Mac guy liking his SurfacePro

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N9JIG

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About a year ago I got an original Microsoft Surface Pro tablet running Windows 8. I have since upgraded to 8.1 (64 bit). While the Surface kind of bombed due to competition from iPads and other tablets, it is a pretty capable little device for radio guys.

As a Mac guy at heart I bought it mostly to learn Windows 8 since we will eventually be switching to that at work (mostly Win7P now...). I also figured it would be useful to program radios in the car, since it is smaller that the MacBook Pro (with Parallels and Windows7 Pro) I usually used for this.

I have found that the Surface has pretty much handled everything I have tossed at it, even some of the older stuff that balked in Windows 7 or Vista. So far it has worked fine in things like Pro96Com, Arc-XT, several Motorola RSS and CPS applications, programmers for my IC7000 and Alinco's and even FreeScan.

I have found an exceptional USB-Serial adapter, a StarTech ICUSB2321F that installed without need of drivers and worked right off.

I really don't like or use the goofy Tiles interface but the Desktop interface is similar enough to prior versions of Windows to allow pretty easy navigation and the new 8.1 Start Menu is pretty useful.

While it certainly is no replacement for my Mac's it is perfect for programming my car stuff and running decoders on the road. It was worth the money, which is amazing that that came out of my keyboard seeing as how it is a Microsoft product.

Now that the new Surface Pro 2 is out you may find used or NOS original versions out there. Just make sure to get the keyboard cover, I prefer the Chicklet style. Also don't confuse this with the SurfaceRT, which does not run Windows 8, it runs a mobile/tablet OS that will not run the normal Windows programs we rely on in the radio hobby.

While it lags behind the iPad in my book for media consumption, as a radio hobby device it can't be beat. Since the demand was pretty miniscule they can be had pretty cheap if you look around.
 

davidmaynor

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I am a long time apple user but these new Surfaces are getting better. With the change in Microsoft leadership good things could happen.
 

Kf4mnc

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My problems with the MS Surface products are the following:
1) RT vs Pro - Just make one operating system. (I know the iPad and Mac OSX are different, but the RT and Pro are so similar it just seems silly.)
2) Price - For what they are charging for these devices I could buy a whole computer. The portability factor is not worth it at that price. Heck my MacBook Pro 15" is so light and thin I take it pretty much every where.
3) Battery Life - I know the Version 2 they upped the battery, but it still isn't inline with the iPad and Mac Book laptops.

I will stick with my Mac Book Pro for now. Quite small, full size screen, 15" screen, and 12 hour battery life. Granted it cost more than a surface, I have one device to deal with.

Good review either way, but MS still has a ways to go!
 

safetyobc

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I'm a Mac guy as well. I'm looking for a windows laptop (or tablet) to use as a radio programming device. You can get a Windows tablet relatively cheap. Also things like the HP Stream 11 or 13 for under $200. I really like the looks of the Surface Pro series and would love to have them. However, that price is way outside my price range. I'm not saying they are not worth it. Compare the price of a Surface Pro 3 with that of a Macbook Pro or Air and they are very competitive. Also the Surface has the touch screen. Maybe someday I'll pick one up.
 

safetyobc

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The yoga looks really nice. Have you seen the new Dell XPS 13 that was announced at CES looks awesome! I'm sure the Lenovo may be a better build quality but the initial impressions of the new XPS are very positive. The non touch screen version starting at around $800.
 
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