Surface Pro

MaxBurn

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#1

Mercutio

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#2
It's completely drool worthy. It's an i5 with an SSD and an awesome screen that weighs less than 3 pounds. What's not to love? I really don't understand why people whining about the disk space, either. Is it somehow news that Windows takes up space?
 
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#3
Honestly I don't know why I don't have one yet. The thing looks completely awesome. If I got one is there anything people here would like to see?
 

Mercutio

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#4
The thing is, it's just a Windows 8 machine, albeit a particularly lightweight one. I don't know what there is to say except "The battery life seems to be X and I use touch vs. the stylus vs. the keyboard in Y proportions."

I'm trying to justify one myself, but between all the tablets I have already can hardly say I need it.
And yeah, my SSD + Windows 8 laptop is at a login prompt in six seconds, but it's still far too slow compared to "instant-on" class devices.
 

LunarMist

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#5
I saw one at work and the keyboard does not look very good. :( None of the models have 2TB of storage that is my minimum requirement for a <3lbs. 12 incher.
 

Mercutio

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#7
The thing is, we're slowly getting there. I have a 4.7lb. machine with 2.2TB of disk space right now. Image sensors keep improving so Lunar's expectations for what he needs keep changing, but I think computers and storage are going to catch up to those needs.

The good news is that Lunar still just wants to do still photography and he isn't messing around with, say, HDR videography.
 

MaxBurn

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#13
It's a real thing. Better believe there is a lot of thought and expense going into the first experience of getting into the products we buy.
 

LunarMist

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#14
It's a real thing. Better believe there is a lot of thought and expense going into the first experience of getting into the products we buy.
Oh, I'm sure. However, I'm not in 18-49 age group, so the companies know that I'm too wise to base buying decisions on packaging and don't care. Perhaps the newer generations are foolish enough to buy crap in pretty packages, but I see expensive packaging and immediately think that the money would have been better spent on engineering, customer service, or warranty support.

My ~$2000 Japanese computer was supplied in a natural cardboard box with very basic printing. After 30-45 seconds of unpackaging the laptop and accessories (I'll never unbox, ever), the box is stored in a utility closet and tossed after the return period expires.
 

Mercutio

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#15
It's a real thing. Better believe there is a lot of thought and expense going into the first experience of getting into the products we buy.
That might be true, but that has absolutely nothing to do with the functional use of the product. "OMG they didn't put a pull strap under the tablet in its snug little box so it's automatically wrong forever" isn't a valid criticism of the product unless the product you're reviewing is the package itself.
 

Howell

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#16
That might be true, but that has absolutely nothing to do with the functional use of the product. "OMG they didn't put a pull strap under the tablet in its snug little box so it's automatically wrong forever" isn't a valid criticism of the product unless the product you're reviewing is the package itself.
Sometimes I think you try too hard to get people to not take you seriously. :)
 

MaxBurn

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#17
Sometimes I think you all should pull your head out and look around at the other people out there. I KNOW you all don't care about the box but there are a bunch of people out there that care about the whole "purchase experience" etc.

I myself have trouble understanding field notes notebooks but they are pretty popular despite the price.
 

Handruin

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#18
We were seriously debating bringing one of these home tonight to try out. I still feel conflicted at the lack of upgradability but I understand the form factor doesn't lend itself to that. I'm still weighing the benefits. It's stuck at 4GB ram and a 1.7GHz i5.

The intent is to have a device to bring to clients to show examples of photography but to also be functional for doing some photo processing at home or even while traveling. It does come with a mini display port option which I'm assuming the internal graphics card should be adequate enough to drive my 24" monitor at 1920x1200. That would lend it self to still be very functional as a laptop/desktop replacement.

Has anyone heard of other reasons to skip on the surface pro vs other options that are available or is it a good product in the massive field of tablets? We briefly discussed the iPad but its not much cheaper and a lot less functional with respect to running real software applications. The two benefits I can see are a nicer screen resolution and possible longer running time. It is a smaller screen though.
 

LunarMist

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#19
We were seriously debating bringing one of these home tonight to try out. I still feel conflicted at the lack of upgradability but I understand the form factor doesn't lend itself to that. I'm still weighing the benefits. It's stuck at 4GB ram and a 1.7GHz i5.

