10-29-2013 08:16 AM
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  1. Lurchorama's Avatar
    The following is a copy/paste of a blog post I wrote this morning

    On launch day I was lucky enough that work was willing to buy a shiny new Microsoft Surface Pro 2
    I've had it for a week now, been using it pretty much constantly for anything that I'm not sitting at my work desk for.

    However nutshell version: Is this machine great? Absolutely! Would I spend my own $1600 on it? No.

    Let me explain why....

    I shall start off with the good stuff first.
    It's fast. Really fast. I got the 8Gb/256Gb model. It's purrs along swimmingly with all apps being really snappy. I've yet to throw anything at it that really made it struggle. I even installed Steam on it and sparked up a game of Counter-Strike:Source and got a steady 60FPS. The screen is bright, ludicrously high resolution, with a staggering refresh rate. All in all it's simply a fantastic machine. I even got used to Windows 8, which suddenly all makes sense on a tablet.

    But all that grunt, performance, and brute force has some down-sides. Size and heat. I've had laptops that weigh less and produce less heat. At first you think 'Hmm, It's kind of bulky', but carry it around a while or try and hold it one-handed for an extended period of time and it really shows it's weight. After a while you just want something lighter. You just want to put it down on a desk..... and leave it there. This is a machine best used with the Type cover and on a desk.
    So why then spend all that cash on something that weighs about the same as a laptop and with the exception of short-stints being hand-held; is used the same as a laptop?
    Because of all that grunt I suppose.
    That grunt is addictive.....
    However I have a grunty laptop already. A 15" Macbook Pro Retina with 16Gb Ram and a 750Gb SSD. I dont need another laptop. I need something to compliment the laptop, but not with the limitations of a 'cut-down' Tablet OS (eg: Android or iOS).

    But isn't that what the SP2 is?
    Sort of, but not really. After a solid week of use I've realised that the SP2 is more laptop and less tablet. So it's not what I'm after.

    So who should buy one? That's easy. Someone who is looking to compliment a Desktop machine. If you're already a fairly 'mobile' user with a decent laptop; look elsewhere. If however you're a dedicated desktop user who wants/needs something to take away but not loose all your grunt - then this is where you want to be for sure.

    I started this by asking 'If it was my $1600, would I buy one?' my answer was No. And its primarily because the SP2 just doesnt suit what I need.
    For my money, I have other plans. Early next year, the next batch of Atom-based, Bay Trail tablets are due, sporting proper 64 Bit Windows. With the lift to 64 Bit, that will also lift the ceiling of 2Gb of RAM available in current machines of their ilk. I think thats where I'm headed. In the interim however, I might just pick up another Asus VivoTab Smart and enjoy having something light and nimble again.

    But that grunt is so addictive......

    A week with the Surface Pro 2 | Dark Side of the Pants
    10-27-2013 07:07 PM
  2. unstoppablekem's Avatar
    I thought the 256GB model is $1299?
    10-27-2013 07:10 PM
  3. Lurchorama's Avatar
    On launch day at JB Hifi it was $1500ish + the Type cover + Ext Warranty
    10-27-2013 07:11 PM
  4. badMojo69's Avatar
    I 100% understand where you are coming from. I have the same configuration as you and I spent my own money.

    I cant get over the heft and find myself propping it up on any and everything so I dont have to hold it.
    It feels like a product from 10 years ago (weight wise).

    If I did a lot of travel I'd probably keep it, but I don't so I think I'm going to send it back.
    Think ill just upgrade my RT to the MS2 or my ipad 1 to the ipad air.

