Home | Blog | Software | Reviews and Features | Forum | Help | Donate | About us
topbanner_forum
  *

avatar image

Welcome, Guest. Please login or register.
Did you miss your activation email?

Login with username, password and session length
  • December 08, 2016, 12:06:15 AM
  • Proudly celebrating 10 years online.
  • Donate now to become a lifetime supporting member of the site and get a non-expiring license key for all of our programs.
  • donate

Last post Author Topic: Surface Pro 4 (etc); observations from long term use?  (Read 5653 times)

Deozaan

  • Charter Member
  • Joined in 2006
  • ***
  • Points: 1
  • Posts: 7,716
    • View Profile
    • The Blog of Deozaan
    • Read more about this member.
    • Donate to Member
Re: Surface Pro 4 (etc); observations from long term use?
« Reply #25 on: June 21, 2016, 12:50:05 AM »
Surface Pro 4 is on sale for $50-$150 cheaper than usual:

Surface Pro 4 Sale: Microsoft Offers $50 To $150 Discount


wraith808

  • Supporting Member
  • Joined in 2006
  • **
  • Posts: 8,406
  • "In my dreams, I always do it right."
    • View Profile
    • Donate to Member
Re: Surface Pro 4 (etc); observations from long term use?
« Reply #26 on: June 21, 2016, 07:23:48 AM »
They run those fairly often, truthfully, which is why I haven't posted them.

Deozaan

  • Charter Member
  • Joined in 2006
  • ***
  • Points: 1
  • Posts: 7,716
    • View Profile
    • The Blog of Deozaan
    • Read more about this member.
    • Donate to Member
Re: Surface Pro 4 (etc); observations from long term use?
« Reply #27 on: June 21, 2016, 05:00:19 PM »
You're right. I'd seen them before but didn't remember them being discounted so much ($150). But now that I think about it, maybe that's the usual discount.


Dormouse

  • Supporting Member
  • Joined in 2007
  • **
  • Posts: 1,044
    • View Profile
    • Donate to Member
Re: Surface Pro 4 (etc); observations from long term use?
« Reply #28 on: July 08, 2016, 01:56:12 PM »
Have come across my first major problem.
The failure of the dock to work with my monitors. Seems to be a common and well known problem.
My monitors are not on the list of monitors that don't work, but not on the list of monitors that should either.
I got one to work (once) by connecting it directly and then back to the dock. But it stopped when I switched it from duplicating to extending screen. Hasn't worked since. And the other  (identical) model has never worked on the dock or on the Book directly.
Means I cannot use the Book as I intended, and the dock isn't very useful at all. Might send them both back.

Shades

  • Member
  • Joined in 2006
  • **
  • Posts: 2,099
    • View Profile
    • Donate to Member
Re: Surface Pro 4 (etc); observations from long term use?
« Reply #29 on: July 08, 2016, 08:20:44 PM »
@ Dormouse:
If you used DVI cables to do the connecting...there are many DVI protocols out now. In theory all of them are backwards compatible, but in practice there are a lot of issues that do spoil the "fun" of interconnecting devices.

Those old DSUB (xVGA) cables, without any hint of DRM measures built into that standard, give you much less headaches like this. Likely your Surface and/or dock has a much more modern version of DVI onboard which could be conflicting with the old(er) HDMI ports on your monitors. The HDMI standard isn't that much better in this regard.

Dormouse

  • Supporting Member
  • Joined in 2007
  • **
  • Posts: 1,044
    • View Profile
    • Donate to Member
Re: Surface Pro 4 (etc); observations from long term use?
« Reply #30 on: July 10, 2016, 03:07:06 PM »
Thanks.
It has been a real pig to deal with and isn't stable.
The ports on the Surface and dock are mini displayport.
I have been through connections via Displayport, HDMI, DVI and VGA on the monitors.
Nothing worked initially on the dock. But I got them (mostly) to work direct. And sometimes they would then work on the dock. Though not necessarily twice. And not at the correct resolution.
I now have 2 monitors working from the dock. One on DVI and one on VGA. Not at the optimum resolution but functioning. Although the function has been coming and going. I can live with this although it is not what I planned and may not prove reliable.

