surface-pro-nfl-covers-boxed

Fall Means Football

Fall is a great time of year for sports fans. There are baseball playoffs, hockey and basketball are ramping up and football is in full swing. For several glorious weeks every fall, between all the leagues there’s a game on practically every night. When it comes to football, as Canadians, the CFL is naturally front and centre, but there are millions of NFL fans, too.

Just how popular is the NFL north of the border? Bell Media says that 18.2 million viewers watched at least part of the 2016 SUPER BOWL broadcast. That’s over half of all Canadians. So yeah, NFL football is popular in this country.

Microsoft’s NFL Presence

Many people don’t know that the NFL’s Seattle Seahawks are owned by one Paul Allen. And although no longer associated with the company (besides being a major shareholder), Paul Allen was the co-founder of Microsoft, along with a guy named Bill Gates.

surface-pro-4-type-cover

Besides that coincidental relationship, Microsoft has become a very visible part of the NFL. As the official tablet of the NFL, the Surface Pro has been seen in the hands of coaches and players at games since 2014. Many teams are using the Surface Pro in place of the traditional playbook. It’s easy to picture how a connected slate that makes it easy to scribble out ad hoc plays and notes using the Surface Pen while playing back high definition game footage would be useful. With the Surface Pro, coaches are able to immediately show players video of plays while they’re on the bench, communicate with staff watching the game from the booth, access game and historical stats, and other critical information—on demand. Players can take a Surface Pro tablet home to review information that’s published by the coaching staff, so everyone is on the same page.

The NFL also says that its teams’s trainers use the Surface Pro to track player health stats and medical records on the fly. The Surface Pro is also used as an injury diagnostic tool, running apps that can help assess whether a player has suffered a concussion.

Microsoft describes its relationship with the sport this way:

Surface is used by NFL coaches and players on the sidelines, in locker rooms, and at home after the game. Still, at the end of the day, Surface is built for the fans.

That emphasis on fandom segues perfectly to the package I received last week containing a collection of new Microsoft NFL Special Edition Type Covers for the Surface Pro 4 and Surface Pro 3.

surface-pro-nfl-type-coversNFL Superfans: No Need to Ruin Your Surface Pro with Stickers

NFL superfans are dedicated to letting everyone know their favourite team. That can go beyond team jerseys and hats to bumper stickers and the high tech version of a bumpersticker—slapping team decals on your laptop or tablet. The Surface Pro 4 has a beautiful magnesium alloy back, so don’t wreck it with adhesives. Besides, the built-in kickstand makes placement tricky.

Instead go with the ultimate NFL superfan accessory for the Surface Pro 4 and Surface Pro 3, Microsoft’s NFL Special Edition Type Covers.

Microsoft NFL Special Edition Type Covers Specs:

  • Optimally spaced, moving (mechanical) chiclet keys with backlighting
  • QWERTY layout with function keys (F1 – F12)
  • Dedicated Windows shortcuts, media controls and screen control buttons
  • Right click button
  • Enlarged, precision control trackpad
  • Surface interface with magnetic connectors
  • Built-in accelerometer
  • 29.5 x 21.7 x 0.47-cm, weighs 310 grams
  • Constructed from premium materials
  • Protective case when flipped to cover Surface Pro screen
  • Gray base colour, with NFL team logo including the Buffalo Bills

Microsoft NFL Special Edition Type Cover Unboxing and Impression

The first thing you’ll notice when picking up the box—besides the team logo, which is featured prominently in one corner—is the holographic, official NFL decal. This is the real deal and an authorized accessory.

surface-pro-4-nfl-holoInside is the Surface Type Keyboard. If you’re a Surface Pro owner, it will look pretty familiar. Constructed of premium material in a light grey, there are 77 optimally spaced, chiclet-style keys with an oversized trackpad. The keys are what Microsoft describes as “mechanical.” This isn’t to be confused with a traditional mechanical keyboard, but distinguishes them from membrane style. Whatever the technical definition of the mechanism is, the keys are precise, with enough motion and spring back that they’re very comfortable to use. They’re also backlit, which is handy in dim lighting conditions—like while you’re watching the big game and want to bring up the stats on your fantasy football team.

If you have a Type Cover made for the Surface Pro 3, you’ll find this one is a huge improvement. It’s much more solid and the keys have better spacing. Of course there’s the Surface interface and the magnetic connectors that let you snap the cover on to transform your Surface Pro 3 or Surface Pro into laptop form factor.

nfl-special-edition-surface-pro-4-type-covers

Because its a Type Cover, that means it’s not just a keyboard, its a protective cover that keeps your PixelSense display safe from scratches. And that’s where you see the NFL team log in all its glory. The logo is printed in bright team colours, with sharp edges and it’s splashed across the entire cover surface. Put on of these on your Surface Pro 4 or Surface Pro 3 and no-one will have any doubt whatsoever who you want to see playing in SUPER BOWL 51.

Who Should Consider Buying One?

The target demographic for this one is pretty straightforward. If you own a Surface Pro 3 or Surface Pro 4 and you’re an NFL fan, the NFL Special Edition Type Cover is for you. Especially if you’re currently using an older generation Type Cover. Anyone in this situation won’t just have the opportunity to show off their fandom in a big way, they’ll also enjoy a significantly upgraded mobile typing experience. Win, win.

Brad Moon
Editor Computing solutions
I’m a long-time electronics and gadget geek who’s been fortunate enough to enjoy a career that lets me indulge this interest. After 13 years as a product manager with a leading Canadian tech company, I transitioned into a full-time career of writing about technology. I’ve contributed to a range of publications and websites including Forbes, Wired, Gizmodo, Lifehacker, About.com, MSN Money, the Winnipeg Free Press, InvestorPlace Media, Shaw Media and—combining technology and my three kids—I’ve been a Core Contributor to the award winning GeekDad blog since its launch in 2007.