UK Impressions of the Surface Pro 2

Discussion in 'Microsoft Surface Pro 2' started by mjgerrard, Oct 27, 2013.

  1. mjgerrard

    mjgerrard New Member

    Joined:
    Oct 27, 2013
    Messages:
    32
    Likes Received:
    5
    Trophy Points:
    0
    Location:
    Birmingham, UK
    Hi all,

    As a new member here I thought I'd have a nose around, but I couldn't see a sticky thread for "new owner". I thought I'd come at this from a different point of view.

    Research and Use cases

    I work as a network engineer (Cisco), working in datacentres and in customer offices to deliver new networks and phone systems. I used to subscribe to the two device paradigm, where I had a Lenovo X220 (2nd gen i5) laptop with 16GB RAM and 256GB SSD for main work duties, and a Surface RT 32GB as my media consumption and general grab-and-go device.

    After owning the RT for a couple of months (I purchased when the prices dropped), I loved the form factor and wished that the Lenovo was as compact and as high quality as the Surface RT. The Surface Pro 2 was the right fit for me, knowing that it will last for the next few years as a tough, powerful and compact device. The only downside (Quite a big one actually) was that it only has 8GB RAM. I spend a lot of time using VMWare workstation to lab test Cisco Call manager and other RAM-heavy VM's, so I've really had to come up with other ways of working around this.

    Overall though, my use cases were that I needed a tablet device that can work in data centres (Where there isn't typically somewhere to rest a PC); as well as tablet functionality for media/sofa surfing. Otherwise it's a great PC that works great on customer sites as a standard laptop, or at my desk in the office with a large monitor.

    I also would use it for studying CCIE Voice, so I have the PC as my OneNote note taker (Pen input is a must), and use a Lenovo LT1421 USB monitor to watch the training videos.

    Purchasing

    Purchasing the Pro 2 in the UK, was frankly, a nightmare.

    There are (To my knowledge) no bricks-and-mortar MS stores, so we rely on 3rd party retailers or the online microsoftstore.com. I had pretty much decided that I was going to go ahead with the Surface Pro 2 so heeded the warnings that stock was running out. I was guaranteed that my device would ship by October 29th from the MS store (Which is poor), and in the end I noticed that John Lewis not only had stock of the 256GB version, but also the Purple Type cover! Purchased on next-day delivery, and cancelled the order with the microsoftstore. I did find the irony that I could purchase the device from a 3rd party retailer faster than Microsoft directly frustrating, and humorous at the same time.

    I popped into John Lewis yesterday to see if I could pick up the wireless/Bluetooth dongle that allows you to separate out the keyboard from the Surface. To my surprise there was actually a Microsoft Advisor there! I had to wait in a queue of 3-4 groups of people to speak to the guy; and overhearing what they were saying, the intent to purchase Surface devices was definitely there. All the groups of people left, quite frustrated, that they couldn't buy one because there was no stock. What a waste of that MS employees time! And furthermore, it's the first Saturday after the launch of Surface 2.

    The hype around the devices is all completely wasted, if you can't put devices in people's hands!

    I eventually got my turn to speak to the guy, and I was informed that they had never received any stock of any accessories (Aside from keyboards). Jesus...

    Impressions of the device

    I won't bore you with this bit, as there are plenty of reviews out there to watch/read. I simply think that it's stunning.

    Pros:

    - The inclusion of a USB port on the charger is inspired. I use an external DVD drive sporadically and having the ability to power it from the power cord is ace. The only problem is, that the cable between the Surface and adaptor is too long (So the DVD drive could end up quite far away from the Surface when plugged into both!), and the cable between the wall socket and adaptor is too short. Even spacing would be nice!

    - The build quality is fantastic and feels really solid

    - Battery life has been awesome so far

    - When combined with a cheap USB 3.0 hub (Anker branded I'm using), and some cheap USB 3.0 to Gigabit Ethernet dongle, I have a PC that exceeded my expectations for doing the work that I do.

    - Windows 8.1 is brilliant. I also have an iPad and frankly, it's been off since I purchased my RT...

    Cons:

    - The Surface 2 Pro is frankly, a beast. It really is very heavy (Coming from an RT). I'm persevering as a Tablet but the Surface 3 could really do with being made out of carbon fibre or something....

