I’m finally returning my Microsoft Surface Pro 4. I’ve been traveling for a few weeks out the country and so it hasn’t been possible, but now it’s time.
It’s also definitely mixed feelings; I’ve come to almost like the little beastie.
The Surface Pen, and OneNote
The pen on the SP4 is a little glimpse into the future. A few weeks ago, I needed to run a customer workshop at short notice, and I used OneNote to draw on a screen 1300 miles away.
You could do this with a tablet on any machine, sure, but the SP4 was very elegant: I flipped the kick stand and used it like a notebook.
There are frustrations with OneNote, like the SP4 version doesn’t do handwriting recognition, but drawing on the screen brought the meeting alive.
As a Mac user, you’re a second class citizen when it comes to Microsoft products, and Windows 10 with Office 2016 provides a better experience, especially for search.
Oddly though I didn’t find myself installing a lot of apps on the Surface, partially because it is a high definition screen and apps often come up shrunk on it. Microsoft still haven’t done a good job of scaling most 3rd party apps.
I was doing a remote workshop this week and we used one Dell laptop for the video conference, and the SP4 for sharing PowerPoint.
Wow, the Surface screen is amazing. It’s so clear and sharp and the colors pop. I’d go as far as to say that it’s better than my MacBook Pro screen, although that one is nearly 4 years old…
Is also amazing. It recognizes me every time, even in low light, and unlocks in a snap.
The only annoyance is I frequently lock my machine and without the keyboard attached that isn’t as easy as it should be, plus Windows Hello will immediately unlock unless you walk away. Grr!
The SP4 is a 21st century device
I’ve got to admit, my MacBook Pro feels like a last-generation device now I go back to it. To be fair, it is a mid-2012 model, but the current model for sale in 2016 is almost identical.
But… The Stability still sucks
It still has stability problems and crashes frequently. I had to disable Sleep because that made it even worse, so you have to wait for it to come out of hibernate to use it.
Honestly that is what makes the SP4 a deal breaker.
I spoke to a coworker who was sent a Surface Book, and it is sat in its box, eschewed by a Lenovo Yoga. For anyone in the market for a convertible, the Lenovo Yoga Pro is a sweet device.
The SP4 feels like a window into the devices of the future, just as the MacBook Pro is a rear-view mirror into the past.
But the key is, I will always prioritize a device I can trust for my primary work device, and I can’t trust the SP4, so it has to go. It’s that simple.
The question is… What’s next? I find myself increasingly using my iPhone 6S Plus (this blog was written on it), and I just purchased a 12″ MacBook for my other half, and it is amazing. Plus there is the iPad Pro, the forthcoming 2016 MacBook Pro, or even a Lenovo Yoga, which I loved when I had one on loan.
One thing is for sure, 2016 will be an amazing year for computing. Happy New Year!