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Somebody Talk Me Out of an MS Surface Pro
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Thread: Somebody Talk Me Out of an MS Surface Pro

  1. #1

    Default Somebody Talk Me Out of an MS Surface Pro

    A recent article over at Penny Arcade has me really wanting an MS Surface Pro. They're about a grand, don't have much space on them, get really hot, have a shitty battery life, and probably don't work as nice for gaming as a great many laptops out there. But it comes with a stylus, and you can draw on them as a (1,024 levels of pressure) Wacom tablet. From what I'm hearing, it is a wonderful experience. THIS more than anything was what I was looking for in an iPad, and never really got.

    So a grand, and first-generation technology. Very dangerous, right? But here's the thing. MS isn't exactly making these FOR artists. If they were, well, they wouldn't sell very many. In fact, they aren't selling all that well anyway, I guess. I'm concerned that MS will follow the trend and make the next generation SMALLER. I don't want smaller. So should I just say "fuck it" and get one? Should I wait until the 2nd gen is out and then scramble to find a first gen if I'm not impressed with the improvements? Looking for some tech guidance.

    EDIT - For the purposes of anybody coming late to this party, here's the review, posted on page 2:

    I'm pretty much in love with the Surface Pro, for reasons that are hard to explain. I think part of it is that I do like the much maligned Windows 8 as a tablet interface. Live tiles are great... showing live weather, the "cover" of the last couple movies you watched on Netflix, your gamerpic/gamerscore for XboxLIVE, the people in your People; all without clicking on a single app. You're just looking at the screen full of apps, and there it all is.

    I bought Sketchbook Pro and it does take some getting used to, but it responds nicely, and I'm looking forward to more quiet moments to get back into shape with my drawing skills. It's wonderful, Gabe from Penny Arcade was right. The stylus feels a wee cheap, and I'd love something better and bigger; but that said it is not the stylus I'm paying attention to within a few moments of drawing. Maybe that's a non-issue.

    The interface for Skype within Windows 8 is the best I've ever seen for Skype on any platform; but I have yet to have a video chat actually connect. While you'd think this would cause massive disappointment in the product in general -- this is where the Surface Pro shines. It didn't work? Well... (click) switch over to "desktop" mode, (click) Explorer, search on Skype for Windows Desktop, download/install, make a shortcut from Windows 8 to Skype for Windows Desktop, and boom, I'm back in business. That's what makes this thing so great. The new thing is swoopy and cool, but the old reliable thing is in the background, waiting to rescue me when I run into frustration.

    I love that I'm dinking around in Windows 8 most of the time... and at any time I'm going from keyboard entry/touch pad interface to touchscreen to stylus. Steve Jobs was fucking right a long time ago, and fucking wrong as the iPhone took over his brain. Freedom is the answer. Choice is the answer.

    The interface for the Windows 8 Netflix app is the best I have experienced, bar none. It is very obvious what is a button and what is not. Try to do this on any other platform's interface and let me know how it goes: Search by genre to find sci-fi, choose Serenity, now filter by Nathan Fillion so that you're only looking at movies that he's been in. These are super simple taps on the Surface Pro, any other platform is a freakin' hunt. Filtering by director instead is just as easy as actor, and all right there, visibly a simple button tap. (Full disclosure, I've experienced "only" the following: Xbox360, PS3, iPad, Wii, iPhone, and browser.)

    Is it big? Yeah it is thick. Is it heavy? Honestly I don't know what people are bitching about there, it is fine. Is the battery life crap? Yes, but for me that doesn't matter. What compounds that issue is the shitty power cord length. It takes some real balls to short you on battery life and then short you on the cable to recharge it, right? The kickstand is handy but not nearly as handy as something that could have been adjustable. The price is high. The amount of storage is low. That's a condemning list of bullshit, I know.

    So why then am I still loving it? Let's talk paradigms. I compare it to my old house vs. my new house. My old house had issues and benefits. But we'd maxed out everything positive we were getting out of it, and we'd tried to solve the issues to the point that some of them were realized to be impossible to fix. So a new house, with its other issues and other benefits would seem like folly, but is refreshing by comparison. New issues might be solved. New benefits might be further improved. I've been on the iPad for years, and this new gizmo is like a breath of fresh air. Maybe a little polluted, but fresh. lol.

