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New Surface Pro (microsoft.com)
405 points by pierre-renaux on May 23, 2017 | hide | past | web | favorite | 598 comments



One import thing with all Surface laptops that most people don't know:

> Support is limited to the country you purchased the device in.

Eg:

- If you buy an Apple laptop, and need a repair, they'll fix it if it's in warranty, regardless of where you are.

- If you buy a Microsoft laptop, and need a warranty repair done in a different country, Microsoft won't help you.

I purchased a Surface Book (which I love) in a Microsoft store in the US. It's been sporadically doing this since a couple of months after I unboxed it:

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=0_f85KlC5Bc

Microsoft UK won't fix it. Even when I travel to the US I'm not sure I'll be there long enough for Microsoft to do the repairs. I love the hardware, but this policy is really bad. I paid for the top of the range laptop and expect support for it.

Edit: I've raised this with Microsoft Support in the past and they've simply restated the policy and closed the case as resolved. When I attempted to escalate it, they told me to post a complaint to Microsoft's legal department (?!?).


"If you buy an Apple laptop, and need a repair, they'll fix it if it's in warranty, regardless of where you are."

This can be misleading. I bought my Macbook Air in Portugal, had 2y warranty there. Then moved to the UK and the brick stopped working. Went to an Apple Store and since it was after the 1y warranty offered when you buy it in the UK, they rejected replacing it for me. Eventually went to Portugal to visit my family and got a new brick from the same store in 5 minutes. On a curious note, there's no Apple Stores in Portugal yet so in this particular case it was even more interesting to realise how much better help I got from a non-official store.


I bought a MacBook in the UK and some time later when I was in the US they keyboard became faulty.

I walked in to a US Apple store and explained the problem. The Genius person agreed there was a fault and then started tapping away at their computer. He umm'ed and ahh'ed and called over a manager.

At this point I was thinking they were going to reject the warranty repair for some reason, but the manager ended up apologizing that they didn't have any UK-style MacBook replacement keyboards in stock, and they couldn't work out how to order the part in on their US system.

As it happens I had moved to the US, so getting a US keyboard was actually a bonus. I told them I was happy with a US keyboard, and 10 minutes later I was leaving the store with it installed in my MacBook.


> I walked in to a US Apple store

Also, only about 20 countries have Apple stores, so that's also limited.


Pardon my ignorance but what is the difference in the UK style keyboard vs the US style keyboard? Is the 4/$ replaced with the 4/£ key? Wouldn't this be problematic when programming (for example variable substitution on the shell etc.)?


There are two separate issues that need to be distinguished:

1. Physical keyboard layout (how keys are placed). There are two primary standards: ANSI (mostly US) and ISO (most of Europe). The most notable difference is the shape of the Enter key (L-shaped on an ISO keyboard and straight on an ANSI one). ISO keyboards also have one extra key and a shorter left Shift to make space for it.

2. Logical keyboard layout (how key presses are interpreted). This is what is printed on key caps, but it doesn't have any relation to the actual scan codes being sent. Many languages use their own accented characters (e.g. ąęćłóńżź for Polish) and historical preferences (e.g. QWERTY/QWERTZ/AZERTY), but this is implemented in software.

Logical layout can be easily configured in the operating system, and for touch typists it doesn't really matter what is printed on the keys, but differences in physical layout can take some time to get used to.

PS. I'm Polish, I live in the UK, and I type on a US mechanical keyboard with ANSI layout :)

https://deskthority.net/wiki/ANSI_vs_ISO


The ISO layout is pretty superior in many small ways for non-english speakers but that's a really nice description of it in that link there.

As a UK->US transplant I really miss the Enter key shape. :(


I miss this even as an American. The old 8088 computers I grew up with had reverse-L enter keys.


Nope. ~` key is next to Z, Enter is vertical. \| is next to "'.

The labeling is actually cooler, with images instead of "Shift", "Tab" etc.

http://www.thebookyard.com/images/mbutcuk_notp.jpg


I'm sitting here staring at my US keyboard and scratching my head. All of the Menu shortcuts align perfectly with the UK keyboard's iconography but not the US keyboard which opts for labels. And why do we have a key labeled both enter and return?


Historically the Macintosh distinguished between Enter and Return. IIRC on the Lisa the Return key was on the main part of the keyboard and the Enter key was on the numeric keypad. In many apps they did the same thing, but I think in LisaCalc the Enter key would enter the contents of the selected cell and leave it selected. Return would do the same and then select the cell below. IIRC the Mac version of Microsoft Multiplan did the same.

On the MBP I'm typing this on, the key is labeled enter in small type and below that return in larger type. I think holding down the fn key and pressing that key does the enter action, while without fn it does the return action. I am pretty sure my full-size Mac keyboard has return on the main keyboard and enter on the numeric keypad. I think the Lisa was the same.

IIRC there was no Enter key on the original (128K) Mac keyboard, but the optional numeric keyboard had the Enter key.

Apple have an old user interface guideline that basically said that the main keyboard was for primarily typing text, while traditional data entry was secondary. Hence the function of the Return key was strictly to insert a carriage return into some text. And so no Enter or Control key on the original keyboard. As a kind of substitute Apple introduced the Command (Swedish campground) key, but it wasn't a direct mapping of Control. And IBM further muddied the waters by introducing CUA. By the time of the Mac II the default keyboard was much more compatible with common computers. It was a time of rapid change.


I noticed that in the US almost all signage uses text instead of symbols. For example, writing "No smoking" on a sign, where in Europe you would have a crossed-out cigarette.

