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Last post Author Topic: Surface Pro 4 (etc); observations from long term use?  (Read 5691 times)

Dormouse

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Surface Pro 4 (etc); observations from long term use?
« on: March 14, 2016, 04:49:36 AM »
I have a Samsung Note tablet I very much like and use a lot. Use the pen a lot. The only other tablets that use the same technology are the Surface Pro and the latest iPad. When I eventually have to replace my Samsung, I have wondered whether the Surface Pro of the time would be a reasonable alternative. If it also replaced my laptop, it would only be twice the price overall and might offer more convenience in programs - though I have serious doubts about the size which seems unwieldy to use and distinctly not portable. I assume I'd need one of the more powerful models for this use but any comments on this would also be welcome.

w3bcrawler

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Re: Surface Pro 4 (etc); observations from long term use?
« Reply #1 on: April 09, 2016, 03:40:49 PM »
Hey there. I'm not exactly sure what you intend on using it for, but I'll let you know about my experience so far with the Surface 4 Pro.

I have a Surface 4 Pro with an i5 processor and 128GB storage - it's essentially the mid-range Surface 4 Pro model. I've found it incredibly easy to use and the screen is absolutely gorgeous. My only real issue with it is the touchscreen - with some apps, they are not exactly 'optimized' for such a small screen/high resolution, so some buttons take a few attempts to 'hit' if you're using the touchscreen aspect of it (since some buttons are very small due to the high resolution) - I usually just use the pen for any kind of specific pointing.

Otherwise, I'm absolutely in love with the machine. The sound quality and video quality is phenomenal, the responsiveness is amazing, and the versatility is hard to beat - you can either use it as a standard tablet, as a tablet + stylus, or as a laptop with the type cover. The pen is great, it attaches to the Surface magnetically, it has an eraser, the palm-block technology they use is wonderful, so is their handwriting and speech recognition.

I'd have to say it's probably the best money I've spent for a mobile computer, but it really depends on the context in which you need to use it. I've used it for playing games like Hearthstone and taking care of all my university needs.

Good luck in your search!

Dormouse

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Re: Surface Pro 4 (etc); observations from long term use?
« Reply #2 on: April 18, 2016, 09:19:10 AM »
Thanks. I don't really know myself.

atm, I have a Samsung Note 10" tablet. I like it, use it a lot, including the pen; browsing, writing, some spreadsheet work. Screen size is convenient for carrying and using anywhere. Is always on, so no waiting turning it on and off. Can do much of what I need. Limitations are insufficient screen space for some applications and not running some applications because it is Android not Windows.
I have a pretty powerful desktop with 2 very large monitors. Mostly I think I only like it because of the screen space and having a full size keyboard. I use it when I'm multitasking intensively or have to run a Windows program.
I do have a Windows touchscreen hybrid laptop. It works OK. But I rarely use it. Touch pad doesn't work as well as a mouse on a desk, and using a mouse with it isn't that convenient. So, mostly, when I have a task that needs a Windows program, it gets put off until there's enough to do to justify turning the laptop desktop on.

I think my usage would be general stuff plus spreadsheets with better compatibility with the work I do on the desktop. I would only do photo or video editing on the desktop because of the calibrated monitors (though maybe the Surface could hook into some sort of workstation). I worry that the larger size would mean that I use it less than my Samsung. And delays in starting and spontaneous updating waits would put me off too. Did I say I like my Samsung?

I'm only thinking about it now because there would be an advantage to buying it this tax year. And I'll be giving up one of my jobs in the next year and won't have the laptop and desktops that go with that, meaning that I can concentrate on just using my own systems.

I've found it hard to get a clear idea of how it might be in practice from the internet with the multiple complaints about problems and reviews being glowing but based on virtually no real life use. Your experience does help me weigh it up. I did have a slight veer towards the book version, as it seems to be better reviewed as a laptop replacement with better keyboard  - but even bigger. Luckily I still have lots of time to mull it over.

I think of it partly as a replacement for the Samsung, but am also aware that a lot of Android apps are more usable than their Windows equivalents; and cheaper.
« Last Edit: June 13, 2016, 04:24:38 AM by Dormouse, Reason: correction »

wraith808

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Re: Surface Pro 4 (etc); observations from long term use?
« Reply #3 on: April 18, 2016, 10:10:39 AM »
I've been thinking about getting a Surface Pro 4 or a Surface Book, so watching this thread with interest!

cranioscopical

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Re: Surface Pro 4 (etc); observations from long term use?
« Reply #4 on: April 19, 2016, 07:11:31 PM »
I've been thinking about getting a Surface Pro 4 or a Surface Book, so watching this thread with interest!
I too have some interest. I'm pleased to see w3bcrawler's remarks.
I'd own one by now were it not for what I consider to be an alarming number of user reviews that are critical of it.

wraith808

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Re: Surface Pro 4 (etc); observations from long term use?
« Reply #5 on: April 19, 2016, 08:21:16 PM »
I've been thinking about getting a Surface Pro 4 or a Surface Book, so watching this thread with interest!
I too have some interest. I'm pleased to see w3bcrawler's remarks.
I'd own one by now were it not for what I consider to be an alarming number of user reviews that are critical of it.


