back to article Microsoft's Surface Pro 2017, unhinged: Luxury fondleslab that's good...

Microsoft waited almost two years to update its boutique computer, the Surface Pro. In the meantime the line expanded to include a detachable tablet (Surface Book), a desktop (Surface Studio) and a proper laptop (Surface, er, Laptop), while the cheaper, Atom-powered POS (Plain Old Surface) fell into the bin and wasn't rescued. …

Bronze badge

Happy Surface Pro 4 Owner here

I can sort of understand the Pen not being included here. I have a Surface Pro 4 i5/128/4GB (bought personally) and it is well-made and very portable. I also bought the Type cover keyboard (actually got it "free" due to a £100 discount offer at the time) and cannot understand why this is not bundled.

I have hardly ever used the stylus (or indeed the touch screen if I am honest) after the first week of having it - for my use-case it does not warrant the cost of buying it separately. YMMV of course as I am not a graphic designer or professional photographer. I thought that I would use it for handwriting meeting notes, but after trying it once, that has never happened....

Resume from sleep can be problematic, that is probably the only gripe.

I also avoided paying for the Surface Dock (£160?) by getting a Dell external monitor which has 5 USB ports on it which was not a million miles away from that price, and plugging everything in to that (including a USB to Gig Ethernet adapter).

15
4

Re: Happy Surface Pro 4 Owner here

I too am a very happy SP4 owner, and I do a lot of handwriting meeting notes with a few clicks of the pen button.

To be honest, it still surprises me how many Surfaces I see daily out in the wild.

Personally don't have a need to upgrade to the SP, though I keep trying to justify the purchase of a Surface Studio for the office!

6
1
Silver badge

Re: Happy Surface Pro 4 Owner here

I was always in the category of 'cheap disposable laptop buyer'. Then I had the chance to buy a SP4 Pro for £500 + VAT.

Now, I have to admit, I'd be tempted to pay full price. It really is a great piece of kit. Especially now Microsoft seem to have moved on from breaking wifi or sleep state with each update.

9
2
Stop

Re: statistics say 'watch-out'

Or rather the US version of Which, have done some reliability crunching and have de-listed MS products as 'reliable'

https://www.consumerreports.org/laptop-computers/microsoft-surface-laptops-and-tablets-not-recommended-by-consumer-reports/

(they previously •were• recommended)

1
0
Silver badge

Meh

I'll stick with my Pixel C for tablet-y stuffs.

10.2" screen at 2560x1800, a USB-C socket for both power & connectivity. It'll do.

6
2
Silver badge

Rather have a £500 Dell and an extra £1k/year to be honest.

13
1
DJV

"If you don't have a Surface Pro, I suspect the price is why"

No shit, Sherlock!

17
0
Anonymous Coward

Re: "If you don't have a Surface Pro, I suspect the price is why"

It could also be because it's Microsoft.

I like the concept, and we may get one or two for the office for UX testing, but I must admit that from a pure computing perspective we're now too spoiled by alternatives to change (plus it is quite nice not to have to worry about licensing mistakes and suffer the accompanying management overhead :) ).

Nice hardware, though, looks like someone's done a good job.

11
8

Re: "If you don't have a Surface Pro, I suspect the price is why"

Why would you pay for a Surface Pro, if all you are going to do is carry out UX testing?

4
1
Anonymous Coward

Re: "If you don't have a Surface Pro, I suspect the price is why"

Why would you pay for a Surface Pro, if all you are going to do is carry out UX testing?

Fair question. It is because part of our UX testing is actually letting users use it, and our users have high expectations - also helps with demos. Also, I know it's vogue to give helpdesk old crap to work with but we prefer our people to have the gear that customers are likely to have so they have a better familiarity with placement of controls etc. It's easier on Macs because they pretty much look the same from model to model, but the swipe strip that replaced the function keys has added a bit of spice to that.

