Why I Ended Up with a Surface Pro 2

It's not the perfect Windows 8 hybrid, but hopefully it's good enough.

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Jared Newman for TIME

Ever since Microsoft released Windows 8, I’ve been waiting for a device with just the right combination of tablet-like portability and laptop-like power. A year later, and I’m still waiting.

But on Tuesday, I caved and picked up a Surface Pro 2 with 256 GB of storage. It is not the hybrid of my dreams — ideally, I want a slightly larger screen and more battery life, and at $1430 with a Type Cover it was more money than I’d hoped to spend — but I’m not sure if such a device will exist anytime soon. And despite the lukewarm reviews of the Surface Pro 2, which are generally hesitant to recommend the device to everyone, I’m hoping it’ll be a good fit for me.

Here are a some reasons why I settled on the Surface Pro 2:

Half Working, Half Relaxing

I use a desktop PC for work during the day, but my work doesn’t always end there. In the evenings, I may still do some writing, research or e-mailing on a laptop — most likely my Samsung Series 5 550 Chromebook.

But what happens is that even when I’m not doing work, I end up staying on my laptop for things like reading and checking Twitter. Curling up with a laptop isn’t ideal, but it’s easier to stick with it than to switch back and forth between devices. Having something that can become a tablet makes sense, and the Surface is arguably better at it than a larger convertible device like the Lenovo Yoga.

surfacepro2down

Jared Newman for TIME

Windows By Process of Elimination

Plenty of people now use iPads for light work, but it’s not ideal for me. I need a mouse or trackpad for precision uses like image editing, and for quickly accessing context menus such as “open in new tab” in the browser. There are some Android hybrids with trackpads, but the operating system isn’t really built for cursor use. I could get another Chromebook, but I’d rather not have another machine that can’t access desktop software such as LiveScribe, LibreOffice and HipChat. That leaves Windows and Mac, and Windows is the only one that’s even attempting hybrid devices right now. (Apple CEO Tim Cook disapproves of the concept.)

Besides, there’s one other Windows perk that pushed me over the edge: I have a sizeable PC game library in Steam. The Surface Pro 2 won’t run every game, but it should be adequate for lighter and older games. I’m looking forward to plugging in an Xbox 360 controller, propping up the kickstand and getting some gaming in.

Filling the Void with a Smaller Tablet

Though I wouldn’t buy the Surface Pro 2 as my only tablet due to its lack of apps and chunkier build, I see it as a good complement to a smaller, less expensive device like the iPad Mini. After using tablets both large and small, I find it easier to cradle a smaller screen in one hand while reading, or to reach all parts of the screen with my thumbs while gaming. If I’m going to get a larger device along with it, I’ll want more power beyond what the iPad offers.

Along that line, the added weight and thickness of the Surface Pro 2 doesn’t really bother me. Larger tablets usually end up on my lap anyway because it frees up both hands to touch the screen. The bulky Surface 2 isn’t really a burden when you’re not holding it up, plus it has the kickstand to help free up those hands even further.

A Little Complexity Is Okay

I’ve seen plenty of complaints that Windows 8 adds complexity by squishing two operating systems together, but I’m okay with that. I enjoy venturing into the modern side of Windows 8.1 for full-screen apps like Twitter and Latermark (a free Pocket client for offline reading), and retreating to the classic desktop for programs like Chrome and Steam. I even use the two sides together, keeping Twitter or Mail in Snap view while typing a document on the desktop.

Reservations Remain

Despite all those reasons for getting a Surface, I still have some hesitations about it.

The screen is smaller than most laptops, which makes me worry about eyestrain. Because the screen is small, so is the trackpad on the matching Type Cover, and the felt material is no match for the glass trackpad of a proper laptop. So far I’ve also noticed some general nitpicks with the trackpad, such as some fussy two-finger scrolling in certain apps. I’m not keen on the idea of connecting a mouse to just correct the trackpad’s shortcomings.

My other big concern is battery life. While it’s much improved over the first Surface Pro, it’s still no match for a traditional tablet. In my mixed use today, I didn’t even make it to six hours on a charge. The Power Cover keyboard is an option when it comes out next year, but that’s another $200, and it adds a lot more weight to the package.