I don't really understand why this is done, since well-made symbols are also understandable for illiterate people or those not speaking the language.


In Europe you have a lot of languages and nations mixed. People who design signs know and care about that. In US you have a huge country where everyone speaks the same language. People who design signs don't even know it's a problem that needs to be solved.


Many signs are written both in English and Spanish all over. Even in rural-ish North Carolina.


Explain to me the difference between these three signs: 1. a bicycle on a blue circle, 2. a bicycle on a white circle outlined in red, and 3. a bicycle on a blue square.

On the other hand having to read all that in text while you're riding by isn't very reasonable either. Complex signage is only as good as your knowledge of it, which maybe is why passing a driving test in Europe is so much harder; it requires knowledge we just get from being able to read in the US.


>1. a bicycle on a blue circle

Only bicycles

>2. a bicycle on a white circle outlined in red

No bicycles.

>3. a bicycle on a blue [rectangle]

Recommended route for bicycles.


You're missing the point -- that's very non-obvious if you haven't studied the signs.


It was a comment for Americans who might not know the signs; not really an argument.

But really, if you're driving then you should have done a driving exam and test in your home country. Then you're ready to drive from Romania to Ireland (with the help of some tunnels and ferries) and be able to manage reading the road signs the whole way. This is possible because of a (mostly) shared iconography. Of course, on a bike you don't need to pass a test but you should do a little bit of studying to make sure you don't get a fine.

The US doesn't need this because it uses English.

This is also completely distinct from keyboards which aren't even QWERTY across Europe. There are also AZERTY (France) and QWERTZ (Germany) and some countries like Belgium have all three in the same office as people have different preferences. And pair programming is as painful as you can imagine.


I agree, some signs need to be learned, and traffic signs are a prime example of that. On the other hand, many signs with fewer fine distinctions can be made with pictograms that require no prior knowledge of conventions.

That being said, traffic signage is a mixture of both, where some meaning is given by convention (e.g., white background and red border means "not allowed"), and then extrapolated by pictograms (bicycles not allowed, trucks not allowed, pedestrians not allowed).

Edit: A certain cultural context is of course always required, to know for example that a crossed out cigarette applies to smoking in general and doesn't mean that you can smoke pipes, cigars, or bongs. Such 'misunderstandings' only happen with QA engineers though. ;)


blue circle: something you MUST do (in this case, indicates a path that can only be taken by bycicles)

white circle with red outline: something that is forbidden (the road is forbidden for bycicles)

the last one indicates a bycicle-only path crossing the road, 150 meters before it you should see a white triangle outlined in red ("danger") with a bycicle inside it


By the way, the Mac I'm using now was bought in Australia and the keyboard has a rectangular Return key and the modifiers labeled using text rather than icons.


Non-mac layout is different again. Here's a pic of a Dell laptop I have knocking around: http://imgur.com/a/w5GVC [ could do with a clean! ]


> [ could do with a clean! ]

It's a disgusting view, I'll give you that


Yep, didn't come out pretty with the camera flash :)


The UK keyboard layout still has $ above 4, but it has £ above 3. In order to get #, you have to hit ⌥3. You can also hit ⌥2 to get €. I think a couple of keys like backslash and backtick are moved around as well.


> I think a couple of keys like backslash and backtick are moved around as well.

Yes. US ISO layout is superior if you need to do any programming (or even just to write some Markdown), too bad it's not used more.


Inclined to disagree - depends on your keymap and software you use. If I were to add keyboard shortcuts to my program I'm sure as hell not gonna use a key that I can't get to on my keyboard.

On German keyboards it's even 'worse' though. Because ;, [ and ] are used for ä, ö and ü, [ and ] are Strg + ⇧ + 8 and Strg + ⇧ + 9. Same for { and }.

(Strg = Ctrl)

So any keyboard shortcut involving those and ⇧ or Ctrl is pretty much impossible.


Having recently (5 months) switched from UK to US layout, I find `/~ location to be more convenient on UK layout.

First, it's somehow easier to type ~ on UK layout (no weird finger twists) - helps quicker to get to your home directory when navigating terminal.

Second, I use cmd+1/2/3 to switch tabs a lot. Cmd + ` rotates windows. You can imagine it's very easy to mix up 1 with ` and instead of having the tab you want, end up with completely different window. Really breaks my flow often.

I do not mind enter key that much. In fact I think US one is better.


> helps quicker to get to your home directory when navigating terminal.

Protip: "cd" with no arguments normally takes you to your home directory. Though if you need to reference something in your homedir using a global path without changing directories, ~ is probably still the fastest way to do it.


There are quite a few differences. You can see what they are by looking at the Keyboard prefs in MacOS and loading different localisations.

4/$ still works, but some of the other symbols are in different places.


counter example.

I had to take my MacBook in three times durnig its life, for the same issue (wifi/bt issues because of aircard connection to VM)

Every single time I was told to make an appointment. Which take about 3 days to get. They took the laptop and spend a week fixing it (every time!) My experience at Multiple Apple stores in Southren Ontario.


I believe after the third repair, they'll replace the entire machine with a new model.


There is (currently) a two-year EU-mandated warranty, Apple was even taken to court for not emphasizing this enough when selling AppleCare.


