Microsoft offers only a few different Type Covers for the Surface Pro: the regular ol' Surface Pro Type Cover, the fancier (and pricier) Surface Pro Signature Edition Type Cover, and the Surface NFL Special Edition Type Cover, which will obviously appeal only to fans of American football.

Personally, I can appreciate a good game of pigskin, and I live in Boston, home of the New England Patriots, so it's tough to avoid football at times. However, I definitely don't want my computer to look like a tiny billboard for the home team. So, the choice for me when I purchased a new Surface Pro and had to pick a Type Cover was between the Signature version, with Alcantara fabric, and the regular Type Cover without Alcantara.

I bought both, to see which one I liked better. After using the two, these are my thoughts.

To Alcantara, or not to Alcantara? Is there even a question?

To be clear, the two Microsoft Surface Pro Type Covers are exactly the same, except for two things: that Alcantara, and the price. The Alcantara version costs $159.99 compared to the $129.99 regular Type Cover. Both keyboards are solid. They're perhaps a bit smaller than I'd like, but the keys have great travel and are responsive. And the trackpad, which is "Precision," meaning it supports the full array of gestures in Windows 10, is quality, too.

The Alcantara feels a lot like suede, but it's not made of any animal products, which I appreciate. For more details on this Italian-made fabric, hit the link below:

Everything you need to know about Alcantara

The regular Type Cover is made of a smooth, soft plastic. My palms tend to get a bit sweaty when I type for extended periods, and after a while I found that my hands kept sticking to the material, as if it was gripping them a bit. That's a turnoff for me.

If I'm honest, I don't love the Alcantara. It looks kind of "tacky" to me, and sort of reminds me of the material those big red booths in lounges and cheap Italian restaurants are made of. (I spent a good amount of my youth in such restaurants, and my family used to own one. So I know.) However, the Alcantara feels great. It's soft and my palms don't stick to it, even when they're all swampy. Of course, I've read numerous reports that suggest Alcantara does not hold up well at all over time. But it also appears to be easy to clean, which can apparently go a long way toward extending its life.

I pick function over form every time, so the choice was an easy one for me in that regard.

So, the big question …

Is the Alcantara Type Cover worth the extra cash?

Short answer: Yep. The cost of the "upgrade," $30, really isn't a lot of money when you consider that you'll probably be using your Surface Pro for at least a couple of years. That extra cash breaks down to roughly $1.25 a month over two years. Or about $0.04 a day. Again, not a lot o' scratch.

How you feel about the way Alcantara looks is a personal preference thing. But I think most people will agree that if feels great, at least when it's new. The plastic on the regular Type Cover doesn't feel bad, but it also certainly doesn't feel good.

The Signature Edition Type Cover also comes in three different and better looking colors — platinum, cobalt blue, and burgundy — while the regular version is available in more colors, but they're not as easy on the eyes, in my opinion.

The only good reasons I can think of to go with the cheaper Type Cover would be to save $30, which makes sense if you're pinching pennies, or you really don't like the way Alcantara looks or feels. Otherwise, spend an extra $30 and get your Alcantara on. You won't regret it.

Your thoughts?

Do you have experience with Alcantara? There's a thread in forums created to discuss this very subject. So hit the link below and sound off.

From the forums: To Alcantara, or not to Alcantara?

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