Would have been easy to be diverted by Internet memes that said my intended monitors  (I switched one out. I hadn't got it working but may have been able to but changed my mind about which monitors to use.) didn't work on W10. I knew they did because they did before.

So, sort of OK for now. Judgement suspended.

wraith808

  • Supporting Member
  • Joined in 2006
  • **
  • Posts: 8,406
  • "In my dreams, I always do it right."
    • View Profile
    • Donate to Member
Re: Surface Pro 4 (etc); observations from long term use?
« Reply #31 on: July 10, 2016, 08:36:07 PM »
It has been a real pig to deal with and isn't stable.

Are we talking about just the monitors?  Or the device in general?

Dormouse

  • Supporting Member
  • Joined in 2007
  • **
  • Posts: 1,044
    • View Profile
    • Donate to Member
Re: Surface Pro 4 (etc); observations from long term use?
« Reply #32 on: July 11, 2016, 03:17:15 AM »
Device in general remains really nice.

Apart from the monitor issue, the dock usually works.
The monitor issue has really irritated me. Seems to be a widespread issue affecting many monitors and makes, and should,  I  would have thought, have been fixable but no sign of MS doing so. It would be easier if it worked or didn't work but when a solution works sometimes, but not always, you can never sit down to work knowing it will be there.

I've switched one of my big monitors back to my desktop.  Probably a better idea tbh. I can manage OK with the current set up so long as it keeps working and keeps its settings. Maybe I'd have fewer resolution problems if I'd got the graphics card option but saw nothing on the Internet to suggest that.

Dormouse

  • Supporting Member
  • Joined in 2007
  • **
  • Posts: 1,044
    • View Profile
    • Donate to Member
Re: Surface Pro 4 (etc); observations from long term use?
« Reply #33 on: August 09, 2016, 03:19:56 PM »
I think, maybe, I might have found a working solution.

The setup described above stopped working completely, let alone just being unreliable. I think I have tried every known type of cable, adapter and interface (active and passive) but the Surface Dock never simply worked/s with them although there have been occasional glimmers of function. Latest drivers and Windows OS installed. I considered getting other monitors; would probably have been cheaper in the end than all the cables and adapters etc but would have been a relatively big expense in one lump and I had no faith that even an approved monitor would work.

I found that the Surface was becoming by far my least used device. I used my Samsung Note extensively - a better tablet anyway - and also used my desktop quite a lot. And the Surface only when there was no alternative. A much nicer device than my other laptop but equally under utilised.

But now, I hope, (and actually believe) I have a solution. I have attached another dock. This time a Plugable USB dock. I attached it first to the Surface and then to the Surface Dock and it simply worked as if working was never something to be questioned. I am using both docks mostly because I have them both, but prefer to avoid regularly attaching and detaching the dock to the USB port; the MS magnetic charger/connector is easily attached and detached without any mechanical stress on the port. It is very early days, and it might turn round and bite me, but it feels stable just as it ought to be.

It will mean I use the Surface very much more. I've been happy to use it for portability and when I'm just doing one thing, but I really like a lot of screen space for my usual multitasking.

Dormouse

  • Supporting Member
  • Joined in 2007
  • **
  • Posts: 1,044
    • View Profile
    • Donate to Member
Re: Surface Pro 4 (etc); observations from long term use?
« Reply #34 on: August 18, 2016, 11:29:36 AM »
And has carried on working.
Bought a mouse/keyboard combo just to use with it (Logitech MX800). Tried a cheaper one first (but mouse button didn't work) and then the MX800 (but had to return it because the i key didn't work - but knew it was a much better option for me). And in doing that worked out why the Dock was such a big issue for me.

I spend a lot of time leaning back in my chair, keyboard on lap, mouse on chair arm. Eyes about 4 or 5 feet from the screen. I use the backwards/forwards/zoom controls on the mouse all the time. Productivity slumps if I can't do it.

