Anyone Replace Their Laptop With Surface 3?

Discussion in 'Microsoft' started by dstrauss, Jul 9, 2015.

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  1. Bronsky

    Bronsky Wait and Hope. Senior Member

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    I have fairly long documents formed into appendices that I annotate. For document organization, bates numbering, and conversion, I use Adobe XI Pro with no lag at all. For annotating, I use either a pen and Drawboard, or, on rare occasions, the native annotation functions in Adobe, using a keyboard. With the automatic backup, smoothing functions and the like, turned off, I get no lag in Drawboard. I use OneNote for everything else and narry a lag there either.

    This site was a problem until I blocked all advertising. It is fairly easy to access without lag now.

    I think a lot of the way the S3 feels depends on where you're coming from. I came from a Z540 Atom (OMG was that slow) to an N2600 dual Atom (still interminably slow) to a Bay Trail Z3740 Quad Core Atom. The Bay Trail was the first serviceable Atom but the M80TA suffered from the limitations of 2GB RAM. I also used an X301 with a C2D SU9300 CPU, which has always felt faster than my Atom Slates. That is, until the X7-Z8700 Atom came along. It is clearly an improvement over the X301's CPU and Integrated GPU. It replaced both my M80TA and my X301 and, thus far is the fastest device I've used for the past three years. To me, the X7 feels great. But if you are used to a Core I5, I7 or even a Y or M series CPU, the Atom will probably feel slow. So, it think it is largely perspective.

    To be sure, the X7/4GB/eMMC set up of the S3 has its limitations, but I have had no problem doing what I normally do with only the S3. It is a perfect design for what I need. I caution, however, that it is not for everyone. I can see how the lowly Atom, as powerful as it is, would choke on certain tasks and, yes, the eMMC has its limitations as well. Thus, my interest in RAM Disks.

    I would think driving an external QHD monitor would require some extra juice. Does the S3 heat up? It can get warm just driving the 21.5" 1080p external display through DP to DVI connection.

    I get no lag from Adobe Acrobat. My M80TA didn't perform anywhere near the X7's Atom and S3's 4GB RAM.
     
    Last edited: Jul 11, 2015
  2. Mesosphere

    Mesosphere Geek. Senior Member

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    Yea, the ads slow things down a lot, but I have them blocked with the tracking lists, and I still get lag (occasionally horrendous lag), while inputting messages into the reply box. Even right now there is a slight lag.

    The ads are can be really horrible though. With them enabled I can get as much as ~50% sustained CPU utilization just from this site (seems to vary depending, I think, on which set of ads pop up). It is a shame too, because I'd like to support this site with ad impressions, but that much CPU load and battery drain from a single browser tab is unacceptable.
     
  3. dstrauss

    dstrauss Comic Relief Senior Member

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    Nearly every one of you recommended staying with the SPro 3 and that's what's I may do (fire up the SPro 3 again).
     
    Last edited: Jul 11, 2015
  4. soh5

    soh5 Wait and Hope (Bronsky et al.) Senior Member

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    Dale I can't believe we used to be OK with the performance of clover trail TPT2
     
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  5. epicfoxes

    epicfoxes Pen Pal - Newbie

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    I replaced my laptop with a Surface Pro 3 and I have been content with it's performance as a laptop, tablet and my digital legal pad during class.

    My only gripes is not being being to charge with an *affordable* power pack for days that are longer than the typical 12 work days (work + study) that I sometimes endure.

    I am also having issues adjusting to the limited space on the SP3. Moving from a 1TB solution to 80GB has been difficult. The 'cloud' is an option however I am still weary of the safety of my information rather than the typical portable HD + lock and key solution that I currently employ.

    Needless to say, MS has crafted an elegant product. It's hard to imagine this was the company who released a VCR sized XBox so many years ago.
     
  6. b52hbuff

    b52hbuff Scribbler - Standard Member

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    I don't know you very well, so please don't take this as a sign of disrespect.

