Surface impressions from a ling time Mac user

Discussion in 'Microsoft Surface Pro' started by rrk2013, Feb 23, 2013.

  1. rrk2013

    rrk2013 New Member

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    I've used Macs since college, in other words, a while ago. I have an iPad and an iPad mini, and my primary machine is a Retina MBP. It was a near flawless transition from PCs to Macs 20 years ago, however, the transition back hasn't been without it's "quirks". Let me start with saying I am now using a surface pro 128 that I purchased from my local best buy without any issues. They had a few in stock and no real demand, but I live in the suburbs and traditionally things not in stock online or in hot demand are easy to get. I had my iPad mini and iPhone on launch day without waiting in a line or any issues. In any event, I brought the surface home, and in my opinion, this is one of the best put together pieces of tech I have ever used. It took a bit of getting used to, Windows 8 is very different, but I think ill get the hang of it. I also had a bit of trouble transitioning between tablet and desktop. In other words, I keep forgetting this device does both things and I don't have to keep jumping between my laptop and tablet. So, gripes first: Windows app store is pathetic. It is hard to navigate, filled with crap and doesn't seem well thought out. Again, I think it will get there, but it's not there now. Now with the surface itself, my gripes are mainly with the WiFi, even right next to my router, I get about 3 bars, and boy would it be nice if this thing had LTE. Other than that, this thing hums. My mbp has 16gb of ram and a core i7 and is gorgeous, thin, and FAST. In true usability, the surface pro has no discernible differences. I have installed dropbox, office, and even world of warrant (I travel a lot, and that's my one Vice). So far, everything has been great. Yes, windows machines take more management, from updates, to backups, to anti virus, so ill keep posting my experiences here. I think ill be keeping this puppy, it's only been a couple days. But so far so good. I forgot one big gripe. Why doesn't Gmail work on this? I know it has something to do with EAS, but come on! Either MS or Google needs to step up to fix this issue.
     
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  2. protip

    protip Member

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    Thanks for the perspective from a long-time Apple user. Glad you're liking the Pro so far.

    I agree that the App Store has a lot of room for improvement. I feel like I've already grabbed everything that's high quality, and that's only about 20 applications. Oddly, though, I am not left feeling empty because the Pro is a full computer, and I'm never left wanting for applications on a computer. Over time, I'm sure the App Store's selection will grow and we'll have more touch-enabled "Metro style" applications to enjoy.

    I've been using Windows 8 for a while on my desktop, but the Pro was my first dive into Metro with gestures. It took me some time to figure out the gestures. I was told there was some introductory video I should have seen after unboxing the Surface, but I never saw any such video.

    Odd about the wireless connectivity you're seeing. I have five bars almost everywhere in my house. I've seen some threads here about wireless in general, but so far, I'm not seeing any problems with mine. I'm using a relatively old Netgear WNR2000.

    Agreed, LTE would be pretty amazing. Maybe we'll see that in the Pro 2? My hopes for the Pro 2 are Intel Haswell, reduced thickness, LTE/whatever, and a little more attention for the pen. I want to like the pen more than I do.

    But for the time being, the Pro is my favorite portable computing device.
     
  3. jakebake

    jakebake Member

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    GLad you like it! I have always been a pc user but I did buy an iphone 3gs and iphone 4 and ipad 3. I have since sold them all and very glad I did. I am tired of apple and its limitations. THey are not innovative anymore they need to step up their game. ANyways though I love the surface pro.
    About the gmail I am not sure what issues you are having. My gmail works fine.
     
  4. BillJ

    BillJ Active Member

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    There are other threads that address the issue with Gmail; essentially, Google decided unilaterally to discontinue its sync services as of Jan 31st.
    There is an easy workaround- go to Windows 8 help, and look up signing onto Gmail. If you allow a Microsoft account to have access to your Google data, you can still get the Win8 mail app to receive email from Google (although sometimes the messages arrive a bit late- manually syncing helps if you are expecting a time sensitive message)

    Not sure why you are not getting better WiFi. Mine seems to work just fine. Others in this forum have had similar experiences, and there are specific recommendations for remediation of this in other threads. Good luck, and thanks for posting your experiences here.
     
  5. rrk2013

    rrk2013 New Member

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    Thanks for both your responses. I had to look into getting this site working within IE, another windows quirk, but now that I have, I'll actually have paragraph breaks between my text, novel idea...

    In any event, I think the wifi issues are because my house is about 4000 sf, and I use two wifi bridges to cover the whole area, and I think the surface, like my wife's windows machine has issues picking up the right bridge. I'm still getting about 20mbs, so it's just in my head that the three bars are in some way deteriorating my performance.

    Now, the gmail issue is a bigger deal, and i'm very excited to hear someone got it to work. I cannot setup a google account in mail. I'm simply trying to add my gmail to mail, my google calendar to calendar, and sync my contacts to the people app. Maybe it's my own stupidity (highly likely), but every time I try to add the account, windows says "account not found" or something of that ilk.