The intent is to have a device to bring to clients to show examples of photography but to also be functional for doing some photo processing at home or even while traveling. It does come with a mini display port option which I'm assuming the internal graphics card should be adequate enough to drive my 24" monitor at 1920x1200. That would lend it self to still be very functional as a laptop/desktop replacement.

Has anyone heard of other reasons to skip on the surface pro vs other options that are available or is it a good product in the massive field of tablets? We briefly discussed the iPad but its not much cheaper and a lot less functional with respect to running real software applications. The two benefits I can see are a nicer screen resolution and possible longer running time. It is a smaller screen though.
Both tablets and laptops are used. Most commercial clients are interested in past work, who you did the work for, and years of experience in the industry.
 

Handruin

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#21
Both tablets and laptops are used. Most commercial clients are interested in past work, who you did the work for, and years of experience in the industry.
That's the point of wanting to use a tablet to show prospective clients past work without bringing hundreds of dollars of prints in different portfolios.

After we talked about it for a while I decided to skip this generation surface pro and used the same money to build a nice core i7 workstation. We'll look into a tablet later.
 

Tannin

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#22
"OMG they didn't put a pull strap under the tablet in its snug little box so it's automatically wrong forever" isn't a valid criticism of the product unless the product you're reviewing is the package itself.
But that's just the thing: this is what people review and it is what people buy, and not just on a right-sort-of-cardboard level either: people buy Apple products because they like the packaging. They neither know nor care about the technical quality of what's inside the cardboard box, let alone the plastic shell which contains the actual electronics, they just care about the shape and colour and cool factor packaging.

(All of which you know, of course. Just sayin'.)

As for the Surface Pro, I had honestly forgotten there was such a thing until this thread reminded me. I suppose it would be better than a pad thingie, but it would need a proper keyboard and a docking station and good connectivity before it would even come up on my radar as something I'd ever want to use. I guess I could use one to replace my emergency-use netbook, but why would I want to?
 

Handruin

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#23
But that's just the thing: this is what people review and it is what people buy, and not just on a right-sort-of-cardboard level either: people buy Apple products because they like the packaging. They neither know nor care about the technical quality of what's inside the cardboard box, let alone the plastic shell which contains the actual electronics, they just care about the shape and colour and cool factor packaging.

(All of which you know, of course. Just sayin'.)

As for the Surface Pro, I had honestly forgotten there was such a thing until this thread reminded me. I suppose it would be better than a pad thingie, but it would need a proper keyboard and a docking station and good connectivity before it would even come up on my radar as something I'd ever want to use. I guess I could use one to replace my emergency-use netbook, but why would I want to?

Some people want a different experience. It may not be logical or practical but that's what some people enjoy. At some levels they do care about the technical quality of the device which also plays into the experience.

As for the Surface pro, the items you mentioned were also concerns we had when considering it. The keyboard and docking station were manageable because there are other options you can get for it to use decent keyboards and it manages itself with respect to standing. The connectivity was definitely a larger concern for me because if we were to use it as a photo editing device, getting the files on and off of it would be a pain. Typically now we use a GigE connection to a NAS and the transfer rates are more than acceptable for this kind of work. With the surface pro, doing this over WiFi would be aggravating. The backup plan would have been a USB3 storage device but that meant copying things twice and that would also be a pain. Ultimately there were enough short-comings to skip on the device as I couldn't get past the number of growing compromises based on the cost of the device.
 

Mercutio

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#24
A Mac user I support got a new MBP not all that long ago to replace his old Mac Pro tower. The first thing he wound up getting for it was a USB 3 to gigabit ethernet adapter. And then a USB 3 hub, because apparently MBPs only have two USB ports.

I don't think Surface/Surface Pro need a docking station as such, but I do think it's silly to marry something with a Core i5 CPU and an SSD to 802.11 and no wired network option.

Tannin, I really do have to say that I struggle to find a place for my laptop now that I have tablets. Most of the time, I need a powerful machine with all the amenities that only a desktop can provide OR I just need simple access to information ASAP. Tablets and smartphones are well optimized for the second role. Granted that the sorts of applications that we use with them are not really processor intensive, but so much of everything we do at this point is a web site or hosted service that it probably doesn't matter. Of the three categories, the notebook definitely feels at this point most like a luxury item.
 

