6 Months with a Surface Pro 4

22 02 2017

After my retirement in August 2016 I moved over from Germany to Thailand.

My company wants my future support so I got a Surface Pro 4 (128GB, Intel Core i5, 4GB Ram, Type Cover) to keep an eye on the further development of the company’s main application, a tool for auditors based on Microsoft Access as the container for all the data needed to audit companies, Excel for analyses, and Word for documentation of the audit process.

The device serves as a Windows 10 based reference system for the company’s internal software quality control.

Like every technical product the Pro 4 has its pros and cons. The energy management isn’t what I would expect from a high-priced mobile device. Optimization (like Apple did it with its macOS on a Macbook Air) isn’t Microsoft’s strength. Maybe this is caused by the many compromises coming with a newly developed universal platform.

Sadly there is another annoying lack (for me). Neither the Type Cover nor the Onscreen Keyboard sports a BREAK key although it’s needed when debugging code. Shame on Microsoft.

Summary after 6 months …

Battery life is still limited and makes a Surface Pro 4 an immovable property if there are lots of points on your agenda; generation of heat is higher than average and definitely too much for a tablet; showcasing Windows 10: indeed, including its occasional frustrations and aggravations.

There are still some dialogs coming from Windows Vista/7 which do not really match with the Windows 10 design. I hope the colleagues will fix it all shortly.

Ironically, where the Surface Pro 4 falls short is that “tablet” part, not because of the hardware but as the result of an ecosystem that is light on the kind of apps that make a great tablet. The same situation I’m faced with on my Lumia 550.

What remains is a fine and good looking portable PC (I wouldn’t call it a hybrid because it lacks in tablet mode) with which I can successfully work through my GTD list. Not more. Sadly.

The Surface could possibly be beaten by an iPad Pro running macOS. But it wouldn’t be an alternative for me because there is a huge app gap between the Windows- and the macOS-based application line-up. Users are supplied with a wide range of high-quality apps for Apple’s mobiles but they are faced with lots of problems to get specialized business software for their Macs. The Windows mobile “App Gap” finds its counterpart in a Mac “App Gap”.

I already used one of the first convertibles running Windows XP Tablet Edition more than a decade ago. Maybe I have to wait another decade to find the ultimate hybrid.

Note (for the youngsters)
Windows XP Tablet PC Edition was intended for specially designed notebook/laptop computers called tablet PCs. Windows XP Tablet PC Edition was compatible with a pen-sensitive screen, supporting handwritten notes and portrait-oriented screens.

More about Surface vs MacBook …

Surface Pro 4 vs MacBook

Thanks for dropping by.


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