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Forum member hands on reviews SP4

Deltido

New Member
First impression of the Core m3 SP4.

Noticed a few problems all of which looked familiar as Windows 10/8.1 driver issues.
Video driver crash, audio popping, a few page couldn't be found errors which worked after hitting refresh.
Pretty much the exact same issues I was having with my Surface 3 a month and a half ago and not unlike issues I have had with the SP3 on W10.

Performance on 3DMark Cloud Gate SP3 i5 vs SP4 core m vs Surface 3

View attachment 7030

note located SP3 i5 higher score result.
Thanks for sharing,

This looks very impressive. Beating the i5 of last year. How's battery life on this thing? The Core m3 seems to be very rare.
 
So far not bad despite a few glitches. Coming from an original Surface Pro 128 GB, this new Surface Pro 4 256 is brilliant. Microsoft has come a long, long way from the first generation. It's not gone fully through the paces yet, but so far it works great.

The new keyboard is an improvement. I don't have to worry about running out of space on the touchpad if I use it to drag and drop. The keys feel better to the touch and it is much easier to type. Good spacing on the keys.

The screen is beautiful. The size and form is much better than the original. This model should be more useable than it's grandfather. I do some development work. Visual Studio was harder to use in the past due to the size available. The extra inches of screen space really help to make the device more useable.

I had trouble at first understanding why the volume rocker is backwards when working like a keyboard. When you tilt it into portrait mode, it makes sense.

One minor, but welcome change... thanks for dropping the Windows button on the hardware. It served no purpose except to get in the way. It's much easier to hold and use without the logo button.

As for glitches, I've run into two.

When you install Visual Studio, you also receive Hyper-V. There is a bug that causes the screen to flicker randomly with Hyper-V active. The quick fix is to deactivate Hyper-V. Hopefully Microsoft fixes that soon, but I can live without it for now.

The second seems to have self corrected. The Surface lost the keyboard cover connection. It was physically connected, but no lights illuminated and the keys did not work. Rebooting temporarily fixed the problem, but it came back. So far, this afternoon it's been stable. Not sure if it self corrected.

Let me finish on a positive note. Windows Hello. What a great feature. Now my smile can unlock my PC. No need to remember PIN numbers, passwords, and pictures.
 

GreyFox7

Super Moderator
Staff member
Thanks for sharing,

This looks very impressive. Beating the i5 of last year. How's battery life on this thing? The Core m3 seems to be very rare.
Too early for any battery info... in fact I just took it off power for the first time, didn't get it until this morning.
 
First impression of the Core m3 SP4.

Noticed a few problems all of which looked familiar as Windows 10/8.1 driver issues.
Video driver crash, audio popping, a few page couldn't be found errors which worked after hitting refresh.
Pretty much the exact same issues I was having with my Surface 3 a month and a half ago and not unlike issues I have had with the SP3 on W10.

I've started to notice the same just while perusing this forum. The video hangs for a split second and then a notice pops up about a video driver crash. I get the pop sound, too. Doesn't happen very often and doesn't stop me, but certainly annoying.
 

MartyB

New Member
Towards the end of day two. I received mine (i5/8GB/256GB) yesterday just before 9:00am -- which made me happy. This is an upgrade from an SP3 i3/64GB.

The screen is gorgeous. I've had none of the bleeding issues some have mentioned, and probably wouldn't have cared. Pixels do not resolve. It's crisp, bright, and the colors are good. I like the keyboard a lot. Windows hello is nice, works great, but does pose a problem for those who carry confidential information: law enforcement may, under federal law, require you to provide a face or a fingerprint, but cannot require you to provide a password or pin (anything stored in your head). This will matter to very few people, but is worth noting.

The machine is comparatively fast, coming from an i3. The SSD is crazy fast. I noticed that while installing office. It took less than a minute -- from an external SSD. Really impressive. I also really like the new pen.

But they did send it out buggy. Much buggier than they should have. There is the well-documented problem with Edge causing screen hue changes (when scrolling to some video and animation). In my case, that includes screen blanking and screen shake. Very irritating. I was worried for a minute, but it really does appear to be a driver or software problem. It'll be fixed, but how did they not catch that?

Then there is the Hyper-v issue. I have it turned off right now, and it's not a deal breaker -- Hyper-v has been a problem for surfaces all along -- but they should have caught that, too.

In addition, I've had the graphics driver crash, as well as the WiFi module resetting randomly. It's happened maybe four times. In my case, it turns out that when the WiFi driver resets, windows then runs these background processes that consume 50% of CPU cycles and thus kill the battery in short order. Only a reboot will fix it. Not good. By kill the battery life, I mean take it down to maybe four hours.