There are many execs at my business that have these instead of laptops.  I didn't get it originally because I didn't think it would be powerful enough for development work.  But I've been disabused of that notion.  It's apparently not in the same category as other tablets, and MS keeps trying to appeal to that market, muddying the message in regards to it.  It's never going to be as user friendly as an iPad, nor even of an android device, because Windows isn't that user friendly.  But, that's ok, IMO.  They should be marketing it as a laptop replacement period, rather than a tablet, because when you look at it that way, it seems a great machine.

Deozaan

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Re: Surface Pro 4 (etc); observations from long term use?
« Reply #6 on: April 20, 2016, 12:05:51 AM »
I want a Surface Pro 4. The only reason I haven't gone for it yet is because I'd need one of the more expensive ones for it to be powerful enough for development, and that's a bit out of my budget for the time being.

I don't think I'd even want/use an Android or iPad tablet anymore if I had a Surface.

Don't get me wrong: I like Android. But it's an entirely different ecosystem than what I work with daily on my Windows machine. I'd much rather have my daily driver in a portable format (Surface Pro) than the much different offerings available for Android.

Basically it comes down to the difference between ARM devices and x86/x64. I really want to like all these little new technologies being built upon ARM devices, but so far there's just so much stuff made for x86/x64 that hasn't been ported to ARM yet. I really like that a Surface Pro can run everything I'm already familiar with.


wraith808

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Re: Surface Pro 4 (etc); observations from long term use?
« Reply #7 on: April 20, 2016, 09:41:26 AM »
I want a Surface Pro 4. The only reason I haven't gone for it yet is because I'd need one of the more expensive ones for it to be powerful enough for development, and that's a bit out of my budget for the time being.

And those more powerful ones are laptop replacements.  They haven't pushed that enough, and have muddied the waters.

An example.  I just bought an XPS 13.  This was before looking into the Surface all that much- because I viewed it as a tablet, not a laptop replacement.  Even in their marketing, it's an afterthought.  The tablet that you can use instead of your laptop.  You can use an android or iPad in place of your laptop.  It really depends on what you're doing.  My xps 13 was 1200- I could get a surface pro for that amount, if I'd known.  And my use case with it- the Surface Pro would be more usable in more cases than my XPS 13.  Taking laptops to meetings is intrusive, IMO.  So it sits on my desk, and I take my iPad.    The Surface Pro, I could use at my desk, and take it to the meeting easily, and non-intrusively.  They don't market that perspective enough (or even at all, from what I've seen).

wraith808

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Re: Surface Pro 4 (etc); observations from long term use?
« Reply #8 on: April 20, 2016, 03:33:22 PM »
http://www.ebay.com/...797258441?rmvSB=true

Don't have the funds to grab it, currently... and I couldn't go with 128GB, nor 4GB RAM.  But a decent deal if the specs work for you.

Deozaan

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Re: Surface Pro 4 (etc); observations from long term use?
« Reply #9 on: April 21, 2016, 02:06:56 AM »
because I viewed it as a tablet, not a laptop replacement.  Even in their marketing, it's an afterthought. [...] They don't market that perspective enough (or even at all, from what I've seen).

My experience has been different. It's practically the first thing I see in their marketing:

Surface Pro 3:

Surface Pro 3 Marketing.pngSurface Pro 4 (etc); observations from long term use?

Surface Pro 4:

Surface Pro 4 Marketing.pngSurface Pro 4 (etc); observations from long term use?

« Last Edit: April 21, 2016, 02:12:13 AM by Deozaan »

wraith808

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Re: Surface Pro 4 (etc); observations from long term use?
« Reply #10 on: April 21, 2016, 06:16:35 PM »
I just bought two vcomputers from Dell after doing comparisons on MicrosoftStore.com  and was going to but from MS until Dell offered to price match. No reps tried to talk to me about perhaps I wanted to look at the surface.  And the site itself didn't convince me that maybe the time to look at it was now.

That's a fail no matter how you look at it.

