Leaving Macbook Air for a Surface Pro 2

Discussion in 'Alternatives to iOS and iOS Devices' started by ratboy90, Feb 13, 2014.

  1. ratboy90 macrumors 6502


    Apr 15, 2009
    I've recently been thinking of switching from my 13" MBA to a Surface Pro 2 as my main device. Has anybody ever done this? I'm a student and do most of my work using Powerpoint or Google Drive. All my notes are stored in Evernote. So there is nothing software specific that is tying me to OSX. The only powerful software I use once in a while is Photoshop and Illustrator. The only thing that is scaring me is the smaller screen. My first thought was to trade my Air in for a Surface Pro 2 and a Chromebook with a 13" screen. I already own an Android phone and 7" tablet.
    But if anybody has any experiences to share it would be much appreciated.
  2. maflynn Moderator


    Staff Member

    May 3, 2009
    I personally think OSX is superior to windows, but it sounds like you have done your analysis and come up with a workable solution.

    The surface 2 pro is not a bad machine, albeit expensive for a tablet. I prefer using a laptop for content creation but that's just me.

    I think screen size is a personal decision and its really up to you whether the smaller screen is workable for you or not.
  3. MRU Suspended


    Aug 23, 2005
    I have both the 11" MBA and a Surface Pro 2.

    Biggest issue with Surface Pro 2 is not necessarily screen size exactly, but GUI SCALING.

    On a Mac we have Hi-DPI mode meaning user interface elements scale well, on the surface pro 2 the setup is different.

    Desktop mode for example at default is set to 150% scaling. This makes gui elements easier to navigate on the smaller screen and more over with 'touch'...

    For better effect and one that looks really great you can up this to 200% making windows easier to navigate and buttons easier to touch.

    In the windows elements part of the equation all is well, GUI scales nicely and everything remains sharp, clear and icons are nice and clean.

    BUT..... Then we get to programmes.

    Photoshop CC (latest version of photoshop for creative cloud users) doesn't scale its GUI like HI-DPI version on mac. So you end up with tiny menu elements and such.

    Worse still other applications scale but badly, resulting in things like onscreen menu bars being cut off, pixelated menu items, and the whole interface is just unusable in that mode.

    Corel Painter X3, Sketchbook Pro for example are culprits of this, which means you can not run them properly with GUI scaling set to 150 or 200% and will need to change the whole desktop GUI scaling down to 100 or 125% which means once again you will end up with VERY VERY SMALL menu items and icons which are just awkward and cumbersome to navigate, even with pen input.

    So yeah, that's the biggest issue you will have with desktop apps on the Surface Pro 2 until companies actually sort out HiDPI support for their applications on Windows.
  4. ReallyBigFeet, Feb 13, 2014
    Last edited: Feb 13, 2014

    ReallyBigFeet macrumors 68030


    Apr 15, 2010
    Good review between two, although focused on 11 inch MBA.


    Personally, I hate the Surface Pro 2 screen ratio. Several apps look awful due to lack of proper GUI scaling. Not the fault of the SP2 itself but it's still an isssue.
  5. sracer macrumors 604


    Apr 9, 2010
    in exile
    Already excellent comments posted.

    I own a Surface RT, iPad 4, and a variety of OSX and Windows notebooks. MacRumorUser's experiences echo mine.

    My advice, keep the 13" MBA and get a Surface RT (don't pay more than $150 for one). The RT has a nearly full version of MS Office. (you mentioned PowerPoint and Google Drive) PowerPoint on the RT is terrific. I've had the opportunity to give presentations in coffee shops and such using the RT.... and with a bluetooth mouse, I can navigate through the presentation easily and comfortably.
  6. Sensamic macrumors 68030

    Mar 26, 2010
    I would keep the Air because it's more comfortable to use and carry IMO, plus I really don't like the new Windows interface.

    And you can always use Windows via Parallels.
  7. soulreaver99 macrumors 68020


    Aug 15, 2010
    Southern California
    Stick with the Air. If you are able to find snag a Surface Pro for $499, go for it. It's totally worth it. I got mine and love it.

    But to pay $999 for a Surface Pro 2+ the keyboard for $120 is absurd in my opinion. There really isn't THAT much of a difference.
  8. mrskullfreak macrumors 6502a


    Jan 25, 2012
    michigan north detroit
    Can someone tell me how much faster is the surface 2 over the rt?
    Not the pro.
  9. sracer macrumors 604


    Apr 9, 2010
    in exile
    Significantly faster...the difference is so dramatic that I would say that if the Surface is going to be your primary mobile tablet/netbook that it is well worth the price difference between the RT and the Surface 2.
  10. Tsuchiya macrumors 68020


    Jun 7, 2008
    It's tempting, but my issue would be typing. The attached covers are cool, but having to balance that on the tiny desk things in my lecture halls would be a pain in the arse.

    _| opposed to _/|
  11. Infinite Jest macrumors 6502

    Nov 2, 2011
    Harrisonburg, Va
    The surface is also awesome for taking notes by hand compliments of the digitizer and stylus.
  12. b166er macrumors 68020


    Apr 17, 2010
    I can't ditch my Mac, I don't think ever. Certainly not now with what the competition is offering. I find OSX superior in every way, same goes for Mac hardware. I use Windows at work and loathe it.

    I use Android, and in general I'm always checking out different gadgets and mobile stuff, but as far as my computers go, I prefer Macs all the way.
  13. Dreamliner330 macrumors 6502a

    Sep 1, 2011
    Pull up a webpage with pictures and scroll. The pictures don't stay square, they 'wobble'.

    The Surface Pro 2 I played with in a store does this anyway...:rolleyes:

    That said, the idea of an i5 powered machine (mac or PC) in a tablet form is definitely the way to go.
  14. MRU Suspended


    Aug 23, 2005
    Mine doesn't do this, it scrolls exactly same as my MBA
  15. Dreamliner330 macrumors 6502a

    Sep 1, 2011
    Dunno what to say. I think I was looking at a review page on The Verge and if I scrolled too quickly the pictures didn't stay perfectly rectangular. (It reminds me of the bending pencil illusion)
  16. m98custom1212 macrumors 6502

    Jul 20, 2013
    Toledo, Ohio
    For one its tablet/ultrabook/ultrabook 2 in 1

Share This Page