    I'll tell you what I tell my wife/kids when I seem the vacillating on some decision they're trying to make. These are the words of Khan, from the Star Trek TV episode entitled "Space Seed".

    "Either go or stay, but do it because it is what you wish!"

    The challenge in trying to tell you what to do is like trying to convince you why my favorite food should be your favorite food.

    What I'm curious about is why the Jim Seymour philosophy is relevant? As I've tangentially followed your journey (and enjoyed thinking about my own wishes as I watched you make your choices), it seems like cost hasn't been much of an issue.

    It seemed like you wanted an all in one solution that would drive multiple monitors and let you take one device from desk to meetings. I'm not sure why you thought the S3 would meet your requirements more than an SP3?

    I thought your latest switch from the Dell was because of eyesight and not because of trying to find "the least computer you'd be happy with"?

    Anyway, I'm interested, since I was in a similar boat with my S3 purchase for my wife/daughter. In the end, her "least computer" was satisfied by the S3. But I think she's far less demanding than you are, and doesn't have the requirement to drive multiple monitors.

    Once again, I mean no disrespect, and simply want to draw out more of your thinking on the matter...
     
  7. b52hbuff

    b52hbuff Scribbler - Standard Member

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    The challenge is whether your memory management is better than Windows? Currently Windows manages its own memory for various caches. If you carve out a multi MB cache, then that isn't available for anything else. It seems cumbersome to enable a RAM drive prior to upload and then disable it after you've uploaded.

    Do you have a fast micro-USB? Why not try uploading from micro-USB and look at the task manager to see if there's any difference?
     
  8. dstrauss

    dstrauss Comic Relief Senior Member

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    Bronsky: it does run pretty warm, which probably qualifies as hot for an Atom processor


    Buff: I've summarized your points and questions to try to answer what I can.

    I'm going to start with Jim Seymour. It was unfair for your understanding without being able to read the entire article. I'll try to scan and post it in the near future. His relevance was not just price, but a size/performance metaphor. In 1988, we had two years of the "laptop" metaphor - a hinged screen and keyboard in the 10 pound range. It was a huge improvement over the 20-30 pound portable sewing machines we had before those. Then along came an even lighter, and incredibly lower power/performance "clamshell" that was much smaller and portable. It was "the least" computer he could get done what he wanted. The point I missed is that in 2015 we have many more options...

    Next - eyesight. I have worn contacts for nearly 30 years, the last ten bifocal contacts. It took a lot of compromises to keep those working, and I started having vision problems. Yes, I jumped to 15" Dell XPS 15 because it had the same performance profile as the high end Surface Pro 3, but larger screen. But I've now transitioned back to glasses and the vision problem has cleared up.

    "He tasks me. He tasks me and I shall have him! I'll chase him 'round the moons of Nibia and 'round the Antares Maelstrom and 'round perdition's flames before I give him up!" That "he" for me, like Khan and Ahab, is my personal nemesis, which has been an impossible computer balancing act of:
    1. smallest possible form factor
    2. full Office compatibility
    3. all in one solution
    4. note taking demon
    5. independence from the cloud
    6. fluid user experience like an iPad (if you've never used one, you owe yourself the experience (no lag browsing, fast screen scrolls, fast app switching)
    7. big iron power
    8. multi-screen usability
    9. everything on one device - no inter-device syncing
    Is it ridiculous - yes - but it's important to me, so it doesn't matter that I appear a bit schizophrenic (bit?). If you have been following lately, you may have missed that I was a one computer horse for a year with the Surface Pro 3 (June 2014) which is eons if you ask others here. It was somewhat rocky, but overall successful until the vision issue diverted me from the mission. What it really taught me is that the all-in-one solution is most critical, with power and storage a close second. The quick trial of the Surface 3 reminded me that power is still to this Tim Taylor wannabe...so as soh5 has found the Surface Pro 3 is still the best "compromise." The little angel doesn't always win the argument...