With all that said, I’ll be spending the next few weeks making the Surface Pro 2 part of my daily computing routine, and ultimately deciding whether to take advantage of Microsoft’s 30-day return policy. As I purchased the Surface Pro 2 on Tuesday, I had two Microsoft Store employees insist, “You’re going to love it.” Given the price, I’d better.

57 comments
fibbs
fibbs

so you're unsure on a product and you still dropped $1400 large on it, sheesh that's some disposable income. maybe the economy is alright after all

vimd
vimd

I started with the ipad3. It was great for watching Hulu, playing games, reading, and email. It’s light and easy to use. But I wanted to use it for work too. ipads are not cheap. GoToMyPC proved unreasonable with the ipad virtual keyboard. no multitasking proved impractical too. I held out hope that apple would build an ipad with mac os. It hasn't happened. So last year I switched to surface pro. It was a little awkward at first. It’s a little heavy. The Microsoft store sucks. Yet I can't go back to my ipad as much as I like the ipad form factor. I've gotten proficient with surface and the touchscreen. The windows 8.1 split screen is a feature I use regularly. The surface rt/surface 2 suck and are absolutely inferior to the ipad. But the surface pro fills almost all of my needs. Battery life on the original surface pro is poor. The surface pro 2 is supposed to have a better battery life. This is more of an annoyance.  I never tried the pen so I don't know how well it works. Pens are not for me.

I wish the surface pro offered wifi+cellular options. But I have a data plan with sprint to cover me there. I was at the apple store and I am impressed with the ipad air form factor. But I need more than a cool looking tablet. I need flash support for my job and for my kids to access flash-based educational sites. I need file security and the ability to add user accounts. Apple made touchscreens the mainstream and yet their mac os laptops and desktops are not touchscreen enabled. If apple made a surface pro equivalent then I would switch back to apple. Until then, I’m sticking with my surface pro. And I still enjoy my iPhone.


goffwithoutthel
goffwithoutthel

I am interested in the Surface Pro 2, but I'd like to hear the author's comments after a couple of weeks with the device, particularly on the stylus/pen, and its use for simple note-taking / handwriting..... I am not looking for something to do artwork or complicated diagrams, just someplace to take notes and file them in an organized way. I go to business meetings, attend seminars, etc., and I like to handwrite my notes, but I end up with dozens of pads and notebooks, which are poorly organized, take up a lot of space, and invariably I have the wrong pad with me, so I end up with stuff floating around all over the place. I could type notes, but it's awkward using a laptop in every setting, and I hate typing on the iPad. .... 

I have gathered from research that the Pro 2 is the only tablet that has this kind of digital pen and Microsoft Office, and is the only one that can do what I'm wanting to do, and do it well. I have an iPad, but it's not viable for taking pages of notes. I don't think a regular Surface 2 would suffice, because I understand that it's not much more than a Windows iPad. Is that accurate?

That said, the Surface Pro 2 is a very expensive "electronic notepad," after you buy the keyboard, software, etc. ... Is it worth it???? ... is there an alternative for a better price, that has as good function with handwriting?? ... would you anticipate other manufacturers coming out with something better in the near future??? ....

FabrizioSilveri
FabrizioSilveri

Finally someone who took the Surface Pro for what it is: neither a laptop nor a tablet, but something different that has a particular (I'd say desktop-user) target.
Anyway, you made the very same though I did with your earlier post about "the perfect Windows hybrid" and you came to the very same resolution, as I'm buying a Surface Pro 2 128GB at 900€ next week.
It's all but perfect, but it's probably the only hybrid that has everything.... except.... except that, if I could have spent the same amount of money you did, I would have rather bought a Sony Vaio Flip 13 - which with 1.2Kg and 20mm of thickness really is in the "fabulous specs" you listed in your previous article - or a ThinkPad Yoga - which is a bit heavier but seriously more durable and usable.
The Surface Pro can still be a great hybrid, but I think is not really what you asked for last June, isn't it?
I really hope you can answer this comment, because I'd like to know if you changed your mind or, otherwise, you just thought those hybrids weren't "enoguh".

