Confused Between SP4 or SB, some questions.. (For a designer)

Discussion in 'Microsoft Surface Pro 4' started by Astonish, Dec 18, 2015.

  1. Astonish

    Astonish Member

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    Hello Everyone,

    I'm a yacht designer from Turkey who is using a Surface Pro 2 as an on the go sketchbook. In Turkey, unfortunately, Microsoft doesn't sell Surface products, and I was searching an all-in-one product that I could use to make sketches, painting, in the cafes or wherever I am in my free time. Right now I have a 3 years old maxed out Macbook Pro 15 Retina and Intuos 4 as my home setup, and a SP2/4gb/64gb that I bought secondhand, roughly three months ago to try and see if i like the Surface products before paying for a SP4 or SB (I can always gift the SP2 to a family member or friend, and I bought it cheap). To be honest, I am really surprised positively by the performance of my SP2. It keeps up pretty well and I love it's portability (Even tho I hate the pink type cover that I had with it as the seller was a lady! :D but it's a subjective matter and not a defect about the product. :D )

    So after my time with the SP2, I decided that I like it and want to move on to a SP4 or SB to replace my ''bulky'' house setup, to an even more ''mobile'' solution. I will use the new one for Photoshop CC (sketching, painting), Manga Studio 5, Indesign, Sketchable (anyways it is pretty lightweight) and Sketchbook Pro mostly. Normaly I also do 3d models using Alias Studio or Rhino, but I dont know if the performance of those tablets would cope with it, especialy the gpu, but it is not a big deal since I can always use the Macbook if need to 3d model, but if you have any experience about those softwares in surface devices I would love to hear from you! I don't realy game, may be twice a year I enjoy playing a car game such as Mafia 2 or GTA, but it isn't really a big deal. Then also I will be using it with web browsing (where I tend to keep too many tabs) and also movie streaming, or music streaming (Spotify) while drawing.

    I am leaning towards the i7 models, even tho i5 may be enough in certain cases, for future proofness, I would prefer something with i7 and 16 gb ram (I am a ram monster when i have so many of my apps open, like photoshop, youtube, sometimes even Alias all together) Right now I am able to use the SP2 with 4gb ram but I am limiting my usage and paying attention. I want something lightweight that I can always bring with me to sketch.

    What puts me into a dilemma between the SP4 and the SB is the bigger screen of SB, which i guess is a huge plus, compared for people who use it for drawing. But then there are the downside which is the battery life, because i think that mostly I will be leaving the base of the SB at home and bring the clipboard with me, but then with the poor battery life, i will have to take a power bank with me, which at the end may make it ''less portable'' than the SP4 (I know that even like that it will be lighter or equal to my Macbook Pro 15.) On the other hand SP4 sounds more like an all in one laptop (compared to just clipboard) with it's usb ports, sd slot , and the ─░ris Pro GPU looks pretty well. Here are my questions:

    - I know that SP4 has power throttling issues in gaming, do you think that I will have power throttling issues also while working in large documents with a lot of layers (yes I work a bit messy lol) in Photoshop? or Mange Studio? Let's say if I push my luck even more by streaming a music video from youtube at the same time? SB has less risk of power throttling in those situation given the dedicated GPU option in case if I use the base?

    - I have seen/read a lot of reviews between SP2 Wacom Pen and SP3 N-Trig Pen, for people who upgraded from SP2, how do you find drawing or sketching in SP4 compared to the SP2 since I read that there is a big improvement compared to SP3? I know the initial registering pressure (I don't remember how it was called) is higher compared to the Wacom, I had actualy noticed it when I tested SP3 once (the only time I had the chance to test) , tho it was on Freshpaint, so I dont know how it changes on other softwares on SP3.

    - I like the screen and read about people who doesn't advice the use of screen protectors (I would go matte if I decide to get one) for the slight loss of pen sensitivity, but then you get the plus point of a more textured software which I would find pleasing for drawing. I was curious if it is possible to scratch the screen with the pen on higher pressure strokes (higher pressure in human standarts, not exagerating! lol) and the loss of sensitivity with the matte screen protectors (I am talking about the tempered glass ones) is that much noticeable?

    - Have you ever seen any accessories made for SB Clipboard, like a kickstand cover or may be something that is attached to the power connection port that adds a usb port or sd card port while in use as a clipboard? Is it even possible technicaly?

