I Got a Microsoft Surface Pro 3

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And I’m surprised to say I really like it.

Granted, it’s a second computer—I feel permission to like it, because if the going gets rough I can always retreat to the safety of my fully loaded MacBook Pro. But as a lightweight, powerful second computer that happens to have all my Dropbox files, a desktop-class version of Google Chrome, and the full version of Microsoft Word, it’s pretty nice.

The Surface, like many Windows tablets, has an active digitizer built into the display, as opposed to iPads which just use the regular, less accurate capacitive touchscreen to record pen strokes. The pen is really accurate and very comfortable to use.

The one thing that’s totally unique to the Surface is its integration with, of all things, OneNote. The included pen has a purple button on its cap. Click it when the Surface is asleep and it’ll wake up into a special drawing mode. Click it when awake, it’ll switch into OneNote and give you a blank canvas. If you’re already in OneNote, clicking the cap starts a new note.

If you’ve never used OneNote on a tablet PC, you’re missing out. (That’s a phrase I can’t believe I just wrote.) What makes OneNote, in particular, a great app for my kind of quick sketch-note-taking is that you can select and move pen strokes after you make them, so you can just draw whatever, whenever, then reorganize your written/drawn notes into some kind of logical structure later on, mixing in typed sections, photos, or any other media you want.