Macbook versus Surface Pro 4, take two (or whatever)

Discussion in 'MacBook' started by ahostmadsen, Dec 21, 2015.

  1. ahostmadsen macrumors 6502a

    Joined:
    Dec 28, 2009
    #1
    I have a retina MacBook, and i bought a Surface Pro 4 for my wife. While my initial impression of the Surface was good, we just have had endless issues with the Surface (we are not the only ones: Microsoft issued an apology for Surface Pro 4 early adopters). My wife also prefers by far her iPad as tablet over the Surface Pro. Actually, she was even thinking of returning it, and buy a MacBook, although she is a long time Windows user. Alas, we were outside the return period.

    If the Surface had worked out well, I had been thinking of changing to Windows myself, as a long time Mac user. I like the concept of the Surface in principle. But Apple just has some magic in terms of quality and user friendliness that is hard to replicate. So, I'm staying with Apple.
     
  2. David58117 macrumors 65816

    Joined:
    Jan 24, 2013
    #2
    It's a Skylake issue.

    The Surface Pro 3 is spectacular and doesn't have those issues.
     
  3. Maukey macrumors member

    Joined:
    Apr 26, 2010
    #3
    I was just in a similar situation. A couple of weeks ago, I purchased a SP4 i5 w/ 256GB SSD. At the time of purchase I was looking for an all in one device. I loved the idea that I could have just the SP4 as my main laptop, tablet, portable workhorse, etc. And in all honesty, I think it is a great piece of hardware. In the end, I didn't care for the high maintenance that Windows 10 required, it wasn't stable (weird stuff was always happening like screen freezes, internet slowing to a crawl, etc.), the battery life was too short, and it just was not that good as a tablet. Despite all of these short comings I still considered sticking with the SP4 because there's really no other device like it.

    However, last week the rMB 1.2 w/ 512GB SSD went on sale for $1419 at B&H; $10 cheaper than my SP4 w/ Type Cover. Reluctantly I went to Best Buy and got them to price match B&H and exchanged my SP4 for the rMB. Let me just say this, the rMB honestly blew me away. The claims of this being underpowered is completely false. My rMB has actually been snappier in my everyday tasks than the SP4 i5 was. It's also more stable, has a longer battery life, and is more portable. Yeah, I'm sure the SP4 can handle CPU intensive tasks better, but I don't really do heavy lifting. The rMB is overall just a more polished product to me. Because of this, I'm keeping my rMB and getting me an iPad Mini 4 as my Tablet.
     
  4. SteveJUAE, Dec 21, 2015
    Last edited: Dec 21, 2015

    SteveJUAE macrumors 68000

    SteveJUAE

    Joined:
    Aug 14, 2015
    Location:
    Land of Smiles
    #4
    I just got a SP4 I7 last Thursday to see what all the fuss is about, switched it on did all the automated updates and no problems, just waited 3 days for the system to settle down and everything seems fine no issues

    I already anticipated the hibernate vs sleep issue as it's the same on my rMB with bootcamp why anyone is griping so much about this is beyond me

    The SP4 is a fine laptop/tablet IMO build quality etc is equivalent to Apple, KB keys actually are nicer but obviously the trackpad is not as good and although the glass pad is smooth it's a little smaller and the click is rough/hard by comparison but you can avoid this simply by tapping opposed to clicking. Screen is magnificent and nicer than the rMB

    Generally the fan simply is not on once system has finished indexing and settling down only large data transfers on 1000's of files or a full system scan will force the fan to come on which is remarkably quite considering and no more annoying than the clicks form the rMB KB at times

    Adaptation and switching to tablet mode will take some getting use to and simply finding the right mix of finger vs pen is not instinctive to me not being an Ipad/Tablet user normally, but it's just fun and I never really envisaged using it in tablet mode more than 10% of the time, but it's simply cool to switch and play

    I'm not an app heavy user but the few I use were available in the MS store and there seemed enough there to play with

    Not tried any serious editing etc with the pen but it's functionality is there. The laptop as a laptop is different I'm more of a coffee table sort of user but I tried it and seems better than I imagined especially if you sit upright with the screen as flat as possible opposed to the normal clamshell position

    Using the SP4 ala slide show mode with no KB and just on the kickstand open another option of sitting/laying around type mode which is far more convenient than say a IPad resting open on a KB cover and excellent for airplanes I imagine.

