Julie’s gadget diary – I almost pre-ordered a Microsoft Surface Pro 4 today

{ 18 comments }

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Yesterday Dave Rees and I were chatting on Google Hangouts while we were watching Microsoft’s new hardware event. Microsoft announced three new Lumia Windows phones, a preview of HoloLens virtual gaming gear and a new fitness tracking band that all looked somewhat interesting to us. But, what Dave and I were most interested in was the new Surface Pro 4. As Panos Panay, who is the leader of Microsoft’s premium hardware lines, paced excitedly around the stage talking passionately about all the cool features of new new Lumia phones, new Surface Pro 4 and new Surface Book, I was already pulling out my credit card and so was Dave. It’s sometimes a curse to be a Gadgeteer, because we always want the latest tech. Did Dave and I pre-order today? 

Actually no, we didn’t. Dave was looking at the Surface Book and I was looking at the Surface Pro 4. But once Dave and I got away from the reality distortion field, we began having doubts. For Dave, he wants to see both the Surface Pro 4 and Surface Book in person before he buys one. Makes sense, right? For me, I already have three laptops: a 2011 13″ MacBook Air that I use on the couch, a 2014 13″ MacBook Pro with Retina that I use to write my reviews and edit images, and a 2015 Dell XPS 13″ that I don’t really use at all right now (although it’s coming with me on vacation next week because it’s lighter and has better battery life than my old MacBook Air). I also have an iPad mini and a Samsung Galaxy S Tab 10.5. So I don’t need a laptop and I don’t need a tablet. Pair all that with the fact that these devices ain’t cheap, and I’m giving Jeanne my credit card so I won’t be tempted.But darn if I don’t want to play with both the Surface Pro 4 and Surface Book. I can’t help but wish all my laptops and tablets would spontaneously combust so I’ll have a reason to buy one!

Next week I’ll be using the Dell XPS 13″ which I recently upgraded to Windows 10. This will be a good test to see if I miss my MacBook Pro and OS X. I’ve told various people that I am not sure I’ll buy another MacBook when it comes time to replace my current one. After seeing the new Surface Pro 4 and Surface Book, I’m really starting to believe that.

Dave: Julie and I have been anticipating yesterday’s Microsoft event for a while now. I have a 3 yr old 15” retina MBPro, Lenovo X1 Carbon, iPad Air 2, Galaxy Tab S 10.5 and Note 4. I use to be an all Apple guy, not necessarily a true Fan Boy but close enough. While admittedly very well made, with solid performance, Apple products have become less appealing to me over the years. Where they use to be cutting edge and leading the way, Apple has become safe and predictable…very sadly, there has not been a “one more thing” from Apple for years. It has been a slow erosion, first I switched to an Android smartphone, then started using a Windows laptop every now and then, then swapped out my tablet as well. The final straw was the release of Windows 10 that started me seriously thinking of totally jumping ship. I would love to consolidate my hardware to a single device…like the Surface Pro or Surface Book. Both are tempting and once I see them in person, I will most likely take the plunge one way or the other.

What about you? Are you tempted by these new Microsoft devices?

Posted in: Laptops and Gear, News, Tablets, Ultra Portables
{ 18 comments… add one }
  • Peter October 7, 2015, 6:30 pm

    Seriously considering the SP4 myself. I was going to get an SP3, but figure for the small difference in price, I’ll go for the more updated tablet. I like the look of the Surface Book, but don’t have a need for it at the moment as I’ll use the tablet quite a bit more. The updated type cover, better specs, and more standard charging just make sense to me. I don’t need the “all-in” model w/ 16GB RAM and 1TB, but saw that Costco will offer an i7, 256GB, and 16GB RAM w/ type cover for a reasonable price. They also throw in a 2 year warranty so that would be covered. Holding off just a little bit, but I’m seriously considering that for my personal machine.

  • buddy October 7, 2015, 6:33 pm

    The Surface Pro 4 is definitely on my radar. Just waiting for the CC billing cycle to end:-)

  • Sandee Cohen October 8, 2015, 12:46 am

    Got to play with the SurfaceBook today at the Adobe Max Creativity Conference.

    I usually travel with my MacBook Air. But I am seriously considering the SurfaceBook as a replacement.

  • Mike Roselius October 8, 2015, 10:48 am

    You might want to wait a couple of weeks and see what surfaces (haha) from some of the other vendors. Dell announced a refresh of the XPS13 – but more compelling an XPS12 that has a detachable hard laptop type keyboard. Reasonably priced, at least to start ($899) and has the ability to go up to a 4k screen.

    I think HP has some x360 updates too that are interesting.

    Whatever you buy, keep your receipt handy. I recently won a Surface 3 (not the pro) and am running Windows 10 on it. While it’s a huge improvement in starting to become a tablet operating system, I find the touch targets are way too small, using the MS stylus is slow and not at all like a handwriting experience.
    In short, it’s a nice device – but I’m not sure – for me at least – I would have kept it, had I spent my own money for it.

    With the continued convergence of content creation apps on Mac / Windows and iOS – the iPad pro looks more and more interesting.

    • Julie Strietelmeier October 8, 2015, 12:31 pm

      Mike, Dave and I were just talking about the new XPS12. It does look interesting and appears to give you more bang for your buck than the Surface Pro 4. I’ll wait till they have the at Best Buy so I can check them out in person before I decide to part with my hard earned money 🙂

  • Heidi October 8, 2015, 3:46 pm

    If you change your mind…we’ve got cases for you.;-) http://ow.ly/Tbtoc

  • Jim October 9, 2015, 8:55 am

    I would really like to get the Surface Book, but will probably get the Surface Pro 4. I recently dropped my Surface Pro 3 (don’t juggle a tablet and a bunch of books while trying to step over a power cord attached to a lap top), and cracked the screen bad. I think I will wait a little bit to hear more in depth reviews, however.