anzatzi
anzatzi

The surface pro gets lackluster reviews because journalists do not understand or value the power of the wacom pen for graphics and notes.  The surface would not be my first choice as a small form laptop--but fro me, its pen interface makes it a must have

cybervaldez
cybervaldez

5/5 for the review, this is the most "sensible" one out there, you basically discussed how the majority of would-be buyers will be using it anyway (which is a complement to other devices), most reviews just doesn't get it, Microsoft's answer to android and ios devices is the Surface RT/Surface 2 so gee whiz, why other reviews are comparing a ultrabook/tablet hybrid to your general consumption tablet just doesn't make sense.

FctwoWillie
FctwoWillie

Refreshing to see a pretty honest review. I really hate ZDnet and Cnet reviews that compare it to ipad in form but not function. My choice personally is not between surface pro2 or ipad. its surfacepro2(or similar devices) or nothing. I bought an ipad whn they first came out and havent touched it in years. it was just and expensive gameboy with a large screen.

surfaceprouser
surfaceprouser

I find this a very honest review. I had exactly the same hesitations when I purchased the original Surface Pro when it first came out last February. But since then I haven't touched my Macbook Pro + iPad for more than 5 times. The freedom you get from being able to only carry one device both at home and on the road is refreshing. Battery life (~4 hr) on the original Surface Pro has been the biggest issue with me, and I hope you'll get  more juice out of the Surface Pro 2.

sparkie1189
sparkie1189

This is actually a really good review. It's very refreshing to see someone willing to give the surface a chance for what it is instead of beating it down for what it "should" be.

I am typing this on an iPad and using this device has made it very clear to me that I don't want one for myself; I want a hybrid like the surface. It seems like all other reviewers are so caught up in their iPads they don't even give the surface a chance like you are because they can't process that there can be different devices.

I especially like how you are very specific about the reasons why and which features drew you to the surface versus other devices; that is the bread and butter of the surface. It does its own thing.

I am definitely looking forward to a follow up review from you. I also am hoping that the price drops a bit!

GenevieveFontana
GenevieveFontana

The author should look into the new Asus Transformer Book T300. It has similar specs to the Surface 2 Pro but it's a full laptop (Windows 8) with a detachable touch screen tablet. It is coming out at the end of this month in a few days. It is more powerful than a Surface 2 Pro with 256 Solid State hard drive and 8 gigabytes of DDR3 ram ( and also has a higher resolution rear facing camera.)  See here for a comparison. http://www.theverge.com/products/compare/7351/7321

This is the tablet I'm thinking of getting. It's also way cheaper than the Surface 2 Pro. I think this will be the one that put's Surface out of business.

bmeengineer
bmeengineer

I am not sure why no real mention of the stylus is being made.  As an academic, I have long waited for the usable stylus system allowing electronic notes which included mathematical notation and complex diagrams.  The surface pro and pro 2 are unbelievably functional in this arena.  I can now finally abandon my stack of notebooks and filing systems and use my surface tab for all data input and compilations.  There is NOTHING else on the market that can compete on this platform...

digital_persona
digital_persona

Let me ask again, what's so wrong with Dell XPS 12 convertible laptop-tablet? Why consider Dell Venue 11 Pro, but not XPS 12?

AnastasiaYeager
AnastasiaYeager

Got my pro 2 w 512gb Tuesday. I'm hooked. Caught myself tapping the screen of my five year old Fujitsu laptop when transferring data. The type cover died within six hours. Being replaced  but  I'm used to typing on the screen now. The speed is incredible from sleep or shutdown its up in 2-4 seconds. I'm very pleasantly surprised something so small can be so fast and powerful. 

thettk
thettk

"Though I wouldn’t buy the Surface Pro 2 as my only tablet due to its lack of apps..."

I think that this statement is a little misleading because the Surface Pro runs Windows 8 Pro (think millions of applications and more) and so can hardly be compared to an iPad mini running iOS. Rather I think that you should be describing these devices based on what your needs are instead of trying to make the Surface Pro fit into a category that it clearly isn't. It is impossible to find a review that says iMac users shouldn't get the iPad mini as their only tablet because of no Adobe Illustrator or Dreamweaver applications etc. No one does that because it clearly does not make sense. So why is ok to do the same for to say do not get the Surface Pro due to a lack of iPad'esque apps?

