The latest news and views from Gibson Lamb

The place for updates on financially significant world events; our views on market developments; and news about our approach to doing business, including our focus on sustainability.

Computers, eh?


Date published

Last Thursday I glanced at the clock by my desk, flipped my Surface – a fancy pc tablet combo – closed and put it in the squishy travel bag before heading to the station to catch my usual train home. As I commute home early, I usually have lots of space on the train. Last Thursday was no different and I planned to finish off whatever it was I was doing to make good use of the travelling time.

I wasn’t entirely surprised the Surface didn’t wake up from its sleep as, like all computers, from time to time it throws a wobbly and needs a reboot. However, a few minutes later it was still lifeless with not a flicker on the screen or a whir of the fan.

Trying the obvious

I know the various reboot methods off by heart as all our team have Surfaces, as does my brother and father so you just get to know these things. Nothing. Nada. Dead. Even Google couldn’t point me towards a solution at which point I knew it was bad.

A Surface is a wonderful bit of kit but it’s stuck together with glue and if it goes wrong out of warranty, like mine, you’re stuffed. Microsoft offered to sell me a refurbished replacement, via an exchange programme, for £400 but couldn’t make it clear what warranty the new unit would have.  I suspected not a lot!

Researching the alternatives

Other refurbished units are available for around £600 from places like e-bay but there’s always the risk they came via Del Boy down the pub. A brand new one, admittedly the newer spec 4, is about £1,000 and, via john Lewis, has a three year warranty too (against MS’ 2).  The cost of a simple ‘oh it won’t turn on’ has quickly shot up.

As portable access to work is crucial to me I must replace it. I toyed with other brands but the best bit of the Surface for me is using it as a notepad in meetings because the built in stand is absolutely perfect. Nothing else offers the digital pen, the stand, the size and weight.  The Surface also has Windows Hello iris recognition and a magnesium case and therefore holds its own against MacBook users in cafes. Important stuff I am sure you’ll agree.

The extras

I’ve also got multiple chargers, a docking station, a wireless connection to our TV at home (which is brilliant for streaming films) and of course I know how it works. These add-ons would cost hundreds of pounds to replace if I went down the Lenovo or HP route.  I need Windows as an OS, so Apple’s stuff is out of the question before anyone asks.

With some hesitation therefore, I’ve replaced the brick / table mat that is now my old Surface with a new one. I’m not happy about it and can only hope this one lasts more than 26months.  I’ve used it more or less every day during that time, it’s travelled a lot of miles and been an invaluable business tool

I wonder if Mr Gates might read this and send me a credit note?