    Tomorrow is another day and ill probably change my mind again. :)
    10-27-2013 09:00 PM
  5. Lurchorama's Avatar
    Was just having a catch to one of my Academics about this very thing. Other than chatting about the competition between ARM and x86 Atoms, we both agree'd that it'll be this next batch of Bay Trail Tablets that will be a winner. The VivoTab is a great machine; but I just kept wanting just a smidge more grunt, but in that same light, smaller form factor.
    10-27-2013 09:12 PM
  6. sectime's Avatar
    Playing games at your frame rate will make a toaster out of your rMBP, I have the new release same machine. You like it, don't need the capabilities yet that is a negative? I just purchased surface2 pro and in the process of relearning windows after 5 years of Mac. I can't form an opinion until the learning curve flattens out :) To me, whenever I read a post that someone will wait until next year for new models, it just sounds odd for a tech forum.
    10-27-2013 10:46 PM
  7. Lurchorama's Avatar
    You like it, don't need the capabilities yet that is a negative?
    Not a negative per say. Only in the sense that it's an unnecessary duplication for me and a duplication that add bulk to what needs to be a very portable device... if you catch my drift :)

    Re: Games; I dont actually play much anymore; I ran it as more of a stress test than anything given the usual performance of integrated Intel graphics.

    I'm waiting as the current batch just dont quite 'do it for me', but I can see over the horizon exactly what I'm after. Portability of something like the VivoTab which just a smidge more grunt.
    10-27-2013 11:01 PM
  8. MBytes's Avatar
    Note. I don't have a the SP2, but planning to buy it. So, beside looking at the SP1 in stores... I can say the following:

    Size and heat. I've had laptops that weigh less and produce less heat. At first you think 'Hmm, It's kind of bulky', but carry it around a while or try and hold it one-handed for an extended period of time and it really shows it's weight. After a while you just want something lighter.
    Well, the SP2 should be more seen as a convertible system or I guess ultra-ultrabook, with 0 performance reduction. Sure it has that tablet aspect, but it's more for work and casually carrying with 2 hands. Not media consumption. This is why you have the Surface 2. One day we will have both... but either Intel needs to pull a few miracles (as performance needs to increase as well, beside reduce heat production), or ARM is able to be to significantly faster to a point where it can run complex demanding "desktop-level" programs with ease (Core i5 style ease.. not Atom).
    OR
    New battery technology that is lighter, last longer, support the same or more recharges, no memory effect and charges fast.

    Your pick.

    You just want to put it down on a desk..... and leave it there. This is a machine best used with the Type cover and on a desk.
    Well it's a device for productivity, note taking, and drawing.

    So why then spend all that cash on something that weighs about the same as a laptop and with the exception of short-stints being hand-held; is used the same as a laptop?
    If you don't use the pen, then I think the device is not really for you. Perhaps an ultrabook with a touch screen.

    However I have a grunty laptop already. A 15" Macbook Pro Retina with 16Gb Ram and a 750Gb SSD. I dont need another laptop. I need something to compliment the laptop, but not with the limitations of a 'cut-down' Tablet OS (eg: Android or iOS).
    Time machine?
    Your best bet is perhaps an Atom powered tablet. if you web surf and watch videos, and play Windows 8 Apps games, than the Atom should handle those. I would look at the Dell Venue 8 perhaps.

    So who should buy one? That's easy. Someone who is looking to compliment a Desktop machine. If you're already a fairly 'mobile' user with a decent laptop; look elsewhere. If however you're a dedicated desktop user who wants/needs something to take away but not loose all your grunt - then this is where you want to be for sure.
    I'll push thing further...
    -> Engineer/Computer Scientist/Developers where you don't need engineering tools, or will work on small projects where you know in advance that the Intel integrated solution can handle.
    -> Students where the pen is needed for math, diagram, charts and hand drawn graph, as well as normal note taking with the keyboard.
    -> Artists
    -> Business person that requires high portability, and even desktop replacement.

