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iMi

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So, I went to the dark side and bought a Surface. But not because I was dissatisfied with an iPad or the MacBook. I just needed a dedicated Windows device for work. The Surface is awesome, but getting used to Windows 10 is taking some time. It's just such a jarring experience (I've been using OS X since 2002).

Do you peeps have any experience with the device? What do you think about the Surface Pro 4? Any advice or tips?
 

nviz22

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Jun 24, 2013
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So, I went to the dark side and bought a Surface. But not because I was dissatisfied with an iPad or the MacBook. I just needed a dedicated Windows device for work. The Surface is awesome, but getting used to Windows 10 is taking some time. It's just such a jarring experience (I've been using OS X since 2002).

Do you peeps have any experience with the device? What do you think about the Surface Pro 4? Any advice or tips?

What processor model did you get? If you got the Core M version, it's fanless so it changes how to handle the device a little bit. Set up Windows Hello with the FP scanner keyboard and/or Iris Scanner for the best biometric security.
 
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iMi

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What processor model did you get? If you got the Core M version, it's fanless so it changes how to handle the device a little bit. Set up Windows Hello with the FP scanner keyboard and/or Iris Scanner for the best biometric security.

I've got the i5 version. Windows Hello surprised me. It's awesome!
 

nviz22

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Jun 24, 2013
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I've got the i5 version. Windows Hello surprised me. It's awesome!

An i5 would require just making sure you don't have too much heating occurring. The fan can only handle so much. Ensure that your device doesn't have screen flickering either. Keep the Stylus magnitized to the side of the device too. I suggest using AVG and getting Firefox.
 
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BlueGoldAce

macrumors 68000
Oct 11, 2011
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I have a surface book....maybe the cooling is better on that thing? I don't worry about the cooling too much, hell I have used overwatch on it haha!

If you have any desire to read PDFs, buy the app "drawboard". Totally worth the 10 bucks, and I believe there is a trial.

Windows 10 doesn't need the app ecosystem that iOS has to do what you want to do, but PDF reading is a different animal. Drawboard is as good as PDF expert on iOS.
 
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spinedoc77

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Jun 11, 2009
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So, I went to the dark side and bought a Surface. But not because I was dissatisfied with an iPad or the MacBook. I just needed a dedicated Windows device for work. The Surface is awesome, but getting used to Windows 10 is taking some time. It's just such a jarring experience (I've been using OS X since 2002).

Do you peeps have any experience with the device? What do you think about the Surface Pro 4? Any advice or tips?

Phenomenal device! I've been using them since the SP1, but really used them exclusively since the SP3 and now I have a SP4. There isn't a day that passes where I'm not amazed that someone finally fit that huge beige PC box into such a tiny package. MS has also done an awesome job with Win10. At first I had my doubts, they took away a lot of useful stuff from Win8.1, but they've slowly added it back in the right way. I hated Win10 at first, but it grew on me and now I love it.
[doublepost=1470838724][/doublepost]
An i5 would require just making sure you don't have too much heating occurring. The fan can only handle so much. Ensure that your device doesn't have screen flickering either. Keep the Stylus magnitized to the side of the device too. I suggest using AVG and getting Firefox.

I've got the i5 and have never had it overheat. I've even ran modern PC game titles on it for extended periods. Yeah the fan goes crazy, but otherwise no ill effects. Firefox sucks IMO, they have terrible touch support for things like gestures, pinch zooming, etc. It's the reason I went from 10 years of Firefox exclusive use back to modern IE then Edge. Have they improved their touch functionality on tablets?
 
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Michael Goff

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I would give Edge a try if I were you. I have issues with it, but apparently a lot of people don't. It's hit and miss. Plus, you can actually use it in tablet mode.
 
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iMi

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Phenomenal device! I've been using them since the SP1, but really used them exclusively since the SP3 and now I have a SP4. There isn't a day that passes where I'm not amazed that someone finally fit that huge beige PC box into such a tiny package. MS has also done an awesome job with Win10. At first I had my doubts, they took away a lot of useful stuff from Win8.1, but they've slowly added it back in the right way. I hated Win10 at first, but it grew on me and now I love it.
[doublepost=1470838724][/doublepost]

I've got the i5 and have never had it overheat. I've even ran modern PC game titles on it for extended periods. Yeah the fan goes crazy, but otherwise no ill effects. Firefox sucks IMO, they have terrible touch support for things like gestures, pinch zooming, etc. It's the reason I went from 10 years of Firefox exclusive use back to modern IE then Edge. Have they improved their touch functionality on tablets?