So now using the Surface most of the time as my main computer, though it still doesn't displace the Samsung. Happy bunny  :)
 

wraith808

  • Supporting Member
  • Joined in 2006
  • **
  • Posts: 8,406
  • "In my dreams, I always do it right."
    • View Profile
    • Donate to Member
Re: Surface Pro 4 (etc); observations from long term use?
« Reply #35 on: September 19, 2016, 12:53:30 PM »
So, I think I've made a decision, and will probably purchase this week.  But not a Surface, surprisingly.

I'm going for a Samsung Galaxy TabPro S.  I started to look at what I wanted to use it for.  Honestly, it will be mostly for light coding, markdown, writing, browsing, and reading.  With that in mind, a 4GB, 128GB, i3 or i5 is more than enough.  And in those specs, I can get something better than the Surface, for less.  I've used Samsung products in that niche before on Android, and I like them.  And the fact that it includes the cover and the keyboard in a lower price...

I've heard murmurings that the S2 will be out soon, but not sure that I want to wait- we know how amorphous 'soon' is.

Deozaan

  • Charter Member
  • Joined in 2006
  • ***
  • Points: 1
  • Posts: 7,716
    • View Profile
    • The Blog of Deozaan
    • Read more about this member.
    • Donate to Member
Re: Surface Pro 4 (etc); observations from long term use?
« Reply #36 on: September 19, 2016, 01:27:26 PM »
I've heard murmurings that the S2 will be out soon, but not sure that I want to wait- we know how amorphous 'soon' is.

In my experience, "soon" usually means about a week after I've purchased the older product. :mad:


wraith808

  • Supporting Member
  • Joined in 2006
  • **
  • Posts: 8,406
  • "In my dreams, I always do it right."
    • View Profile
    • Donate to Member
Re: Surface Pro 4 (etc); observations from long term use?
« Reply #37 on: September 19, 2016, 01:38:41 PM »
I've had the same experience. But I've been waiting a while, and have seen nothing official, so I think I'm going to take my chances.

 :huh:

Deozaan

  • Charter Member
  • Joined in 2006
  • ***
  • Points: 1
  • Posts: 7,716
    • View Profile
    • The Blog of Deozaan
    • Read more about this member.
    • Donate to Member
Re: Surface Pro 4 (etc); observations from long term use?
« Reply #38 on: September 19, 2016, 02:25:11 PM »
I've had the same experience. But I've been waiting a while, and have seen nothing official, so I think I'm going to take my chances.

That's how it works. It's not a week after you first think about ordering it. It's a week after you actually do order it. :D


awraynor

  • Supporting Member
  • Joined in 2008
  • **
  • default avatar
  • Posts: 16
    • View Profile
    • Donate to Member
Re: Surface Pro 4 (etc); observations from long term use?
« Reply #39 on: September 25, 2016, 07:33:19 PM »
I have a desktop for my media management, but do not use it often. For couch surfing I have an early Win8 Acer Touchscreen model. It finally broke at the hinge and I was looking for a replacement. I already had a Surface 3 which I bought with a 50% discount!!

I looked at the Surface Pro 4, SurfaceBook and a 13" Dell notebook. Given my rare use I couldn't justify the price of any high-end notebooks, the rest just felt too cheap. I was down to the Surface Book and the Surface Pro 4. Although nice, the SB just wasn't worth the extra money to me.

I trolled E-Bay for a short period as well as Swappa. Ultimately a seller had 3 SP4 auctions up for sale. I lost the first auction and went to bed bidding on the second one. When I awoke in the morning I was shocked I won. I bought a SP4, pen, arc mouse, keyboard and original model dock for $750.

The extra screen real estate over the Surface 3 is great. The Surface Book offers even a little more. I also much prefer the more natural feeling keyboard that comes with the Pro 4 over the Surface 3. The charging cable was a little frayed and this wasn't mentioned and I need to replace the batteries in the pen. For the price I won't complain.