Detail worth knowing: under the EU warranty the first year is covered by the manufacturer, the second by the reseller. If you buy a MacBook outside an Apple Store, after the first year you're supposed to bring it back to the place you bought it. There is even a difference between ordering it online through apple.com and buying it at the brick and mortar Apple Store as those are legally not the same. In practice though I have never had a problem having it fixed on the spot at an Apple Store but this is mostly because Apple cares about their customers.


plain wrong. there is a 2-year warranty within 6 months the seller needs to actually prove that it worked correct. after that you (buyer) need to prove it. there is __never__ a warranty (under law, the manufacturer can make a special guarantee like apple care of course) between the manufacturer and the buyer (at least in the eu and might change if seller == manufacturer) the warranty is always between the _seller_ and the _buyer_. if the seller is something like amazon than you give your defective product back to amazon (amazon than of course has the same warranty between his seller/manufacturer). b2b is the same (but also has some special rules and might be (more) country dependant).

( Source: http://europa.eu/youreurope/citizens/consumers/shopping/guar... German EU LAW: http://eur-lex.europa.eu/legal-content/DE/TXT/PDF/?uri=CELEX... (99/44/EG) )

Edit: Well the most important fact of course is that there is no "eu law" there are just policies that the countries than can enforce/make a law out of it (http://ec.europa.eu/info/law/law-making-process/overview-law...) well european can than make claims against the country, but sometimes they even fail to do that.


EU directives are in practice no different to national law. Sure, countries can refuse to enforce them but they can refuse to enforce their national law as well. If we are at that stage all bets are off. "Can enforce" sounds like this is optional which it is really not. Courts refer to EU law just like they do to national law.


> "Can enforce" sounds like this is optional which it is really not. Courts refer to EU law just like they do to national law.

In practice it's a mess system. Courts choose and pick however they want to implement the directives, even in countries where courts should be independent the ruling political countries have enough pressure on the courts. Sometimes they even enforce invalidated directives which is unlawful but then again if a country has enough money they could just pay the fines. Therefore there is so much unhappiness about the EU in the general populace, local politicians blame the EU laws, EU politicians blame the local laws and no one is accountable, it really sucks and isn't what a democracy is supposed to be.


Of course there can be a manufacturer warranty, there just isn't a legal requirement for one (and it can have rules like "talk to the dealer if you bought it recently, we cover you only when you can't go through them anymore")


Precisely. Most of the time electronic device manufacturers set the commercial warranty[1] to one year, but that's purely their prerogative. That's why you can go the Apple Store with your MacBook during the first year[2] even if you bought it from FNAC or Amazon or whatever. Apple Care extends that duration to three years, and possibly sets additional coverage terms like with Apple Care +.

On top of that, as merb said, following the EU directive, local law (in France, that's the Hamon bill) says the legal warranty of compliance[0] covers for the whole two years. So Apple can tell me to buzz off past the first year if I bought their hardware from Amazon, but so that I can go through them directly instead of going the roundabout way through the seller during the first year. The seller can never tell you to buzz of (as long as you duly prove the defect past 6 months as merb said), even during the time a possible commercial warranty applies, but it can be more efficient to go through the manufacturer directly, as is the case with Apple Stores, but I've been using this for other brands where the wait list was months long through the seller whereas the manufacturer fixed it in less than a week and even footed the bill for the postage.

[0]: https://www.service-public.fr/particuliers/vosdroits/F11094

[1]: https://www.service-public.fr/particuliers/vosdroits/F11093

[2]: https://www.apple.com/legal/warranty/products/mac-french.htm...



It is perfectly clear to me, in the very link you have posted:

"This 2-year guarantee is your minimum right. National rules in your country may give you extra protection: however, any deviation from EU rules must always be in the consumer's best interest." (which is the case of UK law).


From your reply I understand you didn't notice the second link, probably due to my bad formatting. Compare your analysis of the first link with what Apple states in the second. I don't understand how they can say it.


I saw the link, but I thought your issue was with the 2/6 year thing.

I still don't see any problem. Apple states that you get 1 year of "Apple" warranty, which allows you to get your product serviced by Apple, at no cost, independently of where you bought it.

Beyond that date UK law will apply, but since it applies to the seller, and not the manufacturer, they say to contact the seller (as I said in another post, a bit cheekily, since they will be also the seller in many cases).

Unless of course you buy Apple Care, that will allow the same level of service as the 1 year warranty...


Notice that this only applies to B2C transactions. Company-bought products do not have that protection.


They fixed the logic board of my 3 year old Macbook Pro. They quibbled at first, but agreed to do it free of charge after I quoted the EU legislation.


I'm confused, you quoted the 2-year support requirement and they then fixed your 3-year old laptop?


The legislation doesn't have a fixed period, it provides a vague 'reasonable use for a reasonable period of time' type clause. This was a £1700 laptop, so I had a right to expect it to last longer than 3 years, which was supported by claims on Apple's website.

Therefore, Apple either has to say "our laptops are only good for three years", or say that particular laptop was defective and fix it.


> The [EU] legislation doesn't have a fixed period.

Sure does: 2 years. http://europa.eu/youreurope/citizens/consumers/shopping/guar...


You are right! It's the UK implementation of the law that's more fuzzy.


The uk implementation is 4/5 years depending on your region.


It is possible that it could be three years old but they had purchased it new and owned it less than 2 years. Just means that particular one sat in inventory for awhile.


Some countries, including the UK, have longer requirements in national law.


Many EU countries have protections stronger than this. Eg after 2 years you might have a right to compensation proportional to expected product life.


Do you know since when it's two-years? Apple's warranty has been (still is?) only one year in Germany IIRC.


For a long time. Note that there is a difference between the manufacturer's warranty (voluntary) and the seller's warranty (two years mandatory, "Gewährleistung" in German). When Apple talks about their warranty they mean the former.

