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From Apple to Surface Pro need your help


New Member
Hi guys,
I am photographer and sometimes I do video editing on high end softwares like adobe and final cut, I have the 5K IMAC as my main computer which i do all of my work on but unfortunately i travel a lot (pilot) and most of the time i do my photography out of the country, I had a Macbook pro but I though of how heavy it is so I sold it.
Now I am long time apple consumer more than 10 years and I was hopping that iPad pro will be any way pro but end of the day its just an iPad with a bigger screen which i can not run any of my photography software on like Lightroom and photoshop and not to mention the ability to transfer my photos from different kind of memory cards on the go.....

I made a long search on the new surface pro 4 as its attract me from every angle and not to mention its has the full OS system that i need for my usage, but there certain things i couldn't find an answer for and i was hopping someone with past experience with MAC can answer these question for me:

1- is the Microsoft system as responsive as apple from trackpad input and scrolling through browser and zooming in and out without a lag coz MAC handle that in a good way ?
2- I heard a lot of bugs are they fixed coz i don't want to work on my project for hours than has to restart my device because of bug?
3- how responsive is the pen in photography usage for correcting highlight and shadow and major exposure change in photoshop and light room if any photographer can help?

finally if I am buying the device do i need a screen protector as i will be heavy user with pen so any scratch is expected from the pen needle?

I thank you again guy and really appreciate your help here and specially photographers if any i would love to hear your thoughts as I am less than 2 days to pull the trigger on the device.


Active Member
I use the Surface Pro 3 for Photoshop, and it works very well for me.

The keyboard and trackpad are different from the MacBook, but just as responsive there is no lag. The overall utility of the trackpad is no less than the Mac.
Some SP4 owners are having problems with device drivers and other software problems. It does not look like there are any consistent hardware problems. I could suggest that you purchase from a Microsoft Store if possible, because the people there can help you with your purchase if there is a problem. Online customer service is generally good as well, but sometimes it is not possible to resolve problems over the phone or online.
I love using the pen for photo editing- it is like painting the picture. It works very well.
I have never used a screen protector on any of my Surfaces, and I have never given any of my devices a scratch with the pen. Some people in these forums prefer screen protectors, and touch and pen responsiveness may not be adversely affected by a good protector.

I love my Surface; try one and see- the worst that could happen is it doesn't meet your expectation, and you return the device for a refund. I would bet that you will consider it a "keeper", however. Good luck!


Active Member
I too have the SP3, but can answer some of your questions.
The trackpad on the Type Cover 4 is bigger and smoother (it's glass) than previous Type Covers and I believe has 5 point input. I will be buying a Type Cover 4 for my SP3. As @BillJ pointed out it is different than Mac. But . . . on the Surface you can also just tap, drag, zoom, press (for right click) right on the screen or also use the pen as a mouse right on the screen.
I would also recommend getting a Bluetooth mouse. I have the Microsoft Arc mouse and a Logitech Ultrathin Touch mouse, both are very portable.

Many of the bugs are software caused and are being fixed via updates, and I don't know how "many" is many in the real world because forums like this attract those with problems looking for solutions. Again @BillJ advise is good, they are very quick to just give you a new devise at the MS store.

You don't need a screen protector, the Type Cover when closed and a sleeve or small laptop bag will protect it when closed. One of the new features of the SP4 is thinner space between the screen's surface and screen so there is less parallax between pen tip and screen. The pen tip is plastic so it won't scratch.
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Active Member
OP, if you haven't already, try doing a search for "photo" and/or "photography" or something similar. I've seen some photography aficionados posting on this or other forums about their experiences with the Surface Pro line.


Active Member
I would say you are safe for what you think you want to do. No other device is going to give you the ability of a 2 in 1 like a SP3/4 or even some of the copycats out there.

The minor bugs some have experienced have been resolved and are not going to interfere with your work.

The only things i'm looking forward to being fixed is the occasional wake from sleep black screen where it doensn't show my shuffling photo background when Hello is looking for me. Nitpicking. And, maybe improved battery management and drivers which I expect to get better as this is a first gen product with Intel's Skylake.


Active Member
Since the November Windows 10 update, trackpad scrolling and tracking is very good - on par with a Macbook. However, the Surface Pro still lacks other basic gesture support - no back/forward on web pages for example. Pinch to zoom is still nowhere near as good as on a Mac either.

I can't answer questions about Photoshop for you, but in general, the pen response is very good.

If Pen support is not a requirement, have you considered the 12" Macbook? Many people are finding it to work fine for their photographic workflows and it's the best ultra-mobile laptop that Apple makes right now.
I am a system engineer and pro photographer. My main computers have been Macs for years. I have a 21.5" iMac, a 27" i7 iMac, a Mac Mini, a 13.3" MacBook Pro and an iPad Air/iPhone 6. I also have an original Surface Pro and recently picked up a Surface Pro 3. The original Surface Pro can only be classified as a "neat toy". However my Surface Pro 3 has taken over about half of the duties of my iPad and 60-70% or the duties of my MacBook Pro including Photoshop editing while traveling. My main editing computer is still the 27" iMac along with a Wacom. It will continue to be. The Surface Pro is more than cabable of Photoshop although I would suggest the i7 processor over the i5. Mine is an i7 and runs Photoshop just fine. I do plan to upgrade to the Surface Pro 4 pen.


