I bought my first PC - A Surface Pro 3

Discussion in 'Alternatives to Mac Hardware' started by MadDane, Mar 12, 2017.

  1. MadDane macrumors 6502a

    Apr 5, 2015
    I have enjoyed reading a lot of other peoples computing stories, so here is mine. Warning: The following text is quite long.

    My first Apple product was the original iPod Shuffle. I got it right after it was released in early 2005. I brought that thing with my everywhere and I loved the heck out of it. I loved it so much I decided I needed the "real" iPod and got one that same summer. This was when I realized how simple and beautiful Apple products were and it had me lusting for a Mac. I therefore decided I wanted to get one.

    I got my first computer in 2016 (I was 16 at the time) and I had saved up almost all of my money from working in order to buy this. I knew the change to Intel was coming, so when Apple released the MacBook I immediately ordered it. I was about to enter a technical High School at the time, so I needed a laptop for that. Despite all the initial issues with random shut-downs etc. (a lot of people had these issued) I really loved the machine. It was so much more beautiful, powerful, portable and well made than anything else that my classmates had. So naturally I stuck with Apple, despite that everyone thought I was crazy (not using a PC in Denmark in 2006 was almost unheard of I feel like).

    Fast forward to 2011 and things have changed. I graduated High School in 2009 (still the only one with a Mac) and had a couple of gap years where I, among other things, served some time in the Army. But now it was time for me to enter University and I was certain I would be the only one. I was wrong. Around 1/3 of all the students in my major (Design Engineer - a kind of Mechanical Engineering and Industrial Design combined) had a Mac. And by the time I graduated with my Masters degree in 2016 it was more than 2/3. At this time I owned, and used, a late 2009 27" iMac, a late 2013 13" MacBook Pro and an iPad Air 2.

    Since I was done with school I figured I didn't need all of these devices and I wanted to consolidate all on them into one device. I considered a Windows computer, but since I started using an HP EliteBook at work (which I strongly dislike) I decided that it was not for me. So in anticipation of the 2016 MacBook Pro's I sold both my iPad Air 2 and 13" MacBook Pro. When the devices were announced I immediately order the 15" MacBook Pro with the 2.6Ghz processor, 512GB SSD and the Radeon Pro 460. I got it in November and started using it exclusively after that. Now I just needed the LG 27" monitor that wasn't released yet.

    However, after using it for about a month I still hadn't gotten used to several aspects. I didn't like that it didn't have MagSafe anymore. I didn't like the shallow keyboard. The Touch Bar didn't ad much value to me as I usually use shortcuts anyway. It also turned out I didn't like the 15" form factor. Furthermore I also felt like, for the first time, I didn't get as much value as I had paid for it. So when the 27" 5k LG monitor was released I decided to hold off for a bit to give it a bit more time to see if I really wanted to go down that route or find an alternative.

    The more I thought about it the less I liked paying so much for a machine that I didn't love. And I still hadn't even gotten the big screen yet. Ultimately I decided a new 5k iMac + a smaller laptop would be the way for me to go, so I ended up selling the MacBook Pro in January and started using my old iMac again.

    Ever since Microsoft first launched the Surface line I have kept an eye on them. The whole 2-in-1 kind of spoke to me, although I wasn't ready to try them out yet. Furthermore the Pro 1 and Pro 2 seemed clunky, heavy and with a screen too small to use as a computer. But I feel like the major issues was fixed with the Surface Pro 3 and improved on with the Surface Pro 4. However, the Surface Pro 4 with a 512GB SSD is as expensive as a Mac so I decided that that was too much. Then I found a used Surface Pro 3 with the i7, 8GB RAM (max for the SP3) and 512GB SSD in pristine condition and at a very reasonable price and jumped on it. It had mainly been used as a desktop computer so there is no visual wear on it and the battery only had 72 cycles on it.

    And I have to say that I am very pleased with it. The aspects I really dislike with my work PC (build quality, horrible screen, weird keyboard and system instability) is gone with this. It is very well built, the screen is gorgeous, the OS (Windows 10 Pro) is rock solid and, after customizing some settings, I have managed to set it up the way I like it. Furthermore I really like the fact that you can use it as a laptop one minute and then pop off the Type Cover and then it is a tablet. The only upgrade I want to make is to get the superior Surface Pro 4 Type Cover. I even got it with a docking station (never had one before) and I really like that option as well.

    I do have a few things I miss from the Mac though, so I have a few questions.
    - Is there a good Time Machine alternative? I know there is some backup stuff build in to Windows 10, but I would like to make incremental updates to the back-up and have it run in the background.
    - Is there a way I can use my Airport Extreme to back it up? I have the 3rd generation with a HDD attached to it. There is three partions on the HDD. One for my iMac, one for my GF's MBP and one for the SP3 formatted to Fat32
    - Is there a good alternative for iMessage for Windows? Or is it possible to use iMessage with Windows somehow? That is probably the one feature I miss the most.

    If you made it this far, thank you for reading it :)

    PS: I don't want to cheat you for a picture of my current setup, so here it is :)

    2017-03-12 12.01.22 Denmark.JPG

    TL;DR: I have been using Macs for more than 10 years and have never owned a PC before. I think the new 2016 MBP's are not worth their price and I got a used Surface Pro 3 that I really like.
  2. keeper macrumors 6502

    Apr 23, 2008
    Go to settings , update and security, backup, more options, you can select where and what to back up.
    I back up every hour to my NAS. windows actually provides more options than OSX.
  3. MadDane thread starter macrumors 6502a

    Apr 5, 2015
    Thank you for the help. I had so far failed to make the SP3 see my USB drive but I managed to figure it out. So now I did like you suggested and now it is backing up. Perfect :)
  4. Badrottie Suspended


    May 8, 2011
    Los Angeles
    I didn't know Surface Pro 3 is a PC. I thought it is a tablet. Anyway you are leaving Apple world.
  5. maflynn Moderator


    Staff Member

    May 3, 2009
    It's a PC, I owned one it largely replaced my MBP. It runs full windows, it has an intel CPU, and runs all the software that you can run on any other PC.
  6. belvdr macrumors 603

    Aug 15, 2005
    No longer logging into MR
    I don't think you can leave the world of Apple by owning an iMac running OS X.
  7. MadDane thread starter macrumors 6502a

    Apr 5, 2015
    I am still hoping that Apple will give me a reason to get a new iMac with the next iteration. Otherwise I might get a late 2015 version. So I am not (currently) planning on leaving OS X entirely. But I have to say, Microsoft is doing very well and I might get a future version of the Surface Studio once it becomes available in Europe. They main thing I am missing on the Surface is iMessage and AirPlay with Beamer but that is about it.

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6 March 12, 2017