They even have a page outlining the difference: https://www.apple.com/de/legal/statutory-warranty/


"For further information please contact the seller"

It is kind of cheeky, since in most cases for Apple products, the seller is also Apple.


> If you buy an Apple laptop, and need a repair, they'll fix it if it's in warranty, regardless of where you are.

The reason I wrote that is because I've purchased multiple MacBook Airs in the US and Apple UK has always serviced them. Obviously your experiences are different.


Counter experience (but it was 2009). I bought a used white macbook from craigslist in 2008. I'm from the US, and live in the US.

Was traveling in UK, and laptop keyboard cracked - big hole in the side of the keyboard. Took it to Apple store in London - forget which one - replaced at no cost in about 3 hours.

EDIT: per goatforce5's comment, I had a bit of 'umm' and 'ahh' when I was in London. I thought it would be "out of warranty", but it was the same thing - "not sure we have any parts to fit the US keyboard". They did find one, but that was the potential hold up.


> Was traveling in UK, and laptop keyboard cracked - big hole in the side of the keyboard. Took it to Apple store in London - forget which one - replaced at no cost in about 3 hours.

Same thing happened to me (white Macbook, cracks on the keyboard). AFAIK it is a known defect from this series and Apple accredited repair shops were instructed to replace the keyboard for free no matter if the warranty was still valid or not.

It's still a good thing though, I know no other brand that would do that for free 4 years after the warranty expired (in my case).


Brick means the power adapter?

I've gotten 4 or 5 replacements, for free. I always have spares (instead of carrying them with me). So always claim "Dude, weird, I just bought this a few months ago."

Given the past drama, I think Apple just swaps them, to avoid any further bad PR.

And, frankly, these adapters should last forever. For comparison, I don't think I've ever replaced an HP or Dell adapter.


I never replaced those either, but HP adapter did melt the plastic cover on one of my laptops and I started to see the naked wiring (on the DC side). I bandaged it with some tape.


Pre MagSafe I used to see a lot of Apple laptops with gaping holes around the power adaptor from various accidents. RIP MagSafe.


> in this particular case it was even more interesting to realise how much better help I got from a non-official store.

I don't think that's an outlier. In my experience, going to an Apple Store is always more frustrating, time-consuming, and expensive (if you are buying upgrades) than going to an authorised reseller.


So, how does the reverse work? If I buy a laptop in UK with 1 year, can I go to Portugal and get service between year 1 and year 2 because they offer 2 year warranty? There may be a chance I suppose...?


Good to know. I'm about to buy an MBA in Portugal.

IIRC, there's an authorized retailer in Lisbon (Chiado). Warranty-wise, I wonder how buying one there factors in vs. getting one from anywhere that sells them new (like FNAC).


In the UK it's 5 years, so even then.


Same thing in Norway.

Mobile phones also have a 5 year warranty here as you "should expect them to last this long" according to a court ruling.


This was a HUGE issue for me. I purchased a surface 3 for my daughter before she when to China for a year of study. Halfway through the school year it started having phantom touch issues. Which can be frustrating to the point of tears... you are writing a paper, and suddenly the cursor is somewhere else magically and the input is going to the wrong paragraph or even worse, the wrong app.

I was so impressed at first at the technical support, they seemed very responsive. But the first support persons promise of help with-in days never materialized. And the number they gave us to get back in touch with them no longer worked. The second support person promised to exchange the surface. But the exchange location was in Shanghai not Beijing. A trip not possible for a teenager in a foreign country.

Time and time again they made promises which were never fulfilled. I swore MS off forever at one point. I finally figured out how to disable the touch screen so that the surface was at least usable as a laptop.

To give some MS credit they did promise to exchange the surface for a new one when she returned home. Even though it was technically out of warranty by a week at that point. By then there were strong yellow lines on the screen for some reason. Their exchange turned out to just be a repair for the touch screen (after waiting two weeks). But it was obviously the same machine because the lines where still there. Finally some strong but nice words with the manager of the MS store got them to exchange the surface that day.

Lets hope the new ones are better...


The fact they they were willi to repair an issue which cropped up and was reported under warranty is in no way special. They are only fulfilling an obligation.


This is not correct.

My employer is in New Jersey, I'm in Canada. They purchased me a Surface Pro 3 at my request, and I've never had a problem getting support directly from Microsoft, including 2 48-hour replacements.


> This is not correct.

I'm glad you had a good experience, but this does not make my poor experience or what Microsoft UK has repeatedly told me 'incorrect'.

My case number is 1378118289.


It does make this blanket statement at least somewhat incorrect:

"Support is limited to the country you purchased the device in"

But it certainly doesn't invalidate your poor experience, which sounds very frustrating.

That said, your video looks familiar. Does it go away if you disconnect and reconnect the keyboard? Every once and a while I have to do that.


It could be like HTCs support, the Vive is only supported in the region in which it was purchased, US, Europe, Asia, etc.


That sounds plausible. I've never needed support off the continent.


Maybe Microsoft Support just thinks Canada is America's hat?


This used to be called "gray market" (grey?) items. Items that are imported not through official channels (for example camera lenses that are often for sale from the bigger dealers in NYC).

There is no warranty, but the lenses are cheaper (due to currency values and the price the companies set it can be a little cheaper, but sometimes a lot cheaper). In the old days the prices in magazines for equipment where in 2 columns, US and imp (imported by us).

In your case you bought the computer overseas an brought it in yourself.