Our aim is to make our helpdesk shibboleet compliant, but without the need to mention it more than once as it should be part of a customer's record. We can do that because we're not in the volume business, which leaves a better operating margin (also because we're not shareholder owned so we don't need to squeeze every last penny out of a customer which IMHO is always to the detriment to the customer as well as the business).

So, in short it's because we have the kind of customers who would probably buy one of these, it makes sense to have a few around.

8
0
Anonymous Coward

Re: "If you don't have a Surface Pro, I suspect the price is why"

At one point:

"given the choice, 90 per cent of staff plumped for a Surface Pro and my only surprise is what were the other 10 per cent thinking?"

But then later:

"Windows 10 is keyboard and mouse first, and touch second. It's just a really awful second, and even though Windows 10 has been on the market for two years now, it remains botched."

And then goes on to give some examples of just how diabolical the user interface is (in touch mode).

So maybe the 10% hated that, and the other 90% just wanted a lightweight standard laptop?

10
1
Silver badge
Unhappy

Re: "If you don't have a Surface Pro, I suspect the price is why"

Actually, it's not JUST the price. It's the "Win-10-nic".

4
5
Bronze badge

Re: "If you don't have a Surface Pro, I suspect the price is why"

I doubt it, 99.9% of people don't have a problem with Windows 10. And don't bother replying saying how much you hate Windows 10, I'm fully aware that half the people who don't like Windows 10 are members here.

P.S. Surface Pro is totally capable of running Linux, but you'd be crazy trying to run Windows 7 on it. The touchscreen support is terrible.

8
4

This post has been deleted by its author

MrT
Silver badge

Surface Dial...

Is this the one that works with the Dial on screen, like the Surface Studio? MrsT is an artist, and watching the MS videos demonstrating the Dial on the Studio was the first time in basically forever that she was genuinely interested in the way that tech worked...

3
0

Re: Surface Dial...

Yes, the Surface Dial works with the SP.

2
0
Bronze badge

Re: Surface Dial...

According to MS the Dial works with the Surface Book and Pro 4 as well as the Studio, so should work with this.

https://www.microsoft.com/en-gb/surface/accessories/surface-dial

Not defending the prices, but I had a Pro V1, now have a Book and use a Pro V3 at work.They are very nice devices to use IME.

4
0
MrT
Silver badge

Re: Surface Dial...

Thanks. I've seen the Dial working off-screen/on-desk with other Surface devices, but it was the on-screen use that particularly caught her eye. I've dug about a bit more and see that MS is saying "Studio and latest Pro" for the on-screen stuff, so I'll take that as a 'yes' for this 2017 one. It must only be a new addition because it's not that easy to track down in other reviews, which only mention Surface Studio.

Cheers!

1
0
Silver badge

If only ....

They stopped pretending to be Apple and demanding their prices. That would be a start.

1 - Bundle at least the keyboard FOC

2 - Make it a realistic and affordable price instead of completely ripping people off for storage and processor upgrades

3 - Put more ports in. Hardly difficult given all the space around the edges

4 - Sort out the sleep issues that have been plaguing the Surface for years.

5 - Stop completely overstating the battery life.

Oh and .....

6 - Stop pretending to be Apple and demanding their prices.

15
1
Anonymous Coward

Stop pretending to be Apple and demanding their prices

Way more than Apple could get away with charging!

6
8
JDX
Gold badge

Re: If only ....

If only you could buy Windows machines from companies other than the company making the OS at cheaper prices.

Oh, wait.

10
0
Silver badge

Re: If only ....

Also fix the broken and too flat GUI, default services and stop slurping on an otherwise internally decent enough OS.

7
4
Silver badge
Thumb Up

Re: If only ....

"Also fix the broken and too flat GUI, default services and stop slurping on an otherwise internally decent enough OS."

nice summary of what's wrong with Win-10-nic

4
3
Bronze badge

Does it run Mint?

13
8
Silver badge

"Does it run Mint?"