    I started this by asking 'If it was my $1600, would I buy one?' my answer was No. And its primarily because the SP2 just doesnt suit what I need.
    For my money, I have other plans. Early next year, the next batch of Atom-based, Bay Trail tablets are due, sporting proper 64 Bit Windows. With the lift to 64 Bit, that will also lift the ceiling of 2Gb of RAM available in current machines of their ilk. I think thats where I'm headed. In the interim however, I might just pick up another Asus VivoTab Smart and enjoy having something light and nimble again.
    Sounds like a plan.
    10-27-2013 11:34 PM
  9. unstoppablekem's Avatar
    I keep going back and forth between returning my pro 2. I think of the new macs, gaming pcs, etc. gaaah!!
    10-27-2013 11:38 PM
  10. MBytes's Avatar
    In your case, your Surface Pro 2 (or what you plan on buying) should compliment your needs.. in other words... it seams that you should have a gaming PC desktop, and the Surface Pro 2 will be an extension of that.
    Keep gaming on the desktop. Beside, gaming laptops are 100% stupid, and here is why:

    -> Always fighting with heat related issues, and end up with stupid noisy cooing pads that doesn't really help, unless you go with 17inch+ systems. The solution is to get something like Dell Precisions, but be prepared to open your wallet.. or bank account.
    -> Super heavy to carry?
    -> Battery life.... what battery? It will feel like the system is holding charges with capacitors, instead.
    -> Power adapter (PSU) will be one heavy brick.
    -> CPU and GPU on laptops performance are years behind desktop performance. Games will not be playable (solid 30-60fps) on it after 1-2 years. Especially with new gaming console on the horizon... Right now, PC's got a nice break, because games were limited by the XBox 360/PS4 limitations, but now that will change. If anything you want to wait for Nvidia Maxwell architecture processor coming early 2014 if no delay, and we don't know when the mobile version will be out... and that is IF it won't be renamed of previous gen GPUs.

    You could get something like the Razor laptop, which better. But you reduce system performance, so expect reduce gaming performance.

    Oh and not to mention the many OEMs system that cheats on the specs... they says it has a certain GPU, and will use DDR2 and slower memory instead of what it's suppose to have, like GDDR3 or GDDR5, at proper speed, or/and down clock the GPU. Just crap.

    Your best bet, is a custom build desktop PC. They are many forums on the interwebs with really dedicated people really to help you build your own system, and bunch of video on it.
    Example:
    10-27-2013 11:54 PM
  11. Lurchorama's Avatar
    like i said, gaming really isnt my thing anymore. But in saying that, the Mac booted into windows does a fine job for what i need. The CS:S was purely a test.
    10-28-2013 01:19 AM
  12. chezm's Avatar
    Size and heat. I've had laptops that weigh less and produce less heat.
    I keep hearing this complaint, yet I've used my Pro 2 for a week and not once did it heat up...and this includes using processor intensive x86 programs. As for the weight, at first i was surprised as it was heavier than i anticipated, but as i carry my HP Elite 8440p or my MacBook Pro 15" (both for work), the Pro 2 is much lighter than both.

    Of course, everyone has their own opinions and the Pro 2 was definitely not a cheaper machine....but i wonder if people just expect too much? I'm not sure, it seems like you cant please people these days. Even though i get to use a lot of newer technologies for work, my home PC's are old and i can appreciate the Pro 2 for what it does...unfortunately it seems people wanted the Pro 2 to be more than what it is.
    thekeeblerelf and MBytes like this.
    10-28-2013 09:23 AM
  13. thekeeblerelf's Avatar
    I never really understood the weight complaints either. Do people really expect a full x86 laptop/tablet hybrid to weight the same as an iPad? The closest competing device from Apple is the MacBook Air 11", which weighs almost .5lbs more than the Surface Pro 2, and every reviewer considers its weight "amazing". The Sony VAIO Tap 11 is slightly thinner/lighter, but it's also made of creaky plastic.

    As far as heat, it did get warm when playing Diablo 3 for 45 minutes, but not scorching hot like my Dell XPS 17.

