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Tim Trace (on this forum) has been doing for a while what you’re considering.

I personally have been doing most of my mixing on the iPad, but with the surface present. (R72 or T112) I don’t fancy doing the mixing on the laptop, but the iPad has multitouch capability and mixing is very do-able.

1) No complaints, no regrets.
2) The laptop will do everything the surface will do, you might consider it a “virtual surface”. You can only do one action at a time (single function) with a laptop. The iPad is only somewhat limited, generally in the area of setup and fx parameter changes, but makes up for it with the live (multitouch) mixing capabilities. There is a free demo app available for the Mixpad app.
3) I think using a mixrack, laptop/tablet and an iPad is a solid & reliable system. I’m getting ready to “give it a go” without the surface soon – for a (low pressure…) gig.

Strongly reccommend using a 5 gig router for wireless to avoid congestion issues in the 2.4 band.

Tim Tyler
Detonator Sound
Richmond, Va USA
T112/48 R72/32 laptop iPad Dir-815