Keep My rMB or Exchange It for the SP4? (1 Week Left on Return Period)

Discussion in 'MacBook' started by Maukey, Jan 14, 2016.

  1. Maukey macrumors member

    Joined:
    Apr 26, 2010
    #1
    Hello fellow Mac Users! A few weeks back I purchased a SP4 i5 w/ 256GB SSD. In short I really had a love hate relationship with this device. It was and still remains one of my all time favorite pieces of hardware. I feel the SP4 has the potential to be, and may be to some, the best overall computer hardware available. It's light, powerful, innovative, and just a joy to use with all of it's features; Cortana, Pen Input, Touch Screen, etc. However, 2 things kept me from keeping my SP4, and that's battery life and stability. I was only getting about 5 hours on average battery life. And although most of the serious issues had been ironed out, I still had the occasional weird things occur, like Microsoft Edge freezing forcing a reboot, Wifi connection slowing to a crawl, etc.

    This led me to the exchange of the SP4 for the 1.2 rMB w/ 512GB SSD. The rMB + USB-C to USB Adapter was the exact same price as the SP4 + Type Cover as I got the rMB on sale. Upon first use of the rMB I loved it. It was nearly perfect in my eyes. It was light, lighter than the SP4 + Type Cover, has excellent Speakers, a flawless design in my opinion, charges extremely fast, has better battery life for my uses (8 hrs average compared to 5 hrs on the SP4), and although not as powerful, was snappier than the SP4 in everyday use. Not to mention that OS X is still an overall more user friendly experience than Windows 10.

    Now I know you may be asking yourself, if he likes the rMB, why is he even posting this? And that's my problem, I don't know! I still love the rMB, but I just can't get the SP4 out of my head. It was just something about using it that made it feel premium and invigorating. For example, I loved that I could mark up Web Pages with the pen, save them to one note, and then send them to my wife. This came in handy when we were planning a family vacation a few weeks back. I loved that although the SP4 is pretty average as a Tablet, I could still use it as a Tablet w/ the pen which I found convenient when using it in bed. The kickstand is just the best period lol! So, why didn't I just take the rMB back and get the SP4 back? Two words, Apple Ecoystem. I just recently got the 128GB iPhone 6s Plus and it's been years since I've had a Mac + iPhone combination. Being able to respond to a phone call, face time call, or text message right from my rMB is just sooo convenient. Not to mention only needing to update contacts, notes, bookmarks, etc all from one device and it syncs to the other is just excellent.

    I need help! Both from you all and a professional LOL. I don't know what to do. I think I enjoy using the SP4 more, however, the rMB is more convenient overall. Each does fine for my uses which is Media Consumption, Web Browsing, Light Document and Spreadsheet tasks, Retro Gaming via Emulators (Games I own), Torrent Downloading (Bluray Movie Backups), Streaming to my ATV4 via Air Video HD, Kodi, etc. I guess it just comes down to Excitement vs Convenience. Help!!! All opinions and ideas welcome. Well, except for seek professional help, I've agreed to that already LOL.

    Thanks in Advance!
     
  2. zhenya macrumors 603

    zhenya

    Joined:
    Jan 6, 2005
    #2
    I have a SP3 for work and a rMB for personal so use both extensively every day. I have the new keyboard and stylus as well. I think if I had to choose just one - and work didn't play into the equation, I'd buy the rMB as much as I appreciate the Surface. I even use the stylus on the SP a lot for personal stuff - but overall the experience - while markedly improved over the last year - just isn't as polished as the MacBook's.

    If you are really into the stylus, or really use the SP as a tablet regularly - even if that just means browsing the web or watching movies on the couch, I could see going back to that - but otherwise everything on the SP still feels a bit unfinished, a bit disjointed. From the crashes to the unreliable battery life, to the apps and programs that aren't 'quite' there yet. It's a great business tool, and I could see choosing it if I wanted to take a lot of notes in college or something, but for a personal device there are still too many issues.
     
  3. gooser macrumors 6502a

    Joined:
    Jul 4, 2013
    #3
    keep the macbook. those are some serious deficiencies you've noted with the sp4.
     