Lastly, speaking of battery life: the battery life is definitely worse than on my SP3 i3. I am absolutely not getting anywhere near 7 hours. More like 5 and a half. Moreover, the battery life indicator is either schizoid or psychotic and cannot decide whether I have 11 hours left or two. It sort of randomly comes up with a number. Very inconsistent, and clearly not indicative of how much time you actually have. But, yeah. The battery life is really disappointing. Until I hear from others, I have no way to decide whether it's just how it is, or whether mine is actually bad.

Mixed feelings.
 

GreyFox7

Super Moderator
Staff member
Twice the Touch Screen stopped responding to any touches... attaching the keyboard allows continued use but Touch is completely inactive until reboot. The first time it happened I already had the keyboard attached but was using both. The second time I had the keyboard detached and was in pure tablet mode.

Edit: upon reboot, it blue screened with Critical Process Died.
Then when it came up, Lost the location of OneDrive.
Wifi was switched to my alternate connection (no it's not my neighbors wifi :))
 
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hughlle

Super Moderator
Staff member
The touch screen failing seems to be a win 10 issue as opposed to an sp4 issue. I occasionally encounter the same on my S3/SP3

"I don't have to worry about running out of space on the touchpad if I use it to drag and drop" - not sure if you are aware @Grape Jelly but if you run out of space while dragging something, just keep your finger on the edge of the touchpad and the cursor will continue in that direction. Not ideal, but it's always good to be aware of :)
 

GreyFox7

Super Moderator
Staff member
The touch screen failing seems to be a win 10 issue
I agree, most of the problems are Windows 10 issues. Unfortunately the two are inextricably linked. As Windows 10 goes so goes the SP4 & SB. Welcome to our showcase, don't mind the broken glass. I wish they could fix this real soon... but it's already been 3 months and it looks like at least another 6 before they turn the corner if they don't lose any ground along the way.
 

dajogejr

Member
Just got my SP4 Pro yesterday. i5, 128GB with 4GB RAM, just like my SP3Pro.
SP4 vs. SP3.
The likes:
Speed. Quicker doing everything. Not by leaps and bounds but noticeable.
Size/fit/feel/weight. All better.
Pen. The pen is excellent. Writing with it feels much more natural.
Touch Screen Response. Better. I have fat fingers, when browsing sites, etc, it's much more responsive to my touch rather than having to tap something 2 or 3 times.
Windows 10. This device was built for it. Little quirks that don't work right on the SP3 (wake without password for one) works perfectly here. Hello is nice as well. But a little flaky depending on back light, environment, etc.

Dislikes:
Does not fit in the old style dock like the SP3 does. I have 5 of these docks at work, the fit sucks. I have the new dock on order, but it's supposed to fit. It's a crap fit.
Screen texture. Just as with the SP3. Too glossy, too much glare. Looking for a matte protector like I have on the SP3. The ones I have will cover up the Hello camera and I'm not trimming them.
Screen pixels. I use a dock and 23" monitor. Resolution changes perfectly now, but scaling is still off. If I take it off the dock, any text, etc., looks kinda grainy. If I log off while the device is off the dock, log back on, it's perfect.
On my SP3, I take it off the dock, icons are small, but text, etc, all look fine.

50/50 list.
Pen mount. I can go either way. Yes, it's sexier than the loop. But when you pull it out of your bag/put it back in, It's already popped off twice. With the old style docks...you just stick it to the side. With the new style dock, this won't be an issue.

I have the new dock and new keyboard w/ fingerprint on order/backorder from my supplier. No comment on those yet.
I am an IT Manager who uses the device for normal office functions day to day.
I'm not a gamer, hard core video editor, graphics designer, etc.
The SP3Pro was my only machine to use since last year, this device will be the same.
I think in the last year at home, I sat at the family desktop 4 to 5 times, to "fix" something...:)

If it were my personal money to spend, I honestly would say for my work, the SP3 Pro is just fine.
But because I have a budget for new technology and I can very, very easily hand down my SP3 Pro to a coworker, etc., I like having the ability to try and use new things.
 
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hughlle

Super Moderator
Staff member
Dislikes:
Does not fit in the old style dock like the SP3 does. I have 5 of these docks at work, the fit sucks. I have the new dock on order, but it's supposed to fit. It's a crap fit.
.

Have you put your name down for the dock spacers once MS actually get around to making them available? It should fit just fine once you've got a spacer.
 

GreyFox7

Super Moderator
Staff member
Does not fit in the old style dock like the SP3 does. I have 5 of these docks at work, the fit sucks. I have the new dock on order, but it's supposed to fit. It's a crap fit.

There's a spacer for it to fit correctly which I hear is free but they may not be available just yet. Contact MS they should have the details and get you on the list to receive it.
 

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