Had you been talking about the Surface (formerly Surface RT) then that would have been fine because that is trying to be a tablet competing with the iPad and so the "apps" argument would be valid.

TequilaMckngbrd
TequilaMckngbrd

An equivalent will be the Dell Venue 11 Pro, with two different choices of CPU selection: a Core-i processor or a Bay Trail CPU (much like the different between a Surface Pro or RT). However, the lower-priced CPU selection will still have full Windows 8.1, and not Windows 8.1 RT installed. The back cover can also be removed to replace the battery.

Otherwise, the Dell XPS 12 Convertible fit in as close to the Surface Pro, although heavier and more geared towards using it as a workstation than a tablet.

ThatHeath
ThatHeath

Great article and I appreciate the balanced approach. I'm considering one for all of the same reasons with all of the same reservations and concerns. I'll be curious to see how it works for you. Will you update on that?

JustinSalvato
JustinSalvato

The Surface Pro had been shown to run the most resource intensive games very smoothly.

remplemark
remplemark

Did you think about third party models, like Dell, Samsung, or Acer? They have some really nice Win 8.1 models out that are just as spec'd out but much cheaper.

wkjohnson
wkjohnson

The price is what gets me--I could buy a top of the line tablet or decently spec'd (and thin) laptop or BOTH for this price.  And I think both devices would outshine this one for their respective uses.  I'm a business traveler and between my tablet/smartphone/laptop I do not see this product filling a need.  

pellegew
pellegew

You said you only got 6 hours of battery life. Can I ask for a little more information:

Did you use battery saver settings? If not was the computer to slow with them turned on?

Did you connect to an external monitor for desk work? If so did you turn off the Surface screen while doing this?

Windows machines go through a CPU intensive, and long, optimization of files on the computer. This also occurs after certain updates. It took my surface about 2 days for these to completely run their course. At day three I am seeing significant increase in battery life as these are done. Where these running when you only got 6 hours?

IntangibleGuy
IntangibleGuy

This wrenching story is so emblematic for the modern IT world and its intricacies.

8 years ago the author probably owned a $1200 laptop and a $150 simple cell-phone. He replaced both devices about every 3 to 5 years.

Today however the editor probably (?) owns : 

1.) A laptop for serious office works

2.) A Surface Pro 2 for lightweight office works

3.) An iPad for spare-time activities

4.) A smartphone for .... ?

Considering that the items 2.) to 4.) are still in a rather immature development state replacement cycles are considerably shorter than for "dumb" old style PCs/laptops which brings us to the economical part of the equation.

Replacement cycles for items 2.) to 4.) are probably much closer to 2 years which inevitable increases overall investments in IT by quite a margin. 

To me the "mobile story" doesn't work out. While media wants to make us believe that overall costs go down due to cheaper devices the opposite is much closer to truth. All those mobile devices deliver little value in relation to their cost.

Case in point : The editor would probably be served much better by a lightweight Sony VAIO Pro of Mac Air. Both devices are about the same weight as the Surface Pro 2 and deliver the same or even longer battery lifetime. 

To conclude my rant I just want to state that by giving unrestrained access to all information working 24/7 has become reality to many. A kind of self imposed slavery you are funding yourself by BYOD. Quite saddening ...

worleyeoe
worleyeoe

Jared, did you try any of the Bay Trail hybrids? It's very unfortunate that MS chose not to release one. I'm not buying Thurott's angle about ARM being the future. I think they just wanted to leave that market to the OEMs. Unless you're doing video editing or semi serious gaming, I would have to think BT has the goods, especially if there's a usable stylus.