This for me is the problem. I defended Microsoft up to W7 pro since when it has all been downhill. OK, I am old and crochety but I can cope with Android and Chrome OS. I put Classic Shell on 10 and get by but it can still be a PITA as it semi-randomly swaps from flay webpage controls to W2000 snap-ins. dlls disappear and stop stuff working. If I had to replace my laptop I would maybe pay £500 to get W10. But north of £2000? 911 prices, 911 bodywork, air-cooled Beetle engine.

12
4
Silver badge
Boffin

Re: "Does it run Mint?"

"911 prices, 911 bodywork, air-cooled Beetle engine."

ITYM

'911 prices, 911 bodywork, lame horse.'

(Nothing wrong with the air-cooled Beetle engine- the 911 has a 6 cylinder version.)

0
0
Mushroom

Those TV ads

Never mind the price, I wouldn't buy one simply because of those cringingly bad TV ads that have people gushing about how the Surface enables them to do stuff.

I only hope the people in those ads were paid a hell of a lot of money to make up for the shame.

15
2

Re: Those TV ads

Never mind the ads, what about the number of US network programs with the SP popping up in product placement spots all over the show. I reckon NCIS:LA (Guilty pleasure) must have had half it's budget paid for by MS.

8
1

and a proper laptop....

Not by a country mile is the Surface Laptop a proper laptop. A proper laptop is; heavy, has removable batteries, has a replaceable hard drive, can have its memory upgraded, has a plethora of ports, snaps into dock with even more ports, has a keyboard you can type on all day, etcetera.

16
5

Re: and a proper laptop....

Thanks to Apple, and everyone's obsession with copying them, very few laptops these days actually have a keyboard you can type on at all. Dr Chiclet is gonna spend a long time roasting in hell...

4
2

Re: and a proper laptop....

My ASUS laptop has a touch screen, but I hardly ever use it except for blowing up photographs. Mouse and keyboard for almost everything.

4
0

Re: and a proper laptop....

Guess that's why Apple didn't bother with this combo...

0
0

If only....

They just rammed it eh... full of RAM and DISK, made it cheaper than a MAC and it would sell in buckets.

I've a Surface Book i7 16gb 1tb.... yip I;'m mad, but the mac alternatives where not worth the cash

But I can play Elite and Civ V/VI

3
3
LDS
Silver badge

'Peter Skillman (WebOS, Meego, HERE Maps)'

Now I understand the UI troubles. That guy has no clues about proper UIs.

At least the Metro UI was very well thought for touch-only devices, the enormous incredible mistake was to force it on keyboard and mouse setups too, which it couldn't handle (but just look at responsive design for web sites, same mistakes, huge controls touch first...)

The actual one is a disaster under both use, with a lot of 'me too' badly borrowed ideas.

UI must fully switch based on context.

9
0
Silver badge

Sees headline.

Scrolls to price.

Prices start near £1000.

Closes tab.

Sorry, guys, but I can get a Win10 Pro / Ubuntu handheld portable PC (in a Nintendo DS kind of form-factor) for a couple of hundred quid. Putting the same hardware behind a larger screen shouldn't cost three times as much before I even start matching the processing/RAM/storage capabilities.

6
1

Skillz

I'm impressed you were able to type & post that after closing the tab!

12
0
Silver badge

Re: Skillz

Vivaldi - middle click on link to open in new tab. Always open comments and article, because often one is much better than the other.

3
0
Silver badge

UI must fully switch based on context.

Impossible in a way.

The problem is that you need a different design of application for touch and Keyboard/Mouse.

You see same problem on Android. It's nearly impossible to have a serious application just use touch. A wordprocessor or spreadsheet is nearly unusable on an Android Tablet, unless you add a mouse and keyboard.

Touch is OK for a browsing and media consumption set of apps and widgets. Real applications with significant user input and need for "menus" need a keyboard / mouse GUI.

Ironically the stupid ribbon GUI could be touch friendly but would take up far too much screen space. Even the standard Office Ribbon is too large. A stupid idea for a mouse/keyboard GUI.

5
2
gv

Re: UI must fully switch based on context.