Dormouse

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Re: Surface Pro 4 (etc); observations from long term use?
« Reply #11 on: May 13, 2016, 03:10:47 PM »
I think I have decided, more or less, to buy the Book version. Sounds as if it is the best laptop replacement. No one saying I would be mad, despite the price, and even a mild positivity. But I'll hope to wait for the next generation to be out. It might be better, and, if it isn't, the current generation will probably be reduced in price. And I'm unlikely to need to buy earlier.

Curt

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Re: Surface Pro 4 (etc); observations from long term use?
« Reply #12 on: May 20, 2016, 02:23:59 AM »
Does any of you guys use a Surface as your only computer, or is it "always" the transportable I'm-off-for-a-meeting one? I guess my question is, if I need two computers, or if a strong Surface will do?
 :tellme:


wraith808

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Re: Surface Pro 4 (etc); observations from long term use?
« Reply #13 on: May 20, 2016, 06:58:40 AM »
I think I have decided, more or less, to buy the Book version. Sounds as if it is the best laptop replacement. No one saying I would be mad, despite the price, and even a mild positivity. But I'll hope to wait for the next generation to be out. It might be better, and, if it isn't, the current generation will probably be reduced in price. And I'm unlikely to need to buy earlier.

Same here.

Does any of you guys use a Surface as your only computer, or is it "always" the transportable I'm-off-for-a-meeting one? I guess my question is, if I need two computers, or if a strong Surface will do?
 :tellme:



I can't speak from experience, but all of the research (including asking those that have used one) seems to point in that direction for certain everyday uses.  I haven't seen anyone say that they do primary video/photo editing, or other CPU intensive things on it.  So it would depend on your intended usage of your computer.

Curt

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Re: Surface Pro 4 (etc); observations from long term use?
« Reply #14 on: May 20, 2016, 09:16:39 AM »
I tried to order a Surface from Microsoft Store - Build Your Bundle, but I was not allowed to order one without Office 365. There was no option for Office 2016 or no Office.

wraith808

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Re: Surface Pro 4 (etc); observations from long term use?
« Reply #15 on: May 20, 2016, 12:07:28 PM »
I tried to order a Surface from Microsoft Store - Build Your Bundle, but I was not allowed to order one without Office 365. There was no option for Office 2016 or no Office.


It's a bundle.  You have to buy O365 in order to qualify for the bundle.  You can buy Surface without the O365 outside of the bundle.

w3bcrawler

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Re: Surface Pro 4 (etc); observations from long term use?
« Reply #16 on: May 20, 2016, 12:37:25 PM »
Does any of you guys use a Surface as your only computer, or is it "always" the transportable I'm-off-for-a-meeting one? I guess my question is, if I need two computers, or if a strong Surface will do?
 :tellme:



I use my Surface 4 Pro as a main machine and a mobile machine. I have a desktop that's way more powerful but I honestly enjoy using the Surface a lot more because the touchscreen and stylus make it really easy to read and annotate. The display is also stunning. For using it 'on the go', I use it for university. The charge lasts about 4-8hrs depending on what you're using it for and what your settings are (ie screen brightness etc)

I have the i5/4GB RAM/128GB SSD model, and it's honestly met and exceeded my expectations in every regard. It's also worth noting that I'm not by any means a Microsoft fanboi, but this is by far the best machine I've ever laid hands on.

Cheers!

w3bcrawler

Dormouse

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Re: Surface Pro 4 (etc); observations from long term use?
« Reply #17 on: June 01, 2016, 05:42:44 PM »
I read this article on the 'Sleep of Death'. Doesn't do a lot for Microsoft's reputation or their ability to sort Surface bugs out but wouldn't inconvenience me - I've never found sleep or hibernate reliable enough to use and remember having problems restarting sometimes years ago when I did try it. But further encourages me to wait until the next generation is out.

Dormouse

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Re: Surface Pro 4 (etc); observations from long term use?
« Reply #18 on: June 12, 2016, 06:29:12 PM »
Decided to buy now. Too much uncertainty over whether the next version will be out during this tax year. And I can use it now. And might still have business profits to offset in a few years when it comes to replace it.
Was going to go for the i7 8/256GB Book but in the end went for i5, 8/128GB; I didn't think I could justify paying 44% more, when I can just do anything needing more power on a desktop. I expect it will significantly reduce my desktop usage.
So hoping for the best now.

