Surface Pro X Discussion Thread (October 2019)

Discussion in 'Microsoft' started by JoeS, Oct 2, 2019.

  1. Bishop

    Bishop Scribbler - Standard Member

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    Or the original Motion Computing M1200 slate (3+ lbs, 2.5 hr battery life on XP), or the Gateway convertible M285 (7+ lbs, 3.5 hrs), HP Elitebook convertible 2740p (3+ lbs), Thinkpad T61 (still IBM) convertible (4+ lbs). As one of the original MS Tablet PC MVPs (2003-06) who has carried all of the above and more, I can tell you the weight loss alone is phenomenal. Getting in striking distance of 10 hr battery life YUGE win. While Windows 10 is equally above and beyond XP, software has never fully delivered on the pen potential.

    SPX perfect? Not by a long shot. Pretty damned good by comparison except for the price.

    Having revealed my age, it’s time for my nap.
     
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  2. desertlap

    desertlap Scribbler - Standard Member Senior Member

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    @lovelaptops
    I somewhat agree with the Pixelbook comparison as it is an exceptionally beautiful piece of hardware. The problem I see is that so far MS isn't really marketing it as a somewhat specialized device, but as something for most if not all. eg. claims of i5 levels of performance.

    I purchased one myself and I'm still considering returning it, but I'm torn. I see tons of potential for WOA, but the current reality is woefully short of expectations.

    If I was MS I'd have announced it similar to the Neo and Duo, in other words here's what's coming... But reading the reviews and the board chatter, the overwhelming feeling I see is disappointment.

    I just hope MS learns from this quickly and...

    A. lights a fire or bribes or whatever it takes to get native apps out there and...

    B. Doesn't make the same mistake with the NEO which while it's an intel chip represents a fairly radical departure from anything previous. Not to mention that they wont overhype it like they have in the past with the Atom and Core M chips
     
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  3. lovelaptops

    lovelaptops My friends call me Jeff Senior Member

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    I hear you, brother.
     
  4. Marty

    Marty Pen Pro - Senior Member Senior Member

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    I wonder how much of that return ratio would have been reduced simply if Edge chromium had been pre-installed Day 1.

    I also think they should have bundled Office 2019 (just like the pet 8" Win8 tablets we all loved) just to showcase how well it can run, while providing the consumer extra value and incentive to keep the device.

    These measures still could be taken I think, and maybe even throw in a 10% 'thank you' coupon for returning SPX owners. Do you have access to MS' marketing team? Could any of this be suggested to them?
     
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  5. neongolden

    neongolden Scribbler - Standard Member

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    Remind me what happens if WoA fails, again? Is Tremount showing that much promise?

    Yeah I have to keep it brief but I am still having a blast on it, and this is coming from a MobileStudio 16. Sorry to issue this ice-burn, but this slate is an actual MobileStudio; it's light, with a sturdy build, good battery life with fast charge, excellent pen, etc. I don't think there's any chance I'm returning it, but that is sad to hear about the (possibly anecdotal) sales at Best Buy. I'll just have to hope that WoA's success goes deeper than SPX sales numbers, that ultimately there's going to be too much of a vested interest.

    My kneejerk take is it wouldn't be cool to just have Intel and Apple totally take over. I frankly think the SPX is so much cooler than an iPad.

    Edit: Ughhh I kind of regret getting involved, especially asking that loaded question at the beginning. I'm sure it will pan out either way. I really can't be overthinking things; all I know is it's working well for me so I'm just going to keep chugging along. It probably will in fact be an awesome scenario where in a year's time, the next SPX resonates better with customers and meanwhile this SPX will have received a lot of good software updates.
     
    Last edited: Dec 2, 2019
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  6. jhoff80

    jhoff80 Scribbler - Standard Member Senior Member

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    Honestly, I've been trying this out for a few days, and I'm shocked at how much I like it. It's surprisingly speedy at x86 emulation in what I've used it for. Paint.net runs great. Citrix Workspace works great. Foobar 2000, Office (including desktop OneNote as well as Visio and Project), and WinSCP are other desktop x86 apps I've been using regularly. And then ARM64 Edge Chromium is great, I downloaded an ARM64 desktop VLC which works well, ARM64 7-zip is great, etc. Windows Terminal works well, and I've been also using ARM64 Ubuntu through WSL2. My printer works great, and my work printer works great. USB-C output to my LG 27" monitor works, as does my Logitech webcam connected through the monitor. There's a chip in my monitor though that the ARM64 driver doesn't exist for. The TI TUSB3410 chip. But this doesn't seem to have any effect on using it.

    But of course, no Microsoft Mouse and Keyboard Center for configuring my mouse, no Logitech Presenter software for my remote (but it works just like a mouse anyway so there's that). Microsoft's Minesweeper is x86. Hashtab doesn't work. There's no DTS decoder support (on x64 PCs, you can download DTS Sound Unbound and buy the DTS decoder, but there's no ARM for that). I also can't use my company VPN. As mentioned previously, the UWP AnyConnect app doesn't support single sign-on, and my company hasn't deployed 4.8 yet (and I think our IT group would honestly just be confused as all hell if I asked for the ARM64 version).

    The video drivers seem to be a little buggy, most specifically with video decode. (Though I admit I am running a 20H1 Insider build). I frequently get the video driver crashing, or embedded video on a page turning green, etc. I've seen a couple times with really old (I'm talking 15 year old) Powerpoint presentations that I used for testing, that Powerpoint will crash when starting to present.

