Best Smartphone Companion for Surface Devices

Discussion in 'Microsoft' started by dstrauss, Jun 23, 2016.

  1. dstrauss

    dstrauss Comic Relief Senior Member

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    Now that I am back in the Surface Pro 4 camp, I'm no longer looking for an 8-9" companion device. I don't want a three device solution (despite my earlier ravings to the contrary) and I'll NEVER be without a smartphone. With the iPhone 7 almost guaranteed to be a non-event (especially for iPhone 6s Plus owners like myself), I have started the search (quest?) for my next smartphone.

    Note taking ability will be the hallmark of this quest. I would have to say that between @Bronsky (GN5) and my eldest son (GN3), the Galaxy Note series has a substantial lead. As always, the conflicting issue(s) are existing software investments, subscription services (family iTunes, etc) and just plain familiarity. Still, the pending announcement of the GN7 on August 2 has the AMEX sweating...what do you all think...

    One more thought - while it would be nice to use the same pen technology on my Surface and my phone (wake up MS - will there be a Surface Phone or not), the built-in stick on the Galaxy Note series trumps that since it is ALWAYS THERE and I don't have to carry a pen (nice for those polo shirts and jeans days).

    And don't hesitate to argue for a three device solution if that's where your opinion runs...
     
    Last edited: Jun 23, 2016
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  2. dellaster

    dellaster Scribbler - Standard Member

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    I first of all wonder what's wrong with a one-year-old iPhone 6s Plus?

    After that's out of the way, assuming a new shiny phone is a must-have, definitely plan on the Note 7. It looks to be top of the line *everything* (and priced accordingly). ;)

    Sent from my Galaxy S3 using Tapatalk
     
  3. dstrauss

    dstrauss Comic Relief Senior Member

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    @dellaster Nothing wrong with the iP6s+, other than I really want a note taking companion for the Surface Pro 4. At first I thought the iPad Pro 9.7 would fill that gap, and that is a fairly good solution as an alternative to a Surface Book, but now that I have downsized to the SP4, there's no reason for a device as "large" as the iPP 9.7. The GN7 could be a full time note taking alternative to have alongside the SP4, and when it is sitting at home as it should be. I have to admit a lot of angst about the prospect, however, because as a family we are deep in the Apple walled garden, and iMessage, Facetime, and Apple Music are all staples on our diet.
     
  4. barnesgj

    barnesgj Scribbler - Standard Member

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    The Note 7 for sure. With 6 GB RAM, 256 micro SD and 4000 mAh battery, what's not to like? It's a solid little note taker that just happens to also be a great phone.
     
  5. soh5

    soh5 Surface or Bust Senior Member

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    Dale go with the new Notes. I am eyeing one up right now. Expandable storage is a deal maker for me. Currently using 6s right now, and I hardly see any utility out of it besides the occasional facetime. If I am going to do business meetings I will do skype. I know how much you love skype :D
     
  6. Bronsky

    Bronsky Wait and Hope. Senior Member

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    I have utilized the 2 device solution since last October and it is working out fine. When I had an issue with the display of my Surface 3, I was concerned that I would be left without a device if I needed to exchange mine. That was not the case, as the Microsoft Store near me (45 min) let me know when it had an exchange unit and we swapped one for the other at the store. Great warranty service.

    Both the Surface 3 and the GN5 are the best devices of their kind in their category. The Surface Pro series is too big and I don't like the open vents in the body, which could easily be a conduit for dust and dirt into the inner workings of the device. This year, I have looked at the Samsung Tab S, the Huawei Matebook and the Thinkpad X-1 Tablet as alternatives to my little S3, but each of these units has issues that were non-starters. I would like a Core M powered device, but I want one that is similar in size to the S3 (or as close as I can get). The Huawei actually came the closest but I am looking for a Surface like kickstand, I am not crazy about the keyboard folio and have my doubts about the pen. I don't mind the Surface pen and the GN5's S-Pen not being compatible, as I carry the S3 in a case anyway and it has an internal pocket for the pen. I use a Pro4 pen. Never thought I'd say this but N-Trig and Microsoft have gotten it right with this pen.

    The GN5 is just a great device IMO. The 5.7" AMOLED display is bright and large enough for me to use the GN5 for most of my normal browsing, light note-taking, email and such. I tend to leave the Surface 3 in the briefcase when traveling unless I have some significant work to do before I arrive at my destination. After 6 months of searching for a decent PDF annotator, I chanced upon Samsung's Write on PDF which is, hands down, the best of the Android PDF annotator programs (and this includes my licensed copies of Xodo). I can sign documents with my Phone, do simple annotations or corrections and even read the occasional case from Lexis Advance, which runs quite well on my GN5. It is an astounding device. I like it better than any phone I have owned.

    The GN7 should be a real step up too. With mSD card, curved 5.8" AMOLED display, IP68 dust and water resistant, 6GB RAM, USB-C, 4,000 mAh or possibly 4,200 mAh (quick charging) battery and improved camera, waiting for August 2nd is a no-brainer. Renderings of the phone look great.

    [​IMG]

    IMO, the GN7 is probably the best companion for a Surface device, particularly used in a dock at the office and with a type keyboard on the road.
     
    Last edited: Jun 23, 2016
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  7. darkmagistric

    darkmagistric Scribbler - Standard Member Senior Member

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    Galaxy Note 7? .......What happened to 6?

    Base case scenario dstrauss, you should hope for either of 2 things.

    The new Galaxy Note....7 or 6....or whatever.....switches over the Wacom AES and uses a supercap charger for the stylus. Should Samsung do that....technically that would make the next Galaxy Note compatible with USI....meaning Surface Pens and Wacom Gen 13 pens would also work on it. So the complete collapse of EMR and Samsung jumping to AES, would technically make the next the Galaxy Note the perfect Surface companion.

    Or hope Apple makes the next iphone Apple Pencil compatible. As much as I love my Note 5.....this alone would be enough to jump back on to apples camp.
     
  8. dstrauss

    dstrauss Comic Relief Senior Member

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    @Bronsky When I sent the SB packing to the Austin MS store, if there had been a Surface 4 with no fans and Core M I would have been tempted - but I am glad I went back tot he SP4 - it is still the only ultrabook sized device with big league specs in my mind.

    To All - the accolades for the GN7 keep coming in fast and furious; it seems that many Windows Phone users are bailing for Android land, unless they had prior experience with iOS. Looks like announcement is only 40 days away, so waiting is no problem - I'm just worrying about the family fallout...
     
  9. dstrauss

    dstrauss Comic Relief Senior Member

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    The consensus is Samsung will skip 6 to bring the naming convention in line with the rest of the Galaxy family. It also makes sense because from my outsider view, the Notes have ALWAYS been technologically ahead of the plain versions, yet were numbered one behind.

    I am curious about your last comment. Rumor has it that the i7 Pro may come with dual 12mpxl cameras (real zoom capabilities) and pen support. However, unless they can come up with more compact pencil design (I know they'll never fit one in the casing) it would be a non-starter for me, as the existing Pencil is way too long and top heavy - truly...

    Why would that make you abandon the GN5?
     
  10. nnthemperor

    nnthemperor Scribbler - Standard Member Senior Member

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    I'm all for the 3-device solution. Worked well with an SP3, HP ENVY note 8" and GN3, and is a no brainer now that I'm going for the SB. For me, anything below 8" is not that much useful for inking or reading/ annotating PDFs. The 8" come in handy for times on transit (train it bus). Having the S Pen is nice, but I find it too tiny to do any real inking with.

    Sent from my SC-01F using Tapatalk
     
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