- 02-23-2013, 06:14 PM #1
Got my Pro 128 yesterday and have spent the last 36 hours getting it set up. My intent is for this to be my full time development box. I'm coming from an early 2010 MBP with 8 gigs running Windows 8 in Parallels, so you can have an idea of what I am used to. May not be a fair comparison, but after spending a day and a half, I REALLY like the Surface and how snappy it feels. Way better than MBP with a VM running. I was afraid it couldn't handle my monitors and the various programs I have up when I code. It seems to handle it much better than where I am coming from.
Here is what I think of it so far:
Battery life - I work plugged in, so it isn't a big deal for me. I plan on unplugging Monday and working till it dies to see how long it lasts.
Storage Space - I have everything installed I use regularly, plus several projects and it is reporting 66 GB free. Plenty of space to put a few pictures/music/videos on
Type Cover - The keyboard works fine for me. I thought it would feel cramped, but I have gotten used to it quickly and am growing to like it. The trackpad works well enough, but I will need a mouse for any real work.
Screen - It is beautiful. I keep it on Medium, FYI, and will be playing around with the other options. I will be happy when they get the external monitors independently controlled with regards to text size. Wasn't sure how I would incorporate touch screen while working, but I find myself using it more than I thought. Dragging windows between monitors works very well.
Annoyances - So far they are only minor. On two occasions the mouse pointer disappeared from the screen and the trackpad seemed to stop responding. Alt-Tab to another window and back and it came back.
The WiFi seems a little on the weak side. I'll be testing in various environments over the next week to get a better feel for it.
And just in case any other devs are looking and curious, here is what I have open regularly that the Pro is handling without issue:
Left monitor (Diamond BVU195 USB Video Card) - FileZilla and Solution Explorer window
Center Monitor (Mini Display Port using a StarTech.com mdp to dvi adapter) - Visual Studio 12
Right Monitor (Diamond BVU195 USB Video Card) - Thunderbird and RazorSQL
Surface Screen - Firefox, Chrome (not pictured), sometimes Terminals
Using a generic USB hub, that also has a few other items plugged in (Fitbit, Lumia920 cable, etc.)
All in all this will be an excellent dev box, and being able to go from client to client without having to lug around a bag will be well worth it...
02-23-2013, 06:52 PM #2
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Most excellent!! I plan on doing pretty much the same thing. I already have my Toshiba USB 3 Dynadock...able to connect a VGA and DVI monitor. The Surface has the mini DisplayPort. The 3 monitor stand is about $120 delivered (not yet ordered). I use an external mouse and keyboard on my existing Core 2 Duo laptop...will move to the Dynadock. External speakers will plug in to the Dynadock.
Just waiting on the 128 GB Surface Pro.
Pull the power to the Surface, the USB 3 connection, and the mini DisplayPort, and I can go to a meeting while maintaining Outlook, OneNote, and...a stylus.
Can it get any better??? Yes...with 256 GB SSD, or more.
Will it work out of the box? Yes!!
As an IT admin, I currently keep my email open on the laptop screen. I have to jump around between Remote Desktop sessions between various servers and web browser screens on my external monitor.
I'll try to remember to keep my experience posted when my Surface arrives. I still need to purchase the monitor stand and 2 more monitors....ouch.
- 02-24-2013, 01:33 PM #6
I wouldn't want to develop on ONLY the surface screen all the time, as I really like to spread out and see a lot of windows and toolbars at the same time. A normal 10 hour day of coding would put a little too much strain on the eyes, as it is smaller type to get what I need on the screen at once. But, if I have to go on site to fix a bug, or am spending the weekend at the in-laws and have to work, it more than is satisfactory.
I definitely will look at Chrome as the primary and Firefox as the primary in separate battery tests. May even do one with IE, but I hate the dev tools it has built in. Guess I could take one for the team.
The Dynadock is tempting. I'm just using a standard usb hub right now, but was thinking about upgrading. Now off to do some research...
- 02-25-2013, 01:11 PM #7
Following up. Here are some more impressions from a developer standpoint and a result of a battery test:
1) A couple times I have gotten "lazy hand" and my finger brushed the screen so that the active window changed. Annoying, but my fault for bad hand position when typing.
2) I do not like the pen mounting to the side. It comes off WAY to easily. Can see it getting lost
3) Nice to have a real Delete key again. Hated that about the MBP.
4) The first real issue I have is when debugging in VS2012. The function keys are the "alternate" key press, so you have to hold down the Fn key to step through. I'm sure it is a matter of developing muscle memory to do it the other way, but I don't like having to use two keys to debug.
Battery test of my normal useage:
1) 2 monitors being driven in this case
2) streaming Amazon Cloud Player over WiFi (Blakemore's Night, in case you were the curious type)
3) Firefox, VS2012 (an MVC 4 project(, RazorSQL, Thunderbird, Filezilla
30 minutes 88% left 60 75% 90 61% 120 52% 150 38% 180 20% 201 10% got a warning 207 7% got another warning 210 4% went into hibernation
As soon as it went into hibernation I plugged it in, hit the button and everything came right up, including the music stream.
3.5 hours isn't bad if you ask me, for what I do with it. More than adequate
- 03-07-2013, 10:47 AM #9
Have you installed any software on SDXC card?
For my development I need VS 2008, VS 2010 and SQL Server 2008 Dev Ed. I also would like to have VS 2012 installed and SQL Server 2012 but don't know if I will have enough space on SSD (I have 128 GB version). On my laptop (where I don't even have VS 2012 or SQL Server 2012) I have 100 GB used up on my C: drive (everything is installed on C:, OS and apps). And on Surface I only have 80 GB available out of the box, so I have no idea how it will fit.
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