    Now, back to my old Mac days. I have a 27" thunderbolt display currently, but come Monday I'll be using the surface as my go to machine for work. My company still uses the archaic Exchange 2003, so I cannot use Outlook 2013, which is a pain especially because I send quite a few attachments daily. Maybe setting up outlook 2010 as my default mail app is the answer, not sure. But, I'll have a 23" display, external keyboard and mouse hooked up Monday and we'll see how this thing handles day to day tasks.

    Any advice you folks have on making the switch back to windows is appreciated. I meant no offense about the remarks regarding the app store. I remember Apple's first days, and even developed some of the first apps on the store, and boy was that thing a cumbersome piece of junk. I do disagree with the comments about Apple not being innovative. I'm probably a fanboy in the most internet of terms, however, I'm very objective, hence why I'm using and loving the Surface Pro. I don't want this thread to devolve into some sort of MS vs. Apple topic, but both companies are developing amazing tech, as is Google, at least through their OS. I don't think I can remember the days of not having a google app of some sort in my daily routine. I really hope that the surface can be my daily work machine and my primary device when I travel (other than my phone). If and when that happens, the ipad mini probably stays right by my bedside and the MBP goes on ebay (sadly).
     
  6. judah

    judah New Member

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    Typing this on my new Surface Pro purchased from Staples. Also a long time Mac user. I've got 14 days to try this unit while I can still return it for a full refund.

    I agree about the quirkiness of Windows8 but I'm going to give it the college try. I switched from and iPhone 5 to a Samsung Note 2 and after a week, I won't go back. So, we'll see about the Surface.
     
  7. protip

    protip Member

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    rrk2013, you asked for some tips on Windows. I'm not sure specifically what you're looking for, but here are a list of apps that I consider must-haves:

    And some random tips:

    • Use the "Favorites" area on the Windows Explorer, at the top of the directory tree, to make it easy to navigate to common places in the file system. Add items by selecting a folder and then right-clicking on the "Favorites" star row at the left. One of the options is, "Add current location to favorites."
    • Add your two PCs to a Windows "Homegroup" to easily access music and other media.
    • Use Bitlocker to encrypt your Surface's disk. Backup the decryption key to a USB stick. This is important to protect you from exposure if your Surface is stolen.
    • If you haven't done so already, you can tweak the behavior of Windows Explorer using the "Folder Options" control panel applet. You can turn off the silly hiding of file extensions, for example.
    • Check out the Speech Recognition applet. It's old, but not bad.
    • Also play around with handwriting recognition on the Surface Pro by switching the onscreen keyboard to a handwriting mode using the icon at the bottom right.
     
  8. polbit

    polbit Member

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    Welcome fellow Mac user! I've been a heavy Apple user since Apple II days, but always had a desktop PC for media and games. As I've gotten older I have been using the PC less and upgrading it less. Lately though I just got bored with iOS, and first replaced my iPhone with Galaxy Note II, and now my iPad with Surface. I first tried RT, but it just wasn't all there. Great effort, just too much of a first-release product for me. Then I tried the Pro, and there is no going back for me. I use it at work, at home, and it's a fantastic product. Having said that, I do have an issue with lack of Gmail integration, and with Chrome not really being tablet-aware. For now I just pinned the website versions, but I hope that Google and MS can work something out.
     
  9. Kiwibru

    Kiwibru New Member

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    I work in an environment that has both Mac's and PC networked. I have been "cross platform" for over fifteen years.
    I have been amazed at how rich the Surface Pro is in power and ease of use. I look at the MBAir and grab the Pro every chance I have. It is so amazing to have a device that actually works with a stylus! I used to think the Newton was cool (with all of it's warts and problems). Best of both worlds and it should only get better with time.
     
  10. lostlogik

    lostlogik New Member

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    There are a few posts around but basically for new MS/Google sync setups you will not be able to get your contacts and calendar to sync. MS has posted advice that when setting up the sync you need to make sure calendars and contacts are not checked to be sync'd. For the moment, all you'll be able to get across is mail, and that may be on borrowed time.

    I set up new outlook.com accounts, because to be honest, I'm fed up with Google. It's got too big for its boots and spitting the dummy and unilaterally cancelling sync services with MS was the last straw. Appreciate however that this isn't going to work for a lot of people who rely on Google.
     
  11. rrk2013

    rrk2013 New Member

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    This is really an amazing forum, I have to say I'm very impressed with all the tips and support. I was actually able to get mail up and running, but funnily, it can only send, but not receive mail. I also was able to get my contacts to sync and my calendar. It's one way only, but that's no big. I'm usually making calendar and contact changes from my iPhone anyway. Thanks also for the windows tips, I will check all those programs out. I'm still loving my surface, if I can find a way of getting my Gmail to sync properly, it will be great. Ill work on that tomorrow. Can anyone recommend a good VPN utility, I can always use the Cisco client in desktop mode, but I'm wondering if there's a good app.
     
  12. EMINENT

    EMINENT Active Member

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