    My first week with my SP2 has been great, but I understand that my use case doesn't match everyone else's. Basically, I wanted a smaller device that could sit comfortably in my camera bag without adding much weight, could handle photo editing with a stylus, and play the occasional game. For those purposes, it's a phenomenal device.
    MBytes likes this.
    10-28-2013 11:01 AM
  14. Sean Miller4's Avatar
    I'm in the same boat here, i dont notice any problems with heat and i think weight is a non factor, had mine about a week. The difference between this and an ipad is this had a built in stand and the ipad doesnt, so if it gets too heavy you just kick out the stand, in what situation can you not use it? it has 2 positions now so it since perfect on your lap or table or wherever you want it, my wife has an ipad and she almost NEVER holds the ipad up in the air and doesnt rest it either on her legs as shes laying back or something else, because even at 1.5 lbs your arms will get tired, your arms will get tired after 1lb, i also own a thinkpad 2 that weighs 1.3 lbs and i never hold it up, but doesnt have a built in stand so i had to buy a cover for it and i found myself using the cover stand which was cumbersome and fell over alot because i didnt want to hold it up, and when i got into heavier apps the thing was slow. This SP2 is REALLY fast gets 7-8 hrs battery has built in 2 position it literally does everything my other one didnt perfectly and the weight is really a non issue for 90% of people. If you are not buying this cause of the weight then your missing out cause its doesnt bug me anymore than my 1.3 lb thinkpad. Also if your worried about 1600 dollars then why buy 8 gigs of ram and 256g? It takes an sdcard, i have the 4 gig ram and it runs literally anything i cant imagine why you would need 8 and you can add a sdcard for like 40 bucks and double or get the same amount of space as the 256g, and only pay 1000. This thing is a beast i recommend to everybody.
    Bartdog and apoc527 like this.
    10-28-2013 11:37 AM
  15. toddpart's Avatar
    I don't know where the weight comparisons come from. The MBA 11" is weighs more than the SP2, so how can OP be troubled with SP2 weight. I haven't looked, and stand ready to be corrected, but I'd guess there are not many ultrabooks/notebooks/laptops out there with the capabilities and specs of the SP2 in a 2lb package.
    MBytes and Sean Miller4 like this.
    10-28-2013 11:41 AM
  16. TheJoester09's Avatar
    The weight becomes a problem for people because this looks, feels, and acts like a tablet. Nobody sits there holding a Macbook Air up to their nose for extended periods of time—it's meant to go in your lap or on a table. The problem with the Surface Pro is that it's not really a tablet, but it's also not really a laptop/ultrabook. It's kind of stuck in between. I have the Surface Pro 1 and I LOVE it, but every complaint made by the OP seems valid to me. That's just something that comes with being an early adopter. In time, these issues will sort themselves out, but until then these are the sacrifices that will have to be made. The exciting part is that the groundwork has been laid, so we're not too far off from the future. I'm skipping this generation because my SP1 isn't that old, but I'm hoping that the SP3 can make some major strides to address these complaints. I'll say this though: I wouldn't trade my Surface for anything!
    toddpart likes this.
    10-28-2013 02:09 PM
  17. Oneofthesedays's Avatar
    If MSFT was smart they would have released 2 versions of the SP2, Pro and Ultimate.

    Pro: Slimmed down version of SP1 with ULV Haswell 6W fanless CPU configuration. This would have allowed them to reduce the chassis size substantially at a minor hit to overall performance.
    Ultimate: What the SP2 is now.

    In the next iteration if they can utilize Broadwell and achieve chassis reductions down to S2 levels they have a winner on their hands.
    10-28-2013 05:42 PM
  18. Lurchorama's Avatar
    People keep comparing the weight to an Ultrabook. But the SP2 isn't designed or marketed as an Ultrabook. So yes, the 11" MBA is half a pound heavier, but so is a flower pot. The comparisons of weight need to be made against other tablets; of which the weight difference is considerable.
    On the flip-side, what other tablet has the computational power of an SP2? None. Not by a long shot.
    So yes; it does sit in the weird middle-ground.

