Surface Pro3 questions

Discussion in 'Microsoft' started by rlx, Dec 31, 2014.

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  1. rlx

    rlx Pen Pal - Newbie

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    Hi everyone,

    I have been using the LE1700 with Windows7 for some years. I use Windows Journal and the Tablet PC Input Panel a lot. Of course I like the battery life, the screen resolution and the 8GBytes memory on the newer Surface Pro3 and I would like to get one.

    I went to a shop yesterday to give the Surface Pro3 a try and the result is that I was not convinced to buy one. I was annoyed by a few flaws of the Pro3: 1) the pen nib deteriorated far too quickly, 2) the new Input Panel is locked at the bottom of the screen and cannot be made to float as it is the case in Windows7, and 3) there are a lot of things I could do with the just the pen on Windows7, and I now need to use fingers to do the same thing. I feel the interaction with Windows8 is not as smooth as what I was used to with Windows7.

    Obviously there is a learning curve but I am feeling there are regressions here.

    Anyone knows whether one can run the older Windows7 InputPanel in Windows8 and whether one can run Windows Journal?

    Is there a chance Microsoft will solve the nib issue soon? It has already been six months and they didn't come up with a harder tip yet. It looks like that problem is going to stay. I never had to replace the nib of the Wacom pen that came with the LE1700.

    Thanks for any any additional information on those issues.
     
    Last edited: Dec 31, 2014
  2. Steve S

    Steve S Pen Pro - Senior Member Super Moderator

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    <<...Anyone knows whether one can run the older Windows7 InputPanel in Windows8 and whether one can run Windows Journal?..>>

    r: As you have discovered, the evolution from Win7 to Win 8/8.1 has not been without its controversies. No, you cannot run the floating TIP on Win8. Yes, Journal works fine.

    <<...Is there a chance Microsoft will solve the nib issue soon?..>>

    In my opinion, Microsoft has already solved this problem. The replacement pen nibs are now much more durable. If you buy a Pro 3 today, I believe that it will likely come with the updated nib. (Does any recent owner know differently?)

    In addition, if you have a local Microsoft store, you can request a 3-pack of replacement nibs on the spot so that you will have spares available.
     
  3. Steve B

    Steve B Moderator Moderator

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    Also, just to say, but you can move the TIP around in Windows 8 just fine. You just can't resize it nor can you get it to have more than 2 lines at once.
     
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  4. rlx

    rlx Pen Pal - Newbie

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    Thanks for the answers. I wonder why the stores don't have the newer tips on their demo pens.
     
  5. rlx

    rlx Pen Pal - Newbie

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    That's getting better; I will investigate further to see how it works.

    However after a quick search I see many posts from 2012 when people initially expressed their problems with the new TIP and I didn't see any real action from Microsoft to address those concerns. It seems that Window8 is basically designed for touch input and the pen input did not fit nicely in the Metro design and it was made subordinate to the touch capabilities. Maybe I will wait for the next iteration of Windows.
     
    Last edited: Dec 31, 2014
  6. Steve B

    Steve B Moderator Moderator

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    Sure. It's possible you might be better suited to waiting. They're supposed to be improving some of these pen and touch things with Windows 10, but I find touch input so much better on Windows 8 that I use it for many things I used to use the pen for. Thus I don't miss those things as much. Pen input is mostly reserved for OneNote and the professional art apps I need. Also, with the SP3 Type Cover keyboard always around on my slate, I tend to type more on a slate than I used to. Of course, I loved the le1700 hardware buttons and screen size, but the alternate benefits are too great to pass up for me- battery life, cpu power, touch input, brightness and contrast, etc. The SP3 also has a screen size that's teg closest they've gotten to that wonderful 12.1" 3:4 screen on the le1700.

    Of course, if the le1700 does what you need, then that's a different story. :). Necessity (or lack thereof) dictates a lot. Also, the MS return policy is wonderful, so trying one out can be a possibility for some on tye fence.

    Just my 2 cents.
     
  7. jnjroach

    jnjroach Technology Strategist Super Moderator

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    Currently the Input Panel in Windows 10 is identical to Windows 8.x. With that said, don't short change the power of Touch and Pen together....I'm using the SP3 (have been since June 20) and it is far the best Tablet PC Experience I've ever had...

    Before Windows 8, Tablet PC as a form factor was an afterthought or a bolted on feature....using Windows 10 I really miss Windows 8.x Touch First UI and am patiently waiting for the Consumer Preview that is supposed to add back much of the functionality that has been lost in the Windows 10 Technical Previews.
     