    - I am noticing a little scuffing starting to develop around the USB port, as I use it all the time for dongles and other devices. Need to be careful to not make it look really bad, so must improve my aim :D

    - The free Skype bundle doesn't allow you to call UK mobile phones! People over here use landlines less and less, because mobile coverage and deals are so good. Because of this, the Skype bundle is pretty rubbish for us over here (Not that it was really a factor in buying the device, though I appreciate it's value)

    Other stuff / thoughts on Surface 3

    - The ARC mouse that I managed to try out was horrible. Buy the Sculpt mouse instead - it's fantastic (And Bluetooth so saves using that single USB port up).

    - I could really do with a second USB 3.0 port. Dongle make things a bit easier, but it really would be welcome.

    - An option for 16GB RAM would be most appreciated.

    - Maybe a reversible Touch/Type cover? I'd like to try out the new gesture support, but can't. The engineering of this would be "interesting", because of figuring out which way up the cover was, but I think it'd be a real innovation. Royalties go straight to my PayPal, thanks ;)

    - Not having the opportunity to buy docking stations (I'm likely to buy one for my TV, one for office, and one for home office) at the time of launch, means I'm likely to purchase 3rd party USB 3.0 ones that are significantly cheaper. Well done MS - stock level problems mean lost revenue again... D'oh!

    - MS really need to be a bit more confident about stocking in the future. A few bricks-and-mortar stores in the UK would help, but if not, more support for 3rd party retailers such as advisors and better stock levels.
     
    Last edited: Oct 27, 2013
    3 people like this.
  2. oion

    oion Well-Known Member

    Joined:
    Feb 15, 2013
    Messages:
    1,362
    Likes Received:
    265
    Trophy Points:
    83
    My Device:
    S2
    Welcome. :)

    I enjoy reading about actual use cases, thanks for that.

    You may not want to, but it's possible to buy individual skin pieces from StickerBoy including just the sides, which can protect from that sort of thing. They ship internationally. Disclaimer: I have not used their product (I used a different competitor for a different pattern on my RT).

    I imagine a 16GB option would be ludicrously expensive in MS' pricing scheme. :eek: And with a carbon fiber body? I'm reminded of the $4000 Japanese subnotebooks, like the first Sony carbon fiber subnote.


    I'm frankly surprised at the Pro 2 stock issues--thought MS would've learned the first time around with the Pro 1. I'd understand being more conservative about the RT line, at least, but reading the problems people have with just getting the devices and accessories is pretty sad. Bad MS! *handsmack*
     
    Last edited: Oct 27, 2013
    1 person likes this.
  3. mjgerrard

    mjgerrard New Member

    Joined:
    Oct 27, 2013
    Messages:
    32
    Likes Received:
    5
    Trophy Points:
    0
    Location:
    Birmingham, UK
    Thanks for the welcome!

    The Stickerboy comment was great, as id never heard of them. Mmm wood style stickers.

    Indeed, the 16GB version may well be ridiculous. Also, given the teardowns I have seen, there isn't enough physical space to put all the chips. Most people don't need 16GB so this option would be unlikely to see the light of day, been as the engineering it may take to get everything to fit isn't worth the return.

    Am I going mad, or isn't the Lenovo X1 Carbon made from carbon fibre? If so, it shows there are sub £2000 devices out there using advanced materials.

    M.
     
  4. oion

    oion Well-Known Member

    Joined:
    Feb 15, 2013
    Messages:
    1,362
    Likes Received:
    265
    Trophy Points:
    83
    My Device:
    S2
    Yeah, I doubt we'll see a 16GB version anytime soon... :p

    As for the Lenovo, I have no idea--overall price comparison is going to need a look at its other components. The pricing I'm remembering from JP imports was ten years ago, though. I found a comment in a CNet review that I find hilarious:
    Hahaha. Boy, times have changed. And my dream machine was a Panasonic SX for the longest time. ;)
     
    Last edited: Oct 27, 2013
  5. kayzee

    kayzee Well-Known Member

    Joined:
    May 31, 2013
    Messages:
    2,082
    Likes Received:
    228
    Trophy Points:
    63
    Location:
    Essex, UK
    My Device:
    SPro
    Great to see another UK user, I'm down south in Essex here. Have you ever seen one in the wild? I've seen a single unit so far lol...