FabrizioSilveri
FabrizioSilveri

@goffwithoutthel For what he said previously, I don't think you'll have much of a OneNote report from the author, it's not the first app he'll be using.
Anyway, for what I know, the only cheaper alternatives to the Surface Pro, when it comes to digital inking, are the Samsung Smart PCs and the Sony Vaio Tap 11, both less powerful and with shorter battery life (especially the Samsungs, which have pretty old CPUs).
Unfortunately, nobody seems to think that a small Windows tablet should have a real pen....

newmanjb
newmanjb moderator

@FabrizioSilveri Hey, thanks for reading both articles and following up.

Basically I started becoming more interested in the 11-inch range, thinking it'd be a little more portable and tablet-friendly than a 13-incher. For the type of use described in the first section, that just seemed like a better overall fit, plus it's nice to have something lighter when I'm hauling my bag around at CES and whatnot. I was really hoping Lenovo would do to the 11-inch Yoga what they did to the 13-inch version (that is, slim it down and make it lighter while boosting resolution and battery life), but instead they just threw a Haswell chip in the existing model and called it a day.

As I said elsewhere in the comments, the Dell Venue 11 Pro looks interesting too, but it's not available yet and who knows if it would be any cheaper to spec it out like the Surface.

I'm still not crazy about the screen size, and how small the touchpad is as a result of that. But then I also realized if you keep waiting for the "perfect" device that does absolutely everything you want, you'll die.

In the end there may have been one intangible that helped push me over, and that's just the overall uniqueness factor of the hardware design. It's just an interesting concept that I wanted to own for myself.

spookiewon
spookiewon

@anzatzi I also bought it for the Wacom digitizer but I can't say I use it as a tablet. I use a Samsung Galaxy Note 8 for that.


Though I have to assume the Wacom digitizer is the culprit in the battery life issue as the Note 8 suffers from short battery life as well.

spookiewon
spookiewon

@GenevieveFontana Apparently you missed the part about the Wacom digitizer being a huge part of the appeal of the Surface Pro. The digitizer adds $150 to $200 to the price. 


And 13" is HUGE for a tablet.

Rosenmops
Rosenmops

@bmeengineer 

You can also use the Surface Pro 2 to present lectures by attaching it to a projector. I import Word documents into Windows Journal and ink on top of them in the math classes I teach.  Then save the notes and post them online for the students.    

anzatzi
anzatzi

@bmeengineer  Not all pen interfaces--even wacom pen inferfaces-- are created equal.  The surface pro  has exceptional palm rejection and the surface pro 2 has improved tracking from the pro--whick is pretty good. Somehow MS still  refuses to promote surface pen with One Note, their awesome notes application. 

npooty
npooty

@bmeengineer Actually, without a dedicated fixed/attachable (ultrabook style with mousepad/trackpoint) keyboard it's not as full-proof as you might think.  I have 3 penabled machines.  Latitude XT3, Fujitsu T902, and Latitude 10.  I use the L10 the least for work because writing on a 10.1" is too small.  An increase to the Surface's 10.6" would be marginal.  That's why I haven't opted for the Venue 11 because I think 10.8" is still too small.

Also, once you have the tablet you realize how much time you actually spend in "laptop" mode typing.  Only in certain situations am I handwriting with the pen full-time because you can take notes more quickly typing.  So for me it's like, "type type type, write equation, type type type, write equation.. etc".  Additionally, you find that you need the mouse because the pen isn't quite as useful for web browsing, internet browsing, etc.  So when I intend to use my L10 by itself, I need to break out a bluetooth keyboard and mouse.

I tend to use my XT3 almost exclusively.  I know artists are biased and hate on N-Trig, but the truth is, N-Trig tracking is far far more accurate and less susceptible to pen tilt angle and pen distance from screen than Wacom.  Edge tracking.  Wacom is just plain awful.  Within a couple mm of the edge your pen tracking goes whack.  With the N-Trig I don't have those issues and I can consistently activate Windows 8 edge gestures.  Also, when I use the L10 or T902, when I try to click something with the pen.. even holding it straight up, as I get closer to the screen the pointer position will move causing me to miss my target.  Sometimes it gets to the point that I want to throw the pen at the wall out of frustration and the degree that it shifts also depends on the angle you hold the pen.  This is especially frustrating when writing an equation with subscripts/superscripts, symbols, etc.. because I can never get them in the right location with Wacom's horrible tracking.  For this reason I prefer my XT3 for serious math notation.  Since Surface Pro uses Wacom it's a bit of a deal breaker for me.

