New Surface Pro Owner Experience So Far...

Discussion in 'Microsoft Surface Pro' started by skellington, Jan 27, 2014.

  1. skellington

    skellington Member

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    Hi all,

    I just bought a Surface Pro (1) 128GB from the MS store for $540 (they agreed to student discount) plus the type cover 2. I thought I'd write here on my experience so far to perhaps help someone else who is thinking about a SP and to get feedback on some of my thoughts/opinions.

    First I'll begin with the bad... (machine is updated to windows 8.1 and latest drivers)

    Type cover 2 is ok considering it's size and weight, but there are some issues that stop it from being really good:
    -- Why aren't there function keys for volume on the keyboard and why are the backlight controls 'hidden?' I often want to change the volume quickly and only having the physical buttons or the volume setting is slow. Why aren't the backlight controls marked on the keyboard? Yes I know it's there because I looked it up, but there is no reason to not mark it on the keyboard, they put the keyboard backlight control on the keyboard which is use WAY less often than the screen backlight control.
    -- Why are the function keys (F1-F12) not the default and you use the FUNC key to access the extra functions? There isn't even a way to swap the primary use of the keys like macbooks. I know there are various tradeoffs in fitting keys on such a small footprint, but this decision can be really annoying for someone who uses the F keys a lot.
    -- The trackpad surface is too rough and is abrading away my finger tips, two-finger scrolling doesn't work well in all cases, the trackpad area isn't visible in the dark (doesn't like up in any way) and can be hard to use, the buttons are just plain bad, swiping in from left-right doesn't work consistently for some reason

    Bugs!!
    -- It takes a registry hack to make the machine not sleep unexpectedly (the 'unattended sleep' problem). Why is this still a problem so long after the machine was released!?
    -- Machine crashes when sleeping which was fixed by going to the wifi device and unchecking the box that allows windows to put it to sleep. How can this still be a bug? Now I admit that I changed the wifi sleep power option to "maximize battery life" where the default in the "balanced" profile is "medium power savings." I wonder if this change is the reason why it crashes, but I haven't had the time to verify. In any case, any setting like this should not cause the SP to crash.
    -- When the machine puts itself to sleep (after 10 minutes or whatever is in the power profile), if I wake it up by pushing a key, it's shows the lock screen (and says it's locked) but then just bypasses the lock screen and goes into the desktop. I don't know if this is supposed to be a convenience, but it seems like a bug. However the machine enters sleep, it should really lock the account (if lock on sleep is selected in the power options).

    Design issues:
    -- The power handling options are nutty. Why would I want one profile that controls both plugged and unplugged power options? Wouldn't it make MUCH more sense to just have a set of power options (Max Performance, Max Battery, Balanced, Silent, etc) and let you select from that set when on battery and when plugged in? So you could do things like select Max Performance when plugged in and Max Battery when on battery? You can achieve the same thing in a power profile, but if you wanted to change to Max Battery (on battery) and Silent (plugged in) you can't without making a whole new power profile.
    -- The pen should sit within the device when not in use. It's a PITA to keep track of the pen when moving the machine around all the time.
    -- Why is the machine so heavy? With the type cover, It's the same weight as a 13" macbook air but the air has a bigger screen and a full size keyboard and REALLy long battery life.

    Good things:
    -- except for the major bugs, the machine works very well, is fast, and IE 11 is surprisingly good (why can't you pin tabs like in chrome!!!!!). If you use IE11, video is surprisingly CPU/battery efficient. Chrome chews through the battery (haven't tested firefox). Screen is small but really nice.

    Summary:

    I really want to like this machine, but after using it for a while I'm not sure it isn't the worst of both worlds: ultrabook and tablet. It's not great at either use. For $540 it might be worth keeping as a fun toy, but I would have a REALLY hard time justifying $1300 or more for a SP2 when a Yoga 2 pro and other ultrabooks are the same price, weigh almost the same, have better batteries, better keyboards/trackpads, and much bigger screens. The only 'unusual' feature of the SP is the wacom digitizer, but there are some competing ultrabooks that offer than too now and with 13" screens which makes the drawing experience better.

    If I wanted to use it 90% as a tablet, there are lighter tablets with much better battery life (and cheaper). The caveat is that running a real x86 browser seems to give a better internet browsing experience than any of the tablet browsers I've tried. It's faster and more compatible on the average.

    If I wanted to use it 90% as a productivity machine, the little screen and mediocre keyboard/trackpad are negatives.

    So those are my thoughts. I'm still on the fence on keeping the device. For some reason I still LIKE it, even though I'm having a hard time justifying living with it's compromises. Maybe I'm just not the right audience for this machine, but then again it seems to me that the person who would NEED this device, with all of its compromises, over a less compromised device is a rare individual. It also bothers me that I've had to debug the device to make it work correctly. I don't understand how MS could have so many highly visible bugs on a device where they control both the hardware and the software. (I should point out though that the default balanced profile might not hit the wifi bug.)

    What are your thoughts?

    --skell
     
    Last edited: Jan 27, 2014
  2. kundas1

    kundas1 Super Moderator Staff Member

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    Wow, Another thread on someone's opinions about their Surface pro... if I had a nickel for everyone who posted their opinion on it I could buy a pack of gum. LOL no offence intended but not interested in reading the umpteenth post on someone's opinion about their Surface Pro or what THEY think how MS should have done it this way and that way, when they build and sell the perfect tablet then write a how to and opinions about the Surface pro... till then please spare us the posts.
     