For example Nikon doesn't want you buying gray market and set up a page to try to deter people: https://www.nikonusa.com/en/nikon-store/gray-market.page

Some places that sell gray market lenses will cover the warranty for you in place of the manufacturer (probably a good bet, the if the items are well made and they have an in house repair)

https://www.photo.net/discuss/threads/would-you-buy-gray-mar...


No used to, it's still called "grey market."

https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Grey_market


Reading that page is just weird - how are US lenses different than other countries? Are other lenses made to substandard specs? In which case, what the fuck?

In this case, I just hope they want to squeeze every last dollar out of their buyers, like Hollywood does with movies.

Otherwise, regional/country-locked sales/warranties make little sense.


In some cases, they are different products. During times, when Airport cards were separate products, I got mine in the US. That was a mistake - I had to live with one channel less. Today, the Samsung Galaxy S-series phones are different in US and the rest of the world. There are many other examples.

In other cases, it is about squeezing every last dollar out of the buyers. Mostly those in UK and EU.


> - If you buy an Apple laptop, and need a repair, they'll fix it if it's in warranty, regardless of where you are.

Not true. That is only for the iPhone. The Macbook has only national warranty.


My US-bought MacBook has been fixed under warranty in the US, Canada, Thailand, and Singapore.

There are some country-specific restrictions- here in Mexico, they are unable to fix Apple products from other countries sometimes due to government restrictions; e.g., they were unable to replace my girlfriend's iPad screen at any price at the Apple Store since it was bought in the US.


Wow, how often do you break your laptop? What do you do to it?


I bought a first gen Apple product (against conventional wisdom), and seem to have gotten a lemon.

Most of the stuff was not avoidable- image retention on the screen, worn out battery, defective motherboard, etc.


Travels?


I bought a MBP in Spain and got it repaired for free in Mexico a couple of years ago.

Unless policies have changed drastically I'd say you are wrong.


my macbook that I bought in US was repaired 1 week before the end of the warranty in Italy. Not sure if it's policy or I just got lucky tho (dead monitor, and immediately after that webcam not starting -> logic board replaced, also under warranty even if the time was technically up)


I've had my USA purchased MacBook Air repaired (many, many times - I use my laptops out in the field in very rough conditions) -in both Canada and Singapore. I don't know about other countries, but those two countries honor USA warranties on the MacBook Air.


https://www.apple.com/legal/sales-support/applecare/appmacna...

> Apple reserves the right to change the method by which Apple may provide repair or replacement service to you, and your Covered Equipment’s eligibility to receive a particular method of service. Service will be limited to the options available in the country where service is requested. Service options, parts availability and response times may vary according to country.

It sounds like you can get treated differently based on where you are.


I think this is to deal with products/parts which aren't available in different regions. As some people have mentioned, getting a keyboard replaced in a different region that has different keyboards isn't possible(unless you accept the keyboard used in that country).

Similarly if your power brick dies, you can't expect an apple store to carry power bricks for all possible outlets(especially with the iPhone style bricks that don't have removable prongs).

Still sounds like you'll get supported to that countries ability to support you.


I think you're confused. I bought a Macbook in New Zealand, and had it's motherboard replaced for free in the US. Then later bought a new Macbook in the US and it serviced in Germany.


More anecdata: Authorised Apple repair shops (not Apple Stores) in Taiwan could fix my Mac, but not my iPhone for me, and they cited Apple policy.


Maybe they didn't have to do it, but I bought a Macbook Air in Korea (no official Apple stores there, strangely) and had the body repaired for free at an Apple store in Japan. The repair was minor, so maybe that was why they did it? But it certainly seemed like they were going to take care of whatever problem I had.


Definitely do not believe this to be the case.

I've travelled with Mac laptops since the Powerbook days and every single time it has been fixed in the country I was in. The warranty checks done on Apple Support make no reference to the country of purchase.


False. From the UK terms for MacBook Pro (I checked the terms from the Netherlands as well, and they are similar):

You may obtain service in the European Economic Area (EEA) countries and Switzerland without paying any shipping and handling fees. Outside this region, service options may be limited. If a given service option is not available for the Apple Product in such country, Apple or its agent shall notify you about any additional shipping and handling charges which may apply before rendering service. Shipping and handling charges will not apply in countries where Apple does maintain an Apple Retail Store or Apple Authorized Service Provider (“AASP”) (a list of current service locations is provided at locate.apple.com/uk/en).

IANAL, but basically this seems to say: (1) in the EEA you can get your support no questions asked, (2) outside the EEA you may have to pay S&H charges, unless there is an Apple Store or Reseller.


"If the product is portable, meaning that it can operate independently without a power cord, you may obtain warranty service worldwide. However, service will be limited to the options available in the country where service is requested. If the product is not portable, warranty service may be restricted to the country where the product is purchased."

https://store.apple.com/Catalog/Images/worldwidewarranty.htm...

Apple care is totally worldwide.


Your 1 and 2 options are confused:

1. Even in the EEA, you may have to pay shipping and handling.

2. Where there's no representative of Apple (and I'm not saying there should be), can you really say "Apple service is available, you just have to pay shipping"? The reality is closer to "You will have to ship it internationally". Apple isn't "doing" anything here but accepting a package in a country where they have service locations.


I've had my MacBook Pro, US bought, fixed in India. Within the 1 year warranty period. No charge! (F1 INFO SOLUTIONS & SERVICES PVT LTD) This was not an Apple Store/Center, but an Authorised Service Center.


I had a 2012 Macbook Air from Europe and it had some issues. I had no problems getting it fixed in the US. Not sure if it was because I had Apple Care.


I really love globalization. The companies just defend it when it is in their own self interest.