OP...I'm the guy you're looking for. Long time (more than 10 yrs) Mac user. Professional photographer who uses Adobe products. I came to the SP4 for the same reasons. I was waiting for the iPad Pro to deliver a mobile form factor utilizing OSX. Instead, Apple delivered an iPad with a larger screen. Apple forced me to consider a Windows product, which I swore I would never do.

I own the SP4 i5/8GB/256. My initial purchase experience was miserable. The first SP4 had so many problems it had to be returned to the store. The second SP4 is MUCH better, but still has a few issues which Microsoft is slowly addressing, but it all reminds me of the reasons I went to Apple so many years ago. Apple isn't perfect either but MY experiences buying every Apple product over the years proves Apple still provides a better new product experience than Microsoft. Just my opinion.

Ok. Let's look at the SP4. It's not an iPad...and that's a good thing if you want the iPad form factor with a full OS. I love the SP4 form factor. It's sleek. It's functional. It get's the job done.

The keyboard works very well. I have no complaints. The track pad works well, but it doesn't feel as substantial as an Apple track pad, but again, it gets the job done.

The pen is probably my favorite part of the SP4 experience. It works very well, most of the time. There are times when it temporarily loses connectivity for a few seconds, but it always comes back online. I see this as a minor inconvenience.

What I don't like - the fan. As a pro photog using Apple products, I rarely heard a fan. I really had to be doing a lot to engage the fan on my MBP or my iMac. Steve Jobs hated fan noise. So do I. The Sp4 does have a fan and you will hear it depending on what you're editing. I don't know if I'd hear it less had I gone with the i7? Probably something you should consider. At any rate, it's something different than the typical Apple experience. Something you should be aware of, coming over from Apple.

Final thoughts: I don't regret coming back to Windows, but I still have Apple machines in use throughout my life so it's not a complete break from Apple. As someone mentioned earlier, consider buying your SP4 from a Microsoft store, just in case you need support. I also used MS Tech Support online on two occasions and they were great to work with. As a side note, in all my years with Apple, I never needed online tech support. Given the needs you've described, I recommend you give the SP4 a try. You'll know very quickly if it'll meet your needs or not. Just don't expect it to feel like Apple, because it's not, but that doesn't mean you won't be happy. Give it a go!


New Member
="Final thoughts: I don't regret coming back to Windows, but I still have Apple machines in use throughout my life so it's not a complete break from Apple. As someone mentioned earlier, consider buying your SP4 from a Microsoft store, just in case you need support. I also used MS Tech Support online on two occasions and they were great to work with. As a side note, in all my years with Apple, I never needed online tech support. Given the needs you've described, I recommend you give the SP4 a try. You'll know very quickly if it'll meet your needs or not. Just don't expect it to feel like Apple, because it's not, but that doesn't mean you won't be happy. Give it a go!

I have to admit that this what worry me the most, I witched to apple 10 years ago because of the same issues that I find still persist in the windows system and ever since i was so happy even though sometimes i hate apple for locking me that apple cage where i see a lot of tech around and just wait for a year or so to have but in the other hand they gave me the stability in the system.

one more thing i can't buy the SP4 from Microsoft store as there is none in my country but since am a pilot and flying tonight to Kuala lumpur i can get it from there from one of the official Microsoft dealers and that even scare me more as if there is a prob with the device I have to wait for another flight to fix my device, and what I am hopping is all these bugs is a software one and none is a hardware issue.
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Staff member
I am also a photographer and have used my i7 Surface pro 3 successfully out when traveling. I couldn't imagine using anything else as I love the pen input and flexibility (well maybe the Surface Book but that adds more weight).

The SP4 should have less fan noise than the SP3. I see that as trade off for having such a thin and light device, sticking powerful processors in the smallest space possible does create more heat, I know macbooks are also small but they aren't as small as the Surface and separating components out under the keyboard away from the display also probably helps, the Surface line can't do that as they have to function as a full PC when in tablet form only the M3 or non Pro versions don't have the fan as they also don't have the power.

There may be some thing to be said for MacOS being more efficient with Mac hardware but I suspect if you stuck the components of a macbook in the same space behind the display as the Surface has then you'd also hear the fan more often than in it's normal configuration. It's a downside of the design. But for me it's not a big deal as I love having the tablet flexibility. The i7 SP3 I have does spin the fan up quite a lot when rendering preview of my D800 files in Lightroom, but the sound is not nearly as loud or as constant as it was on my old Dell laptop with was over an inch thick and used to run the fan even when apparently doing nothing..lol so I can live with it and as said the SP4 should be better in that regard.


Active Member
I flip back and forth between Apple computers and Windows all the time. Right now I have a rMBP and an SP4.

What I like better about the SP4 -v- the rMBP:

1. Size and weight
2. Screen
3. Can be used as a tablet
4. Touch
5. Pen

What I do not like better about the Sp4 -v- the rMBP

1. Font scaling: Some font sizes are so tiny I need a magnifying glass to read it
2. Lack of ports when compared to the rMBP
3. Battery life

Take what I say with a grain of salt as I am not a power user. My use on both machines is very simple. Web, email, light office use and very limited 1080p video editing. I use my Sp4 as a tablet most of the time.

Overall I am very happy with my Sp4. Would I buy it again? Yes and without a 2nd thought. The new type cover is a major improvement over the Sp3 version. The keys are much better and the track pad is leaps and bounds better. I prefer the KB and track pad on the rMPB but the Sp4's type cover is not far behind.

As stated, buy from the MS store as I believe you get a full 30-days to return it if you are not happy with it. That 30-days should be more than enough to decide if it will work for you..

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