LunarMist

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#25
Once you add a keyboard to a tablet, isn't it about the same size/weight as an ultrabook?
 

Mercutio

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#26
It's kind of a meaningless marketing distinction since the hardware is capable of being either, but Ultrabooks run full-blown desktop OSes, which means they're going to lose the instant-on/fast connection capabilities of a mobile device.
 

LunarMist

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#27
It's kind of a meaningless marketing distinction since the hardware is capable of being either, but Ultrabooks run full-blown desktop OSes, which means they're going to lose the instant-on/fast connection capabilities of a mobile device.
Can you make powerpoints?
 

LunarMist

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#29
Well, does the fancy tablet with keyboard have the capability? It seems like the PP are always being updated at the last moment.
 

Chewy509

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#32
Either OpenOffice/LibreOffice Impress or Beamer.

But way back when I was in the Army, we had "Death by Powerpoint" and some suggested that Powerpoint should be banned under the Geneva Convention as some believed it was a form of torture! Muhahahahaha! (I agree with Merc, Powerpoint is WAY overused by incompetent people).
 

Mercutio

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#33
What do you use for presentations if not PowerPoint? I don't recall it ever being that bad to make presentations.
I don't make presentations in that fashion. I might make a graphic to illuminate a particular point, but my general sense is that that act of making Powerpoint-like presentation is antithetical to the process of good communication. Even when I was in college I judged the classes I could skip regularly by how often the prof fell back on Powerpoint slides.
 

Tannin

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#34
Cheers Doug.

Tannin, I really do have to say that I struggle to find a place for my laptop now that I have tablets. Most of the time, I need a powerful machine with all the amenities that only a desktop can provide OR I just need simple access to information ASAP. Tablets and smartphones are well optimized for the second role. Granted that the sorts of applications that we use with them are not really processor intensive, but so much of everything we do at this point is a web site or hosted service that it probably doesn't matter. Of the three categories, the notebook definitely feels at this point most like a luxury item.
Makes sense to me, Merc. My needs are sort of a mirror image of yours. I never need the full power of a big desktop, but would seldom be satisfied with a keyboardless tablet-style unit. Well, I could use one to read the news, but I already need a notebook or desktop to do other stuff which can't be done on a tablet, such as Photoshop and writing and accounts, so doubling up would just add complexity. Most of all, I need storage, lots of it, and only something like a T Series Thinkpad can give me go anywhere portability and twin 750GB hard drives. (Yes, I could buggerise about with external drives, but that's a real pain and I already have to do that far too often. I'd prefer to have (say) 5TB on-line all the time, but I make do with 1.5.)

I will probably swap my steam-powered telephone for a smart phone one day for that "simple access to information" function you mention - right now I still need to fire up the Thinkpad to do that, which is a bit tedious - but I'm not interested in a telephone which has a battery life measured in hours rather than days. My current phone goes almost a week on a charge and costs $30 a month for all-I-can-eat usage. That's hard to beat.
 

LunarMist

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#35
I don't make presentations in that fashion. I might make a graphic to illuminate a particular point, but my general sense is that that act of making Powerpoint-like presentation is antithetical to the process of good communication. Even when I was in college I judged the classes I could skip regularly by how often the prof fell back on Powerpoint slides.
Well, PP it is still expected for business. Typically a few different versions in various languages are created from the original. Sometimes the ouptut is converted to PDF so that the users cannot mess with the slide deck.
 

LunarMist

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#36
All of them have tools to edit PPD files (even iPad). Only the Surface Pro will actually run PowerPoint.
I need the full version, since there are Excel charts, and what not embedded. I'm not very good at PP, but usually only have to provide part of a deck and somebody merges/cleans it up for the final presentations.
I suppose only the Pro tablets would run JMP.
 

