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New Owner. A Mistake?


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Brand new SP3 and I'm having issues.

Background: SP3 i5, 4gb ram. I want a tablet/laptop for grad school. I was using the Note 12.2 for the past 2 years and it's been amazing. Replaced a pen and paper completely. Since I'm done taking science classes and need something more suited to write papers, with the occasional tablet functionality I figured the surface would be suitable for my needs.

So far, I'm not so sure. Here come the rants. Don't be offended ;)

1. At the welcome screen 1/10 times I'm met with the "windows is updating software please wait." Seriously? Why doesn't it do this in the background or let me do it when I want? Delays me about 10mins while in class. That alone is almost a deal breaker.

2. Internet is very slow compared to other computers/phones/tablets in the home wifi. Sometimes unusable.

3. I am heavily integrated in the Google universe and there isn't a easy way for me to excess the majority of Googles apps. No youtube, gmail, photos, drive, etc.

4. Speaking of apps, where are they? Srsly lacking in this department. The facebook app is almost unusable. Clicking on a video and trying to wait for it to load leads me to quit the app and use my phone.

5. Sometimes while typing my cursor goes missing or stalls to find itself, for me to place it where I need it. = More delays in my typing.

6. Typing on the type cover 4 is good. But on the loud side, and kind of slow and mushy. Using the arrow keys is strange as well. Trying to move it where I need to either stalls or sprints and skips several spaces ahead.

7. Blue screen of death :( Happened during this post. Had to switch to writing this on my iMac. Good thing for the autosave feature. I've gotten the :( blue screen so far almost once a day. Now about 4 times since owning this for about 6-7 days. Considerable deal breaker again.

8. The pen. No where to put it? While the kickstand is engaged and my surface is plugged in, it literally is hanging on for dear life on the left side sticking magnetically to the volume rocker. One slight move and it falls off.

9. Small tables in class means the keyboard + kickstand barely fits as the pen crashes on my desk in class.

10. Lapability: The foot print of this thing with the kickstand angled to a comfortable position + keyboard is huge. The kickstand is a little sharp. While typing on my lap, the keyboard slightly flexes and I'm not heavy handed.

11. Battery life: is about half of my MBA and my Note 12.2. While barely using it. Seriously. Browsing the web shortly, checking some settings and doing other things away from my surface at 50% screen brighness and I'm down to 56% battery life.

12. Waking it up. Hitting a key doesn't wake it up. The keyboard is awake and is glowing but the computer itself isn't? I have to hit the power button to wake it.

13. Fans turn on every time I use it for more than 15 minutes.

14. Chrome sucks on this. (I know, I know) But it's worth mentioning as it sometimes simply does not work. Will not load. And when it does 4 tabs max. Otherwise the entire computer slows to a crawl or I get the :( blue screen.

15. One system care cleanup? Smh.

16. OneNote (I haven't use it enough to know all the features, but you can't type and/or handwrite notes on the same document?

17. Handwriting with wacom tech imo is slightly better than on the surface. Pen 4 eraser doesn't work on SP3?

18. Barely fits on a airplane tray. Not a good viewing/working angle.

19. Plugging in the surface auto maxes the brightness of the screen? Lame when I'm in bed using it and it auto jacks up the brightness.

20. Cortana < Siri < Google Now

21. Sometimes I find the font too small, and adjusting it means some apps won't work correctly.

22. I have no idea about anti-viruses. What to use? Do I need to use something?

23. MS Edge browser is fast but the ads are everywhere. Video autoplay is annoying and embarrassing while I'm somewhere in public.

I know some of these seem super minor but they add up to an overall experience. And I'm sure I'll have more complaints/misunderstandings the more I use it, but I'm seriously considering returning it/selling it. I want it to suit my needs but so far it hasn't. Maybe I'm dumb being a Mac guy for the past 20 years and just don't know the windows world well enough, but so far it's been a rocky start.
Hi qwst, welcome to the forum.

First and foremost, your experience does not sound in any way like a normal one. I would be equally frustrated. Have you performed all updates. Personally I would be performing a system reset (often clears up a lot of issues). When the SP3 was launched, there were a number of issues, such as slow wifi, however Microsoft fixed near all of that and after that I never encountered anything like you describe regarding blue screens, lagging, crashing etc (same model as yours). Is this a second hand sp3 by any chance?

1. For me it is not an issue as I make a habbit of powering on my device when I wake up to make sure that it is fully charged and that I've got all the course material I need for that day (because I found that downloading when I got into the lecture often led me to miss stuff). regarding doing it in the background, do any operating systems do this? Android is far far worse with the "updating app 1 of 200" process imo. Microsoft caused some controversy by deciding to go with automatic updating presumably as a means of boosting system security, it's just one of those things alas.

2. This was an issue when the SP3 was released, but microsoft fixed it with updates. Check you're completely upto date.

3+4. I also use a lot of google stuff. That's what a browser is for. I've always found apps to be very lacking compared to the full blown browser experience. It's personal preference though, so if you absolutely need to use apps you are out of luck. Some research and you would have been very aware of the lack of apps on windows.