Indeed, Apple maintains stock of "foreign" devices (e.g. Japanese phones which use different payment hardware than US phone are in repair stock in the Palo Alto store). This can be a problem too, e.g. you move to the US with a Japanese iPhone which doesn't do Apple Pay in the States; if it breaks Apple will replace it with another Japanese phone only. I assume this reduces the sum of customer complaints (since most people with a Japanese phone in the US are tourists returning home).

As for the keyboard discussion below: when the mechanical layout is the same, or close, you can just change it from the preferences. I poured green tea into my powerbook 1400 in Tokyo; while waiting for a repair part I used it with an external Japanese keyboard set to US letter layout. I would get confused if I looked down so just typed with a blanket or jacket over my hands and it worked great. (Ironically that model was made in Japan, by Sony I believe, and was only serviceable by sending it to Japan. Since I was there I got to watch someone fix my machine while I waited).

I have gotten Applecare repair support in India where there were no Apple stores (at the time).


Another obnoxious one: Employee purchased devices will be denied warranty if you aren't that employee. I'm assuming this is to prevent people from "trading" devices or something. I got one from a friend who worked there, and they refused to even provide with an OS image much less do any repairs. The serial number was just blocked.

This is categorically not true of apple or several other brands i've gotten gear this way from.


I've heard similar stories wrt apple care coverage...


Anecdote, but my experience with Apple has been the complete opposite.


My two times dealing with Apple Care have been pretty good, but a friend had a horrible experience with them. I haven't had to deal with a warranty issue out of the country though.


I have the exact same problem with my Surface Pro 4 (among many many others that Microsoft refuses to fix).

As a pro-tip you can disable the touchscreen in device manager. Even if you do this the pencil/pen will still work on the touchscreen, but 'touch' will be disabled, so you can can still use it in a pinch but without it being a non-starter device.


I stay in India, and considered buying an iPhone on a trip to the US. But Apple India told me that US-bought iPhones may not be serviced in India, because Apple service centers in India aren't Apple-run, but franchisees.

Apparently, if there's a service center directly run by Apple, they'll service it regardless of the country.


If they ever changed the policy I could fly from Ireland to the US buy the I7/512GD SSD have a coffee and fly home all for the same price of buying it in Ireland. Currently a €584 difference in the price between the US and Ireland. Any tax minded people know if this is caused by Irish VAT or pricing structure?

Its even €60 cheaper in the UK, €50 cheaper in Germany.


I bought a Surface Book on Black Friday and returned it a week later due to the number of glitches with the pen and the GPU.

For example:

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=9XLVgpD-Dtc

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=YupJV7QPHfk


At least you could return it. Returns aren't accepted in India, even on Amazon. If you buy it, you're stuck with it.


Returns aren't accepted for Surface devices in particular?


No, returning a purchase is not a concept that exists in India, whether for electronics or clothes or other things.


That's false. I've returned a number of items to Amazon India, Myntra and other online/offline stores


Not true. See my post at https://news.ycombinator.com/item?id=14415675

Try walking into a random shop and asking if they permit returns.


That's incorrect. I returned a MacBook to Amazon.in a week ago. There was no fault with the piece I received, I just changed my mind about it. I've returned other products to Amazon too, like a phone that was slightly defective and other electronics.

I've spoken to people who sell products online on Amazon.in and other marketplaces. All of them accept returns and write off the losses on those as overhead of doing business.


That's not true.

http://www.gadgetsnow.com/tech-news/Amazon-ends-refund-polic...

http://www.amazon.in/gp/help/customer/display.html/ref=orc_h... — expand the laptop section and it says:

10 Days; Replacement only

Not eligible for return if the item is "No longer needed"

I've confirmed this with Amazon. You may have been successful, but nobody should buy a product assuming they can return it, when the policy says otherwise.


I had those same pen problems with my Surface. Never got it fixed, ended up just ditching it all together :/


Not always true, I bought a Surface Pro 3 from USA and the power brick was not working, the Microsoft branch in the Netherlands replaced the entire laptop and I live in Romania. I received the replacements one by one (separate packages for laptop, brick, pen) from Germany.


My surface book has had the same phantom tap issue in the past. It seems to be resolved now, whether by driver updates or other magic unknown to me. It hasn't happened in months now even though I'm using it about 10hrs per day.


In my case, I bought a Surface 3 via an employee discount program and it didn't come with English-capable Windows. It was a PITA, Microsoft doesn't do international as well as Apple.


Apple doesn't do this in every country, but I assume it's an attempt by both companies to prevent a type of arbitrage.


Will they not pay for shipping to the US for repair?


wow, that's crazy customer unfriendly.


Apple's kind of the exception here, really; most consumer electronics vendors won't offer international support.


Eh, is it really? How many customers does this really affect? If you're from a European country and buying in the US, odds are you're trying to avoid VAT.


I'm a so-called digital nomad and travel to a lot of different countries a year. The fact that Apple offers worldwide warranty means that I'm more likely to buy from them (even though OSX is becoming more and more buggy over the years).

I'd love to buy a surface pro but not having world wide warranty would stop me from buying it.


ah yes, let's assume the customer was just trying to dodge taxes, even better!

it's crazy, even if common, to treat your customers like shit.

it's not MS's problem of people are dodging taxes, and it should be (if they want customers) their aim to help their customers.


Or perhaps purchase a device like the studio or the book before their EU debut.


I've been using a Surface Pro 3 as my one-and-only for almost 3 years, and it really feels like time to upgrade, so I've been looking forward to this one.

My workload is probably something like 40% reading, 30% writing, 25% coding, and 5% running code, and the Surface has been a nearly ideal form factor for this.