  8. rlx

    rlx Pen Pal - Newbie

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    Hi Steve,

    The Pro3 hardware would be my best choice as a LE1700 replacement/upgrade; no doubt about that. I just need to overcome some concerns I still have.
     
  9. rlx

    rlx Pen Pal - Newbie

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    That was good advice. I got an SP3 i7 256GBytes yesterday with the option of returning it. Installation went smoothly and many of the concerns I had evaporated quickly:

    1. The display showed no banding at all. I installed the latest graphics driver from the Intel site to make sure and then installed the demo of SilkyPix and played with it developing some of my RAW files. Then I looked at a video with dark scenes and I turned down the screen intensity to minimum. Perfect screen with no false colors.

    2. Inking with N-Trig is equivalent to inking with Wacom on the LE1700, but with one plus for the N-Trig: I can now draw over (following) a straight line as I always did before and without having to continually track the cursor with the eye. I am used to inking with the Note 1 and the LE1700. I'd rather have the eraser at the tip though rather than as a button; both on the Note and the SP3 I will sometimes hit that button by accident and the last word I typed is lost. This is pretty annoying since I often don't even look at what I am writing when I interact with someone or when I read some document.

    3. The pen nib now looks much more durable than the nibs I saw at the store on the demo pens.

    Unfortunately one of my most important concerns was confirmed. First I need to say that I have been using the LE1700 for the last 5 years primarily because of 1) the outstanding handwriting recognition that comes with the Microsoft TIP (Tablet Input Panel) and this is good in all languages I use and 2) my vision condition is not that good since I am short sighted and have poor distance adaptation. So I developed a means of using the LE1700 that compensates for my poor vision. I typically hold the tablet in portrait mode at about 8 inches from my nose with my left hand and I ink with the right hand.

    This is Windows. So there are many programs opened and many documents displayed at once on the display, and this is the reason why I use the basic interface rather than the Metro interface. I need to work with older software that was designed to be used with keyboard and mouse. Using that software requires the frequent use of CTRL/Alt key combinations and other keys such as ESC, arrows, PG-UP etc. Using a tablet PC with the Windows7 TIP is very convenient since one just needs a small TIP footprint on the screen; the keyboard is not used for typing English but just to enter the Ctrl- sequences needed to use the program. The typing of English/Chinese or whatever is done using handwriting. The TIP is always available even in full screen mode through a small tab lying on either side of the display.

    So that is the style I developed over the years. But that was broken with the evolution of Windows 8. At the beginning of Windows8 the TIP could still be resized but that was dropped along the way. The small tab that was so handy to get a keyboard when running a program in full screen mode is also gone.

    Now, the keyboard icon lies on the task bar. The only option I found is to open the task bar and click the keyboard icon on the task bar but that is not a natural gesture, it is distracting and takes too much time. On top of that, I have a hard time convincing the task bar to open. Touch wont help and if using the pen one needs to do a high precision gesture picking up just the last row of pixels and that breaks any fast pace operation. (Note: After a fresh reinstall of Windows, the problem with the task bar is gone.)

    As you can see I use this computer as a pure tabletPC, not as a phone, an iPad or even a laptop. The screen area of a tabletPC is much larger and holds many independent windows compared to to a phone and an iPad, so what works well on the smaller devices is not optimal when using the SP3 as a pure tablet. So my comments don't apply to most other scenarios where the SP3 is used either as a laptop or as an iPad look alike. However I believe that the SP3 should accomodate all work styles depending on the individual needs. As we can see, the number of different use scenarios is larger than what an individual might consider.

    The second issue I have with the SP3 is the absence of a grip. I feel a need of at least a small grip when holding the SP3 in portrait mode with one hand. Without a grip I need to apply more pressure on the device and that has two negative consequences: 1) the tablet feels heavier than it really is and 2) I fear that the thin glass may break from the stress since my thumb lies close to the microphone hole and this is a weak point of the glass apparently.

    So the hardware of the SP3 is nearly perfect and much faster that the LE1700 was. However, loosing a quick access to the TIP in Windows8 (and no means to resize the TIP) makes my manual workflow quite slow. The net result is that given my style of using the tablet, I can do things as fast on the slower LE1700 than on the faster SP3.

    I am considering returning the SP3 to the store and then, just wait to see what direction Windows10 takes before looking again. Maybe Linux or OSX will eventually offer an OCR tool that can match MS.

    I would be happy to get comments on those concerns.
     
    Last edited: Jan 10, 2015
  10. scrambler

    scrambler Scribbler - Standard Member

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