Hands on with an m3 (edit... actually an i5 4GB)

Discussion in 'Microsoft Surface Pro 4' started by Anonymous Coward, Oct 12, 2015.

  1. Anonymous Coward

    Anonymous Coward Member

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    ...at the Best Buy. I'm more interested in the i5 but this is what they had. (Edit... this actually turned out to be an i5 4GB as noted in comments below, the store simply had it labelled incorrectly)

    The keyboard is amazing. It's so much better. Compared to the new keyboards on the new thin Macbooks---well lets just say in a side by side comparison it makes Apple's typing experience look like a joke.

    The touchpad is much, much better than that of the S3. The extra surface area and change in materials makes a big difference. The click on the touchpad is much better as well. It all feels better than any Macbook key/touchpad interface that I have used before.

    The keyboard has a printscreen button which is nice... I do not have a SP3 but looking over at one of the demo units, it looks like SP3 didn't have that.

    Only issue I encountered playing with it for an hour was that the touchpad occasionally did not respond until I would disconnect and reconnect the keyboard. Early pre-release bugs?

    No power in the pen... typical Best Buy. I could not try that out.

    The display is excellent, but I don't think worth the upgrade over the S3 unless you want to upgrade for the pen input improvements. I did notice it trying to auto adjust brightness levels somewhat erratically when scrolling through a webpage in Edge. Seems like another pre-release bug.

    I tried downloading some apps from their app store--one thing that is immediately apparent is that I suspect a bunch of app makers will need to redesign parts of their apps for the fact that SP4 doesn't have the windows button on the front glass bezel anymore...there were a few apps which once into fullscreen with the keyboard detached, there was no apparent way to leave fullscreen mode short of rebooting the device...

    ...yet rebooting is incredibly fast... practically instantaneous. The SSD is very speedy.

    The front-firing speakers... this is one area where I wish that they followed what Apple did with the iPad Pro, and put 4 speakers on the front, instead of 2. In portrait, the audio loses stereo effect. Not a problem when in landscape, where they will be used the most for fullscreen video, and with the keyboard attached, but in portrait as a tablet if you are listening to audio without headphones, it's an issue. Other than that the speakers sound quite good for a tablet. Turned the volume all the way up on the AC/DC S4 intro video, and there wasn't any bad distortion, but this was inside of the cavern of Best Buy, so hard to tell.

    After playing with it for an hour the back of the surface (m3) was warm to the touch, but not hot. Don't really have a baseline to compare it to. I'm more interested in the i5 version, I wish they had one to try.

    I left feeling that this will be a very popular device. They absolutely nailed the input devices. Everything looks and feels much more polished. It doesn't seem like the new keyboard and trackpad should make that much of a difference over the S3... but it does. Luckily S3 owners can upgrade to the S4 one.

    I felt like I should get as much RAM and SSD drive as I can afford. The CPU---well let's wait and see the benchmarks. I saw no stuttering with it though. I think I am headed towards the i5 as this seems like the mass-market CPU for the Surface and where it will see the best all-around combination of performance, battery, and cooling. Think I will probably stretch to get 16GB RAM and 512 SSD though. The SSD in the S4 is very fast.

    Coming from a late-2008 original unibody Macbook with a Core 2 Duo and 4GB RAM... this will be a monumental upgrade for me. I usually don't keep notebooks this long... but I prefer only to upgrade when revolutionary changes in the industry are obvious. Apple provided only incremental planned-obsolescence style upgrade path for the Macbooks over the past 7 years... I wanted to buy another Macbook for several years now... but they didn't ever give me a reason to. Now its clear Microsoft is taking the torch with the Surface.

    As for apps--I wish people would compare the Windows app store to the *Mac* app store. Apple's app store for the Mac is a *joke* and they seem to all but have abandoned it. With the new Surface devices the W10 apps will come flying fast and furious now. Heck I might even write one myself. It's fertile ground compared to the overpopulated Apple and Google mobile app stores.

    Oh... the BestBuy workers said that they are supposed to be getting SurfaceBook demo units on the 18th.
     