I'm at the stage where I love the device itself but still cannot get used to Windows 10. I've added icloud, iTunes and a few apps. I use exchange for email and OneDrive for everything and that part was seamless. Amazingly and very Apple-like, OneDrive automatically synched backed up photos and added them to the photos app. Last night I was using the Surface while my iPad sat on the counter in the kitchen, lonely. I think I heard wimping and muffled cries :)

Things I love - screen, size, kickstand, windows hello, keyboard, news app, calendar app, access to windows apps I need for work, corporate systems for work finally work well when I need to set up items. Also, and to great surprise, I really like the pen.

Things I don't care much about - outlook 2016, the whole windows 10 experience, but I think that's just a learning curve, battery life is so-so.
 
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spinedoc77

macrumors G4
Jun 11, 2009
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I'm at the stage where I love the device itself but still cannot get used to Windows 10. I've added icloud, iTunes and a few apps. I use exchange for email and OneDrive for everything and that part was seamless. Amazingly and very Apple-like, OneDrive automatically synched backed up photos and added them to the photos app. Last night I was using the Surface while my iPad sat on the counter in the kitchen, lonely. I think I heard wimping and muffled cries :)

Things I love - screen, size, kickstand, windows hello, keyboard, news app, calendar app, access to windows apps I need for work, corporate systems for work finally work well when I need to set up items. Also, and to great surprise, I really like the pen.

Things I don't care much about - outlook 2016, the whole windows 10 experience, but I think that's just a learning curve, battery life is so-so.

battery life is the biggest Achilles heel, especially versus the ipad. There are things you can tweak, you can limit the CPU for example. www.tabletpcreview.com has great forums and some very smart people on there which can help you tweak and learn. Have you applied the Windows 10 anniversary update? It has a ton of improvements in the UI and also for the Edge browser. Also don't be afraid to use tablet mode, it works well for the laying on the couch tablet experience, and you can tweak that also. Also make sure you increase the text and UI size in display settings, I have my SP4 set to 250% and it's perfect. Also don't forget you have an awesome dark mode, in themes choose high contrast mode. This is by FAR the best dark mode in the entire industry, it works seamlessly across the entire OS and doesn't invert graphics, making it highly usable if you need a solution for things like not waking your wife up if you are using the SP in bed. It really puts iOS/android to shame with their corny invert colors mode.

Oh, another app I highly recommend is TouchMe Gesture Studio. It allows you to map gestures to a function. For example I missed the brightness gesture in Win8.1, with TouchMe I can map it to a 2 finger swipe up/down, for example. I mapped a 3 finger clockwise/counter clockwise turn to volume just like using a real volume dial. Many more things you can do, nifty little app.

There is also a OneDrive app which is quite nice. It's a stop gap until they release the UWP file explorer and put placeholders back in, but it works well and has placeholder functionality so you don't have to use up all your local storage.

Email and calendar apps are very nice on win10, especially with dark theme. Office 2016 runs excellently, and oneNote is awesome and incredibly powerful the more you delve into it.
 
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iMi

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battery life is the biggest Achilles heel, especially versus the ipad. There are things you can tweak, you can limit the CPU for example. www.tabletpcreview.com has great forums and some very smart people on there which can help you tweak and learn. Have you applied the Windows 10 anniversary update? It has a ton of improvements in the UI and also for the Edge browser. Also don't be afraid to use tablet mode, it works well for the laying on the couch tablet experience, and you can tweak that also. Also make sure you increase the text and UI size in display settings, I have my SP4 set to 250% and it's perfect. Also don't forget you have an awesome dark mode, in themes choose high contrast mode. This is by FAR the best dark mode in the entire industry, it works seamlessly across the entire OS and doesn't invert graphics, making it highly usable if you need a solution for things like not waking your wife up if you are using the SP in bed. It really puts iOS/android to shame with their corny invert colors mode.

Oh, another app I highly recommend is TouchMe Gesture Studio. It allows you to map gestures to a function. For example I missed the brightness gesture in Win8.1, with TouchMe I can map it to a 2 finger swipe up/down, for example. I mapped a 3 finger clockwise/counter clockwise turn to volume just like using a real volume dial. Many more things you can do, nifty little app.

There is also a OneDrive app which is quite nice. It's a stop gap until they release the UWP file explorer and put placeholders back in, but it works well and has placeholder functionality so you don't have to use up all your local storage.

Email and calendar apps are very nice on win10, especially with dark theme. Office 2016 runs excellently, and oneNote is awesome and incredibly powerful the more you delve into it.