The new "Surface Pro" ticks a lot of boxes for me:

- Supports my existing keyboard, pen, dock, and power adapter

- Improves battery life substantially

- Offers improved keyboard and pen for when I get around to it

- Fanless options

- Improved performance (not that I need much more)

Unfortunately, the configurations are weird. My ideal machine is an i5/256GB/16GB. The closest I can get is i7/512GB/16GB, which nearly doubles the cost, and requires a fan. I just don't get how they can make the floor for 16GB RAM $2200. Is there any professional workload where 8GB isn't constricting today, let alone in another 3 years? My only thought here is that maybe the RAM increases the thermal envelope enough to require the fan, but that seems unlikely, and I would still happily make that sacrifice if I didn't have to also pay for the processor and disk upgrades.

I'm going to harangue them on Twitter, and also look into clearance SP4s with 16GB.


The priciest part should be the SSD, and most people are fine with a small SSD and use the microSD for overflow. I'm similar to you, I just chose a 16GB i7 256GB model SP4 with the Alcántara keyboard, and it came in well under 2K. Super powerful and the price point well beating a comparable Mac was one of the top selling points for me.

I have storage coming out of my ears after years of collecting disks cards servers and clouds so I have no need to buy a larger SSD.

Being forced into a higher bracket would make me look around more. The clearance SP4s are a great deal right now and I'm not regretting my full-price purchase.


I've got 256GB currently, and I definitely couldn't go smaller, but it only becomes limiting every few months. 8GB RAM on the other hand, is 85% full nearly all the time, so I actively make decisions to work around that.

Enjoy your SP4!


Would you buy a 256GB device if two people are going to share it? Or pay $2200 for 512?


It might not be the absolute best, but 8GB is totally workable for a lot of dev situations, especially if you're not doing a docker-style situation.

I've recently went form 8GB to 16GB (and a processor jump) and my dev environment haven't really gotten snappier.

That said it still feels like the easiest thing they could offer in all SKUs, given the price.


I did all of 2016 as a full time webdev with 4 gigs (not on a surface pro).

Linux, a reasonably memory efficient text editor, and some chrome tab discipline is all it takes.

In end, however, Docker dependencies eventually forced my hand to upgrade.


I've got 8 in my SP3, and Chrome by itself is usually eating 3+. My development work isn't that heavy (but is very dockerized). I'm usually around 85% utilization, and then if I have a video call I may need to shut other things down. Mostly I'm just hoping to reduce the amount of trading like that I need to do.

Then there's the fact that I expect to keep it for another 3 years, and I doubt memory usage will go down.


Why would you even want to upgrade if you don't need the performance?


Well, I have found performance to be a little choppy over the last few months, but a fresh Windows install would probably help there at least some, though it wouldn't surprise me if the Creators Update isn't quite as smooth on older hardware.

Somewhat more concerning is the half dozen times in recent months where it has crashed and then had some kind of trouble starting up. Two such times I was convinced that it was the end for it, but leaving it for a while always allowed it to recover.

But mostly, battery life. SP3 wasn't a champ to start with, but I could get 4+ hours of work done easily without charging. At this point it's less than 2 hours before I'm hunting for a charger, which does change how I use the device.


Can you run Visual Studio and all other Windows apps on the Surface?


Yeah, it's running a normal version of windows.


Yes.


Their reasoning might be if you need 16GB you're probably a professional, doing professional work on the laptop. So you should be able to afford to pay more.


I think this makes sense, and is likely largely true, in terms of how companies budget for laptops.


I agree, I have had a SP3 and SP4 with the i5/256 configuration, and I'd pay more for the 16GB option...but the i7 is too expensive of a leap. I really wish they'd offer an i5/256GB/16GB RAM option. The Pro 4 is a sizable leap from the 3 (surprisingly, mostly because the 3 throttles at high temps, I think.) So an upgrade with just 8GB will probably suffice...but yeah, it would be nice.


I have the same issue with the new Surface Pro: I run some VM's for robot automations (the environment is quite strict, that's why I need a VM) and 8GB is quite limiting, while the CPU does not matter, no need for an i7. Tough luck, I will not spend $2000+ just to have enough RAM, so I use the desktop (32GB) for solid work and a cheapo' laptop for portability. Too bad :(


RAM really isn't that expensive, even if it is soldered onto the board. I wish more laptop manufacturers would make 16GB available in lower end models and have a true higher end of 64GB or more (instead of just 32GB).


From what I've heard, certain types of memory are only supported by certain CPUs/chipsets up to a certain size, and even though other types of memory are supported, those are a more power-hungry variety that laptop makers tend to avoid.

But in spirit, yes, this. The upgrade in RAM should be $80 in hardware, but I have to pay $900 for it because of the configuration options.


It's like paying $100 for effectively a 16G sd card (same chip) in ... every phone on the market effectively.


what sort of coding do you do on the spro? I'm going to be buying a new laptop / ultraportable / tablet in the near future, and I'm curious about this.

Can you comfortably run some kind of linux VM on it? What kind of external keyboard does it support? How does the display hold up in moderate lighting conditions?

For a lot of work, I've got a desktop, but I use my 2013 mbp at cafes and such. I mostly do node and frontend work, so while a strict windows dev env is feasible, I prefer linux.


Coding? All of it. C++, Node, frontend... The dense screen is great and flipping to portrait can be nice.

Keyboard? Anything USB or Bluetooth. Only one USB port, though.

Display? Pretty bright, the spec is posted if you look. Glossy, but everything is these days.