    - The screen of the SB is realy that much bigger than the SP4? I read something about 20%, but either case would be an huge upgrade after my SP2 screen. :D

    - Any of you has an experience on these products with a Nurbs 3d modelling software like Alias or Rhino? It won't be a deal breaker for me, but if it runs them smoothly (of course it depends on the complexity of the model) which I highly doubt, it would be an amazing surprise and plus.

    I didn't put other laptops or 2 in 1's into this comparison because for me a pen to draw is a must, it should be portable and powerful. I heard that HP/Dell pens (Synaptics) aren't good for drawing so the XPS models isn't even an option for me. And unfortunately Vaio Canvas Z is not an option since they don't ship outside Europe or Japan, and if the device has a problem, it would be pretty hard to have it fixed here but I go pretty often to Europe, so Surface Pro will be easier on that matter. And lastly, Wacom Companion 2 is too bulky, makes it less portable to me, and I prefer/like the form factor of SP4 more for what I want and ''need''.

    Sorry for the long post, and thank you in advance.

    Cheers,
     
    Last edited: Dec 18, 2015
  2. GreyFox7

    GreyFox7 Super Moderator Staff Member

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    I think power throttling is overblown, it's a worm hole for people to obsess over but means very little.
    I was just about to mention the Vaio Canvas to you when in the last paragraph you blew that up.
    My only experience as a yacht designer is as a kid making a raft from branches and rope ... but I did all the 3D modeling in my head. :) so cant help you there.

    I think your overall use case is more suited to the SP4 although your ideal device is likely the SP6, it doesn't exist yet.
     
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  3. Moonsurface

    Moonsurface Super Moderator Staff Member

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    I agree that the SP4 seems like a better bet for you, the i7 with iris graphics would be the one I'd plump for if I was going to update my SP3, however the SP3 is still fine for my purposes (photography, some drawing/sketching, coding and other general stuff) throttling never bothered me as long as the device gets the job done, which it does.

    I do use the updated SP4 version of the pen and keyboard, both are big improvements, I particularly like the texture in the top of the new pen, makes drawing feel much more natural.
     
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  4. kevroc

    kevroc New Member

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    I would say the Surface Book i7. Just know that you are going to be taking the base with you for the extra battery life. What you lose in a little portability by taking the base is the additional graphics boost, built in stand / keyboard, etc. You can leave the base in your bag while sketching for a few hours, then plug it is when needed. Very convenient.
     
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  5. jrhillma

    jrhillma Member

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    We have a Microsoft consultant on-site who had a pre-release SP4 and then a pre-release SB. I was talking to him a couple weeks back about his experience, as I was trying to decide between SP4 and SB.

    He said, "The SB is a laptop that can sometimes act like a tablet. The SP4 is a tablet that can sometimes act like a laptop. It's a mistake to buy one thinking it's the other. Decide if you need a laptop that can occasionally separate from the keyboard and do a reasonable interpretation of a tablet. Or, maybe you need a tablet that occasionally can take on some laptop-like functionality. Know your primary use case and don't pick the device that only delivers that solution part-time."

    Probably some of the most cogent, plain-English commentary I've ever heard come out of his mouth.
     
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  6. Moonsurface

    Moonsurface Super Moderator Staff Member

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    Well I guess there may be some truth in that but I've been using my SP3 as a laptop replacement for over a year without finding I've compromised in anyway over my previous laptops. I use it 95% of the time in laptop mode... so definitely more than "occasional laptop functionality". It really depends on the user's needs, I'd say for the vast majority of users the Surface Pro is a more than adequate laptop replacement - it certainly has been for me and I do run more than just web browsing and office programs on it. I enjoy the extra flexibility the pro gives me. I'm not against the idea of the Surface book even for myself however as it does offer things other laptops cannot.. and for a power user who doesn't mind the extra weight and size it does offer some more.
     
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  7. Astonish

    Astonish Member

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    First of all, thank you very much for your answers, I hope that I will get more opinions as well.

    @ Greyfox7 ; I actualy love the Vaio Canvas Z, I guess that is the perfect solution for me, but geographic reasons doesn't let me reach it. :D I actualy enjoyed your fun reply! Thank you! and I agree on the SP6 but can't wait that long! :p

    @ Moonsurface ; To be honest, my logic tells me the SP4 and my heart tells ''bigger screen, so the SB! and may be dedicated gpu has less ricks of throttling'' but I am unsure if the price paid by loosing the pracility of the SP4 is realy worth the ''little'' gain. Because I read that the Iris Pro keeps up pretty well compared to the custom nvidia gpu, and actualy I am unsure of which of my usages will use both cpu and gpu on maximum for a large amount of time (unless I am rendering a 3d scene tho I understand and know that it is not a rendering workstation.). I guess that I have to go and see them both to see if the screen size is realy worth it. So my logic agrees with both you and Greyfox7.