Awesome information. Thank you!

Is the Anniversary update automatic? If so, I believe it's already there because the software update screen says all is up to date. Just changed the display to 250% and it looks great. Good tip. I'll try dark mode tonight because last night it looked like an UFO landed in our bedroom. This thing is bright. I've been using OneNote for a while and absolutely love it. It replaced spreadsheet dashboards I had created for various accounts I work with and it's been super nice. As of today I have also gotten rid of the physical note pad I use to scribble notes during the day. Now I use the pen and the Surface. Works well.

Thanks again for the tips!

(Edit) I figured out the Anniversary update. It's a separate thing unless they push it out to your device. I had to go in and download it. Running the update now.
 

spinedoc77

macrumors G4
Jun 11, 2009
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Awesome information. Thank you!

Is the Anniversary update automatic? If so, I believe it's already there because the software update screen says all is up to date. Just changed the display to 250% and it looks great. Good tip. I'll try dark mode tonight because last night it looked like an UFO landed in our bedroom. This thing is bright. I've been using OneNote for a while and absolutely love it. It replaced spreadsheet dashboards I had created for various accounts I work with and it's been super nice. As of today I have also gotten rid of the physical note pad I use to scribble notes during the day. Now I use the pen and the Surface. Works well.

Thanks again for the tips!

It should be automatic. I know some get it later than others, that's just how the rollout is going, but if you have updates set to automatic then you have it or will have it soon. The dark mode/high contrast has kept me out of the doghouse with my wife, lol.
 

iMi

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I really hope Surface Pro 5 has a vastly improved battery life. Aside from the buggy Windows 10 build, the battery is the biggest issue that I've noticed thus far and that's with battery saver option selected.
 
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spinedoc77

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Jun 11, 2009
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I really hope Surface Pro 5 has a vastly improved battery life. Aside from the buggy Windows 10 build, the battery is the biggest issue that I've noticed thus far and that's with battery saver option selected.

That's their weakest point by far.
 
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spinedoc77

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Jun 11, 2009
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What is? Windows 10 or battery life? I skipped the upgrade to windows 10 on every computer except one laptop, and the jury is out on the battery life and performance of that one laptop, that I bought a year ago.

Windows 10 is awesome. The battery life is subpar and a negative on the surface pro series IMO.
 
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Michael Goff

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Windows 10 is awesome. The battery life is subpar and a negative on the surface pro series IMO.

Well, yeah. Battery is heavy and the SP series uses the power hungry Intel chips. ;)


People keep saying they want more battery for the Surfade Pro series in a lot of the tech podcasts I listen to. I don't think they realize just how much weight batteries make up.
 

iMi

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Well, after a few days with the Surface it's time to accessorize. I got the keyboard already and today I picked up the Arc Mouse Surface Edition. I'd give it a mixed review. Nice quality and very nice design, but not particularly ergonomic. It doesn't feel good in hand after a while.

Any suggestions for alternative mouse? Thoughts on the Arc?

Also, to anyone interested, you can now pick up the i5, 4GB, 128GB Surface Pro 4 at $699.99. It's on sale for $849.99 at Best Buy and others but you can also apply the $150 off coupon from Best Buy College Deal. There seems to be no real restriction. Just need to sign up with an email. I thought that was a good deal.
 
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spinedoc77

macrumors G4
Jun 11, 2009
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Well, after a few days with the Surface it's time to accessorize. I got the keyboard already and today I picked up the Arc Mouse Surface Edition. I'd give it a mixed review. Nice quality and very nice design, but not particularly ergonomic. It doesn't feel good in hand after a while.

Any suggestions for alternative mouse? Thoughts on the Arc?

Also, to anyone interested, you can now pick up the i5, 4GB, 128GB Surface Pro 4 at $699.99. It's on sale for $849.99 at Best Buy and others but you can also apply the $150 off coupon from Best Buy College Deal. There seems to be no real restriction. Just need to sign up with an email. I thought that was a good deal.

I never leave home without my Logitech MX anywhere mouse. It has darkfield sensor so it works on anything including glass. It's small, but not so small to cramp up your hand. I'm on the same battery for over a year now!
 

maxsix

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Jun 28, 2015
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What do you think about the Surface Pro 4? Any advice or tips?
My Surface Pro 4 has been exceptional. Fast, highly effective and crash free, it's delightful.

Bought it upon release after enjoying my Surface Pro 3 for a year. Working in a Windows and Mac environment, I was already used to the OS.

My suggestion is to be open minded, learn windows thoroughly and enjoy it.
 
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