newmanjb
newmanjb moderator

@bmeengineer Well, this was about the things that factored into my purchase decision, and the stylus isn't a must-have for me. Having said that, I did use the stylus to play Torchlight 2 last night. That was awesome. 

newmanjb
newmanjb moderator

@digital_persona There's nothing "so wrong" with it, but it's a little heavy for my taste at 3.3 pounds, especially if I'm trying to use as a tablet. (I haven't used the XP2 12, but that was my experience with the 13-inch Yoga, at least.) Also, when I'm walking the show floor at CES or E3 for hours on end, it is really nice to have a device in my bag that weighs under 3 pounds.

anzatzi
anzatzi

@thettk I use desktop apps on my surface--office, zbrush, photoshop, sketchbook pro--and I find it very productive.  I use the pen as I would use a mouse. There is value in having a cloud based  editalbe version of an excel document--even if you are not likely to do heavy spreadsheet work on the surface pro.  Its unlikely there will ever be touched based versions of many powerful applications--the windowing and menus are just too involved.   In that sense--metro will always be a complimentary at best--a resource for games and social media

newmanjb
newmanjb moderator

@thettk I don't get this argument. As a laptop, sure, having desktop software at your disposal is great. But for tablet use, you need apps that are optimized for touch screens, and most desktop programs are not. The phrase "as my only tablet" is really key here, because there are vast quantities of great touch screen apps that Windows 8 does not have. Desktop software adds value, but in a different way.

newmanjb
newmanjb moderator

@ThatHeath Absolutely, but I want to spend some quality time with it first. Check back here in a few weeks. I'll post an update to this story when I have more to talk about. 

newmanjb
newmanjb moderator

@JustinSalvato Well that's not true. I already tried to run Payday 2 on it and it was barely playable on the lowest of low settings. (And I had to install a mod just to get it to run.) 

newmanjb
newmanjb moderator

@remplemark I'm always thinking about third-party models, but I haven't seen any hybrids that are quite what I'm after. I'm not in the market for a traditional laptop.

newmanjb
newmanjb moderator

@pellegew This was balanced profile with brightness around 40 percent, doing things like working within Chrome and IE, running Twitter in Snap view and running Hipchat desktop in the background. Type Cover 2 was connected with backlight on.

To be clear, I wasn't trying to make any big declarations on battery life, and I definitely want to change some variables such as power profile and cover backlighting.

Interesting point re: optimization. How would I tell if these are running or not?

newmanjb
newmanjb moderator

@IntangibleGuy "Case in point : The editor would probably be served much better by a lightweight Sony VAIO Pro of Mac Air. Both devices are about the same weight as the Surface Pro 2 and deliver the same or even longer battery lifetime."

That is one of the points addressed in the story. I don't want or need another traditional laptop.

newmanjb
newmanjb moderator

@worleyeoe Not yet, but I'll try to get my hands on some soon. So far Dell's Venue 11 Pro looks most promising, but I'm not sure if they're going to allow 4 GB of RAM in the Bay Trail version. Seems like the others (the Asus T100 and HP Pavilion 11 X2) are still 1366-by-768 only, which I'm not crazy about. But yeah, I agree with you in theory on BT being adequate, just a matter of waiting for PC makers to hit all the right notes.

If this little experiment doesn't pan out I might end up waiting to see if Lenovo puts out a Haswell-based 11-inch Yoga. I loved the original 13-inch one but would prefer smaller and lighter, with better battery than the Ivy Bridge model.

