Need a reality check

Discussion in 'Microsoft Surface General Discussion' started by Trixanity, Jul 2, 2014.

  1. Trixanity

    Trixanity New Member

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    As the thread title says - and has probably been asked multiple times: is it worth it?

    I've followed the surface products for a long time and the pro 3 is almost there. I'm strongly considering picking one up with student discount. However the price is still high and I've read up on tons of issues such as wifi/bluetooth, wake/sleep, heat/throttling/fan noise and dp 4k issues.

    So I'm really trying to weigh the pros and cons here but it's quite difficult when I'm biased toward buying it - although looking at the forum title, you might be too.

    I think it's an amazing piece of engineering and I love the form factor and I'm still torn between (if I get that far) whether it'll be i5 or i7.

    The fact is I can pick up a zenbook with dedicated graphics for almost half the price of the surface but then I'll give up touch and pen support as well as the gorgeous display. Money is a factor when you're a student.

    I'll be doing standard Office work as well as Visual Studio on it. Will also use VMs and probably light gaming.

    The geek in me says "buy the surface - it's awesome". However logic dictates the zenbook is easily the best value by far.

    I need some input to settle this.

    As I'm in Europe, I have some time to decide.
    Also, is there any chance of calling a Microsoft sales rep and trying for additional discounts?
     
  2. BillJ

    BillJ Active Member

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    Seems like you partially resolved your own dilemma. I love my SP3, warts and all, and I could not imagine going back to a standard laptop PC. I make liberal use of the touchscreen and pen, however. Every individual should buy only as much technology as he/she needs, and should not go into debt for it. There will be better/less expensive devices coming out in the next year, I have no doubt about that.
    As far as i5 vs i7 goes, the heat dissipation in the SP3 may not allow the full potential of the i7 to be realized. I am more than happy with the performance of my machine.
    Bottom line: If you can afford it and really do need the features that it has, you will definitely love the SP3 as well. Otherwise wait a year or so, and see what other technological breakthrough will define the next generation of devices.
     
  3. ipaq_101

    ipaq_101 Super Moderator Staff Member

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    I have had a few problems, the more I use it the more I discover something else is wrong. Even after a swap with a brand new machine, I would buy it again. The form and function for me is worth the growing pains.
     
  4. Trixanity

    Trixanity New Member

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    I have saved up and can pretty much afford it... Pretty much ;-)

    I can't wait since I don't have a laptop atm. I sold my old one since I wasn't happy with it and put the money aside for something better. Since I'll be going back to school here in August, I don't have a choice but to buy something beforehand.

    I'll be keeping whatever I buy for at least 4-5 years I reckon. I'll have a desktop for any heavy duty stuff but I also want a great mobile device as you can imagine.
     
  5. BillJ

    BillJ Active Member

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    If I were going back to school and wanted a computer to keep my notes electronically, there would be no question; the SP3 is the only device on in the market right now that gives you the flexibility of keyboard and pen input, and the power to run standard programs.

    I may be wrong, but I don't think that there is any other device out there with similar features.
     
  6. scottysize

    scottysize Member

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    Looking at your habits, I'd say you need to decide what size you can live with and how portable you want it and at what price. The Zenbook appears to be a nice laptop, but is that what you want?

    My main goal was to get rid of my MacBook Pro and iPad Air. The SP3 did that for me. My habits with the SP3 are surfing the Internet, Setting my Fantasy Football lineups, playing small non-graphic intense games, reading email, doing a few things with Office 365, and watching NetFlix/Amazon/other Videos. This is what I've been using my MacBook Pro and iPad for for a few years now. The SP3 does all of that perfectly, so for me, the SP3 was the best because it uber portable, but is a full PC.

    Now, had I planned on doing heavy gaming, video editing, or any other graphic intense job, the SP3 would not have been the way to go because, as you stated, the graphics is integrated.

    School: I have a desktop and that is what I do all of my homework on. If I was planning on doing a lot of typing for school, etc., I would be buying the docking station and buying a better keyboard and monitor. While the keyboard is great for normal every day tasks, homework is not normal every day task. Even if you buy the Zenbook, you'll still want an external keyboard and monitor to get the best out of your time spent doing homework.

    Costs: With my student discount, I paid around $1200 for my SP3 i5 256GB and keyboard. Add on another $200 for a 128GB MicroSD Card and 1 TB 7200 speed portable Hard Drive. So in all, I've got about $1400 wrapped up in it with student discounts. (That's American Dollars.)

    My SP3 does exactly what I want it to do and replaced what I wanted it to replace because of my usage.
     
  7. Trixanity

    Trixanity New Member

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    The i5 with keyboard will end up at $1800 and i7 at $2100 - rough estimate after converting currency.

