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Part of a ZDNet Special Feature: PC Upgrade Redux: Can Windows 10 Help?

Windows 10: Pushing my MacBook and iPad aside

The versatility of Windows 10 is gradually pushing my MacBook Air and iPad Air 2 to the side. This was unexpected and a testament to how good Windows 10 has become in such a short time.

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I bought the Surface 3 primarily because it shipped with Windows 10. I wanted to get serious hands-on time with the latest version of Windows and the hardware of the Surface 3 seemed to be a good way to do that. A long-time MacBook user, what I didn't expect to happen was Windows 10 pushing the MacBook aside.

I now use the Surface 3 every day, and while I haven't retired the iPad or the MacBook Air I find I don't miss them when using Microsoft's device. I've given a lot of thought as to why that is, and it comes down to the versatility of Windows 10.

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Windows 10 has grown on me rapidly. This may be partly because it's the shiny new OS on the block, but only to a small degree. The bigger factor is how I can interact with Windows 10 in a variety of ways that fits my mobile routine.

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I can use the Surface 3 by touch, with the keyboard and trackpad, with a mouse, and with the Surface Pen. When it's better to reach up and touch the display I can do that. I can run Windows with the trackpad when that better fits what I am doing. When precision is the call of the day I unfold the Arc Touch Mouse and get busy. While I don't do so as much as I thought I might, the pen is always there for handwritten input.

This versatility works so well because it is natural in practice. I don't have to think about it; I just do things the best way at the time. This is due to the wide range of capability that Microsoft has built into Windows 10. There are several ways to do most things, and the Surface 3 takes full advantage of them. To quote a common statement about the Apple world, Windows 10 "just works".

Regularly used features -- e. g. Start Menu, Settings, Task View -- can be invoked in multiple ways. Tapping on the screen, entering a key command, or making a gesture on the trackpad all become second nature quickly. It's not only efficient, it's fun to use.

The Edge browser in Windows 10 was pretty buggy at first, but it's evolved nicely. I now use it almost exclusively, with only the rare jump into Chrome for a couple of sites that have trouble in Edge. The poor situation with Windows apps is largely offset by the web versions of the ones I need, and Edge fills that void.

Taking over the work desk and the gear bag

While I am carrying the Surface 3 daily instead of an iPad or MacBook, it's not just mobile use that it's taking over. I have traditionally used the MacBook Air as my desktop system, but now find I miss the Surface and Windows 10 when doing so. I am regularly putting the OS X system aside and using Windows in that role.

This surprises no one more than it does me. When I started using the Surface 3 and Windows 10 I figured it would be just another device in my daily mobile gear rotation. I like using a variety of gadgets in this role and to keep familiar with advances in all of the mobile platforms. I never thought I would head out to work nearly every day with the Surface 3 in the bag, but that is what is happening.

Microsoft has done a great job with Windows 10, especially with how it has integrated with the Surface 3. It's not perfect but then it's early days in the evolution of the OS. It is already surprisingly good, and that has gotten my full attention.

I'm not going to dump OS X nor iOS; covering them is what I do. I am looking forward to El Capitan, and find the iOS 9 public beta to be a great update on the iPad. But I don't miss them when I leave them behind, and that indicates a big step forward for Windows.

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