Deozaan

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Re: Surface Pro 4 (etc); observations from long term use?
« Reply #19 on: June 12, 2016, 09:26:53 PM »
Cool! Let us know how it goes. :Thmbsup:


wraith808

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Re: Surface Pro 4 (etc); observations from long term use?
« Reply #20 on: June 13, 2016, 06:23:26 AM »
Decided to buy now. Too much uncertainty over whether the next version will be out during this tax year. And I can use it now. And might still have business profits to offset in a few years when it comes to replace it.
Was going to go for the i7 8/256GB Book but in the end went for i5, 8/128GB; I didn't think I could justify paying 44% more, when I can just do anything needing more power on a desktop. I expect it will significantly reduce my desktop usage.
So hoping for the best now.

I've actually decided to sell my XPS13 and go with the i5/8/256.  Haven't decided between the book and the regular surface yet, so it will be interesting to see how yours goes, as I won't be fully ready to pull the trigger until the fall.  Congrats on your purchase, and let us know what you think!

Dormouse

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Re: Surface Pro 4 (etc); observations from long term use?
« Reply #21 on: June 18, 2016, 05:23:23 PM »
Interesting that you're going with the 256gb ssd. Locally that is nearly 25% more expensive, and I couldn't justify that. Instead I'm going with a big, fast sd card and a Samsung T3 portable SSD. Easier to switch the use between computers which I will be doing fairly often, and still cheaper. Also bought a dock, so will see how well it works as a desktop replacement.

Got pushed a bit into buying since my desktop was playing up a bit and my tablet suddenly stopped (battery I assume, and Samsung may take up to a week to get it back to me fixed). I didn't even think of using my ipad, which was an interesting comment to self.

My initial impressions of the Book are very positive. Best laptop I've ever had by far - though that's not saying a great deal since I've never liked laptops. Only installed a few very frequently used programs so far.

Glad I went with the book as Windows is clearly poorer than Android (and iOS, I suppose) for use on a tablet. But I have no problems with the tablet size, which is very nice for some things. The pen is nice, but I would have liked a smaller one which fitted inside as the Samsung does; the magnetic attachment may be better than the last version but is hardly a secure attachment. I think I will revert mostly to using the Samsung for pure tablet use when I get it back.

Otherwise, I can see myself feeling like this:
I'm absolutely in love with the machine. The sound quality and video quality is phenomenal, the responsiveness is amazing, and the versatility is hard to beat - you can either use it as a standard tablet, as a tablet + stylus, or as a laptop with the type cover. The pen is great, it attaches to the Surface magnetically, it has an eraser, the palm-block technology they use is wonderful, so is their handwriting and speech recognition.

I will update as and when I have more observations, but seems likely I will shift to using this most of the time for everything.


wraith808

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Re: Surface Pro 4 (etc); observations from long term use?
« Reply #22 on: June 19, 2016, 11:03:56 AM »
Interesting that you're going with the 256gb ssd. Locally that is nearly 25% more expensive, and I couldn't justify that. Instead I'm going with a big, fast sd card and a Samsung T3 portable SSD. Easier to switch the use between computers which I will be doing fairly often, and still cheaper. Also bought a dock, so will see how well it works as a desktop replacement.


Maybe you were looking at dGPU vs non?  In the same category, i.e. non-dGPU, i5/8GB/256GB vs. non-dGPU, i5/8GB/128GB, the difference is only $200 on the Microsoft Store, i.e.  $1499USD vs $1699USD.  It's the same $200 difference with dGPU prices.  It's only if you compare non-dGPU vs dGPU that the difference becomes that extreme.

Dormouse

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Re: Surface Pro 4 (etc); observations from long term use?
« Reply #23 on: June 20, 2016, 06:17:48 PM »
 :-[
I'm afraid I forgot completely about the GPU. Wasn't important to my use and I'd been put off a little by some comments saying that it made the balance of the Book worse. So my decision was between i7/16GB/256GB/dGPU and i5/8GB/128GB/integrated graphics; put like that it may not have been the right decision but I'm still very happy. If they can produce hardware like this, I cannot understand why MS didn't do it years ago; I hope they keep it up.

I'm being very minimalistic in what I'm installing. If I don't see a program as an essential part of my working ecosystem, it doesn't get installed (I'll use my desktop for the times I need those); happier to try programs that don't need installing.

On the Samsung front, they picked it up on Thursday (the earliest day convenient for me) and will deliver it back tomorrow (Tuesday). Seems like very impressive service to me.

wraith808

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Re: Surface Pro 4 (etc); observations from long term use?
« Reply #24 on: June 20, 2016, 10:33:39 PM »
Pretty encouraging words!  I hope you have an overall good experience with it.  And it's easy to look back on a purchase and wish you'd done something else... I do it all time.  But it really just matters if you're happy with it. :)