Review: My Year With Microsoft Surface Pro


Just shy of 12 months ago, I transitioned from a MacBook Pro and iPad combination to a Microsoft Surface Pro 128GB. In mild of this week’s declaration of Surface Pro 3 and my acquisition of a Surface Pro 2, I suppose it’s time to reflect on what that revel in becoming like. Like maximum folks, I turned into a touch skeptical about the concept of combining a laptop and tablet right into a single unit. Would it’s too heavy? Would the overall performance be too low? Would the battery life be awful? And what approximately the brand new Windows eight OS that’s been the subject of a lot teeth-gnashing? I’ll try to solve these types of questions and extra as succinctly as feasible. Hit the leap and allow’s get into the query: what is it want to stay with Microsoft’s vision for computing in the destiny?

surface_pro_7_pmk8-j3.jpg (1500×1000)

Windows eight.1 Update 1 had an excellent head begin with Windows 8, as I started using it at some point of the first publicly to be had betas approximately nine months earlier than launch, twin booting on my MacBook Pro. That enjoy gave me plenty of time to discern out how to navigate the OS nicely before launch, so I didn’t have the conflict that a whole lot of people did. Of course, it probably helps that I simply evidently experience exploring and coming across new matters. The early Windows 8 enjoy did have its struggles, although. I’d become familiar with the iPad and even to my Windows Phone 7 tool, both of which had plenty of apps available for their stores. Windows eight’s save become notoriously barren by way of comparison, and that caused some early frustration while looking to use Surface Pro as just a pill. Too many apps and features had been missing to make for a fulfilling experience.

Nevertheless, the device’s capacity to deal with legacy Windows desktop apps with aplomb kept me happy enough to preserve, and the app saves catch 22 situations became much less vital through the day. If there may be one factor Windows truly desires to restore, though, is its way of imparting the desktop. The computer continues to be wrapped inside the trappings of an archaic system whose time has exceeded, and it is time for Microsoft to update it to a more modern-day presentation that has fonts massive enough to examine on high DPI screens and massive enough to perform with a finger.

With eight.1 and the brand new eight.1 Spring Update (clearly? We could not simply call it eight.2?), simply all my complaints approximately Windows eight evaporated. While some dislike the new aesthetic, I’ve personally located myself loving the flat colors, active tiles, and removal of extraneous outcomes. My sincere desire is that as Windows evolves it receives even flatter and the metro aesthetic turns into greater pervasive.

Suggestion: Use a Microsoft account, and use OneDrive! I can’t strain those enough. If you are the use of Windows eight–and on a Surface Pro, you will be–you shouldn’t create an old-fashioned nearby account. Doing so cuts you off from a number of Windows eight’s high-quality features. Among those is the potential to have nearly your entire PC configuration, right all the way down to file sizes, places and apps set up, subsidized up on your OneDrive account within the occasion you either want to restore your PC otherwise you sign into an exclusive Windows eight.1 PC. Best, though, is that with OneDrive you get 7GB garage without spending a dime, which, at the same time as no longer sufficient to cover, say, your track and photographs series, might be massed to make sure your important files are all thoroughly backed up within moments of you making any exchange. It’s easy to discover ways to shop on your OneDrive folder, and once you have ended up acquainted with having that protection internet you’ll surprise the way you ever lived without it.

MS_1.JPG (1920×1305)

I used to lug around a 2010 MacBook Pro 13. Three”, which weighed 4.Five kilos, and an iPad 1, which weighed 1.Five pounds for a complete of 6 pounds. So when I say that the two.5 pound general of the Surface Pro and Type Cover was a large weight off my back, I’m genuinely no longer kidding. The sacrifice becomes that I had a smaller screen, however, the advantage changed into a much greater powerful processor and far superior display resolution and pixel density. The build exceptional is first-rate: there’s actually zero flex to this tool, its magnesium shell is difficult and sturdy enough to face up to possibly extra abuse than you need to experience cozy making your PC go through. As a tablet, it is 1/2 a pound heavier than that original iPad became, but as a pc it has a huge benefit over something Apple gives. But you probably surprise what I use my Surface Pro for?

I’ve spent most of the past 12 months as a movie faculty-student at UCLA, because of this that a variety of my workload entails editing and transcoding video, compositing after consequences compositions, moving footage across unique media and so on. I use Adobe Premiere for a maximum of these responsibilities, and my Surface Pro has dealt with all of them with grace. I’ve had no troubles modifying and rendering 1080p video in actual-time. And as you’ll count on from a Windows gadget with a full-length USB port, working with external tough drives and optical drives is a breeze. Suffice to say, I also do the basics including working in Microsoft Office, writing in Final Draft, checking electronic mail, surfing the internet, yadda yadda. Overall, I’ve had no court cases save one: early on, my first Surface Pro had a few serious issues with the Marvell Avastar wifi chip and had to be exchanged, a problem this is now not totally uncommon with this tool.

I frequently take notes in OneNote MX (it is the metro model), in particular currently. Like most college students, I actually have tended during the last few years to kind my notes, however current research display that scholars who take notes by means of hand generally tend to do higher on tests. Well, I’m involved in proof primarily based studies, so I took this to heart, however, I’m also lazy, because of this I don’t need to find things once I’ve written them down. Enter Surface Pro’s stylus and voila: I can handwrite my notes and have them in a digital layout all on the equal time. Hell sure. I find that the stylus, despite its reasonably-priced plastic experience, works properly as a virtual inking tool. Some bitch about the shortage of a dock for the stylus, but absolutely, I’ve no issues with that. I’ve been the use of it for a year and have yet to lose the issue.

Last note on usability: my fiancée, artist Kelley Frisby, was given her Surface Pro on release day exactly due to the incorporated Wacom digitizer with 1,024 ranges of pressure sensitivity. From the outset the utilization here turned into contentious due to the fact Surface Pro shipped without a strain touchy driver that Photoshop should recognize. However, once that motive force materialized, she took to using the stylus all of the time. And when we discovered approximately Manga Studio Pro from artist Jonathan Case’s website, matters definitely went off the hook as she discovered it to be ways superior to photoshop for growing hand drawn illustrations. That she can have her Surface Pro on her lap with strain sensitivity even as she attracts, and her keyboard reachable for the use of keyboard shortcuts, is a big advantage that other drugs definitely do not provide. Truly, if you’re an artist who draws and paints digitally, Surface Pro is the device for you. Nothing else combines so many hardware skills and wide software program availability.

surface-pro-6-aqua-1.jpg (1600×1200)

This is the one serious trouble that has dogged the Surface Pro considering its unique release, in spite of the fact that it turned into in no way as horrific as people claimed or the truth that Surface Pro 2 completely mitigated the problem (and by using all reports, Surface Pro three does even better). Early claims had been that Surface Pro was given approximately three.5 hours of battery life. And under positive instances, it truly is actual: looking 1080p movies with the brightness up at the same time as downloading stuff in the heritage will, like every other device, consume battery lifestyles lots extra than average utilization will. But it is the best to part of the take a look at, isn’t it? Under everyday utilization, which I’ll outline as the internet, electronic mail and phrase processing, Surface Pro 1 will get 5 hours of battery life right out of the container. With some mild tweaks to the power profile, which I’ve detailed in certainly one of our maximum famous posts, it’s absolutely feasible to get 6-7 hours of battery lifestyles. My exceptional time turned into just over 8 hours overall, but with a caveat: I changed into operating with the wifi grew to become off, writing in Word, in a low mild state of affairs where I may want to easily turn down the display brightness to minimum. Most people I know get inside the range of five-6 hours.