iPad Pro Just got an iPad Pro, my experiences vs the Surface Pro 4

Discussion in 'iPad' started by Ryan0751, Feb 1, 2016.

  1. Ryan0751, Feb 1, 2016
    Last edited: Feb 1, 2016

    Ryan0751 macrumors regular

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    Nov 4, 2013
    #1
    I know that the topic of "iPad Pro vs Surface Pro 4" has been beaten somewhat to death, but I figured I would share my take on it to help others trying to make the same decision process (without going into specs, since everyone knows what those are).

    First off, some background... I'm a software engineer by trade, and my hobbies include electronic music production/DJ work, and photography. For personal machines, I have a lovely 2013 Mac Pro on my desk with two 27" 4K monitors, and a 15" Macbook Pro (late-2013). I've also got an iPhone 6s plus and an iPad Air (1st generation).

    Last January, curiosity got the best of me and I purchased a Surface Pro 3. I have to say, it wasn't love at first sight. I found Windows 8.1 to be clunky, and the floppy keyboard "not quite a laptop but not quite a desktop" model took some time to get used to. I stuck it out though, and eventually found that I wasn't really using my iPad Air (1st generation) anymore at all. It was pretty neat to have that bigger screen, and have access to full Windows desktop apps.

    When Windows 10 came out, the experience became much better. Windows 10 is actually the first windows version in a long time that I actually like!

    In the fall when the Surface Pro 4 came out, I decided to give the Pro 3 to my dad, and picked up a 4 for myself. It's a lovely little device, the new Type Cover 4 is so much better than the previous version, I'd say it's very close to using a Macbook's touch pad and keyboard (smaller of course). There are some issues with bugs and Windows 10 that MS has been slowly resolving, such as freezing on wake, issues keeping the devices asleep, etc.

    Moving on to the iPad Pro... Again, curiosity got the best of me, so I decided to pick one up, figuring that I could always return it after 14-days if I don't like it. After a few days, I love it.

    I'm realizing that my usage pattern of the Surface Pro 4 was not much of a "laptop replacement", but more as an iPad replacement. I love the bigger screen of the Surface, and the iPad Pro's screen is even bigger yet. I've mostly been using the Surface for web browsing, e-mail, and as a travel machine.

    The iPad Pro is actually a bit better in these regards (for me). I can even use the app "astropad" and replace my lightly used Wacom tablet for photo editing, which is great (I like consolidating devices as much as I can).
    The argument about it running a "phone OS" is actually a plus for me. First off, the App store for Windows touch apps is nothing like that of iOS - you really are stuck with using full on desktop apps (some of which aren't touch friendly), or little cheap games and the like. Second, I really did miss being tied into the Apple ecosystem - iMessage, iCloud integration, etc. And having a phone OS means you get the niceness of battery management that works, instant on, and REAL touch integration.

    Microsoft is claiming that the iPad Pro is a companion device, and I'd mostly agree with that - and I'm OK with that. Unless your usage is just general computing (web, email, basic office docs, simple photo and movie editing), you probably will need another machine. If you don't do much portable computing, this might mean a desktop - the iPad Pro is certainly a great travel machine if you don't need to do heavy lifting.

    The Surface Pro can certainly be your full time only machine - with some caveats. The ergonomics of the Surface don't compare to that of a 15" Macbook Pro, at all. If I need to do "real work" and be portable, I'd grab my MBP over the Surface, any time. The Surface is far too cramped for me to do software development for any length of time. Of course, unlike the iPad Pro, you can use the nice dock that's available and with one cable you can hook up a keyboard, mouse, monitor and have a desktop machine.

    So in any case, both great devices... you should evaluate your own usage patterns carefully before buying. Consider carefully how important the Apple ecosystem is to you.

    Myself, I've decided to keep the iPad Pro and sell my Surface Pro 4, because it just fits my own usage a bit better.
     
  2. The Game 161 macrumors G5

    The Game 161

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    UK
    #2
    Nice one, I got my pro a few days ago and love it. I've sold my air 2 and mini 4 because of it.

    Bought the smart keyboard and sillcone case and they are a great combo
     
  3. sjleworthy macrumors 65816

    sjleworthy

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    #3
    what was the SP4's battery life like compared to the Pro's, in everyday usage?
     
  4. sracer macrumors 603

    sracer

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    #4
    Always nice to hear real, first-hand experiences from fellow owners of both iPads and Surfaces. The actual and the practical trump the theoretical and hypothetical.
     
