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Returned My Surface Pro 3 to Costco Today


fortytwo

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Two weeks ago I bought a Surface Pro 3 from Costco. The model with I-5, 4GB ram, and 128mb SSD and Win 8.1 pro installed was on sale, and sale deals from Microsoft were all offered with Win 10. Win 10.0 is for early adoptors, and I didn’t want to be one.

 

Today I returned it for the following reasons. (Note that this is based on a sample of one. Don’t what percentage of Surface Pro 3’s have these problems.)

 

  1. Battery life. I got 4 hours and 10 minutes to shutdown. It’s a thousand dollar tablet with a laptop battery life! My 500 dollar Samsung Note 12.1 with similar specs gets 11-12 hours, as does my Ipad 3. Making the tablet lighter by using a battery that requires you to carry a power brick is low tech.
  2. Memory management. During my rundown test I got a “low memory, close some programs” message. The only programs I had running were MS media center playing music files and running a slide show – both from data on a thumb drive. Display was set to not turn off.
  3. Stack management. Over the two weeks the Surface frequently hung while browsing the net and would not go forward or back. Had to hit the Start button to reset it.
  4. The stylus is for writing, does not work to swipe the screen. Had to use one of the “pencil eraser” type stylus to swipe screen and select.
  5. The Surface Pro 3 is not lap friendly. The hinged piece that creates the prop for screen angle is a thin piece of metal. Cuts into bare legs, and is not comfortable thru pant legs.

 

Spent most of the time trying to learn 8.1 and the tablet functionality, and as a consumption device. Did not try any serious production functionality.

 

Liked the keyboard and screen resolution. My fingers are not reliable for input to touch screen and trackpads. Same issues for the Pro, but to a lesser degree. My wrists did not randomly activate the trackpad like they do on all other keyboards I’ve used. The click points on the track pad did not always work for me.

 

YMMV, hopefully for the better.

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i recently had to fix a surface pro but had 8.1 in it. also I-5. amazingly fast as ever. ran 4 scan programs in less than one hr.

but for comfort while using it. 3 thumbs down. Manufacturer's are betting on ppl that buy the latest thing just to have the latest thing. even tho its same thing that is already out there on market. just called something dif. desktop is always best bet, then the laptop. after that its just for shit's an giggles.

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desktop is always best bet, then the laptop. after that its just for shit's an giggles.

I do not agree with this assessment.

 

It depends on what you are doing and WHERE you are doing it, IMO. You have to understand the requirements before you can match the proper solution. If I was programming all day, then, yes, a desktop with multiple monitors and a proper seating situation at a desk would be the preferred work environment. But I do not program all day (any more).

 

In my case, living fulltime in an RV a desktop is a "non-starter". I do light production (writing, spreadsheets), and mostly consumption. In my work environment (an RV) and type of work the laptop is king. BUT I also use tablets extensively for consumption. In many locations. For consumption the tablet works quite well. Perhaps not as good as the laptop but the form-factor makes up for any screen size issues. I would much rather use my tablet (the 8.4" Samsung) in most cases, if I am only doing consumption.

 

Doing serious work - even writing - on a 10/11" screen does not work for me. Which is why a Surface Pro is not in my household. It would be great for consumption, but the cost is too high when a lower cost device will perform the function as well, or better.

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In many cases, flexibility is the cost of convenience. A 21" or even a 26" monitor is not convenient but aging eyes really like them. Ergonomic keyboards are more appealing to those with aging peripherals and wide girths but not likely to be found in portable devices.

 

Speed is usually a significant factor for those that think and work quickly or like a lot of media but not so much for more static users. Each has it's place and nothing is a panacea for everyone. Sounds like it was a wise return, for you.

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Apparently didn't return the Surface soon enough. My prepaid Verizon MIFI stopped working this morning - 6 days early. Turned out my 10 gigs had run out. Got a message that I was on track 5 days ago. Suspect the Surface got a big software update downloaded.

 

The Verizon prepaid MIFI has worked well, but been a real PITA to refresh. Never can get myverizon to work properly as it grabs my Note 3 phone number instead. Verizon's tech support line is a frustrating experience in waiting for an ESL somewhere in India to answer.

 

I disagree with the allegation that ppi (pixels per inch) is not a valid consideration. The "touch" enabled OS's are targeted at smaller screen devices and the two finger expand enables an instant zoom to fill the screen with a subset you want to view. The extra ppi, which may seem overkill really come into play to maintain an HD view when you zoom in. And as my eyes get older I can actually see the improvement an overkill ppi provides. That includes my 75" 4k TV!

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Wes: At least it is summer, so you were not taking your life in your hands driving into the Fort Myers Costco parking lot like in winter.

 

There will be other machines out there to tempt you.

 

My plan is to buy a 13 to 15" touchscreen laptop with 16GB of RAM, at least 1080p, an i7 and a 500/512GB SSD for my next machine. Right now they want too much money for that combo, most come with a 1TB hard drive instead of any kind of SSD. They want too much for the SSDs, especially for the 512GB SSD upgrade on new machines. I recently replaced the 500GB hard drive on this laptop with a 500GB Samsung SSD for $178 and I am getting spoiled. Now I am seeing that same Samsung for $150.

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Wes,

I also can see your point, but disagree about the form factor. The Surface Pro 3s use a dual core and run down much faster, producing much more heat, thus they need fans unlike their Atom z 3000 Series quad core SoCs (processors) like my T200 Atom I am typing on now. Same size screen as the Pro but it has a quad core faster processor that does not need fans. Yet stays very cool compared to the old Surface 2 I tried when they went on sale for closeout. I got it from Tiger Direct and it got so hot, and had such a poor battery life that I returned it and got a Dell Venue 11 Pro which is a 10.8" screen but very fast, battery lasts from 7-9 hours depending, and runs very cool except when using and charging. You might like the Surface which is a quad core, full HD, gets good battery life, and has full HD which is all I need. Now I compare these to my Dell All in One 27" quad HD touch screen massive and heavy desktop. I only use the desktop for heavy applications when I was in my home and soon will be again but a new one. MY eyes are near sighted so I can see the screens and any pixilation or artifacts quite well.

