I temporarily switched back to a Surface Pro

Discussion in 'MacBook' started by rahulr, May 9, 2015.

  1. rahulr macrumors regular

    Aug 1, 2008
    After using my Macbook for 2 weeks for work, play, etc and loving almost every minute of it I foud myself needing to use a windows machine because of a missing feature in Powerpoint 2016 for Mac.

    Here's the biggest differences:

    THE FAN - holy cow, maybe I'm spoiled, and obviously this isn't relevant to folks who work in even moderately noisy office spaces, but my surface pro 3 fan kicked on after a few minutes of use and I immediately noticed it.

    The Keyboard - I use the type cover keyboard for the SP3, I always thought this keyboard to be pretty solid. It was such a remarkable improvement over the SP2 keyboard. But the keys felt "mushy?" I had to retrain myself to use a keyboard like that.

    The trackpad - Won't even mention it here because I don't know anyone who appreciated the SP3 trackpad. It's a touchscreen after all, but I immediately plugged in a mouse because the trackpad on the SP3 keyboard is unusable at best and a woeful offensive attempt at a user input device at worst.

    The ports - the SP3 has 1 USB3 port. Although I had my mouse plugged into it, it was nice to be able to transfer a file via a flash drive. But holy crap is airdrop an underrated feature, when it works that is.

    Heat - the SP3 runs a little bit hotter than the rMB. On the back it's 4 degrees warmer (98.3 vs 94.1). I used an IR heat meter. But the one part I would have never thought about was the face. The screen on the SP3 runs about 10 degrees warmer (85.1 vs 75.2) than the rMB. I know it doesn't seem like much, but the SP3 radiates heat a little vs the rMB having one particular hotspot.

    Battery Life - The SP3 is such a marked improvement over the SP2. I got about 6.5 hours from the SP3 and have averaged a little more than 7 on the rMB.

    OS's - Not even going to go into this. MSFT has done an incredible job making windows 8 a solid, usable OS. It doesn't crash, it just works. OS X is the same. I did really miss Preview (I've said it before it's my favorite app) as well as handoff and messages. I had to use my phone more to respond to texts and answer calls. Essentially normal activity and windows 10 is getting continuity which should work just like handoff for windows phones. So in summary, while I found some things lacking, the OS choice is each their own.

    Screen - both gorgeous. I did have to have the SP3 screen a little brighter than the rMB. But I have old eyes and for some reason 60% brightness isn't the same on the rMB.

    SP3 features - the kickstand is cool, but I had to put the SP3 on a desk to use it, on the lap the SP3 just isn't comfortable, feels like typing on an unfolding lawn chair. Being able to use the SP3 as a tablet is very nice, but neither OS X nor W8 in desktop mode are designed to be touchscreen friendly. The detachable keyboard, also cool, but if I'm not using this thing as a tablet, then why do I want to detach my keyboard. Also, maybe I'm just a laptop guy.

    Final Thoughts - the SP3 is SOLID. What a workhorse? I used it for a few months before I got my rMB and forgot how well it worked. I can't hate on anyone who chooses the SP3 as the rMB has its share of compromises.

    But, the rMB is AMAZING. I cannot go back to the SP3, and definitely can't go back to something heavier like my old rMBP.


    Forgot a couple quick comments. I do not have my rMB plugged into a monitor. And never had the SP3 plugged in to one. But that's another pro in the SP3 column because it has a mini DP whereas the rMB, well, doesn't.

    Next, I let the SP3 install all its update and sit overnight before I tested it. While I spoke praises about W8, it still doesn't do updates properly. So much restarting and taxing the processor. W10 will fix that I hear as they are getting away from the "Tuesday patch day".
  2. Rangomango macrumors member

    Jun 25, 2012

    Great comparison I had to settle for a surface pro 3 for work since they arent getting the new macbooks,

    Question.... can't you use a windows environment in parallels? Or was there a reason this isn't optimal?
  3. rahulr thread starter macrumors regular

    Aug 1, 2008
    I absolutely could, but what I needed to do was so minimal that installing windows and parallels seemed like overkill. Also I really wanted to do this comparison :)
  4. Rangomango macrumors member

    Jun 25, 2012
    Gotcha! just wanted to make sure there wasn't a software limitation or anything, like lag..
  5. rahulr thread starter macrumors regular

    Aug 1, 2008
    Haha, lag has become a four letter word on this site. I posted a video earlier. Maybe I'm lucky but have had no lag whatsoever.
  6. Leeabe macrumors member

    Apr 25, 2015
    I just sold my SP3 so I could pick up a MacBook. It is a nice machine, if I had to have a Windows laptop it would be my first choice. But you have to use a mouse with it because the touchpad sucks and the the touchscreen controls aren't that great under Windows 8. Not to mention that most non-Microsoft software doesn't support touch in my experience.

    Just as a test I ran Civ V on a MacBook in the Apple Store today. It was very slow to load, but once it was running it was quite zippy with minimal lag. My SP3 was also slow to load the game and the fans would come on full blast while running it. Performance was pretty much the same and the SP3 had much better specs.
  7. rahulr thread starter macrumors regular

    Aug 1, 2008
    I had the same experiences as you. In fact my SP3 looked like an octopus with all the hubs and ports coming out of it. But still a very solid machine. I'd love it if MSFT made a laptop that was a direct competitor to the MBA, I'm sure they could do something good, but not sure any non-apple company will ever get the touchpad right.

    Also, I priced the new surface 3 today and with keyboard and pen it was around $800, this for only 128gb and 4gb ram. My Mac mini has that and OS X has much better memory mgmt than windows. I don't see the $500 savings as an acceptable compromise vs a rMB or heck even an 11" MBA which actually you can get a bit cheaper than the S3
  8. Aphid Acer macrumors newbie

    Apr 8, 2015
    WHAT? If you downloaded Steam and then a 7 GB game that's pretty baller
  9. thewusman macrumors regular

    Aug 8, 2013
    Facing the same decision here as whether to trade in my daily driver SP3 for a rMB.

    OS aside, because I value both, OP - do you not miss the stylus and ability to take notes / markup / annotate anything on the screen ?

    Curious to know. Because that is what I think is the SP3's killer feature.
  10. Leeabe macrumors member

    Apr 25, 2015
    They had a demo version installed most likely from the MAS. You could only play tutorials, but they seemed open, you could move around and explore just like a regular game.

    They also had some WWII arcadey flight game installed. It was quite pretty and seemed to run pretty good as well.
  11. rahulr thread starter macrumors regular

    Aug 1, 2008
    Good question and honestly thought that I would, but I don't at all. To be fair I didn't use the stylus much, only to load onenote and write a few notes daily. I would prefer a stylus that I could use on the trackpad honestly. That seems a little more akin to my natural writing style.
  12. thewusman macrumors regular

    Aug 8, 2013
    I suspect I feel the same way. Don't use the pen nearly as much as I thought I would, perhaps because of the SP3's size and weight.

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