    Note that although strange, Microsoft says no docking stations are available. But you can buy them! In America at least, several people on here have bought in store and online, so it can't be long until they arrive here too.

    I agree with the stocking issues, it's pretty awful. But at least you had someone with knowledge in John Lewis. I remember going in there for my first Surface viewing when Surface RT came out and they had just chucked it in the corner and had no information about it... whereas the Apple stand was amazing, as ever. The only way is up, right?
     
  6. mjgerrard

    mjgerrard New Member

    Joined:
    Oct 27, 2013
    Messages:
    32
    Likes Received:
    5
    Trophy Points:
    0
    Location:
    Birmingham, UK
    Haha yes, I suspect that the PR/launch managers are trying to improve things nowadays. He seemed like a nice enough bloke, if not completely useless (Not his fault!).

    Glad to see another UK user as well (I'm up in Brummy). I have met only one person with a Pro in the UK, And that's only because the business he works for bought it as a trial. A shame really, because I have coveted it ever since I saw it and I'm sure others would too...

    I'm currently trying to find the Wireless Dongle for keyboards to buy, but @Surface, @MicrosoftStore and other MS online advisors are pretty useless. Do you know of anywhere in the wild I could buy one?

    M.
     
  7. mjgerrard

    mjgerrard New Member

    Joined:
    Oct 27, 2013
    Messages:
    32
    Likes Received:
    5
    Trophy Points:
    0
    Location:
    Birmingham, UK
  8. mjgerrard

    mjgerrard New Member

    Joined:
    Oct 27, 2013
    Messages:
    32
    Likes Received:
    5
    Trophy Points:
    0
    Location:
    Birmingham, UK
    Ok so I was told "end of the year". Hilarious.
     
  9. Telstar1948

    Telstar1948 Active Member

    Joined:
    Jul 12, 2013
    Messages:
    435
    Likes Received:
    78
    Trophy Points:
    28
    Location:
    Columbia, Missouri
    My Device:
    Surface Book
    @mjgerrard: The MS dock looks pretty slick, but it seems to have a drawback or two. The ethernet on the dock is 100/10 I believe so no Gigabit connection. The dock uses the SP2's USB3 port and appears to only have on USB3 port available on the dock. This is what I've gathered looking at the photos and a few other comments I've read about the dock. Anyone already having an actual MS dock feel free to chime in. The MS dock looks well built, but I'm not sure you can't get even better functionality through other manufacturer's USB3 docks. Maybe Jeff Roach can chime in since he's used the MS dock.
     
    1 person likes this.
  10. mjgerrard

    mjgerrard New Member

    Joined:
    Oct 27, 2013
    Messages:
    32
    Likes Received:
    5
    Trophy Points:
    0
    Location:
    Birmingham, UK
    Good advice Telstar1948.

    I'm presently looking at purchasing an Asus Transformer Book T100 for my better half, and I think that is probably what is going to guide my docking station needs. I think we're going to go for the three docking stations, but go for Kensington USB 3.0 docks. It'll be great that we can both use the docking stations at the side of the TV and in the study, without having device specific problems. Plus they're cheaper! I'll have one for the office, but I'm not sure whether to go for another Kensington or go for a far sleeker MS one. The irony is though, that of all the places I need 10/100/1000, it's at the office, which is where I want the nicest looking device :D D'oh!
     
  11. oion

    oion Well-Known Member

    Joined:
    Feb 15, 2013
    Messages:
    1,362
    Likes Received:
    265
    Trophy Points:
    83
    My Device:
    S2
    Right, it does appear that the MS Surface dock skimps on both ports and spec, besides which it's made of plastic, so other hubs (they're technically hubs, right?) are probably going to be a much better value for the tech. We're not talking about super engineering in tight spaces like the Surface form factor for a dock or hub, after all. That said, I totally get the desire to have matching peripherals. :p
     
  12. mjgerrard

    mjgerrard New Member

    Joined:
    Oct 27, 2013
    Messages:
    32
    Likes Received:
    5
    Trophy Points:
    0
    Location:
    Birmingham, UK
    Ah you're joking! I assumed it was made of Mg!

    Kensington it is...
     

Share This Page

Search tags for this page

lenovo lt1421

,

lt1421 surface pro 2

,

microsoft surface 2 stock issues uk

,

surface pro 2 dock uk purchase uk