FabrizioSilveri
FabrizioSilveri

 @newmanjb thanks for the reply! I really appreciate that!
I have a last question on the Surface, though: you, as any other reviewer on the internet, reported a pretty bad experience with non-optimized desktop apps, but I found nobody who really explains the experience, and the very few descriptions I could find were mostly conflicting.
I'll have to use some old app on the Surface: I know it won't be good, by I won't need to use them that much long: will I be able to use them without freaking out and throwing it out of the window?

remplemark
remplemark

@newmanjb @remplemark I understand that you aren't looking for a laptop. I'm in the same boat as you. But I have found some very nice Win 8.1 10 and 11 inch tablets around the $800-900 price point. But I am not doubting your decision in any way. The surface is a nice device for sure. Good luck with it!

pellegew
pellegew

@newmanjb @pellegew You can also force any of these that need to by run by telling the system to run its maintenance tasks ahead of schedule. Control Panel -> Troubleshooting -> Run maintenance tasks. But if they are already done, you won't see them.

pellegew
pellegew

@newmanjb @pellegew It's ok. I didn't think you were saying anthing but in passing about the battery.

There are a couple processes that manifest themselves during this time: one is unispiringly named "System". On my new machine this was at 25-30% for the better part my first two days of use. After an update you may find "TrustedInstaller" module going to town for a while. This is actually busy compressing update information to take up less space. Why it runs so long I don't know. You also need to deal with the initial indexing of the hard drive from "Windows Search Indexer", but this is much faster on an SSD.

To tell if any are running allow your computer to sit idle for a little while, preferably while plugged in. It seems some of these task only kick in when you are not using your computer. But once they start the run until completion. You will tell they are still running if the programs above are using >25% of CPU(max of a single thread) but you are not doing anything.

npooty
npooty

@newmanjb @worleyeoe My guess is you want to keep it as thin and light as possible, thus wanting to stick with Bay Trail.  However, if you can stand a slight increase in thickness and weight, you should just get the Pentium 3560Y or Core i3 4020Y versions of the Venue 11.  I believe those start with 4GB default, upgradable to 8GB RAM.  Also, being lower power than the i5 variants they shouldn't suffer too much of a hit on battery life.

ashwin.chandran
ashwin.chandran

@newmanjb . Looks like Lenovo is going to put out a Haswell based 11 inch Yoga, but it won't be lighter. Best Buy already has one of those on their website, but the weight is the same as the older model. Just a newer processor.

newmanjb
newmanjb moderator

@FabrizioSilveri Sorry for the late response. It's mainly two things:

1. Programs that aren't optimized for high-DPI displays end up looking kind of fuzzy. It's especially noticeable with text, which just doesn't look as crisp and clear as it does when using Metro apps or Microsoft's desktop apps. It's an aesthetic thing.

2. There are various usability problems that come up with apps that aren't optimized, but it can vary from one app to the next. One problem is that buttons can be small and hard to hit with your fingers. Another problem is that apps may not be designed to accept touch gestures like swiping to scroll through a list. With Steam, for instance, you can only scroll through your games list by pressing and holding on the scroll bar. Finally, and this is can be a major issue depending on the app, is that there's no touch equivalent of mouse hover, so if you're relying on an app to give contextual information when you move your mouse over a button, it's going to be a problem with touch.

You can get over the second batch of problems, to some extent, by using the stylus. But that's not an ideal solution (hence the oft-quoted Steve Jobs quote about "if you see a stylus, they blew it.") I actually like using the stylus sometimes, but I wouldn't want to have to rely on it.

I'm posting my 30-day impressions later today. Stay tuned!

newmanjb
newmanjb moderator

@npooty @newmanjb @digital_persona Vaio Flip looks interesting. I don't like the non-travelling keyboard concept on the XPS. (I bought a Type Cover, not a Touch Cover after all.) 

newmanjb
newmanjb moderator

@JustinSalvato Heh, okay, after looking at some of the newer games in those videos, they are running at like 1024-by-768 with the lowest possible graphics settings, which actually shrinks down the size of the screen. There's definitely gaming potential here but to say you can run the most resource intensive games "smoothly" is either an exaggeration or requires a big caveat about the resolutions required.


newmanjb
newmanjb moderator

@remplemark @newmanjb Eh, I'd be wary of year-old devices with 3rd-gen Core processors. The battery life just isn't there. 

newmanjb
newmanjb moderator

@ashwin.chandran @newmanjb Whoa, didn't even notice that. Might have to visit Best Buy to check it out. Wish they'd shaved off some weight and upgraded the display though.