5. Never experienced this on any of my 3 surfaces

6. Keyboards are a personal thing. I have been using a surface and typecover for the past 2 years of essays, it was an absolute peach for me. Never experienced any issues.

7. Cannot recall the last time I got a BSOD and I've been on the windows 10 insider program since it launched. One of the most stable machines I've used.

8. Pocket, desk, bag. Microsoft decided to go with a pen that is actually a good pen to use and hold instead of using a stick and a silo which noone would truly enjoy in a professional environment.

9. Not sure what to say. If your desks are too small then yes, you have the wrong device.

10. Something widely discussed at launch. Some people have no problem, others do not like it. Personal preference.

11. On a new machine, for the first few days, battery will not be great as windows is doing a lot of stuff in the background. I typiclly got around 8 hours of usage while at uni with my sp3 (chrome, and onenote exclusively). when the fan is running, open task manager and look to see if there is anything making heavy use of the CPU. It is often windows installing an update in the background.

12. Works just fine for me. Check everything isupdated. I just hit enter a couple of times, keyoard lights up, a few seconds later, so does the surface.

13. Under light usage this should not happen. For my uni usage, it would never come on.

14. I've rarely had an issue with chrome other than the its battery usage. Never a crash, dozens of tabs open.

15. Not sure what you mean by this. You're the one who would have had to install this.

16. Sure you can.

17. Personal preference really. Some say it is worse, others say comparable. I've never had an issue. Many professionals are happily using it. The eraser button should work without an issue on the sp3.

18. Same answer as the school desks.

19. Go to options. You can set the brightness for battery, and for when plugged in.

20. No comment. I refuse to use any of them.

21. This is a known problem with windows and high resolution displays. The issue is that most software companies are not updating their software to account for the higher resolutions. On the whole older software that is no longer updated is going to be tough to use.

22. I practice safe browsing so I don't use any. Windows defender has always been more than I need. Personal preference. But you can try malwarebytes.

23. Edge is slowly getting better, but it is very much a work in progress, but I won't use it as it lacks most of the features I use in chrome. As to sound, it's good manners when in public to turn your volume off.

It sounds to me that there is something abnormal with your device, and that you are also still in a process of getting used to the chnge of device and OS. Personaly, I find it absolutely fantastic once it's running smoothly and you're used to windows 10.
And next to no apps exist because windows mobile has such a small market share (and without decent hardware, will continue to have a small market share) so there is no real financial incentive for a developer to divert their resources away from android/ios
If you don't want to reset, I'd take your Surface in to a Microsoft store with your extensive list of problems & demonstrate each one to their tech. You should make an appointment to show a tech your problems before you go to the store. If neither of those appeals to you, I'd just return it for a refund and go back to your Note computer. BTW, did you purchase a new Surface 4 keyboard or the older SP3 one? There is a big difference in them.
Woke up my surface. Keyboard wasn't connected. My battery is 100% full unplugged the charger and it's currently reading 2 hours 1 minute remaining.

Also, hughlle thanks for the lengthy response. I knew the limitations coming into this device. Just wish it worked the way a lot of people who are happy with their surface would.
I agree with @bluegrass . Resting may fix your problems, or tell you it's your hardware and not the software. At an MS store they may reset it with Win10 off their USB drive (they did that for me when they gave me a new (refurbed) SP3 when firmware update killed the keyboard). Was a little ticked they gave me a refurb, but it has been running perfectly for many months now. If the hardware is good and the OS with all the updates are installed right, the SP3 should work great.
Woke up my surface. Keyboard wasn't connected. My battery is 100% full unplugged the charger and it's currently reading 2 hours 1 minute remaining.

Also, hughlle thanks for the lengthy response. I knew the limitations coming into this device. Just wish it worked the way a lot of people who are happy with their surface would.

Your battery issues aside, unfortunately you cannot rely on the time remaining figures. It is far too sensitive to system changes. One minute mine will tell me I've 9 hours remaining, launch chrome and it'll suddenly tell me that there are 3 hours remaining. It really needs to base its figure on an average consumption over a longer period of time imo.
The one thing you mention which is a problem for me is the Windows store. It sucks bad. Twitter and Facebook are crap.

The rest of the things you list are too small for me to worry about when it does so much else so well or it sounds like your machine needs a refresh/exchange.
So, no my pens eraser is not working. I've read that the eraser icon should show up when I bring it close to the screen. It is a new pen. I guess I got a dud.

Never have I ever experienced this many problems with a "pro" product.

Good news is I haven't had a BSOD since resetting. Gonna give it a few more weeks... Hoping for the best.
24. The arrow down button doesn't scroll down on some web pages
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25. Sleeping the computer turns it off? Upon 'waking' .... it doesn't. No key on the type cover will wake it up. I have to push the power button which is not waking it but turning it on from a power off.

What's going on? Did I get a dud computer? Should I go into the MS store?