  4. Queen6, Jan 14, 2016
    Last edited: Jan 14, 2016

    Queen6 macrumors 604

    Queen6

    Joined:
    Dec 11, 2008
    Location:
    Land of the Unexpected
    #4
    OS X is certainly far more elegant than Windows, equally Microsoft is undoubtedly on the right track with Surface, however for my usage the battery life is an issue. The problem is when your used to 8+ hours off the mains it`s not easy to go back to less. I believe that if your willing to work with the power settings the SP4`s run time can be significantly extended. Personally I am far more interested in the Surface Book, as it meets my needs closer, being a notebook that can "role" into a tablet as and when needed, nor is battery life an issue (notebook, not tablet) for the Surface Book.

    The software side will likely be ironed out in time, nor is Windows the only OS to suffer from such issues. Much depends on usage, personally I think the SP4 is a fantastic device, equally it has compromises, one being the additional complexity & maintenance of the OS.

    I look at it like this the SP4 offers significantly more utility over the rMB, which is easier to live with, if you need the additional functionality, or prefer to focus on simplicity then the decision is easy, or you can always keep both ;)


    Q-6
     
  5. zhenya macrumors 603

    zhenya

    Joined:
    Jan 6, 2005
    #5
    I get 5-6 hours out of the SP3 with aggressive power management. I have never, ever gotten more than 7 hours, and even that appeared to be a one-time fluke.

    The bigger issue with the SP and MS devices in general is that the battery drain is less reliable. Sleep issues that are relatively rare on a Mac are fairly common in Windows, so you may think you are starting out with a full battery only to find it already drained 40% in your bag, so now your 6 hours is really 3.5. That drives me nuts with my SP, and mine is pretty good as far as I can tell compared to what's happening with the 4th gen.
     
  6. Queen6 macrumors 604

    Queen6

    Joined:
    Dec 11, 2008
    Location:
    Land of the Unexpected
    #6
    These are the issues that tend to make me not want to commit to a SP4 or SB, although I can see the pen input would be a significant benefit to my workflow. Skipping sleep and dropping full hibernation may be a solution on the SP4 & SB as the SSD`s are fast.

    What I find with Windows, is one must invest significant time in setting up the system, for it to remain stable over the longterm, nor is this as easy as it sounds, very much depending on applications. My own opinion is MS should have completely built Windows 8 from the ground up and dropped the need for the OS & applications to "wrap around one another"

    Biggest disappointment personally is that Apple did not consider a converged OS X device such as the SP4 as undoubtedly they would have done a far better job of the desktop OS with tablet interface.

    Q-6
     
  7. DougFNJ macrumors 65816

    DougFNJ

    Joined:
    Jan 22, 2008
    Location:
    NJ
    #7
    The Windows vs PC factor is what has continually kept me away from any version of the Surface, and it's not just because of the "Fanboy" thing. I seriously considered a Surface Pro when I shopped. My wife and I are the only ones with Macs, every other computer is Windows. The amount of time consuming updates, bugs, backdoor fixes virus vulnerability kept me away. I went to Best Buy to look at both the day before I made my decision. I have 2 devices that have not made their software compatible with Mac. I borrowed my mother in law's Windows laptop to work with those devices and the living hell I went through made my mind up. Nice to have that pen, but if I wanted to send my wife a website with circled content, my iPhone and iPad has made it easier to do than in the past.

    Look at the long term on the decision. Blazing super fast up front, but after its been configured and very well used, you know the battery life from the 500 processes are going to bog it down, it's going to slow badly, you may find yourself second guessing your decision.

    SP4 is a nice device for many reasons. But that damn OS makes it too disposable too soon.
     
  8. Maukey thread starter macrumors member

    Joined:
    Apr 26, 2010
    #8
    This has been my feelings all along. I've always said that if the rMB came with a touch version of OS X and the screen was detachable, I'd pay just about whatever Apple wanted for it LOL
     
  9. SteveJUAE, Jan 14, 2016
    Last edited: Jan 14, 2016

    SteveJUAE macrumors 68020

    SteveJUAE

    Joined:
    Aug 14, 2015
    Location:
    Land of Smiles
    #9
    So would many of us :)

    I have both a rMB and a SP4 I7 16G 512SSD. They are both great laptops. Main OS and App differences aside and you can synch your IPhone in Windows via Icloud for windows (Mail/contacts/bookmarks/photos) only the dialing and obviously FaceTime is not there, Cortana allows txt's. Edge can be a bit flaky but it is a new browser that can only get better.