    I think anyone whos use to having 2 devices ie a laptop and tablet would adapt far more naturally than me

    Day to day use there is nothing between the rMB and SP4. The SP4 is all about versatility and options in one package that can cover a much broader spectrum of users. The rMB is much narrower field of appeal and fulfills it's intended use extremely well.
     
  5. palpatine macrumors 68040

    Joined:
    May 3, 2011
    #5
    rMB + iPad works well for me, because I tend to be more productive when I have a PDF open on the iPad and the rMB for searching my databases and/or writing. I couldn't do this easily on a single screen, so the Surface doesn't really have a lot of benefits for my workflow. Besides, the iPad is a far better tablet.

    But, the Surface is an amazing device and just gets better every year. Where I think the Surface shines is for someone who wants to work using a single device -- with the Surface you get to avoid all of the hassles of syncing through the cloud or messing with this stupid adapter. As for Windows 10 and the glitches with the Surface, most of the wrinkles seem to be ironed out, and it seems more like a matter of preference. Most of the apps I use are on both, but a few are unique to the Apple ecosystem, and I do not like the Windows alternatives. Actually, for one of my apps there doesn't seem to be an alternative.

    In the end, the rMB was an easy choice for me. I've found it isn't as nice as my MBPr in terms of speed, but the hiccups aren't too bad. I can live with them.
     
  6. maflynn Moderator

    maflynn

    Staff Member

    Joined:
    May 3, 2009
    Location:
    Boston
    #6
    Not for nothing, my SP3 has been rock solid.

    As you mentioned, MS did apologize and they will fix the issue, but I can totally empathize in wanting to return the computer. If I were in your shoes, I'd probably return it as well.

    If your wife is preferring the iPad, have you considered the iPad Pro?
     
  7. duffyanneal macrumors 6502a

    duffyanneal

    Joined:
    Feb 5, 2008
    Location:
    ATL
    #7
    I have owned the SP2, SP3, and SP4. Each one of those devices worked great once I found one that didn't have a hardware issue. Right now the SP4 is getting the bugs worked out on the software level. Which is very similar to what happened to the SP3 and somewhat on the SP2. I say if you can find a SP4 that doesn't have any actual hardware issues they are worth trying out and using. I loved my SP3 for the year that I had it. Right now I'm using a rMB, but only because after 9 returns I gave up finding an SP4 that didn't have an obvious issue. For your entertainment I'll list them out.

    1. Issue with the power/data connector. Docking station would only work with the connector oriented one direction.
    2. Right speaker blown.
    3. Plastic antenna panel not adhered by the volume/power buttons. Bowed upward.. 3 mm gap between glass and plastic..
    4. Multiple clusters of dead pixels on the display.
    5. Dent in the metal near the right speaker. Glass was cracked.
    6. Plastic antenna panel not adhered by the volume/power buttons. Bowed upward..2mm gap between glass and plastic.
    7. Unit shut off to never power back up. Smelled like a component failed.
    8. Finger print smudge on the backside of the display glass.
    9. Plastic antenna panel not adhered by the volume/power buttons. Bowed upward.. 2mm gap between glass and plastic. Paint missing on kickstand.
     
  8. ixxx69 macrumors 6502a

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    Jul 31, 2009
    Location:
    United States
    #8
    Holy cow! Seriously? No exaggeration?
     
  9. duffyanneal macrumors 6502a

    duffyanneal

    Joined:
    Feb 5, 2008
    Location:
    ATL
    #9
    Unfortunately, it's true. Hours of my life I will never get back.
     
  10. David58117 macrumors 65816

    Joined:
    Jan 24, 2013
    #10
    Can I ask why this wouldn't work on the Surface?

    That's pretty much my use for it (pdf on one side of the screen, taking notes on the other), and I thought the Surface was absolutely incredible for that.
     
  11. Queen6 macrumors 603

    Queen6

    Joined:
    Dec 11, 2008
    Location:
    Enjoying Better Things
    #11
    I do the same on Mac`s (OS X) with BetterSnapTool, and natively on Windows, works extremely well. I like the idea of Surface as you can handwrite notes, ideas & draw, saving directly digitally. Admittedly the vast majority of my usage is Notebook focused, equally Microsoft has the Surface Book, however I am a little wary of it being very much a Gen-1 product and the fulcrum hinge rather impacts portability.