    Anyway... all this is my experience so far and I haven't even put a "real" game on it yet. Apparently I can do that. It's already worth the money to me. As I discover that it can do more and more, you can imagine it is only to my delight. That's what I guess I'm interested in with the Surface Pro... it is an undiscovered country, and I am a trail blazer. There's a reason they call jail-breaking your iDevice "jail breaking." What should I worry about, the length of the cord, or the thickness of the device's prison bars? I'm a (partially) free man with the Surface Pro. Besides, I think I can hobble up a better cord.

    Would I recommend this to anybody? I'm not sure. I didn't want another tower, I didn't want another laptop. I honestly didn't really even want another tablet. But this thing pulled off being a lot of those things with compromises that didn't affect me, but might affect you. For me the combination made it worth getting. For you it may cause redundancy. If the latter is the case, do NOT get one. Otherwise, consider it.

    TL;DR
    Last edited by D-Railer; 03-23-2013 at 12:49 PM.
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  2. #2
    Join Date
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    Default Re: Somebody Talk Me Out of an MS Surface Pro

    I'm really interested in getting a Surface too, D. However, I will definitely wait for at least second gen.

    Like you mentioned... If the second gen is a vast improvement, you get the option of either buying the latest and greatest or purchasing first gen which will have been either proven or tossed aside at that point.

  3. #3

    Default Re: Somebody Talk Me Out of an MS Surface Pro

    http://penny-arcade.com/2013/02/25/the-ms-surface-pro

    Here's that review. I'm pretty much in the same boat as Gabe in regards to my reasons for wanting one.
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  4. #4

    Default Re: Somebody Talk Me Out of an MS Surface Pro

    Was coming here to post "just get a f'ing cintiq," but apparently Gabe thinks this is a better purchase? Maybe if you already have a cintiq? Huh.
    "I'd hate to advocate drugs. alcohol, violence or insanity to anyone, but they've always worked for me."
    -- Hunter S. Thompson

  5. #5

    Default Re: Somebody Talk Me Out of an MS Surface Pro

    Quote Originally Posted by Ollie C View Post
    Was coming here to post "just get a f'ing cintiq," but apparently Gabe thinks this is a better purchase? Maybe if you already have a cintiq? Huh.
    I have a Cintiq that I love; it is gorgeous, but... the thing is, I don't usually have the urge to draw while sitting in an office chair. It isn't beyond possible, but I'm also out of practice; both of those together make it difficult. If I had a Surface Pro, I'd likely do a lot more sketching, which could lead to being in practice, and possibly using my Cintiq more. Sometimes I'm at a cottage or on vacation... that's when I have a moment and wish I could draw. It makes total sense, to a certain degree.

    (Your comment helped me think that through a bit, Ollie, thanks. )
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  6. #6

    Default Re: Somebody Talk Me Out of an MS Surface Pro

    Quote Originally Posted by D-Railer View Post
    I have a Cintiq that I love; it is gorgeous, but... the thing is, I don't usually have the urge to draw while sitting in an office chair. It isn't beyond possible, but I'm also out of practice; both of those together make it difficult. If I had a Surface Pro, I'd likely do a lot more sketching, which could lead to being in practice, and possibly using my Cintiq more. Sometimes I'm at a cottage or on vacation... that's when I have a moment and wish I could draw. It makes total sense, to a certain degree.

    (Your comment helped me think that through a bit, Ollie, thanks. )
    Those sound like good reasons to me. And I've got to admit, the demo video was pretty sweet. I'd think about waiting until next gen, much like MC. I've fussed with the Win8 OS and found it to be frustrating, but I've never used it on a touch device though. I'm more curious as to whether or not we'll continue to see support for it.

    edit: and I'd *at least* wait until Adobe offers stylus support for CS*. I can't imagine just fucking around in a paint app like he describes. That would make me want to hit things if I was working on a map.
    "I'd hate to advocate drugs. alcohol, violence or insanity to anyone, but they've always worked for me."
    -- Hunter S. Thompson

  7. #7

    Default Re: Somebody Talk Me Out of an MS Surface Pro

    Quote Originally Posted by Ollie C View Post
    Those sound like good reasons to me. And I've got to admit, the demo video was pretty sweet. I'd think about waiting until next gen, much like MC. I've fussed with the Win8 OS and found it to be frustrating, but I've never used it on a touch device though. I'm more curious as to whether or not we'll continue to see support for it.

    edit: and I'd *at least* wait until Adobe offers stylus support for CS*. I can't imagine just fucking around in a paint app like he describes. That would make me want to hit things if I was working on a map.
    Sketchbook Pro is actually ridiculous awesome, Ollie. Layers, transparency, it really is as if you took the better drawing bits of Photoshop and focused it down to just the important bits. I've got it for the iPad and my computer. I'd still probably prefer photoshop, but I could easily do without.

