured – what better time than now?

One reason I wanted to get a convertible laptop/tablet was so I could draw and import my own drawings into Cricut Design Space. I make so much with my Cricut that being able to easily use design space was super important. Other than that, I wanted to be able to do basic office stuff and cruise the internet/blog. My budget was ~$500 so getting a gaming laptop wasn’t going to happen (but that’s okay because we have other nice computers/gaming systems I could use for that).

So, with all of this said, I thought the Chromebook would be a great option. I’m an Android/Google user already so I didn’t think it would be a big learning curve and, comparing to other tablets, it still seemed to rate well for the price. Here is the Chromebook I ordered.

Once I got the Chromebook, a few of the pros were:

1) set up was easy

2) it’s set up like an Android with the Play Store so I was able to get a bunch of apps I already am familiar with

3) the stilus was light and easy to use – super responsive

4) the speakers were pretty decent – not super loud but enough for what I needed/wanted

And a few negatives were:

1) it felt heavier than I really wanted

2) I didn’t really like the flip aspect of it as much as I thought I would. When I would use it as a tablet it felt weird to hold with the keyboard on the back and it being so thick.

3) the screen didn’t always turn on when I opened it like it was supposed to – sometimes it was super slow and that was annoying

4) learning the chrome OS wasn’t as easy as I had hoped – they tried to be too much like Apple for me TBH (which kinda ties to #5)

5) the file explorer was clunky to use and, being that I’m a Windows person, not being able to right click and see further file properties/information annoyed me a bit and made simple things more confusing

Once I started to use it literally one of the first things I tried was to draw/write on it with an app I found on the Play Store and I loved it. There were so many brushes to pick from and I felt like I could control what I was doing. I was also able to save my picture as a image and import it into Design Space (super important). All in all, the drawing on it was a favorite. I’m not an artist so I wasn’t sketching or drawing so I can’t super speak to that aspect of it but I thought it worked well for the writing I wanted to do.

Then, the big bummer. Literally activity number two for me to try was using Cricut Design Space. First, let me say that as a Cricut user I can 100% admit that Design Space is so terrible and totally my leaaasssttt favorite part of owning a Cricut. It’s so clunky and crappy already but, the Chrome OS wasn’t doing me any favors. First, the Design Space plug-in wasn’t compatible because it’s only made for Windows and Mac. This means that when I went to the Design Space website I couldn’t get past the plug-in pop up. 😭 My only next option was to try the even more limited Design Space Play Store app.

The app is even worse than the website and this is when I learned I couldn’t install fonts on the Chrome OS. 🤮 It was impossible to just download and install them like I would on a Windows PC. I googled and all I could find was to download an app called “Phonto” and install the fonts there. Phonto wasn’t hard to use but having to type my text there (with its limited options) and import it into design space as an image (which I then can’t edit any further) is MEGA terrible.

So…. This setback did the Chromebook in for me. I literally “power washed” it and mailed it back the next day.

Net net, don’t buy a Chromebook if you’re a Cricut crafter or plan to download things (since not everything is Chrome OS compatible 🤦‍♀️).

Next up I’m going to try the Microsoft Surface Go. It’s a good price point, allows me the tablet flexibility (+ can add a keyboard if I want), and might just be what I’m looking for! More to come!