Why the Surface Pro + Onenote is the best note-taking/college experience on the market aka more Surface fanboyisms.
People have asked me why I love my Surface both on here and in class, so I decided to break it down. There are different reasons people can go into, but I can break down my experience with this device into three categories.
2. Active Digitizer
3. Form Factor
Onenote is the best notetaking experience on the market. Period. Nothing even comes remotely close to what this software allows you to do. Lets start with the organization it allows.
If you look at the first photo, you can see the three layers of organization. The first is in the top left, where it says Fall 2013. It allows you to create separate notebooks for whatever you want. I currently create a notebook for each semester that I have. WIthin each notebook, everything is searchable via one search box, even handwritten notes, which makes finding things you have written down about something in a previous section a breeze. The second layer of organization are the tabs across the top. These are the sections provided in each notebook. I create one for each subject and break it down that way. The third, are the pages along the right. In the first image, you see both pages and subpages (the indented ones). The pages are the notes on each category of drugs. The indented ones are charts of the drugs on each page, hence the name overlap.
Onenote is by far the most powerful note taking software out there. My school provides me PDFs/Powerpoints of each lecture. I can "print' them into onenote and then mark all over them. The next image (says visual motor system at the top) takes both this and the active digitizer into account.
In this image, onenote is now in the "fullscreen mode" on my Surface with the whole device in portrait mode. You may notice that now there is a lot of handwriting on the screen and the pens are pinned to the bar at the top. The previous image was on my desktop that had been synced with my surface automatically.
I can't stress the importance of an active digitizer enough. It disabled the capacitive touchscreen when the pen comes near the screen, allowing you to seamlessly rest your palm and not mark/move the page. It also allows fine markings that you wouldn't be able to do with other devices. This page, I didn't type, but was provided to me by my school. I simply marked on it and took all my notes.
On the last image, you can see the surface in landscape mode with two onenote windows open side-by-side. You can add linerules and treat it exactly like lined paper. Useful when you want to write things down rather than type them. Personally, I learn better when I handwrite as it forces me to slow down and actually think about the material.
The final point is the form factor. I bike to and from school on most days with a messenger bag in my backpack. Being able to have everything on a two pound laptop/tablet has done wonders for me. I've gone from carrying literally thousands of pages 8 miles roundtrip to just this small tablet. I don't have to plan in advance what materials I need to study that day, as I have all of them with me no matter what. The android application even lets me view the pages and type small notes (I don't have a device with an active digitizer to see if it would let me write on it). The foldback keyboard is awesome for me as well. 95% of the time I'm using the product, it's folded back behind the screen. But those rare occasions where I need to type something, a fullsize keyboard is immediately available to me.
The cons are the Surface are minor. The first is that the battery life on the original surface could be better. I usually get about 5.5 hours out of mine. That's decent and acceptable, but more would be welcome. I haven't used a Surface Pro 2, but I've read that has been remedied. The second is that the stylus isn't the most accurate when it gets to the edges of the screen. It seems like the resolution of the input is dramatically reduced. Not that big of a deal, and also something that I have read has been fixed in the newer version of the product. The last is the folding keyboard that I previously outlined as a pro. For me, it's not a big deal, but many people would be upset with the fact that it's pretty difficult to use on your lap. I've read there are cases and such out there that allow you to give it a more solid foundation, and the Type Cover 2 is supposed to be more sturdy as well. (Plus the Surface Pro 2 has a two stage kickstand, giving you more flexibility with the angle). This con doesn't affect me, but it's a big drawback for many.
One final note is that the MS warranty is amazing. I had a small problem with mine replaced it with a brand new one with almost no questions asked. The 2 year warranty was 100 bucks.
I hope this helped anyone that was curious about the product.