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Accidental New SP4 Owner


New Member
Hiya everybody!

So I purchased a Surface Pro 4 about three weeks ago. I have to say first that this forum helped me make the purchase decision, although my path to purchasing this was winding and strange. For the fun of it, let me share my journey.

I had a long planned trip to Mexico coming up. All the plans were made; plane tickets, resort, site seeing spots, friends to meet up with. Technology wise I figured I'd just bring my phone (Nexus 6), my iPod (Touch 4th gen), my ebook reader (Kindle Voyage), and my watch (Pebble Time Steel). A couple days before my flight I started considering online access. I would want to check into my websites, Facebook, check in with friends, and maybe even do some skype style face to face video chats. I also figured I'd want to try watching a movie or two on the flight and maybe in the hotel if the TV was completely in Spanish. All of this would be possible with my phone... but I really didn't want to be without my phone and if I performed all of this on it I would be killing the battery. So I decided to get a tablet.

I'm fairly tech brand neutral. I love Android on my phone, my music collection is through iTunes (hence the iPod), and my desktop (a hand built computer) is Windows 10. To be honest, I didn't even consider a Surface tablet on my first go around. It just didn't occur to me as an option. My requirements were a largish screen (above 9 inches), something that would stay up to date, and a bare minimum of 32Gb of memory (preferably 64Gb or 128Gb). The 'stay up to date' portion quickly eliminated almost all of the Android tablets. As far as I'm concerned it only left the Nexus 9, and that barely met my requirements (just under a nine inch screen, 32Gb max). And then the decision was made quickly on that front... it wasn't available locally. This is on Saturday morning and I had less than 48 hours before my flight, so shipping wasn't an option). The iPad Air seemed to be the only choice.

I went to several sites to compare the Air and Air 2 and found a review comparing the Air 2 to the Surface Pro 3, and all of Microsoft's commercials came to mind. It was an A-HA moment to be sure. The 4Gb 128Gb model was comparable in price to the iPad Air 2 128 Gb when I included a keyboard for both. At this point I didn't consider the Surface Pro as I wouldn't need the extra horsepower or the extra screen size. Sure, it would be nice... but either the Air or the Surface would do me just fine. To me the Air's advantages were; rock solid tablet experience (most places have it as the 'best' tablet), great app selection, and the fact that I don't have a real good Apple device. The Surface's advantages were; it's a freaking computer with a full OS, I'd be able to mirror all of the programs I have on my desktop, a FAR better typing experience when I add the keyboard.

To be honest.... they keyboard won it for the Surface. I figured both would be fine for movies, both would be fine for facebook, both would be fine for video chats.... but the keyboard would make writing out posts on the Surface a lot better than a third party keyboard for the Air.

Thankfully the local Best Buy had the 4/128 version in stock as they seemed to be the only local retailer that carried the Surface line. So I scooted off with the intention of giving both tablets a test run. The iPad could still win it if it won the 'how does it feel in the hand' test. I went to the Apple section first and picked up a free iPad Air 2 and ran it through it's paces. I won't lie... that is a NICE piece of hardware. It feels good, it runs buttery smooth, and it's just so darned intuitive. But when I brought up an app to type in... well the onscreen keyboard was awful. It would do for quick messages like on Facebook but if I wanted to type out a post like this one (I can be very wordy!), it would never suffice. I looked at the keyboards available (remember, I couldn't get one shipped in!) and their selection was just aweful. All of the keyboards looked cheap and cramped. Typing on any of them would be better than the onscreen keyboard but not a lot better.

So I moseyed on over to the Microsoft area.... and there was no Surface 3. I saw the gorgeous Surface Book, and the Surface Pro 4... but no Surface 3. I did play around with the Pro 4's keyboard and found that I could type almost full speed on it without error. After flagging down an associate I learned that Best Buy (at least this Best Buy) had taken all of their Surface 3s off the shelf a couple days back and shipped them back to Microsoft. No reason was given... they just wouldn't be carrying it in store any longer. After brushing off the 'you can still buy it online' nonsense, I left the store in a huff. If I had just NOT thought about the Surface and it's keyboard I'd be walking out with an iPad Air or iPad Air 2. But now a good keyboard experience was a needed component and while there may be an option out there for it, it wasn't available locally.

Enter the Surface forums. I actually came here to do some research and get some reviews on the Surface 3, but I kept getting pulled into the Surface Pro 4's area. The Surface Pro 4 is an exquisite piece of hardware. Great screen, wonderful keyboard, and by all accounts (with an i5 processor) nearly as powerful as my desktop. It didn't take long for me to fall in love. I adored the fact that this would, for all intents and purposes, act as a tablet AND a laptop. It was a steep price though... I was looking at around $800 all in on the Air... the Surface would be just under $1200. So more or less, $400 for typing.

What sold me was thinking beyond the vacation. I couldn't come up with a really good use for the iPad at home beyond a bigger internet device while watching TV (my Nexus 6 does just fine there). I wouldn't take it anywhere and get more use out of it than I would my phone which always travels with me. The Pro 4? Well... it's a freaking laptop! I could see it traveling with me and giving me access to a real Windows 10 experience... Word, Photoshop, iTunes, FULL internet and not just the mobile one, and even logging into work. I wouldn't use it a lot... I've lived without a laptop for a long long time... but I WOULD use it if I had it.

So the next day I became the happy owner of a Surface Pro 4. i5, 4/128Gb. I would have preferred 8Gb of memory, but I just couldn't justify an additional $300 when I was already 'overspending' by $400.

My experience so far has been mixed. The first one I got died a few minutes after booting it for the first time. Best Buy thankfully exchanged it out without issue and the second one ran fine. I never used it on the flight as the airplane had a wonderful screen for watching movies, and I ended up with no Wifi access outside of the hotel lobby. No Wifi in my room. At home it sits next to my couch and works wonderfully for a bigger internet screen. I'm now able to log into work while watching TV. I've taken it with me a few places and having the full keyboard and Windows 10 experience has been worth it.

My first 'issue' came up a couple days ago. I got the big February update and ever since the camera won't turn on for the 'hello' log in experience. Today is my first day off since then, and I plan on tackling that issue now.

So... TLDR? I wanted to get a $400 tablet to watch movies on while on vacation and ended up with a Surface Pro 4 and couldn't be happier.
Welcome aboard.

I DR;) Great (long) story. It seems that several others have had camera issues with Hello., many seemed to correct themselves. Mine had no such issue. One of those "can't logically be explained" issues.
Welcome from me, too.

The "Hello" trouble will go away soon enough, I believe. Glad you are happy with the SP4.