  5. mikewired, Feb 1, 2016
    Last edited: Feb 1, 2016

    mikewired macrumors member

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    #5
    I tried 2 sp4's and a Surface Book. All returned for quirky problems and awful battery life. I could barely get 4.5 hours from sp4. I decided to pickup a iPad pro, wow! I have other iPads but never wanted to use them as much as I use this one. The speakers are stereo and sound awesome. The screen is big and bright. The battery lasts so long you don't even worry about it. Just use it hard all day and charge it when your done. I also need a Windows computer for some equipment programming so I found an open box yoga 3 pro for 525.00 so that problem is solved. My MacBook Pro just sits collecting dust for now. My plan will be to set it up on a desk and keep my hard drives plugged in for photo management or sell it for an iMac. I have read plenty of stories how people want a sp4 for note taking and a small all around computer. For many people the iPad pro with the apple pencil fills this need and want.
     
  6. Ryan0751 thread starter macrumors regular

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    Nov 4, 2013
    #6
    Hard to say on the Surface Pro 4... I rarely burned through the entire battery, because I plug it in at night and really only use it at home. The Surface Pro's battery indicator is all over the place, though. It will say '2 hours remaining', then '5 hours remaining', then back again. I did have a few issues where when the Surface was asleep, it woke back up on it's own, when I found it later it had the fans on high, was very hot, and the battery was nearly dead. I think they've fixed most of those type of issues though with the latest software updates.

    The iPad Pro seems on par with my iPad Air.
     
  7. KennethC macrumors newbie

    KennethC

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    Dec 31, 2015
    Location:
    San Jose, CA
    #7
    Hi Ryan0751.
    Congrats for your ipad pro.
    It is really great to read from a real user. You have written all about ipad pro and Microsoft surface Pro4 in quite detail. I am also fond of ipad and your positive review about it is making my heart to go for it.
     
  8. sjleworthy macrumors 65816

    sjleworthy

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    #8
    always been the case. as you say, good to hear these things from users themselves.

    if i purely relied on marketing I'd have plumped for a SP4 instead of the Pro immediately, but after listening to opinions in here, and sifting out the Apple fanboy/Windows hating comments, it's quite plain to see what the 2 devices are like stacked up against each other in various situations.

    each has its pros and cons of course. and these are entirely personal and subjective. take your pick.

    personally, i'd like a smattering of both SP and Pro, but push comes to shove, im my situation, the Pro takes it hands down :)
     
  9. ctg7w6 macrumors regular

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    Oct 23, 2014
    #9
    So the iPad Pro is not all that great for pro uses, the Surface pro could be used for Pro purposes, but you didn't like to because you had even better devices. iPad Pro is a really nice big iPad.

    It sounds like I am mocking, but I am really not. I simply feel that a desktop OS is required to do most work completely. You can do some work on iOS, but you are heavily limited.
     
  10. Ryan0751 thread starter macrumors regular

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    Nov 4, 2013
    #10
    I agree that a desktop OS is really needed to do "complete" work. I can't write code (practically) on an iPad. If I need to use the full photoshop, I can't do it on the iPad.

    But who's to say that means it's not for "Pro" work, in addition to my other machines? The iPad is a wonderful control surface. On the go, Lightroom for iPad is quite nice.

    The Surface has a desktop OS, but that doesn't mean it's suitable for all "Pro's" either. To realistically use all those Pro apps, you still need an external monitor, keyboard and mouse - using Photoshop on a 12" screen is pretty lame. Plus the Surface is nowhere near as fast as a desktop machine.

    The definition of "Pro" is anyone who gets paid for their work. That's a pretty broad category!

    I think it's great we have all these choices today, every product we use is a set of compromises, and nothing will meet everyones needs.
     
  11. Beavix macrumors 6502a

    Beavix

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    #11
    I agree.

    I too had to choose between a Surface Pro and an iPad Pro. I picked the iPad only because I knew it wasn't going to replace my rMBP and I wanted to stay inside the Apple ecosystem. But to be honest for real work I would've picked the Surface. The iPad Pro is mostly a toy.
     
  12. Cnasty macrumors 68020

    Cnasty

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    #12


    This is always funny to read. Hell of a toy!!
     
  13. Eric5273 macrumors 6502a

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    New Jersey
    #13
    Nice review. If Microsoft had come out with Windows 10 and the Surface 6 or 7 years ago, I'd probably still be a Windows user and would probably also have a Windows phone. But lousy products and operating systems finally got to me and I purchased an iPhone, then a year later I purchased a MacBook, and there was no going back.

    Now I'm so invested in the Apple ecosystem that it would take a lot for me to change back. I actually really love the idea of the Surface Pro as a hybrid device. Currently I'm trying to replace my MacBook with the iPad Pro and so far I think I will be able to accomplish it for 99% of the tasks I do. I still do hope that Apple will add some more desktop features to iOS like mouse support. I expect to be selling my MacBook in another few weeks.
     