    [​IMG]
     
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  9. soh5

    soh5 Wait and Hope (Bronsky et al.) Senior Member

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    Dale, being a fellow user of the TPT2 when it was in its hayday, I can say I have been pretty much doing the same thing as you. Where you went with the SP3, I went with the TPY12.5 Gen 1.

    I liked Wacom EMR so that is why I ended up going with the Thinkpad Yoga, however there is something to be said about the infinite kick stand, the svelte nature of the SP3, and the accessories that work.

    Yes, I wish the SP3 had more ports, I wish it had a small writing stick where I could tuck away the pen when I didnt need it. (Like you there have been days where I forgot my Surface Pro 2 pen for using with the TPY, and the included digitizer was perfect in those emergencies).

    Where the SP3 lacks, it shines in other places, the TPY has a pretty garbage screen compared to the SP3. The brightness is no where near an acceptable standard, not to mention the "anti glare" screen protector that is pasted on the unit, makes looking at text and images frustrating since they become really fuzzy.

    The "lightness" of the device is what is great too. The infinite kickstand, that is a true winner. I do not need to prop up an expensive coaster (like Meso does) to get a nice tilt angle for an optimal writing experience, the type cover provides a slight tilt for those long typing sessions... In the long run, the SP3 is going to be the winner for most people here in our community. We want power, inking, sustainability (battery life) and portability. Theres a group of people who value how quiet the atom line is, but having used and i7 (glorified i5 haswell) with 8gb of ram, I am willing to put up with some fan noise.

    At the end of the day, even as a long time Thinkpad user (X61, X230t, TPY), I can honestly say that MSFT's SP3 was made for users like you and me. I can't wait for what the SP4 will offer, because I am going to immediately sell off my TPY and upgrade to the SP4.
     
  10. lovelaptops

    lovelaptops My friends call me Jeff Senior Member

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    (I am preparing to be shot!)

    I'm surprised at your observations about the TPY. My screen, while no champ in the color gamut, is a full (measured, calibrated) 390 nit, far brighter than any of the alternatives being discussed and I don't find the anti glare coating to cause images and text to be anything but sharp, but with no glare. (I honestly think you have a defective screen, as I have not heard this criticism of the TPY throughout the thread here.) There are a few things I would change on it, but if it weighed 1.5 lbs less, I don't know how I could choose any of the MS tablets over it since it does everything as well (again, minus color gamut (60% sRGB, highly accurate with calibration) and resolution - both of which are more than adequate when one does not photo/video editing on it, which I don't. I still find editing text on my lap to be a major asset of a device and none of the S/SP devices - with or without infinite angle adjustment are remotely usable as true laptops. In addition, I can't imagine putting up with lags at stutters in this day and age. The saving of 1.5 lbs just doesn't begin to justify any of the many compromises the slate devices incur when used on their own, without desktop keyboards, docks and 21+" IPS desktop screens. Really hard to lug those on trains and planes, but 3.5 lbs in my carry-on is a non-issue for me and I have a heavily impaired spine.

    Sorry if I sound like I am a killjoy to all you Surface lovers; I just can't find a reason to see it as anything but a secondary or tertiary device with such a marvelous machine as the TPY 12.5 with its blindly bright screen, awesome keyboard, great performance with little fan noise or heat and very convenient tablet format for note taking. SATAIII 256GB SSD at 400Mb/seq read and 30 Mb/s 4k reads never requires waiting. Oh yeah, battery life - 6-7 hrs - is a drag but I never travel without my 0.75 lb. 20,000 mah battery with 3 voltage adjustments so I never worry about running dry.

    That said, I am insanely jealous of the screens and the gorgeous design of the SP/S models and the S3 will soon be my #2/3 device as soon as I can find a really good deal on a refurb/used one. I just come at this from an opposite perspective: get the least compromise device subject to a weight/size i can live with , rather than the most anemic tiny machine I can live with.

    I'm fully prepared to be flamed! :D
     
    Last edited: Jul 11, 2015
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