Surface Pro 4 I5 Mini review
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If interested, these articles go over a couple of other small-screen mini laptops, while this one goes over a selection of the best budget ultrabooks and laptops that you can find in stores these days.
Microsoft has really dropped the ball with it's hardware division ever since the Surface 3. When they first announced the surface line, I was really excited to finally see a useful form of the iPad that I'd always dreamed of. With Surface 1 and 2, with WACOM EMR digitizers, there was always hope of future improvement. As time went on, they just keep falling behind over and over.Surface machines often have Worse firmware support and driver updates than OEMs, which is amazing considering Microsoft has it in-house. Look up threads on the screen cracking failures, wifi issues (from the old terrible wifi chips they used), windows update fails, and on and on. Port selection use to be great, with potential for some really interesting GPU connectivity when the Surface Book came out with the keyboard connectors, but Microsoft never did anything with it. Nowadays they continue to refuse USB4/Thunderbolt 3 integration, because 'security' reasons.
So what do you recommend instead I am just looking for a small, fast 2 in one that I can keep by my bed side to work on when I am too lazy to go upstairs to my office. (I run photoshop, video editing and other web based apps) I just bought the surface pro 7 with the i7 processor. The keyboards are currently out of stock and I am still within the return window.
I agree with everything you have said. I REGRET having purchased the surface pro 7. It is the greatest disappointment. I had a simple Samsung tablet before for 3/4 the price of the surface pro 7 and it performed 100% better. I won't recommend it, not even to my worst enemy. Horrible product!
The body is made of magnesium with a matte surface finishing that feels nice to touch. It weighs 786g which is a nice weight for a 12-3 inch tablet. But once you start adding the Type Cover, it becomes close to the weight of a 12-inch laptop.
The mini-DisplayPort enables you to work with an external monitor. No mini-DisplayPort cable is supplied though. I use this one by Accell. After you plug it into an external monitor, you can choose three ways to display:
Important note about pressure sensitivityFor faint lines, you still need to apply slight pressure. If you were to glance the pen tip on the glass surface with no pressure, lines will not appear. Do that with an actual graphite pencil and you can see the faintest of lines. Not so with the Surface Pro 4 and pen. So if you're looking for that kind of sensitivity, you'll have to get the iPad Pro and Apple Pencil.
Tracking is accurate. The cursor is always under the tip regardless of the tilt of the pen. There's no parallax error as the screen isn't too big to begin with, and there's no noticeable gap between the display and the glass surface.
Palm rejection works most of the time. It works best when the tablet can detect the stylus, e.g. when you see the cursor as the pen tip is close to the glass surface. With some drawing apps, there are strict palm rejection mode that you can turn on, meaning you can have perfect palm rejection but you have to sacrifice some finger gesture shortcuts.
I've used the Apple Pencil and I feel that it's provides slightly better drawing experience compared to SP4 pen. It really feels less like a digital stylus on the tablet and more like traditional. That I feel is because the way the Apple Pencil is designed which is longer and the firm tip mimics the firm tips of pen and pencil. However, the Apple Pencil tip is still real smooth on the glass surface.
Pros+ Sturdy build quality+ Has a USB 3 Type A port+ Has mini-DisplayPort to extend working space on external monitor+ Has microSD slot for additional storage expansion+ Nice weight for its size but too heavy for handheld drawing+ Built in stand with many positions+ Pressure sensitivity of Surface Pen is good but not as good as Apple Pencil+ Surface Pen feels good to draw on the screen+ High resolution of 2736 by 1824 on a 12.3-inch screen+ Screen has good viewing angles and colours+ Good stereo speakers+ Able to install desktop and tablet apps+ Snappy performance+ Surface Pen is included+ Lots of different configurations available
On the memory side of matters, the Surface Pro 4 offers between 4GB and 16 GB of RAM depending on the specific SKU, retaining the same 4GB minimum as the Surface Pro 3 while marking the first time a 16GB SKU has been offered in the Surface Pro family. Meanwhile for storage, the SSD situation has been dramatically improved with PCIe 3.0 NVMe drives. The 64 GB model is no more, with the base Surface Pro 4 now coming with 128 GB, and a 1 TB model will be available soon as well.