    I fussed with Win8 as well and wasn't all that happy with it. Helped my Mom set up her new laptop... she keeps going back to the "classic" experience.

    So yeah... still thinking about it. This is going to sound dumb, but... work is actually looking more scarce in the future, depending on how this game does. I sort of want to buy it now while I wouldn't be crying about it, if you know what I mean. (Dumb I guess, because I realize that's just me sticking my head in the sand about future cash... but... hey that's pretty nice warm sand. Just sayin'.)
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  8. #8

    Default Re: Somebody Talk Me Out of an MS Surface Pro

    I'm reminded that we do different things with our tablets. I live and die by Illustrator, but mainly because I don't actually draw much. Word.

    edit: also, it sounds like we won't be talking you out of it. you can tell your wife we tried!
    "I'd hate to advocate drugs. alcohol, violence or insanity to anyone, but they've always worked for me."
    -- Hunter S. Thompson

  9. #9

    Default Re: Somebody Talk Me Out of an MS Surface Pro

    Quote Originally Posted by Ollie C View Post
    I'm reminded that we do different things with our tablets. I live and die by Illustrator, but mainly because I don't actually draw much. Word.

    edit: also, it sounds like we won't be talking you out of it. you can tell your wife we tried!
    LOL! Yeah I really want one. The only thing is... revision 2.0 of the tech... I want to wait for that; kinda. They only just released the Surface Pro though. Could be a long wait. Guh.
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  10. #10
    Skellington is offline I'm a freaking word machine.
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    Default Re: Somebody Talk Me Out of an MS Surface Pro

    Don't get one for gaming. The thing about non-desktops is that they might be able to play games that are out now, but there's pretty much no future value.

    Even laptops with discrete graphics cards aren't that great, and being able to run a game doesn't necessarily make it playable. My laptop can run Starcraft 2 at the lowest settings, but I'm forced to play custom hero games like Star Battle since during normal melee matches the slowdown is unbearable any time there are battles between large armies.

    Another anecdote, I can run Guild Wars 2, but at the lowest settings the game loses all of the artistic beauty that makes it unique among MMOs.

    That being said, I have no experience with the Surface Pro. Still, a grand is a lot of money (to me anyways) and I'd probably save it towards a next gen console or use it to build a future-proof gaming desktop rig if I were you. Then you have money left over to actually buy the games.

  11. #11

    Default Re: Somebody Talk Me Out of an MS Surface Pro

    Quote Originally Posted by Skellington View Post
    Don't get one for gaming. The thing about non-desktops is that they might be able to play games that are out now, but there's pretty much no future value.

    Even laptops with discrete graphics cards aren't that great, and being able to run a game doesn't necessarily make it playable. My laptop can run Starcraft 2 at the lowest settings, but I'm forced to play custom hero games like Star Battle since during normal melee matches the slowdown is unbearable any time there are battles between large armies.

    Another anecdote, I can run Guild Wars 2, but at the lowest settings the game loses all of the artistic beauty that makes it unique among MMOs.

    That being said, I have no experience with the Surface Pro. Still, a grand is a lot of money (to me anyways) and I'd probably save it towards a next gen console or use it to build a future-proof gaming desktop rig if I were you. Then you have money left over to actually buy the games.
    Yup, the gaming is a nice plus, sorta. Hard to explain. Next gen console, I'll definitely get a PS4 OR an Xbox 720... depending mostly on who fucks up worse; I've got money dog-eared for that. I want the ultimate sketching tablet, that's what I want.
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  12. #12

    Default Re: Somebody Talk Me Out of an MS Surface Pro

    "I'd hate to advocate drugs. alcohol, violence or insanity to anyone, but they've always worked for me."
    -- Hunter S. Thompson

  13. #13

    Default Re: Somebody Talk Me Out of an MS Surface Pro

    Quote Originally Posted by Ollie C View Post
    LOL!! One of my buddies went that route I think, a couple years back. Was not too happy with it.
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  14. #14

    Default Re: Somebody Talk Me Out of an MS Surface Pro

    Surface Pro ordered

    This thing just came out and has a year warranty... I figure by the time the next ones come out I'll really wish I had had one from the beginning. Anyways, fuck it, I'm not waiting.
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  15. #15

    Default Re: Somebody Talk Me Out of an MS Surface Pro

    Looking forward to your review -- it sounds like something my wife could get into.
    "I'd hate to advocate drugs. alcohol, violence or insanity to anyone, but they've always worked for me."
    -- Hunter S. Thompson

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