Surface Pro working perfectly for my business

Discussion in 'Microsoft Surface Pro' started by joudbren, Feb 26, 2013.

  1. joudbren

    joudbren Member

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    I am absolutely astounded by this device. I've been in I.T. for over 25 years and not even remotely did I think I would be purchasing a Surface Pro. My normal rig for work is an 11" MacBook Air running Win7 in VMware almost 100% of the time. It is usually connected to a 24" LCD in the office and a wireless (via usb) mouse and keyboard.

    When I started to figure out what the Surface Pro actually represented I decided to try one out and luckily tracked down a 128GB version at a local BB. Well after only a few days, this unit is definitely a keeper! As a result I will be selling my 9 month old MacBook Air, my gen 2 iPad and my 3G Nexus 7. This device has proven to be able to replace all of them. Not perfectly replace them but GOOD ENOUGH and only one device to worry about now.

    Is it perfect? Not a chance! But I understand (and expected) the limitations of the device and for MY usage it has turned out to be a home run from Microsoft. It's certainly not the best tablet out there and it's not the best laptop but the hybrid combination is stellar for my business and personal usage. I can use it as a tablet when necessary and I can use it as a basic laptop when needed (like when I'm typing this right now). Being able to take notes in a customers office with the pen is the icing on the cake. Brilliant.

    I'm ok with the weight and size (lighter than my MB Air!) and I have the Type keyboard cover installed which is a marvel of engineering in its own right. I'm still also very surprised at how fast this thing is. I love how liberating it is to be using a tablet that is really a full blown Win8 PC. Almost no limitations on usage, browsing or software that I'm typically used to with my previous tablets. That alone is almost worth the price of admission.

    Weaknesses? There are a few...

    Wish it had bigger storage options or was easily upgradeable. The 128GB is ok for my business stuff combined with my 64GB MicroSD card but if this was my main home rig it might get a little tight pretty fast. Ok though for a first gen product.

    The kickstand is clever but definitely needs to be adjustable or at least more of an incline. Stands up a little too vertical for my tastes.

    Battery life could be better but at 4 or 5 hours, more than enough for me. I'll be keeping a charger at home and in the office so it's rarely on battery for any length of time. My MacBook Air wasn't much better as a comparison.

    The Type cover sometimes is not re-detected when I detach and re-attach it. Requires a power down and restart to come back online. Not often but a bit of a nuisance. Hopefully is a driver issue that can be fixed.

    I run my screen at 150% scaling but that isn't good for my external monitor. It's perfectly usable but my monitor is better at 125% or native. Microsoft is apparently updating the video driver so that each display can have it's own scaling. Fingers are crossed. (not a deal breaker though, just a pain flipping the scaling back and forth when I unplug from the external display)

    Power connector is wayyyyy too fiddly. Total pain to attach it and definitely needs a redesign. Also wish the power light on the magnetic part changed colour like on Apple charge cables to indicate charge status. (love the extra USB port though on the power brick for charging other devices. Very clever and hugely useful)

    Trackpad on the keyboard is a little cranky and doesn't always work as expected. I mostly use the touchscreen though combined with the Microsoft wedge mouse so not a big deal. Would still like it to work better though.

    Function keys on the keyboard should be lockable so that I don't need to hit the function button for them. (are they?)

    There seems to be some haptic feedback when you hit the home button on the bezel. If so, is there a way to enable that for the keys on the onscreen keyboard? That would be brilliant as I have that on my Android phone and it does help improve accuracy.

    Built in 3G and LTE support would be useful along with a GPS chip. (it is a portable device after all)

    Extra USB port would be a bonus.

    Internal pen storage would be nice.

    Anyhoo, as mentioned, all in all I'm pleased with the device and pretty sure I'll definitely be purchasing Gen 2 of this product if Microsoft keeps pursuing this format. This thing combined with my Galaxy Note 2 is a great setup for mobile road warriors. Cheers!

    P.S. The look on people's faces when they see this thing on my desk running my monitor with mouse and keyboard is hysterical when they realize what they are looking at is actually a real PC. Most are shocked! Already 3 people I know have said they are absolutely buying one now that they understand what it really is and see how well it works for me. :)
     
  2. Russ

    Russ Active Member

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    Joudbren --

    You are contributing to the problem! Microsoft is sold out --AGAIN -- on both models. How are they ever gonna catch up it you keep creating new buyers?

    Glad to hear it is working so well for you. No, it's not perfect, but Alabama has a song called "Close Enough To Perfect For Me." Seems appropriate for the Surface Pro.

    Take care,

    Russ
     
  3. Uncensored2008

    Uncensored2008 Member

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    Yep, generally agree.