I have a touchscreen laptop. Number of times I've used this capability? Once, just to try it out.

11
1
Def
Silver badge

Re: UI must fully switch based on context.

If I have a real mouse connected to my laptop, the touch screen gets minimal use. If I have to rely on the bullshit trackpad (bullshit because of what it is, not how well it works) I tend to use the touch screen more. Not for everything, obviously, but it is faster at times.

5
1
Silver badge

Re: UI must fully switch based on context.

"The problem is that you need a different design of application for touch and Keyboard/Mouse."

In Windows, yes. Chromebooks manage with a single interface rather well.

Last week I was asked by grandchildren to install a Lego application on a PC. It was over 400Mbytes. The problem was it had obviously been designed for an iPad and nothing at all had been done to make it PC-friendly. In fact it locked out everything else so when it needed BT access, it had to be closed completely to set up BT. It would have worked OK, I suspect, on Android but there didn't seem to be an Android version.

Lego is now permanently off my present list for being too lazy to produce a proper Windows version, but the sheer unusability with KBM was a bit of an eye opener.

2
3

This post has been deleted by its author

Silver badge
Devil

Re: UI must fully switch based on context.

Stupid UI indeed. "One Windows" is TOTAL FAIL. Even assuming that the UI switches to "touch friendly" when you detach the screen, it's not enough for MOST of the things people want a laptop computer for [vs a fondleslab].

And we know who (at Micro-shaft) to blame for the UI (my thanks for a comment in an earlier article that clued me in)

https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Julie_Larson-Green

[I hear she _INVENTED_ the 2D FLATSO "the Metro" schhhtuff - Sinofsky only IMPLEMENTED it, and then took the fall, but then it never went away, because, THAT person]

3
4
LDS
Silver badge

Re: UI must fully switch based on context.

Exactly. Application needs to change UI based on context. It's not impossible for any good designed application where the UI and the logic are fully decoupled. It's more or less what MS is trying with UWP, but the attempt to make it automatic will fail.

The application designer will need to understand what features are to be offered in each mode, and how. In touch mode the need to use bigger UI elements on smaller screens will inevitably mean some features won't be available. On the other hand, on larger screens and keyboard/mouse input will mean large elements becomes ugly, waste space, and more complex features can be made available.

One size doesn't fit all.

0
0
Bronze badge

An Unexplained Dichotomy

I look at the Surface Pro and understand it's benefits yet this little voice in the back of my mind whispers 'Nokia, Nokia, Nokia, Nokia, Nokia, Nokia, .......Can anyone explain why that is? I vaguely remember in the dark ages of eons past something called a Windows Phone..........

6
2
TVU
Bronze badge

The Unhinged Surface Pro 2017

"In Windows 10 Metro/Modern functions are sucked into a menu which is invisible unless you exit Tablet Mode. So fundamentals like saving your song are invisible. Switch back to Desktop Mode and if you're lucky you'll spot the menu squirrelled away".

In other words, Windows 10 is an unhappy kludge that's still in beta mode. Why on earth can't they have two separate and switchable tablet and desktop modes that both function competently? More development work required...

10
0
Anonymous Coward

Malware Magnet

That's alot of money for a malware magnet...

9
4
Anonymous Coward

TL;DR

Pros: Hardware.

Cons: Price, Windows, Microsoft.

10
2

Price is why I own one. Half the price of the Surface Book, which with its detachable keyboard is like a Surface Pro but faster, better and more practical.

I want a Surface Book. I own a Surface Pro. Apple iToy owners around me are jealous - and that's even with Windows sodding 10.

3
3
Silver badge

90% deliberately chooses a tiny screen?

Ugh, that would keep me away from choosing this even if it cost only $100 and was best in class in every other way (which it is not)

1
2

Page:

POST COMMENT House rules

Not a member of The Register? Create a new account here.

  • Enter your comment

  • Add an icon

Anonymous cowards cannot choose their icon

Forums

Biting the hand that feeds IT © 1998–2017