  • Arrow October 9, 2015, 10:48 am

    After using MS Windows since it’s inception, a couple of years ago I bought the top MacBook Air. Only complaint was that I couldn’t run a number of the special programs and toolbars that I have become dependent on over the years. Parallels solved that, but is not completely trouble free. I like the MAC, because it has been completely trouble-free and if an issue occurs the latest version operating system can be easily reloaded without losing anything. I’m sorely tempted by the new laptop/tablets, but that solid MAC reliability is hard to give up now.

  • Sue October 9, 2015, 10:52 am

    I am definitely interested in these two MS products. I’m not sure if I want the Book or SF4 so I’ll wait until they come out at the end of October and can check them out. I just wish they weren’t so expensive, but I will probably buy one anyway. See, that’s why MS will continue to price these things so high because of people like me!

  • Lynn Lopez October 9, 2015, 2:25 pm

    I would love to get a SP4. I was hoping they would come out with a 14in version but oh well. My problem is for personal use I have a 5 year old iMac(before retina came out), a Note5 and a Galaxy Tab S 10.5. My iMac is still working fine and I mainly use it for keeping my bank account balanced and my photography. It is slowing down a bit now, but if I go with an SP4, I will also have to invest in at least 1 really good external monitor. I am thinking I could replace the tablet and the iMac with this single computer and possibly make it my main PC for work. Of course I would want an i7 processor with 16meg of memory and at least 256k storage. Since that won’t even be available till the end of November I am not in a huge rush. I will wait to play with them when they get to Best Buy.

    • Julie Strietelmeier October 9, 2015, 2:46 pm

      I would like to consolidate down to one machine that is powerful enough to do what I do – surfing, writing, photoshop and light enough that I won’t mind taking it in my carry on bag when I go traveling. That’s why I’m taking my Dell XPS 13″ with me when I go on my next trip. It’s lighter than my MacBook Air and MacBook Pro. We’ll see if I get along with Windows 10. I don’t see it being a problem though.

  • Hai Vu October 10, 2015, 11:16 am

    A few comments. First, about the naming: I think MS ought to drop the “Pro” in the name if there is not “non-pro” Surface. Secondly, being a Mac user, I was looking for a laptop/tablet combo so I looked at Surface Pro 3 and did not like it. This time around, I am interested to play with the Surface Book in person when it comes to the stores. Fortunately, a Microsoft Store is not too far away from where I live. I hope that MS does not stuff junkware with the laptop.

    • Julie Strietelmeier October 10, 2015, 3:27 pm

      I read somewhere that the battery life when used as a tablet only be about 3 hrs. That’s disappointing.

      • Shel October 22, 2015, 4:37 am

        That’s because the main battery is in the “keyboard” part of the Surface Book. However, you can attach the power cord to the “clipboard” or screen part of the SB when it is removed from the keyboard if needed.

  • Robert Grenader October 10, 2015, 12:55 pm

    After having used a Surface Pro for a while, I switched to a Dell XPS13. I came to the realization that I am more comfortable with a hinged screen and keyboard vs a tablet with an attachable keyboard for a portable computer.

    • Julie Strietelmeier October 10, 2015, 3:30 pm

      I think I’m the same when it comes to doing real work like writing, photo editing and even surfing my favorite sites. But I like a tablet for games and quick email checks.

  • mj October 11, 2015, 6:21 am

    The Surface Book is tempting but the price made sure I won’t (or more precisely couldn’t) buy one. The Pro4 is testing my wallet too but there’s just not enough separation for it from my former PRO3.

    The new devices actually made me love my Spectre x360 even more, as there is nothing outside of the Iris cam and that fab dGPU that made me miss anything. For $1.5k I get 512 GB, 8 gb ram, a qHD and i7 3.0hz. Overall greater value (esp factoring the price) than either the book or the pro 4, and I bet it beats or atleast matches the performance of 50% configurations of the two (well maybe not the battery life but my i7 will beat an i5 configuration from either of the two, even though they’re 6th gen).

    Also sad that the pro4 didn’t atleast add an additional 1 USB drive, this is coming from a former pro2 and pro3 user. You can’t even use a mouse and connect a HDD or phone at the same time it’s pathetic. You learn to live with a dongle (and wifi/data connection) but that’s even more pathetic.

    Overall the two new devices are sexy and beastly and has even most of my MacBook colleagues pay attention. One even mentioned that Microsoft is back, that caused me to roll my eyes (I also think Windows is the best software in the history of softwares, so he’s rolling his eyes over that too). I’ll probably get a book somewhere down the road but for now long live Spectre!

  • Stephen November 29, 2015, 5:54 pm

    I’ve been a Mac user for 30 years. My first computer was an Apple IIe, and I’m not sure a day has gone by since that I haven’t used an Apple machine.

    Last week I bought a Surface Pro 4, and have used it exclusively since then. I had literally never used Windows before. There’s been a bit of a learning curve, but the SP4 hardware is certainly the equal of anything I’ve ever used from Apple.

    The biggest question I have is whether or not the SP4 can replace BOTH my laptop and my iPad. I work in film and video, and I need a machine that can handle everything from script writing to video editing and even some finishing and color work. I’ve got the lower-end i5 model, which is performing well so far. But I do think I’ll need to upgrade to the i7 processor.

    Best of all, I’ve got 30 days to decide whether to stick with it or switch back.

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