    As you have found the potential to do more or get more out of the SP4 is there ignoring M3 vs I5 etc

    There are only little differences IMO
    • SP4 KB keys are better (more travel/softer and MBA ish) but rMB trackpad is better
    • Both the screens are great but SP4 is a little bigger/brighter and has touch plus you can fiddle with fonts etc in Windows to suit
    • rMB is a little lighter and thinner only when SP4 KB is attached
    • Separate Mini HDI out on SP4 and a optional docking port is already available
    • You can choose to throttle your SP4 to make it silent ie so fans do not kick in either in battery or mains mode.
    • rMB clamshell is more convenient on your lap but SP4 can be used in multiple ways with and without KB
    • SP4 camera is better
    I think none of these are deal breakers and only make the SP4 case stronger

    In my experience other than the sleep/hibernate issue (which also exists on bootcamp rMB) I have not had any issues (Got my SP4 late December) and for most the automated updates (not unlike OSX) are fine.

    Outside of actual OSX preferences I think there is only 2 significant issues of which one can be self inflicted :)

    I say self inflicted as simply with Windows the maintenance is proportional to the amount of diverse software/games etc you add. Both (rMB/SP4) running with typical corporate software probably Windows fares better as IT support it more however in the personal world maybe more legacy junk and games are a good source of increasing maintenance. Many say third party antivirus are not really required anymore and Windows defender is sufficient, personally I am not convinced, but this adds to some of the nags you get not unlike the Apple store updates LOL.

    The main issue as you have found is battery life. For sure given the brightness of the SP4 it needs to be tempered to give greater endurance. There is more nanning to be done in the beginning with the SP4 to get better battery life. I only get 6.5 Hours out of my rMB at 60% brightness in bootcamp.

    However on the SP4:

    Out of the box your likely to get 4 hours only especially in the 1st week.

    2nd week by dropping screen down to 45% and with modest use (post playing and setting up) you should be in the 5 hours range

    To start getting towards the rMB you need to set up a dual power plans For some reason this is disabled by default and you have to change one registry item from 1 to 0 to allow the option. With this available you can make custom automatic switching power plans for battery and on mains.

    Obviously it seems logical when on mains to have all the options maxed out except brightness unless you want to burn your eyes out, but on battery you can prevent (throttle) the CPU from going up to max speed. With around 80% CPU and 45% brightness you should start to see increase in battery to around 6 hours in my case, with no noticeable change in performance compared to rMB. I have tried this for the last 2 weeks.

    My next 2 weeks I going for 60% CPU and 35% brightness to see if I can get >7 hours. As I have the I7 I do not expect any difference to my rMB performance wise and can always jump back to mains or swap for another custom plan at the tap of a button should I wish.

    As much as I really like the rMB and I think it's the best in it's class of clamshell, If you can find good use for the extra functionality and potential of the SP4 and can live without OSX and adapt to some of the little niggles the SP4 is the way to go on a one laptop option.
     
  10. jpy1980 macrumors member

    Joined:
    Nov 7, 2014
    #10
    Ugh I just bought the SP4 i5 8GB 256GB SSD and I'm returning it tomorrow. Coming from a 2013 i5 MBA, I am finding it hard to switch back to Windows, especially with Windows 10. Win10 does not know whether it wants to be a tablet or desktop and it definitely cannot do both well. Another biiiiiig annoyance with the SP4 is when you run older windows software and the DPI/Resolution becomes completely wonky. Certain icons and text of the program become either too large or too big. Its the result of Windows inability to scale properly and offering such a high resolution computer when programs can't keep up. Even trying to set the compatibility to not scale does not work. Another bad thing is that if you are using iCloud mail, the mail will not push to your windows machine. I am getting mail pushed to my iPhone as a notification, then i would have to manually fetch on my SP4. Judging by the poor battery life of the SP4, I did not want to set the fetch schedule to 15 minutes.

    Anyways sorry for my rant, but I just had such a disappointing experience after all the excitement of buying one.

    Now I am pondering if I should buy the rMB or just wait for the second gen version.
     