    All that said, I believe that Microsoft will same as the Surface Pro, respond solidly with the scene generation of Surface Book, making it an ever more interesting device.

    Q-6
     
  12. SteveJUAE macrumors 68000

    SteveJUAE

    Joined:
    Aug 14, 2015
    Location:
    Land of Smiles
    #12
    Holy craparama :) still sounds an extreme case and only half way there to the guy who had done 20 returns on his rMB

    I must say my 6 day old SP4 has no problems so far and all the official update fixes seem to work, admittedly I'm still working on battery life as initially it seems on the low side compared to my rMB but it's getting better (I'm not referring to sleep mode issue)

    I actually think one of the advantages of the SP4 may well be the advance power plan and if I dumb down the processor in advance power plan to similar speed of the rMB I may get more hours than my rMB, with the option to step up to power mode at will.

    But that's work in progress for now
     
  13. SteveJUAE macrumors 68000

    SteveJUAE

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    Aug 14, 2015
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    Land of Smiles
    #13
    I agree and if your workflow is better or preferred with 2 devices that has little to do with rMB or Surface any numerous combo's would be ok outside of personal preference
     
  14. palpatine macrumors 68040

    Joined:
    May 3, 2011
    #14
    It's personal preference. Both the rMB and Surface are great for multi-tasking, as long as you can work comfortably within the confines of their screens. In portrait mode, the iPad is almost perfect for showing PDFs of books and journal articles.
    I'm tempted by the iPad Pro, but I kind of doubt I'll get it. I took another look at it yesterday and it is really nice, as long as I don't glance at the price or try to fit it into my bag. The MBPr is almost perfect (I'd prefer 17") for work, but it is unpleasantly large for regular commuting or extended travel.
     
  15. T4R06 macrumors 65816

    Joined:
    Oct 8, 2007
    Location:
    CT
    #15
    I originally got the iPad pro. Returned it because it's not really for me. So I got the SP4..twice exchange due to 1st one is fan noise keeps on spinning without doing nothing. The second one is battery life..

    2 days ago I went to MS store and I grabbed dell xps 13 skylake version. 256gb touch version qHD.

    I'm getting 9-11 hrs on this little beast. Amazing laptop. I just don't understand Microsoft own first party product itself has a lot of problems.. But this machine if freaking awesome!
     
  16. xmichaelp macrumors 68000

    xmichaelp

    Joined:
    Jul 10, 2012
    #16
    Surface Pro is a crappy laptop and a crappy tablet running a desktop OS.

    Hybrid devices are bad, for now at least.
     
  17. palpatine macrumors 68040

    Joined:
    May 3, 2011
    #17
    i actually like the surface pro a lot. it's not for me (see post above), and i prefer osx to windows for my work, but it seems well-built and the os functions fine.
     
  18. kis macrumors 65816

    Joined:
    Aug 10, 2007
    Location:
    Switzerland
    #18
    How's the TouchPad on the Skylake XPS 13? I have the previous version sitting in a drawer because the trackpad drives me nuts. It's not super bad, but it's also not very accurate. I heard they have improved it for the new version.
     
  19. T4R06 macrumors 65816

    Joined:
    Oct 8, 2007
    Location:
    CT
    #19
    i dont have the old one but this is very accurate. i love it and the response is fast.
     
  20. Djlild7hina, Dec 28, 2015
    Last edited: Dec 28, 2015

    Djlild7hina macrumors 6502a

    Joined:
    Mar 28, 2009
    #20
    I've had the m3 version of the surface pro 4 since launch and it's definitely been a bumpy ride. Random BSODs, display driver crashes, not waking up from sleep, meh battery life, etc. Most of the issues I've had have been fixed but the sleep issue is still there which is annoying.
    I found a pretty decent deal for the rMB ($999 + 10% Coupon + student discount + 10% Cashback) so I'm going to be switching from the SP4 to rMB and iPad Pro combo. Only problem is my iPhone is Gold and the rMB and iPad are space grey... oh wells first world problems :p
     
  21. ahostmadsen thread starter macrumors 6502a

    Joined:
    Dec 28, 2009
    #21
    Exactly. I like the SP4 in principle, but we just have so many issues with it. Not that my Apple devices are completely issue free, but the level of problems are just of a different magnitude.
     

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