    My primary point however was that FOR ME, given that I already have a fairly mobile, quite powerful laptop; the SP2 is too far on the Ultrabook end than the Tablet end to be useful to me. It provides too much of a 'duplication of function'. The device I need (and my suggestion to others who might find themselves in the same boat, with a fairly decent laptop) is one that is more aimed at lightness, portability, and only a certain level of functionality. I need a companion to my existing equipment, not a semi-replacement.

    I posted this on the chance that others who may be in a similar situation might not do what I did (lucky it wasnt my money - hehe) and go 'Oooo... new shiny thing!' and realise that spending less, but getting something more portable/lighter may actually be a better option.
    chezm likes this.
    10-28-2013 06:59 PM
  19. slowboy920's Avatar
    People who buy the SP2 primarily for tablet use will be disappointed. I've had the pro 2 for 1 week and don't think I've used it much as a tablet. Majority of the time, it's out with the kickstand on my desk. If you want a tablet, get a surface, not the pro.
    10-28-2013 07:41 PM
  20. russmov's Avatar
    I've been using mine since Thursday, and have not noticed a big difference in weight from my I pad to my SP2. I have noticed how much better the SP2 is though, IMO. I Love that I only need one device to do things. (besides my phone) Now I can get rid of my laptop and my IPad and not feel like im missing anything. Now I have to figure out how to wipe my laptop.
    toddpart likes this.
    10-28-2013 07:56 PM
  21. russmov's Avatar
    People who buy the SP2 primarily for tablet use will be disappointed. I've had the pro 2 for 1 week and don't think I've used it much as a tablet. Majority of the time, it's out with the kickstand on my desk. If you want a tablet, get a surface, not the pro.
    I wouldn't say its disappointing as a tablet , but I also use it more in desktop than anything. I like having the option myself of using it whichever way I want/need.
    10-28-2013 08:01 PM
  22. TechFreak1's Avatar
    I agree with the OP, if you had already spent 1000 or whatever on a brand new ultrabook and spent the same amount of the SP2.. really no point at all. You'd be better of getting just the SP2 :P as you get a two for one device. Me personally having evaluated my needs, right now an Tablet running RT suits my needs currently at the moment I am split between the Surface 2 and L2520. I was curious if I was to get a Surface Pro 2, how that would stack up as a) replacement for my probook 4730s and b) as a tablet. So on that note how useable are x86 apps with a touch screen?
    10-28-2013 08:17 PM
  23. slowboy920's Avatar
    I wouldn't say its disappointing as a tablet , but I also use it more in desktop than anything. I like having the option myself of using it whichever way I want/need.
    Disappointed was a little strong. I believe the majority of pro owners use it more like a laptop/desktop. I agree with you that you have a choice to use it as a laptop/desktop/tablet. That's what I love about my pro 2.
    russmov likes this.
    10-28-2013 08:24 PM
  24. Lurchorama's Avatar
    So on that note how useable are x86 apps with a touch screen?
    You mean 'old school' desktop apps?
    I would evaluate the usability as 'Ok, but needs work'.
    It's not a fantastic environment to work in TBH. And the scratch pad on the TypeCover makes it worse IMHO.
    10-28-2013 08:30 PM
  25. chezm's Avatar
    You mean 'old school' desktop apps?
    I would evaluate the usability as 'Ok, but needs work'.
    It's not a fantastic environment to work in TBH. And the scratch pad on the TypeCover makes it worse IMHO.
    is this based on programs that were built with touch screen integration? I find all the x86 programs im using (some as old as 2005) work very good considering touch screen wasn't in the picture back then. Also, I love the type cover 2....i dont have any issues at all with it, maybe the mouse pad is a little small but I can look past it. I am constantly smiling as I use my pro 2 :)
    10-28-2013 08:41 PM
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