  11. SteveJUAE, Jan 15, 2016
    Last edited: Jan 15, 2016

    SteveJUAE macrumors 68020

    SteveJUAE

    Joined:
    Aug 14, 2015
    Location:
    Land of Smiles
    #11
    I have no problem with icloud mail my mobile.me mail is pushed fine to both my SP4/rMB and my Galaxy S6, it does sometimes lag a little in receiving but that's Apple not playing nice (especially if you use me.com and not icloud.com) not the SP4/Windows IMO as other mail clients are fine.

    As I noted above problems can come with some old legacy stuff but equally I understand you have no scaling options in OSX Apple chooses for you and this seems why many complain about the extra inch the loose going down to the rMB or even resolution of rMB vs MBA, some will find similar problems, you may with a rMB. I think you will find windows has far more options outside of changing resolution.

    I'm sure if you dig a bit deeper there are answers to your problems. I think you will find there is a compatibility option somewhere that will help with your old prog

    Further more I view the tablet/pen side of the SP4 as an added bonus as 1st priority is it's laptop function IMO. I finally have good use for this side of things on the SP4 as I am building a new house and annotating the builders plans could not be easier with the pen :)
     
  12. Maukey thread starter macrumors member

    Joined:
    Apr 26, 2010
    #12
    I had no idea that there was iCloud for Windows. This has made it even more difficult. I guess now I have to decide if I can live with the mediocre battery life of the SP4, as well as the patience to deal with the maintenance required in Windows. Also, I used XCode the other day for my first time to install an App on my ATV 4. This is another advantage for the rMB.
     
  13. SteveJUAE macrumors 68020

    SteveJUAE

    Joined:
    Aug 14, 2015
    Location:
    Land of Smiles
    #13
    I think you maybe overstating the maintenance issue as it depends on the diversity of your software, for modest requirements you can run xcode in windows but not for professional development.

    There are too many pro's for the SP4 to be easily ignored :) you really have to be adamant/specific or just fickly to dismiss it

    Battery life rMB or SP4 will always be low due to foot print or chassis size over other laptops eg MBA/rMBP
     
  14. wmadan macrumors member

    Joined:
    Nov 14, 2013
    #14
    I have owned previous Surface Pros and hoped they would be the convergence device they are advertised to be. For me, the SP3 wasn't a good laptop or tablet because it attempted to do both. I now have a rMB as a laptop and a Samsung 10.1 Note (2014) edition that I use for taking notes in meetings with the pen and as a consumption device. Both do their respective tasks very well.
     
  15. brentsg macrumors 68040

    Joined:
    Oct 15, 2008
    #15
    Just don't assume the SP4 will perform as advertised b/c you trust MS and you heard good things about SP3. I figured it'd be an evolutionary improvement, but when I bought one it was a lot of trouble. Do some research and decide.
     
  16. SSD-GUY macrumors 6502a

    Joined:
    Sep 20, 2012
    Location:
    London, UK
    #16
    I once had a surface. Never again. The updates just ruined it for me.

    Even when I try the Surface Pro 4 in stores, the amount of times I get 'GPU driver has failed', or some other random error to cause it to slow to a crawl is just laughable.
     
  17. SteveJUAE macrumors 68020

    SteveJUAE

    Joined:
    Aug 14, 2015
    Location:
    Land of Smiles
    #17
    Mobile Tech have just released their Long term 2.5 months later review. All those initial teething issues is water under the bridge now outside of Edge and sleep/hibernate which affects many laptops including the rMB in bootcamp

    I would never consider a store setups to be indicative of errors after 100's of idiots have been fiddling with every setting

     
  18. RUGGLES99 macrumors 6502

    Joined:
    Feb 9, 2015
    #18
    This is somewhat off topic, but sort of interesting imo. I have an rmb, a mba and a mbp. But recently picked up for kicks a chromebook -- the asus flip, which is both an elegant looking, all aluminum laptop that flips into a tablet, has a touchscreen and cab be used with a stylo. Oddly, it is faster than my rmb, has a great screen, a decent lb and good trackpad. It's great for consumption, but can do word etc. The cost? I paid $200 new.
     
  19. SteveJUAE macrumors 68020

    SteveJUAE

    Joined:
    Aug 14, 2015
    Location:
    Land of Smiles
    #19
    Yes there are some great little full Windows OS devices around for modest use I was looking at the Lenovo 8" or 10" Tablets where the latter comes with a BT KB, both with great battery life and full Office 360. Fine as consumption device and casual on the fly work.
     