  3. benjitek

    benjitek Active Member

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    I think you obviously hate the device and are likely very happy there's a 30 day return window -- buy yourself an Apple-something ;-)
     
  4. Devolver

    Devolver New Member

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    No reason for rudeness, isn't this a debate forum? I for one am glad that he posted this, as I am on the very precipice of committing to purchasing a SP2, and I'd much rather see a fellow consumers opinion than a supposed "tech reviewer" that are more journalists than proper authorities on anything.

    Also nobody is forcing you to read or let alone reply to this guy's thread! If his opinion doesn't interest you then why post at all? Move along and let the thread die, you are the one making a big fuss over nothing.


    OT: how do you feel about the portability? do you feel that you are getting more out of it on the go?
     
    Last edited: Jan 27, 2014
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  5. benjitek

    benjitek Active Member

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    Then he's doing just what you're saying the other guy should be allowed to do, voice his opinion -- didn't sound rude -- just commentary about commentary. If >you< don't like it, why not just move along and let the thread die instead of making a big deal? lol
     
  6. skellington

    skellington Member

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    Heh..if you don't like these threads and have no interest in reading them why did you read my post and then respond to it? The title was perfectly clear on what was in the post.

    Anyway, I get that some things are subjective, but the bugs are not. There are serious bugs in this device that has been out for a while. Does that not bother you?

    --skell
     
  7. benjitek

    benjitek Active Member

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    I think he just found it to be a bit long-winded...?
     
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  8. kundas1

    kundas1 Super Moderator Staff Member

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    Lmao first off I wasn't being rude, just posting my opinion about the umpteenth post that some one has posted on this topic, and all you have to do is search and you will see for yourself and get an idea whether to buy it or not, secondly benjitek is right what he said so NYAAA (sticks out tongue)
     
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  9. Devolver

    Devolver New Member

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    Man you are hostile, notice the site you are on?
    It is a debate forum, it works through discourse where each participant adds to the thread. Your reply and Kundas1's reply did nothing constructive at all to add to the discussion, if anything they were dismissive comments trying to shut down the thread. If you haven't got anything worthwhile to add then why post? It seems pointless, unless his goal was to agitate the OP.

    Surely if are serious you can see that drawing parallels to my response and Kundas1 is non sequitur. I am more opposed to lack of content than rudeness so there is very little subjectivity there. Kundas1 and you basically told the OP to shut and nothing else. How is that constructive or content filled? That's not opinion it's trolling.

    when on earth did trolling replace a opinion usually formed after thought and subject comprehension




    OT: Skellington could you elaborate on how portable you feel the Surface Pro, as that has been the main draw for me of a full power OS on the go. Is it easy to handle in commutes and or while not at a desk?
    's
     
    Last edited: Jan 27, 2014
  10. kundas1

    kundas1 Super Moderator Staff Member

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    Dude don't get your panties in a bunch, you speak of debating yet when we debate the Redundancy of the OP'ers post, you get all huffy and puffy, what? Debating only works in YOUR favor and YOUR tone? gimme a break...

    All I was saying is there is a dozen posts of the same nature and having a dozen posts like this isn't constructive any more! It get redundant real fast, if YOU don't like my posts then move along
     
    Last edited: Jan 27, 2014
  11. skellington

    skellington Member

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    Found yet another bug....on battery if you set to sleep at 10 minutes (for example) and hibernate at 30 minutes, the SP won't hibernate. No idea why....I'll spend some time trying to debug yet another MS bug.

    Devolver, the SP is definitely small. It's like having a heavy iPad. But after having it for a while, I do wonder (again) if the compromises are worth it. For example, the SP with type cover is 2.5lbs while a 13" MacBook air is 3lbs. A Yoga 2 pro is 3lbs too. And both the Yoga and Air have WAY better battery life, bigger screens and better keyboards. So on the go, the weight difference is so little and you get so much more from regular ultrabooks. The digitizer on the SP is nice though...

    For $540 it's a pretty darn good value though and is cheaper than an iPad but does more (if you can ignore the weight issue). At 1100 or more (with a cover) I'm just sure I get it at all....but like I said, I do LIKE the SP I just feel like it's not practical. I might think better of it too once the power cover comes out if it adds another 3-4 hours of battery life. But with the power cover, the SP will weight 3lbs!

    --skell
     
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  12. Devolver

    Devolver New Member

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    lol huffy and puffy. I guess at this point I am as guilty and confrontational as you in derailing this thread, but I am fascinated because I cannot get behind the mindset. Even if there are 10 other topics how hard is it not to click on a link where the threads content is clear, and as you said of no interest to you.

    But you wanted to debate redundancy, although if we must be honest what you brought to the table, was basically telling the OP to shut up and build a better machine himself, how is that a debate? Telling someone to shut up isn't the beginning incentive of a debate surely you can understand that.
    I cannot see an argument for redundancy when the OP is a unique and new member expressing his personal experiences.

    Which would have been helpful to me, as I could have gotten real time information without necroing a thread, from someone who is a complete novice to the windows8 environment and the SP which is very unique machine, much like myself. Luckily it seems that he has not abandoned the thread, despite the unnecessary antagonistic responses.

    However maybe you can be of some use, could you answer some of the questions I asked the OP? your opinion is as good as his, as long there is useful content. I hope that you wont mind answering despite our disagreement. Like I wrote earlier I don't care about sentiments too much, just seeking an informative discussion

    how do you feel about the portability? as that has been the main draw for me, a full power OS on the go. Is it easy to handle in commutes or while not at a desk?
     

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