    @ Kevroc ; The graphical boost of the Nvidia GPU, is it realy noticeable in real world use compared to the Iris pro? Do you have any experience with it? Power limit throttling happens in the Surface Book too?

    @ Jrhillma ; In my opinion (without testing the both devices) , The SP4 for manages to be a laptop while beeing a good full windows tablet. For the SB I see it as a good laptop, but not as good as a tablet since it lacks the usb, the long battery, the kickstand..etc. The reason I think like this is because I probably never use my laptop on my laptop, I dont feel comy while doing that, so mostly I use it on table, on a bed tray..etc, and even with the keyboard of my SP2 I feel comofortable so I guess the SP4 keyboard will definitely be good, if the screen size was the same as SB, I would not even have the dilemma and would have changed for SP4 immediatly since I belleive that according to my needs, it could replace my laptop and I LOVE the portability/performance proportion of the SP4.

    Any of you came from SP1 or SP2 ? How do you find the N-tring of SP4 compared to the wacom of SP1-SP2 for sketching/painting? Moonsurface, have you had an experience with SP1 or SP2 pens before?

    Thank you in advance,

    Cheers
     
  8. Moonsurface

    Moonsurface Super Moderator Staff Member

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    No I'm afraid I haven't used the older models.

    @vxm may be able to help with some questions on the graphics capability, he's done some awesome artwork on Surface pro 3.
     
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  9. Astonish

    Astonish Member

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    Thank you very much! Then I guess I will wait patiently for new replies and I hope that those questions would serve to other curious designers/artists as well. :)
     
  10. kevroc

    kevroc New Member

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    I know this may be a bit strange, but I love technology and I love when I "love" something versus just think it's okay.

    The SP4 I feel is okay in that sense. It would probably do everything you need and I'm sure you'd probably be very happy with it.

    The SB however, when I first picked it up at the MS Store, I was like "wow" this is incredible. That "thin" screen over that massive 13 inches makes it feel like an artists canvas. The build quality, resolution, colors, just makes you want it. For me, that goes a long way for enjoying a device I might be using a long time. I want to enjoy using it as much as have it do it's job. Since I usually hand down the computer or resell it, the more I spend on it upfront just means the more I'll get for it when I resell it or the longer use I'll get out of it. Either way I feel the extra cost isn't really a cost at all.

    From what you are going from, you may find the SP4 the perfect device since you are so familiar with the tablet type usage. I'm more of a laptop user, so the SB has more draw for me.

    As far as user feedback, since there have been some issues, I would take that with a grain of salt. In 6 months, after firmware updates, they will be much better I'm sure.
     
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  11. Astonish

    Astonish Member

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    @ kevroc ; I thank you for your nice comment. I guess that as you mentioned before, it depends on the usage of people, I prefer the form factor of a SP4 with the screen of SB which puts me into the cunfusion :D but when I think all that is written in the thread, I guess that SP4 will be a righter choice for me. As for the issues, to be honest, I am not that concerned because it was actualy the reason why I waited and didnt become an early adopter, and I read that many of the reported issues are fixed with the updates, the sleep battery drain doesnt realy bother me because I mostly shut down the SP2 if it is going to be stay without beeing used for more than 30 minutes. Actualy with the SSD it is already plenty fast to boot up (SP2) so I guess the SP4 may be even faster, and extra 4-5 seconds of wait does not bother me.

    The display issues are the ones that tell you that ''the driver has crashed and recovered'' or something similar to that? just after the message does it turn back to normal or does that hang the computer? Because I used to have such crashes occasionaly both in my macbook pro (windows 8.1) and MSI (Windows 7) but it never hung, only the message, may be a brief black screen for a second and then I was good to go again.

    Cheers,
     
  12. Moonsurface

    Moonsurface Super Moderator Staff Member

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    I'm even getting display driver crashes on my Desktop PC (win 10) now. i don notice any issue I just get a notification. I haven't actually had them on my SP3, though I know it affects SP4's, not sure how bad but as far as I know it crashes and instantly recovers.
     

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