  20. SSD-GUY macrumors 6502a

    Joined:
    Sep 20, 2012
    Location:
    London, UK
    #20
    Faster than your rMB? How? My rMB flies with normal tasks.
    --- Post Merged, Jan 16, 2016 ---
    To be honest, if you can carry around a SurfaceBook, you can carry around a rMBP, they pretty much weigh the same, with the RMBP having the added benefit of it not having a gap when it's closed, which is basically a magnet for dust etc which will cause scratches.
     
  21. SteveJUAE, Jan 16, 2016
    Last edited: Jan 16, 2016

    SteveJUAE macrumors 68020

    SteveJUAE

    Joined:
    Aug 14, 2015
    Location:
    Land of Smiles
    #21
    I don't really think this is a valid argument, although the gap is a bit unsightly and permits larger particles objects to entre between the KB and screen as there is no contact because of the gap. The only way to cause scratches 99% of the time is by your finger or pen afterwards and that would be a deliberate action.

    I'm always amazed after stuffing my laptop in my bag (Tumi backpack with fluff free lining) and arriving at my destination the amount of dust that appears on the screen/KB regardless of make.

    But then I do not use a sleeve and if you did with a SB it would invalidate your observation on the SB further IMO
     
  22. SSD-GUY macrumors 6502a

    Joined:
    Sep 20, 2012
    Location:
    London, UK
    #22
    In my opinion, that gap is just too much of a headache. Even if you do put things in a sleeve, dust/particles etc end up everywhere and therefore have an easier time scratching things.

    And I don't think the part about 99% of scratches being caused by finger or pens are necessarily true. If I take my sample of MacBooks at University (where there are literally hundreds), many people have Speck cases like mine, and we are advised to remove the case ever month or so, as dust can get in through tiny spaces.

    There's also the issue of the 'wobble':



    Honestly speaking though, if Microsoft just made a normal laptop, I would be slightly more interested. I think 2 in 1s are overrated. They don't achieve being an amazing tablet, or an amazing laptop. You're left in the middle.

    That being said, the XPS 13 is simply perfect, but after using the touchpad in the store, the MacBook blows it away. I have read however that the Surface Book's trackpad is actually very, very good.
     
  23. SteveJUAE macrumors 68020

    SteveJUAE

    Joined:
    Aug 14, 2015
    Location:
    Land of Smiles
    #23
    That's is exactly my point :) the gap is so big it's not the same issue as with speck cases and other close touching flaps, covers etc etc on laptops or phones.

    I too use Speck cases on our rMB's much to the distain of my sons and my wife's clear one soon shows trapped dust etc

    Wobble yes an inevitable problem with almost any touch device if you are using it in clamshell mode or on a KB cover stand like the IPP, unless it has a high/solid kickstand like the SP4. The SB suffers slightly differently as its top heavy.

    I don't subscribe to the left in the middle argument on these high end 2 in 1's if you simply ignore all the bells and whistles of touch and detachments as a pure laptop they stand in their own right on performance and productivity.

    You simply have potential which you can ignore or use just occassionly, whether you think the potential is not as good as a dedicated device is a different matter :)

    Others are moving on and forward where currently Apple appear stagnant by comparison unless you want to buy 3 or 4 devices to make your ECO complete. Even then many Apple users say only if the IPP was a full OS or why is there no 2 in 1 in Apples line up, we can't even get a retina screen on the old MBA that many have been crying out for 2 or 3 years now. Lets hope for something good in 2016.

    I have just seen the specs on the new Lenovo Thinkpad X1 Tablet, I have been asking for modular concepts on laptops for years. They are not quite in the direction I was hoping for (ie to include swappable internal components/upgrades) but it seems many OEM's are more inspired to give us a verity of devices functionality outside of pure power/performance/weight.
     
  24. Jobsian macrumors 6502a

    Jobsian

    Joined:
    Jul 30, 2009
    #24
    lol
     
  25. SSD-GUY macrumors 6502a

    Joined:
    Sep 20, 2012
    Location:
    London, UK
    #25
    To be honest, if Apple gives us a Retina MacBook Air (along the lines of the Dell XPS 13), I'm sure that will appease most people.
     

Share This Page