  14. masotime macrumors 68000

    masotime

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    San Jose, CA
    #14
    This is more of a software ecosystem problem than an issue with the iPad Pro itself, although you could argue the same with the Surface and the limited tablet software ecosystem. Still, the following may or may not suit your programming needs: GoCoEdit, Coda, Textastic, Working Copy. For me it's not really there yet, but it is encouraging.

    Ultimately it boils down to making incentives for iOS developers to develop Pro apps. This means Pro prices and Pro upgrade cycles. Well... let's see how it goes. I'd personally like a Pro-only App Store so it's easier to sort out what I want, instead of having to wade through the millions of freemium and other game-related, shopping, entertainment, etc. apps currently in the iOS app store.
     
  15. sracer macrumors 603

    sracer

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    #15
    Then the question becomes, "why buy a 2-in-1 hybrid in the first place?"

    If one needs a desktop OS then IMO it is foolish to spend a premium for a Windows 2-in-1 hybrid when it will not serve as well as a notebook when used in notebook mode and will not serve well as a tablet in tablet mode. The Surface Pro and non-Pro are compromises in both use cases. There's a trade-off involved that is worth it for some people, but not for others.

    With your statement, "the Surface pro could be used for Pro purposes" implies that the experience in using the Surface Pro for those things that can be done with the iPad Pro are equivalent. They are not.

    The Surface line are ultrabooks that can serve as tablets in a pinch.

    You are correct when you say "the iPad Pro is a really nice big iPad". That is all that it is. I've said it before, Apple used the "Pro" designator to put to rest any rumors that Apple was soon forthcoming with a 2-in-1 hybrid device similar to the Surface. From a more accurate marketing perspective, it should've been called the "iPad Plus".

    My Surface 2 (the much maligned and "crippled" Windows RT version of the Surface line) is more "Pro" in professional business situations that the iPad Pro could ever be. But as a tablet, the entire Surface line suffers.
     
  16. Macalway macrumors 68000

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    Aug 7, 2013
    #16
    I definitely would be miserable with only on iOS device, but that's just me.

    I have a very nice SP4 that I like, but it's not as cool as the IPP. I also own a rMB (I know), that I use mostly. Now THAT is the best thing i've ever owned.

    (it's fun just blabbing about this stuff, no? :D )
     
  17. Aluminum213 macrumors 68040

    Aluminum213

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    #17
    What is "pro" about the iPad Pro? no external storage, no file system, the same iOS of that as a iPad Mini, wasted space beyond belief........

    Maybe in 2-3 years with iOS 11 or 12, Apple will actually treat the iOS on the iPad with respect
     
  18. Macalway macrumors 68000

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    #18
    So when does yours arrive?
     
  19. Aluminum213 macrumors 68040

    Aluminum213

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    #19
    My iPad Air 3 hopefully will arrive around March :)
     
  20. Robnsn2015 macrumors regular

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    Jul 12, 2015
    #20
    Great review! I think that, in a way, comparing a Surface Pro to an iPad Pro is like comparing apples and oranges. They are different devices with different advantages that both happen to have the word "Pro" in their names.
     
  21. Cnasty macrumors 68020

    Cnasty

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    #21
    One is an amazing tablet.
    The other is a mediocre laptop.

    So I agree with you.
     
  22. Robnsn2015 macrumors regular

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    Jul 12, 2015
    #22
    Good point, but you can look at this another way. The iPad Pro is a really good, deluxe iPad. The Surface Pro is a mediocre laptop. If you need Windows apps (which are overwhelming built as "desktop" apps, not "touch" or "modern" apps), you can get an excellent Windows laptop for half the price of a functional Surface Pro.
     
  23. silverblack macrumors 68030

    silverblack

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    #23
    What's "Pro"? The Apple Pencil, and the great apps that work the Pencil to do magic. Combined with the large screen, the iPP has made a dramatic difference in how I get work done in teaching, meeting or just day-to-day tasks. The iPP greatly enhances my user experience on every single task that I do, compared to an iPad Air 2 that I had. Multitasking on split-screen is finally useable (or I should say viewable) on the large screen.
     
  24. Aluminum213 macrumors 68040

    Aluminum213

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    Mar 16, 2012
    #24
    once the Apple Pencil comes to the iPad air 3, I fail to see what makes the iPad Pro "pro". The split screen view is nicer on a bigger screen, but it's still the exact same thing on the smaller iPad. It doesn't allow you to open 3-4 apps at once.
     
  25. Night Spring macrumors G5

    Night Spring

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    #25
    Well, you must have better eyesight than I do. The split screen view on an Air is barely useable for me because all the text gets too small. If we could open 3-4 windows on the Pro, I wouldn't do it, because the windows would be too small. For me, the bigger screen of the iPP does indeed make it "Pro." I finally feel like I can comfortably edit documents on it, whereas on the Air, I could edit documents, but it felt cramped and not very comfortable.
     

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