    This is what I wrote on Sharky Extreme about it;

    So the Surface Pro came in today. My initial reaction was to the weight. Contrasted to my Xyboard, this is one heavy tablet. It's also fairly thick.

    I turned it on and it did it's cutesy little intro thing. Then had me set up local user privileges. I use a secured WiFi system so the tablet could not attach. No biggie, it skipped the WiFi setup and went directly into Windows 8. I went ahead and gave the Cisco 2504 domain user credentials and got on the WiFi.

    Attaching to the domain took longer than it should, not because of the Surface, but because of my lack of familiarity with Windows 8 (how DO you right click on computer, when computer no longer is present?) Anyway, once I found the settings, the tablet joined the domain without complaint.

    I quickly loaded Office 2010, our company ERP (Made2Manage), and our VPN (a Palo Alto firewall.) All went flawlessly. Pulled up the ERP and tested load times against my Alienware running Windows 7 64. Times were virtually identical, showing that the 54mb WiFi is the gating factor and the tablet has no issue with processing the .Net code. Office is likewise snappy, the applications pop up instantly. Files open from network shares with no issue.

    At lunch, I enabled the hotspot on my Razr Maxx HD, fired up the VPN, and RDP'd into my mail server with no issue. Made sure outlook was sending and receiving outside the domain - no issues.

    Bottom line, the tablet behaved exactly as an Ultrabook would. The I5 processor easily handles anything I've thrown at it so far. The display is gorgeous. The 1080P resolution is technically less dense than the iPad, but I honestly don't see it. It's crisp and bright with excellent color reproduction.

    I don't know what they battery life is like yet. It came in with only about a quarter charge. I used it on battery at lunch, to test offsite features, but that was only for about a half hour. The rest of the time I've had it plugged in. The magnetic coupling for the power is a little annoying, like the iPad it wants to fall off all the time. The microUSB of the Xyboard is easier to handle when using the device plugged in.

    It's interesting that websites don't view the Surface as a tablet, so it offers full sites as a default. Although the Xyboard (as well as iPad) can easily handle full websites, mobile versions would always load by default. It's nice that the Surface directly loads the full site.

    I'm sure that a lot of this has to do with it being a real computer. I loaded standard versions of Flash and Chrome on it, neither of which were aware they were running on a tablet.

    So far, I'm very impressed with the device. It shows what the iPad and Android tablets should be.
     
  4. J515OP

    J515OP Super Moderator

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    Congrats and welcome. Glad to hear it is working out so well for you. You pretty much hit all the pros and cons. Unfortunately that means registry edits (if possible) to lock F buttons or enable haptic feedback on screen (you should have audible clicks though). Don't forget cloud or network (particularly easy to access since it is a Windows PC) storage as an option. Other easy fixes are a universal tablet stand for variable angles and USB hub for more ports. Not as ideal as built in solutions but still options.
     
  5. joudbren

    joudbren Member

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    LOL! Make that 5 new buyers now. A friend and his daughter have decided they both want one now after seeing mine in action. Cheers!
     
  6. J515OP

    J515OP Super Moderator

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    From desktop click file explorer (the folders in the taskbar) then long press on Computer for a right click or at least that is the traditional way to access it. You can use the modern way of swipe right edge in for Charms Bar>Search>Computer and it pulls up after typing c-o-m. Then same long press for right click :)
     
  7. joudbren

    joudbren Member

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    Thanks! I do already have 25GB Skydrive for free and use it every day for my business files. Local Microsoft store also gave me another 3GB free for buying Surface Pro. I do like to sync the files up locally though to my Surface. Call me old fashioned. Just like to have local copies available for when offline and as backup. I am going to move my local Skydrive folder to the MicroSD card though and that should help.

    Also currently sourcing the smallest USB 3.0 hub that I can find. I like to keep my kit as light as possible. I keep a charger at home and in the office so rarely need to even carry one of those unless travelling.

    Weird on the function keys. Usually you have to hit the FN button to access the secondary functions on most keyboards. Probably due to it having to work with both RT and Pro I guess. Cheers!

    James
     
  8. Ruffles

    Ruffles Active Member

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    Actually, I think this is MS bending to the mindless masses who never use the functions keys. They've decided that a majority of users use them for volume and play/pause etc. then actually use the function keys. My kids have a budget laptop the same way. The first time I used it to set some software up for them I thought the keys were broken because I kept trying to use them rename files and refresh web pages etc. and the stupid volume controls popped up.

    I wish there was a setting to change for this.
     
  9. J515OP

    J515OP Super Moderator

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    You are probably right but I bet they have significant data to back it up as well. Same reason the Start button is gone. People simply weren't using it no matter how much the early Win 8 reviewers decried it is a necessary feature. Some people might still want it back but I haven't heard much of that noise (really just reviewers telling the public they should be outraged) since Win 8 went public.
     

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