Given I mostly do browsing and multimedia consumption it's great. It is a quality machine unlike many of the middle of the line notebooks I looked at. It also has a more flexible hinge than the Surface 3. This helps make up for some of the deficiencies it has as a lapable machine.

Rumors of course have the new Surface Book coming out this Fall and the SP5 next year. It looks like people know this and are trying to sell their current units before the new ones come out. I should be able to sell my Surface 3 with keyboard and pen for around $300 so hopefully only around $450 out of pocket for my new setup.

Not bad.

wraith808

  • Supporting Member
  • Joined in 2006
  • **
  • Posts: 8,406
  • "In my dreams, I always do it right."
    • View Profile
    • Donate to Member
Re: Surface Pro 4 (etc); observations from long term use?
« Reply #40 on: September 26, 2016, 11:12:34 AM »
I've had the same experience. But I've been waiting a while, and have seen nothing official, so I think I'm going to take my chances.

That's how it works. It's not a week after you first think about ordering it. It's a week after you actually do order it. :D

I think I've decided to go with the SP4.  Now I'm just trying to decide between the m3 and the i5.  So far, opinions seem mixed on which one to get.

awraynor

  • Supporting Member
  • Joined in 2008
  • **
  • default avatar
  • Posts: 16
    • View Profile
    • Donate to Member
Re: Surface Pro 4 (etc); observations from long term use?
« Reply #41 on: September 26, 2016, 11:56:27 AM »
My Surface 3 is an Atom, with 4B of RAM. It does okay with browsing and Plex playback.
That is pretty much all I used it for.

I hope to use my Surface 4 as a desktop replacement. I am not a coder, gamer, nor graphic artist.
Still, given there is no way to easily upgrade I went with the i5 with 8GB of RAM as a good middle ground.
I already notice less battery life than with the Atom, the i7 just wasn't right for my new situation.

Given the prices, used at least, the i5 seems to be a good middle ground. Also in that it comes with the 8GB of RAM.

wraith808

  • Supporting Member
  • Joined in 2006
  • **
  • Posts: 8,406
  • "In my dreams, I always do it right."
    • View Profile
    • Donate to Member
Re: Surface Pro 4 (etc); observations from long term use?
« Reply #42 on: September 27, 2016, 02:51:34 AM »
My Surface 3 is an Atom, with 4B of RAM. It does okay with browsing and Plex playback.
That is pretty much all I used it for.

I hope to use my Surface 4 as a desktop replacement. I am not a coder, gamer, nor graphic artist.
Still, given there is no way to easily upgrade I went with the i5 with 8GB of RAM as a good middle ground.
I already notice less battery life than with the Atom, the i7 just wasn't right for my new situation.

Given the prices, used at least, the i5 seems to be a good middle ground. Also in that it comes with the 8GB of RAM.

They actually have an i5 that's 4GB of RAM.  The only concern I have buying off of ebay is the lack of any sort of safety net other than the manufacturer's warranty.

wraith808

  • Supporting Member
  • Joined in 2006
  • **
  • Posts: 8,406
  • "In my dreams, I always do it right."
    • View Profile
    • Donate to Member
Re: Surface Pro 4 (etc); observations from long term use?
« Reply #43 on: October 02, 2016, 02:49:50 PM »
Well, I actually purchased off of eBay.  Didn't really mean to, but I set up a few low bids on Gixen, and got one of them.  $635 for the i5/4GB New.  What made me even bid was the fact that I found out you can purchase a warranty.  So I'm waiting to make sure it's in the advertised condition, and then I'll buy that.  Maybe. 

Anyone have any opinions one way or the other?  It would be either squaretrade or warrantech.

Dormouse

  • Supporting Member
  • Joined in 2007
  • **
  • Posts: 1,044
    • View Profile
    • Donate to Member
Re: Surface Pro 4 (etc); observations from long term use?
« Reply #44 on: October 02, 2016, 02:59:53 PM »
Good luck. Hope it all goes well.
As ever, I'm really envious of US prices.