Mercutio

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#37
I spent some time this weekend with a Surface Pro and here's what I think:

It's too goddamned heavy.
It's subjectively every bit as fast as my Thinkpad (which is 1.1GHz faster and has two extra cores) for everyday PC tasks like web browsing and Word Processing. Programs open, you can sort-of do work. Maybe it's better with the clicky keyboard, but I have the squishy one. I'm also not sure I could ever load the machine down enough to get a full idea of its capabilities; maybe if I had it plugged in to a second display and was using it more like a docked laptop. Right now I have Firefox, Access, VLC, Terminals, SQL Management Studio and Word open on it and everything is just dandy. The important take-away here is that it's plenty of computer for doing computing.

The screen is gorgeous. It is lust-inspiring, in fact.

Battery life is just OK for a Windows machine, around four hours. The real web is nice. But it's too heavy for me to want to hold it and use it in the way I use my Android tablets. Granted that I also think that ipads and 10" Android tablets are a bit unwieldy, but this is around 1lb. over that line.

I'm not sure I see a problem with not having craploads of local storage. I stuck a 15GB collection of demo files on it and of course all that stuff was fine, though I'm not fond of any e-Reading software for Windows. The Photos Metro app kind of makes some sense when you can actually use it with a touchscreen. However, just like an Android tablet, I found myself doing basically everything with network resources anyway; stuff got saved to Google Drive or Skydrive or one of the WebDAV folders in my apartment and all was well. I found that I could install programs perfectly well on an SD card, though at least with the Verbatim Class 10 64GB card I have, starting programs (Visio 2007, MSSMS - which is way awful on a touchscreen) were definitely not as snappy as on the internal SSD.

Printing was an is ridiculously easy. I took the thing to one of my computer labs and it found and installed drivers for four different kinds of printers and the networked copier without any intervention on my part. I just looked and they were THERE. Printing is absolutely a strength for Windows 8; I've only wanted to print something from Android maybe a half dozen times and I do have a tool to let me, but it's a hassle.

Since I was dealing with a tablet, complete with sucky keyboard and touch input that make cut/copy/paste obnoxious, something I did miss a lot was a functioning "Share" feature. Windows 8 does have a Share charm, but it doesn't do anything useful and I'm not sure it can be modified by anything or if it's just that developers aren't bothering to modify it because it IS useless. I missed being able to tap a URL or image or something and send it out as an Email or something. It's not THAT much work to add things to the Send To context menu in Windows, but web browsers and standard Windows programs just are not well optimized for touch input, leaving me in a confusing place where neither my normal workflow for Windows 8 (pretend the Metro screen does not exist) nor my normal workflow for Android were quite working. I might get used to it with a little time.

Some things I want to try on this device are OneNote and at least some gaming. I have a small collection of Bluetooth thingies and a mini-displayport adapter that I should be getting on or around Wednesday. They might drastically change my user experience, at least for a "home base" location.

Right now I think the Pro is just too heavy to use as a regular tablet. I think it could be a decent ultraportable computer, were that one's only option, but I'm almost positive it would be a cheaper and generally better experience to have an Android tablet and some kind of inexpensive ultrabook, if that's the sort of thing you need.
 

timwhit

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#39
Right now I think the Pro is just too heavy to use as a regular tablet. I think it could be a decent ultraportable computer, were that one's only option, but I'm almost positive it would be a cheaper and generally better experience to have an Android tablet and some kind of inexpensive ultrabook, if that's the sort of thing you need.
What inexpensive ultrabooks are there? Everything I've seen is at least $600 and price goes up quickly from there.
 

Mercutio

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#40
Asus has a couple $500-ish i3 based ultrabooks that probably aren't awful and I'd be pretty happy with a Samsung Series 5. We're talking about 1366x800 screens and the low power forms of i3, but something that's definitely functional as a computer.

And these days a 10" Android tablet is probably $250.

The cheapest Surface Pro without a keyboard is $900. The keyboard is $100 or $130. Add another $100 to go to the 128GB model (what I have for now) and another $50 for a big uSD card.

Don't get me wrong: This thing is cool as hell. I'm just not sure I know where it fits in to the whole ecosystem of devices. A couple of my customers have them and love them. They're perfect for doing certain kinds of work, but I'm not sure that they're MORE perfect than anything else since desktop programs by and large aren't made for a 10" touchscreen. I'm stuck thinking that I'd be in love with one that was either 14" - big enough to more easily manipulate, but also probably more like 3lbs. - or one that's closer to a comfortable handheld weight and in line with other 10" devices.
 
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