The reduced key size makes for more real estate below the keyboard, which let Microsoft expand the touchpad to 4 x 2-inches on the Surface Pro 4, up from 3.5 x 1.7-inches on the Surface Pro 3. That means there's now even more room to luxuriate in the soft-touch surface when mousing around and using gestures. Even clicking feels a little bit snappier.
Because Microsoft didn't want to make existing Surface Pro 3 accessories obsolete, ports haven't changed on the Surface Pro 4. You get a proprietary magnetic-charging port, one USB 3.0 port and a mini DisplayPort on the right; a combo headphone/mic jack on the left; and a microSD card reader hiding behind the kickstand in back. I would have liked to see an additional USB-C port somewhere on the system, though.
The main reason I got the surface was to replace my laptop and be able to edit on the road during long bus/plane rides. I wanted something powerful enough to do the job, yet small enough to carry without breaking my back.
There are a few aspects to the PixelSense identity. The screens are oxide LCDs, using a metal oxide semiconductor instead of the more traditional silicon to reduce thickness and improve response times. The screens are also optically bonded to the touch sensors for reduced thickness and increased rigidity. The contrast ratio is high (1300:1) and the color gamut is full sRGB with screens calibrated at the factory. The screen is thinner than in the Surface Pro 3 with an even smaller distance between the screen's surface and the display beneath. This is particularly important when using the stylus, since it means that digital ink has less separation from the pen tip (which makes it more precise and natural to use).
You can also angle the keyboard for a more comfortable typing angle by folding the top of the keyboard up against the screen, where more magnets hold it in place. This innovation was introduced to the Surface line several iterations ago, a small addition that makes a noticeable usability difference. The touchpad is also excellent, and it tracks very smoothly. I genuinely enjoy typing on this keyboard, at least on a solid surface, even if the price seems a bit steep. The combined price is still less than many laptops, though, so there's only so far you can take this complaint.
Using the keyboard on your lap remains a little troublesome. While it will always be neat that you can transform this device into a laptop clamshell at all, the flexy nature of the keyboard and the width of the Pro 7 make it tiring to use in your lap for long. This \"lapability\" has long been a big issue for some, enough to make them choose a traditional laptop over the Surface Pro. Since it's not very wide, and the kickstand is much less stable on your legs than the flat bottom surface of a laptop would be, you have to keep your legs close together and still during use. It makes you quite aware you're not using a normal laptop, so it's much better used on a desk or tabletop. There's still something satisfying about the Surface Pro experience, even if you'd probably choose a laptop keyboard if they were put head to head.
If you plan to take your charging brick with you, do yourself a favor and get the Cleancable from Cleanint. We put it in on our list of Surface accessory lists last year. It adheres to the flat surface of the charging brick and folds up to give users a place to wrap their cable. They can then store the cables with the brick and throw them in their computer bag without creating a tangled mess.
Another thing I love about my iPad Pro is that its performance is reliable and consistent. When using the Pro 8 with multiple apps open, there would be a slight delay or pause before an app would appear after being minimized at times. It wasn't specific to any one app; I frequently experienced it with Thunderbird, Discord, and Slack.
For example, the Pro 3 offers laptop-like performance with a choice of Core i5/i7 processors and up to 8GB of RAM. On the flip-side, port selection is limited to a single USB connection, a microSD card reader and mini-DisplayPort because of space/weightconstrictions. Then there's battery life, which is short of the double-digits you'd expect from a power-efficient tablet.
That said, the Pro 3 is not perfect. Cramming three million pixels into such a relatively small surface area poses problems, especially when software is not optimised to make use of them. The Surface Pro 3 exhibits the same scaling issues that have plagued other high-res Windows 8.1 devices and icons and text can be minuscule in desktop mode.
The increased size of the Touch Cover means the Pro 3 has got a step closer to building a usable trackpad. The smooth, glassy finish allows your fingers to glide over the surface and there are properly integrated left-and-right click buttons. Scrolling can get a sticky but it is definitely an improvement. We preferred navigating web pages with the touch screen and only found ourselves using the trackpad when in desktop mode.
Display: 12in (2160 x 1440) OS: Windows 8.1 Pro 64-bit Processor: 1.9GHz dual-core i5-4300U processor (i3 and i7 variants available)Memory: 4 or 8GB DDR3LStorage: 256GB SSD (as reviewed)Connectiv