I'm still very happy with my Book.

wraith808

  • Supporting Member
  • Joined in 2006
  • **
  • Posts: 8,406
  • "In my dreams, I always do it right."
    • View Profile
    • Donate to Member
Re: Surface Pro 4 (etc); observations from long term use?
« Reply #45 on: October 08, 2016, 09:53:23 AM »
It's a nice device... and I really love it after having it in hand.  My annoyances so far have nothing to do with the device.

I'm trying to get it set up, and having 128GB means I'm making some immediate concessions in order to make sure I don't feel constrained later.  One of those is buying a 128GB card, and using that for data, while I use the main drive for more integral things.

Cubby works fine with an SD card.  Not so much Dropbox and ... Onedrive?  Really Microsoft?  You tout that as one of the possibilities for adding storage... and then your own program, which you also tout as having things always available, can't use it?

I think I've found a way around it using symlinks, but it shouldn't be necessary.

xtabber

  • Supporting Member
  • Joined in 2007
  • **
  • Posts: 574
    • View Profile
    • Donate to Member
Re: Surface Pro 4 (etc); observations from long term use?
« Reply #46 on: October 19, 2016, 06:46:31 AM »
Microsoft Microsoft has a 5-year $400 million sponsorship deal with the National Football League to provide Surface tablets to all teams for coaches to use on the sidelines during games, along with supporting IT infrastructure.

Yesterday, Bill Belichick of the New England Patriots, the most successful coach in the league for the past two decades, demoted the tablets to the bench, saying they were not reliable enough to use during games.

wraith808

  • Supporting Member
  • Joined in 2006
  • **
  • Posts: 8,406
  • "In my dreams, I always do it right."
    • View Profile
    • Donate to Member
Re: Surface Pro 4 (etc); observations from long term use?
« Reply #47 on: October 19, 2016, 10:04:58 AM »
Microsoft Microsoft has a 5-year $400 million sponsorship deal with the National Football League to provide Surface tablets to all teams for coaches to use on the sidelines during games, along with supporting IT infrastructure.

Yesterday, Bill Belichick of the New England Patriots, the most successful coach in the league for the past two decades, demoted the tablets to the bench, saying they were not reliable enough to use during games.

Yeah, I think the title is more sensational than the news actually is:

Quote
Belichick goes on to note that because the league manages the tablets (which sit on Microsoft-branded carts during game days) the team's own IT department is unable to troubleshoot any problems with the hardware during the week and the coaches only get access to the tablets "a few hours" before game time.

Looks more like an IT and ownership problem than a hardware problem.  Or maybe a tablet problem in general, from other quotes that aren't as sensational:

Quote
Another news outlet used more direct quotes from this coach when reporting this story, in which he said it wasn't the Microsoft Surface per se that didn't suit his work flow, but all tablets.
That's not too shocking; designers such as Marc Newson and Jony Ive are known for known for preferring pen and paper for parts of their work flow.

There was also an episode of Have I Got News For You, when Jeremy Clarkson threw a pen at Ian Hislop. We do not know if Clarkson would have preferred to have thrown a 2lb computer at Mr Hislop instead.

A good quote from the comments:

Quote
Wrong form-factor, wrong application
On the touchline, what do electronics give you that a whiteboard does not - apart from cost and unreliability?
Backup solution is an extra pen and a paper towel. With planning, you have a play book, which everyone has memorised and the coach may have printed out.
As in smartphone maps, proper planning means they aren't really required. IT is often used when people don't know stuff.
IT is not the solution to everything.

Stoic Joker

  • Honorary Member
  • Joined in 2008
  • **
  • Posts: 6,296
    • View Profile
    • www.StoicJoker.com
    • Donate to Member
Re: Surface Pro 4 (etc); observations from long term use?
« Reply #48 on: October 19, 2016, 11:13:31 AM »
Personally, I prefer pen and paper for most 'Tablet Type' tasks. Even though my hand writing is shit...it's still a more fluid medium for me to work with.