    Last edited: Oct 21, 2015
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  2. nogridbag

    nogridbag Member

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    >> Only issue I encountered playing with it for an hour was that the touchpad occasionally did not respond until I would disconnect and reconnect the keyboard. Early pre-release bugs?

    I've encountered this bug on pretty much every SP4 I used (within 5 minutes of using the device) - I mentioned it once before in the SP4 vs iPad pro vs SB thread. I'm guessing it's not a pre-release issue. It's a bit troubling that this slipped through the cracks. Every time it's happened it's because I've removed the type cover and reattached it a couple of times. Several times I've had to reboot the device as reattaching the type cover does not resolve it.
     
  3. hughlle

    hughlle Super Moderator Staff Member

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    I've had this problem with the sp3, except it's the whole keyboard that doesn't respond. Same story with replacement units.
     
  4. GreyFox7

    GreyFox7 Super Moderator Staff Member

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    The biggest issue I have had with W10 is neither keyboard will work, type cover or on screen Keyboard and the only thing you can do is reboot. Then some times it doesn't work at logon and you have to reboot again and again.
     
  5. Kif

    Kif Active Member

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    I've across that issue a few types. It seems like I come across a reboot needed issue at least once a day with W10. Microsoft has some work to do.
     
  6. cemian

    cemian Member

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    Apple didn't put any speakers on the front...they are still on the side.
     
  7. polbit

    polbit Member

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    I just played with i5 SP4 today at Best Buy. OPs comments are right on the money - the keyboard and trackpad are such a great improvement. The screen was beautiful, and the whole unit felt really fast.

    Noticed same two issues though - I lost the mouse cursor a couple of times after closing and opening the cover, and while scrolling through something like Engadget the hue of the white background jumped a lot based on what the picture was. Quite annoying.

    The one thing I couldn't test in a noisy store is how loud does it get. From MS commentary, the fans should not kick in during web browsing, etc. That will be a huge selling point for me.

    Can't wait to see some real reviews, but I'm itching just to pre-order it from Best Buy and do my own testing...
     
  8. Anonymous Coward

    Anonymous Coward Member

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    Yep. It was Engadget I saw this on as well. Someone on youtube captured it happening:

     
  9. hughlle

    hughlle Super Moderator Staff Member

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    Stranbge as to that happening, but for some reason any problem I tend to notice appears when reading engadget. There is something about that site. Even on my sp3 i5 it often ends up locking g down and becoming g unresponsive when reading into the reams of comments. That site has issues
     
  10. SilverRings

    SilverRings New Member

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    Thanks for the review. You said there was not shuddering like the Atom S3. Was that also true of surfing a busy webpage while scrolling? With the S3 Atom, I could scroll down and it would hiccup as it loaded items into the slower eMMC flash (no SSD like the Pro). Maybe it was the CPU/Ram that was slower too, who knows.
     
  11. zhenya

    zhenya Active Member

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    I'm hoping that the keyboard and trackpad are massively improved - they are my main complaint on the SP3. I do wish that Microsoft had gotten around to implementing a click-less trackpad like the new Macbooks have. It's really hard to go back to the hinged style once you are used to being able to click anywhere with equal force, and since the entire point of that type of mechanism was to reduce the thickness needed for the trackpad components I can't think of a better place to show it off than in the Type Cover. I do love the new keyboard on my MacBook so I'm hopeful that this one is as good. The previous generations were just way too mushy with no feedback.

    Losing the keyboard and the poor adaptive screen brightness are not pre-release bugs. They've both been present in every Surface. These are the kind of details that Microsoft still needs to sweat. I just turn off the adaptive brightness and do it myself.
     
  12. Anonymous Coward

    Anonymous Coward Member

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    Ok, so I went back to the store and the model I tested was indeed NOT an m3. They had it labelled as such but in the system settings it showed i5 4GB.

    I have not heard the fan kick on on this device in over 1.5 hrs. total of hammering on it. That doesn't mean it wasn't on... I simply may not have heard it in the store... and I was really only using Edge, playing HD video from youtube, and playing around with the drawing apps on the pen.
     

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