    The hardware is mostly amazing. This thing feels more like a tablet than ever before. Like, this feels as nice in the hand as an iPad, which is not something I can say about previous Surfaces (I'll admit I have never touched a Go though). If Windows 10 was actually good on tablets though (but that's a whole other story). The thing literally never gets warm. LTE is super useful with my Google Fi data SIM. But the bottom bezel is honestly too small. The keyboard blocks at least some of the taskbar during so much of my use. It's pretty frustrating. I also feel like the keyboard doesn't click in as easily as older Surfaces I used. I have to direct the keyboard together, whereas with older devices it just clicked in automatically when they got close. I'm still partial to the 10"-ish form factor like when I had my Pro 2, but this feels great for a larger device.

    The pen is much better than older N-trig ones I've used, but not perfect. Every now and then it starts to ink just when I am hovering over the screen. It stops after I tap the screen with the pen once though.

    Battery for me has typically been about 8-9 hours of real use.

    But really I am liking this device so much more than I thought I would. It's not perfect, but it's really impressive, if you know what you're getting into.
     
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  7. desertlap

    desertlap Scribbler - Standard Member Senior Member

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    @Marty Our CEO told MS point blank that with the current state of WOA and the price MS is asking for the Pro X, we wouldn't be deploying them ourselves or recommending them to customers.

    He did tell them if they wanted to goose the sales and play to the strengths of the Pro-X they ought to create a "productivity bundle" which has the 8GB/128GB model with the keyboard and a year of office 365 for $999 and offer the pen for an extra $99. And ideally partner with a carrier to include some type of LTE deal as well.

    So we are a pretty small company ourselves though we do sell to some big ones so we'll see where that goes. The MS rep did say the bundle idea was "intriguing".

    PS: Sort of related, we have committed internally to have WOA versions of all our custom apps by mid 2020. My CEO and I are still of the opinion that despite recent stumbles, the future especially for mobile oriented devices like the surface pro is WOA
     
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  8. DanielNTX

    DanielNTX Scribbler - Standard Member

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    I've had mine for a week and I like it. I wish the SP7 was the SPX with an Intel x64 processor versus ARM64.
     
  9. Marty

    Marty Pen Pro - Senior Member Senior Member

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    Just had a chance to drop by the Microsoft Store today and test out the SPX finally, and I just have to say I came away impressed...

    I was prepared for some flex and general feel of flimsiness common to devices so thin (especially coming from the Z Canvas, which is built like a tank). But the build quality was surprisingly solid—way more durable feeling than the iPad Pro, which I would be afraid to bend in any way.

    This device by contrast is something that I feel I could throw in the bag and be quite assured it could survive the rigors of crowded/hectic subway or airplane travel. I feel it would make an ideal traveling companion for serious slate productivity on the go. (I almost wanted to throw it in my bag, right there... :D)

    And to echo some of the comments from @neongolden and @jhoff80, the software experience felt swiftsurprisingly sofor the apps that I tried. The first thing I tried was downloading the beta of PaintToolSAI, an ideal x86 test app, because it is a fully portable zip, without the need to install (requiring an admin password on the demo units). SAI has a very responsive drawing engine that runs consistently on every x86 Windows device I've ever tested, so if there was any hint of emulation slow down I would notice immediately.

    And it did not.

    Drawing felt essentially native. I could not tell the difference from my full-fledged powerhouse Z Canvas on any of the default brushes, including watercolor. That's better than Atom.

    From this I conclude, the x86 performance is heavily dependent on the number of libraries the program uses. Lightweight x86 apps like SAI have very low memory footprints, unlike the behemoth Adobe CC apps which hold many libraries and plugins RAM-resident. The more of these you have, the slower the x86 emulation will be.

    So for those thinking of making the jump, I would recommend checking the program directories of the x86 apps you use, and make a note of how large executable is and how many other .dll and other supporting files are loaded. If you choose your app loadout wisely, I'm confident you'll be able to maintain an 'optimal x86 threshold' that can feel essentially native.

    Now onto the pen.

    Another nice surprise, was the pen felt very solid despite being lighter and non-metal bodied. The nib texture felt miles better than the default Surface Pen nibs, which felt mushy and slippery by comparison. Even against the hard nibs that I use, the Slim Pen felt slightly better because of the slight traction it provides on glass. Excellent.

    In terms of the inking characteristics, I noticed the low-end pressure control was improved compared to the Surface Pen. I would say it's about on par with the low-end pressure sensitivity and activation force of the Z Canvas pen, higher than the Wacom 1g sensors, but slightly lower than the 9g of the Surface Pen. The pressure consistency at the low end was also improved, so this new tip assembly is definitely an upgrade.

    I noticed that the hover response of the SPX felt marginally quicker than the SP7, especially noticeably along the edges of the display. On the SP7 you could see the cursor trailing slower along the edges, but on the SPX the hover latency was consistent throughout, giving a much more confident pen navigation experience, especially for long-time EMR users.

    And lastly I was impressed by the little design touches they made with the keyboard cover. As noted before, if you reverse the keyboard so the outer fabric can be held in slate mode, there is magnet that secures cover to the back of the slate, making it very pleasurable to hold in slate mode. The pen is also safely tucked in the cubby in this position as well.

    When I unfolded the cover to try to shake out the pen, try as I might, I could not get it to fall out. So the pen security is there in spades now. Another reason why I feel like the SPX would make the ideal mobile productivity companion.

    Apologies for the long post, but I again, I'm just thoroughly impressed. I had my reservations before, but came away feeling like I could honestly buy this over the iPad Pro. Great work, Microsoft. :thumbsup:
     
  10. lovelaptops

    lovelaptops My friends call me Jeff Senior Member

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    Sounds like a special purpose tablet - a la iPP - rather than a daily driver laptop. Perhaps one for the have-much-cash set ;)
     
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