 

I only got two laptops in exchange for other work I did and they needed factory restores and years of Windows 7 updates. I have no use for the laptop form factor except in a hybrid (Screen comes off as a stand-alone tablet.) Since my first Windows computer in a tablet I sold my laptop and netbook, both highly built with Max RAM and SSDs. I have no use for laptops at all anymore. I do like the hybrids but I will likely be getting a Surface soon, as the money from selling our two first tablet and hybrid systems is banked for my next one. I am just waiting to see what shakes out from other vendors in the new Atom x7-Z8770 SoC equipped systems. Then I will get the new hardware that seems best band for the buck. I also have a latest model Fire HDX 7" tablet just because someone who had one had it for sale and took my $50 offer. I like it only because it has a great screen, and can download movies free from Amazon Prime. Then I can watch them when I have no Internet like in a doctor's office or at my FIL's place. I won't be putting any personal data on it other than my Prime account. I doubt Amazon is sharing that with other advertisers. NO banking or email on even an Amazon Android device.

 

Look at the Surface. It may surprise you. It is the same size, 10.8" as the Venue 11 Pro I have. Very doable size with its full HD IPS display. But I prefer the 11.6" if done light enough and with all the connectors and ports that the Venue and Surface have. The Venue's Active stylus really sucks. The Surface is getting great reviews. I prefer to use a Logitech k4oo wireless keyboard or a full size wireless kb and mouse which I have for my tablets. I have three full wireless kb and mouse sets in my spares cabinet, in addition to the K400, which would travel best.

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I have found that the keyboard is a bigger issue to me than the screen size. I have used a Microsoft Entertainment 7000 keyboard for 6 years and my only regret is that I did not get the 8000 instead, even at $350. The significant difference is the 8000 is backlit and rechargeable. Both are shorter keyboards without the separate number/cursor functions on the right side though all functions are available in alternate fn mode.

 

These are fairly ergonomic layouts, not quite as great as the natural keyboard but very close. They have the advantage of having everything you need, right on the keyboard. A nice multifunction mouse-pad control, separate 1/2 buttons and a lot of specialized keys including a magnifier mode for when you want a single click zoom/reset.

 

A lot of these keys are reprogrammable, too, so you can tailor it to how you like to work. It is very thin and fits into the center drawer of my workarea on top of my typical Rubbermaid kitchen drawer dividers and the drawer closes completely.

 

It is also bluetooth and works as a portable keyboard. This makes it my goto solution for a lot of typing on my tablets and SmartPhones. It pairs and reconnects easily and quickly. It runs on 4 AA batteries and they last an amazingly long time.

 

I especially like that it has short stroke keys with tactile feedback. Makes it much easier to use on my lap or higher up on a table top.

 

If I have any complaint about it at all it would be that the noclick function keys above the numeric keys row can be a little sensitive and if I am too sloppy with my "other fingers" when reaching for a number key, it may trigger the function key, first. It usually only happens when I am typing at high speed.

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RV, my Surface Pro with the I-5 never got overly warm. Never heard or felt the fan come on. Just didn't have a reasonable battery life for some reason. May have been a substandard battery, but I went through several heavy discharge/recharge cycles with no improvement. I think processors have reached the point that speed is no longer an issue. Instead of the old "you can never have too much ram or too fast a processor" I now say you can never have too many ppi. One of the rumor mongers have opined that the Surface Pro may include a Skylake processor in it's options. Rumors also include a 14" screen option. My 15" laptop screen is a comfortable lap device, but not sure how a tablet that size would work. Maybe if there were a good "tent" type cover like my Samsung Note 12 it would work. Was really surprised at the low memory messages with 4GB of RAM. Maybe Microsoft is emulating the old IBM 360 mainframe days when you did a memory upgrade and the accompanying OS upgrade consumed 2/3 of it.

 

Bill, I've downsized RV's so a desktop is no longer feasible. My last experience at attempting to upgrade a desktop revealed that they were no better than laptops - by the time you need to upgrade about the only thing reuseable is the case. The only real advantage of the desktop is availability of cheap, large monitors, but HDMI makes any new TV a possible monitor. Haven't tried it on my 75" 4K at home yet, but have used Chromecast and it does work but the benefit of a touchscreen is lost. If Skylake performs as alleged I'll probably upgrade my laptop after the mushroom price cap of the new processor goes away.

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I am just curious, Wes, but did you ever happen to use the task manager to see what process was using all that ram? Usually, that message comes when you are low on system memory and not just overall RAM. System memory is where a lot of the system's private stuff is kept and I don't think that it has become dynamically expandable, yet. Such things as all the icons and other stuff that are on the desktop are stored in there. The more ICONS the more space that is used up.

 

The fact that it was using up battery so fast might be another indicator of a driver or system process that is running amok with a memory leak. Again, task manager might be helpful in seeing this kind of abnormality. I know it is a moot point, now, but just for future reference.

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Duke,

bring it on. But if you wait until the winter monsoons start nothing can get in or out of my property other than the trucks and cars on the graqvel parking and drive. The RV turn around area will snag anything bigger and sink it in sandy mud to the axles. KI have to get in the house and get the RV we are living in stored for winter ans it can't be moved because I can't take it in and out, just drive in on the gravel and stay there. We wintered here only because of family. NW Louisiana is wet, cold and humid, as well as muddy. Arizona is much better for winter as long as you aren't in a windy area.

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