    The surface will function as both laptop and tablet in my case. I don't own a tablet btw. So if I refrained from buying the surface, I would probably invest in a tablet later down the road anyway - for media consumption purposes.

    I have never had pen input on a device before and I dislike paper because I usually end up throwing it away. However I do miss the ability to draw models and diagrams etc and perhaps add quick notes here and there. I could live without it though.

    The most taxing things I'd do would be VMs and light gaming like Blizzard games and games with similar requirements. All within the range of what HD4400 or HD5000 can do but obviously not as well as an 840M. Again, this would mostly be for on the go. Desktop is where most gaming would take place, so I guess it's mostly a non-issue.

    The form factor is far more versatile than any zenbook but for reference it'll cost $1300 after conversion. So you can see the dilemma. Surface is superior in every way except for price and graphics horse power.

    So I guess you can say: should I save my money considering the price difference or go all in and get that awesome machine?

    Edit: you ask me what I want. I think when all is said and done I want the surface. I eyed the zenbook until the surface... Well surfaced :) I guess I'm looking for a reason not to buy the surface - hence the title. A reality check, I mean is it a reasonable purchase considering it'll be a lot of money for a student such as myself or is it such a great tool that it would be foolish not to splurge on it?

    Such a difficult question to answer. At the end of the day I'd probably be happier with the surface but it'll empty my savings account :)
     
    Last edited: Jul 3, 2014
  8. scottysize

    scottysize Member

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    IDK. You know your budget and level of happiness better than I. I can say I am very happy I purchased the Surface. If I was sitting here 2 months ago with the same decision, I'd do it all over again. But, in the end, it's still up to you. I can't talk you down off the ledge, but I also don't want to talk you into one either...
     
  9. kayzee

    kayzee Well-Known Member

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    I think if you were debating the smaller Surface against the other machine you'd perhaps be better off going for that...

    But with the 12" Surface Pro 3, and weighing things up against your use case, it does sound like a good option. You mentioned faults etc. of course, there are some, but in general from the reports I've seen this latest one has been working out slightly better for people.

    For me, it's the Surface every time, but then I'm bias because I'm a Microsoft bum boy :)
     
  10. GreyFox7

    GreyFox7 Super Moderator Staff Member

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    Did you decide yet?

    VMs can take up a lot of space and Ram but it really depends on what your doing there and how many you want to run at once. however, that's not likely a mobile use case so consider a USB3 docking station and storing VMs on a USB3 SSD. performance is quite good and much better than you'd get on a HDD. if you manage your space well you could get by without that and use the SP3 storage but you're still limited to a total 8gb ram. :) [I run 8-16 demo VMs on a Lenovo W530 with 32 GB ram and USB3 SSDs.] its not portable but it is transportable :)
     
  11. Trixanity

    Trixanity New Member

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    Well, sort of. I bought the zenbook and returned it. Great laptop but there was some quality control issues on mine which prompted me to return it. Also, my eyes didn't like the screen - gave me some eye strain for some reason.

    So surface is back on the table. I'm considering trying a thinkpad t440s as well.

    My VM needs aren't that hardcore. Four VMs at a time is worst case scenario. Mostly one or two.
     
  12. GreyFox7

    GreyFox7 Super Moderator Staff Member

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    If you spec out a similarly configured T440s it will probably cost you more unless you find one preconfigured on Amazon or Newegg cheaper. i54300u. 8gb ram, 256 SSD non touch display win 8 Pro unless you're using another virtualization solution. main differences then are screen size 14", real keyboard, some extra ports, weight, not a tablet. Usual tradeoffs between Ultrabook and SP3. Without touch screen its likely to be a disappointing user experience at some point IMO.

    You can save a few bucks buying ram and SSD on the open market. IMO virtualization on a laptop HDD is slow and at times painful.

    Well you never said which SP3 you were considering but for the moment you only have two choices and I assumed the 8gb ram 256 GB storage one.

    you didn't indicate if you were considering a USB docking station, external monitor keybd, mouse, printer, Ext HDD. With these your SP3 is indistinguishable from any other PC. yet you can disconnect the USB and power cables and walk off with it in tablet mode.

    why might these be important... one, touch office isn't here yet so you'll be challenged to a degree although the pen will be your savior here. Visio ... ooh I haven't tried touch or pen Visio yet ... a possible unknown. lets face it some apps and tasks will be better suited for kybd and mouse for a while yet. that said there's nothing stopping you from using WIDI to an Ext display with a USB kybd & mouse combo for those trying times or just the kybd and mouse alone. I'm glossing over the obvious Type Cover solution but you shouldn't. Just throwing out as many considerations so you're not caught off guard. only you know your use cases, adaptability, and propensity to procrastinate or not to avoid potential last minute frustrations.
     

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