/posts/ 2020/i-regret-picking-a-surface-pro

I Regret Picking a Surface Pro

Sep 25, 2020

I walked away from Apple, my Macbook Pro, and OSX about a year ago. It was time for a upgrade and I spent time looking across the market to decide what my next workhorse machine should be, driven mostly by specs I ended up selecting a Surface Pro 6, and unfortunately, I made a mistake. The Surface Pro, even after six iterations of the product, feels half cooked, tries to do everything but can’t master one of them.

Touch Interface

Windows’ touch interface is amazingly immature and you come across interface issues on numerous apps where it is obvious the developer never thought of a touch interface. Add onto it that application developers never seem to think about the touch interface as the mouse and keyboard are still the primary interface for Windows.

I suppose this is one area where Apple and iPadOS succeeded, they started with Touch only and slowly progressed toward keyboard and mouse interfaces, but it feels incredibly unfair to compare something that was developed from different viewpoints. I don’t think Windows will be ever truly touch native to the level of iPadOS, and now for future devices I may actually avoid touch screen devices and pickup a recent iPad for all my touch and writing needs.

“Soft” Keyboard

While the keyboard does indeed function of a keyboard, the lack of a hard hinge really restricts the usability of the Surface Pro in all situations, if you don’t have enough space for that kickstand then its not worth even trying to use the device. You can get third party options to give it a hard keyboard but this is really a mistake on my part, I never thought I was a lap user of a laptop, and it turns out I am…

Hardware Specs & Quality

Originally when I bought the Surface Pro I was doing a spec for spec comparison between the latest Macbook and the Surface Pro, which I feel was my biggest mistake. Again, Apple works hard on that software and hardware integration and Apple manages to squeeze every little ounce of performance out of a relatively mid spec machine. For the Surface it seems that while Microsoft had done some performance tweaks and modifications to the device firmware for speed it fails terribly with the quality of the software itself.

The Surface range has a lot of firmware issues, one big one for me is that sometime the charger just stops being detected, it wont light up and charge and before you realise it your on 10% battery in the middle of a project worrying that your power brick is dead.

Another issue i’ve experienced is the 400mhz clock issue, the CPU thinks its overheating and the thermal throttle kicks in, totally expected for a system with no fans in it, but it never stops. The only fix is either to run a piece of software to force a flag off on the CPU, or a hard reset of the hardware itself. Thankfully this has been fixed but it took Microsoft over 6 months to acknowledge and fix the firmware.

What Next?

Honest, I may go back to a Mac. I really like my Windows environment, i’d love to have a Linux laptop but my workflow is so dependent on Mac/Win tools that I can’t step away at the moment. Maybe i’ll look at Lenovo or Dell for my next device…