VM? Sure, it's a 2 core 4 thread processor, just order enough RAM. My i7 has Hyper-V but I don't know if that extends across all procs.


A Surface with i5 does Hyper-V nicely. The current incarnation of Docker keeps a Hyper-V VM running for Linux containers, but my understanding is it'll soon just use the kernal's Linux support.


I have a Core m3 SP4 (because fanless), and am running Hyper-V on it too, with NixOS. That said, I wasn't able to give it more than 1.5 GB RAM, and even this only after I temporarily close Firefox on the host. (Firefox starts a-OK afterwards, even with numerous tabs open.)

Some details on running NixOS in Hyper-V, in case anyone's interested: https://github.com/NixOS/nixos-hardware/blob/master/microsof...

EDIT: ah, yes: worth to note, the first specimen I bought had some kind of hardware issue; the GPU driver was crashing somewhat frequently, and the whole machine was crashing from time to time too (like, a couple times a week). Was super disheartening. Fortunately, I was able to replace it in the shop where I got it (they had a limited time offer where you could replace during the first month, no questions asked; http://x-kom.pl, just to thank them through some lip service). The replacement doesn't show such problems, fortunately (over a year already).


I'm a web dev front/back, I just use the Windows Subsystem for Linux. Works like a charm. Check out this huge comment chain from a couple weeks back on styling it: https://news.ycombinator.com/item?id=14317932


Most of what I do is python, but I've done a fair amount of JS, some PHP, Java and others, as needed.

I have run VMs on this, but 8GB RAM gets tight, so it's not something I do regularly. I do use Microsofts version of Bash on Ubuntu for things where I am more comfortable with standard linux tools.

I use the type cover for almost everything, but I've got a more traditional keyboard hooked up to my dock.

The display is excellent. It's glossy, so direct sunlight is problematic, but otherwise it gets plenty bright and looks very good to me, though I suspect my tolerance for colour inaccuracy is pretty high.


I am going to start learning Python, then eventually Django in a few weeks on a Surface. What is your overall setup for making it as painless as possible on Windows? I'd say my number 1 frustration in PC devops and I'm trying to figure out the install with the least amount of headaches.


I would recommend Python 3 for sure. I just use the installers from https://www.python.org/ and don't tend to have any problems.

I prefer lightweight tools, so I use Visual Studio Code. It won't hold your hand, but neither will it get in your way.

When working on projects, get in the habit of using virtualenvs. It's a small amount of overhead, but will save you a ton of frustration in the long run. A primer on windows:

From project directory, initialize it:

> python -m venv .env

(I put my virtualenvs in .env out of habit. Virtualenvwrapper, itself a useful addition for managing virtualenvs, puts them in your home directory, which can be fine too.)

Activate it:

> .env\Scripts\activate.bat

Use "pip" to install your dependencies. Also use "pip freeze" to record those dependencies for installations elsewhere. I'm currently following this for dependency management: https://www.kennethreitz.org/essays/a-better-pip-workflow


Is the i7 a quad-core or dual-core? Java development + a VM really needs a more power than the 13" competition can provide.


Dual-core U series. Really barely higher performance compared to the i5.


Do you actually use it in tablet mode? I always wonder how many surface pro buyers actually use it as anything but a laptop.


It goes into tablet mode for me when:

1. I write in my daily journal using the surface pen and onenote.

2. I am taking notes in onenote with the surface pen at a meetup.

3. I am writing random fiction nonsense (onenote, surface pen).

4. I am taking notes in onenote w/ pen on one side of the screen, while having chrome open on the other with one of the MOOCs I am taking.

5. I am working on Chinese or Japanese exercises in onenote w/ pen with my kindle open to an exercise book.

I play around with portrait / landscape, having the flipback extended, etc, based on mood and position.

SP3.


I use mine about 50/50.

At work it gets hauled around as a notebook for writing notes and annotating documents. If I find I need to do some more serious work, I just stand it on the table and start using the keyboard. When I get back to my desk it gets used as an ancillary laptop.

At home whether it's a laptop or tablet depends on what I'm doing. If I'm just mindlessly clicking through reddit while using it as a remote for Netflix, then I'm definitely just using it bare. If I decide I want to type out a lengthy reply to a Hacker News post or do some programming, I'll shift over to the coffee table with a keyboard.

Definitely see a lot of people that bought them with the best of intentions that don't really make full use of them. I've had my eyes on the "convertible" market for years, though, and I don't regret the purchase at all.


Anecdotally I never actually use my surface as a laptop. When it's docked I use keyboard mouse etc. When it's not I use the OSK and touch.

They keyboard cover is nice, but I find it to be an incredibly annoying add-on to what I consider a perfect form-factor.


It's a laptop* 90%+ of the time. It's a tablet when:

- Reading, watching, or gaming, particularly if I'm walking around frequently

- Taking notes (principle reason I got the Surface was my attachment to handwritten notes)

*I often use the Surface with the keyboard attached, but in positions that no ordinary laptop could support. Laying on the couch with the hinge hooked between my knees and the keyboard on my thighs, or with the hinge hooked over the steering wheel and the keyboard more or less dangling (not while driving, of course).

Even though it's a small amount of my usage, having that capability available to me means I can avoid carrying other things.


I've got a surface pro 4 and use it roughly 33% of the time in 'tablet' mode. I also have a Surface Book which I used a lot in 'clipboard' mode (reversed and folded down over the keyboard). Always when drawing, and mostly when reading.

Perhaps not surprisingly I think a pixel sense "screen" that could be paired to something like a NUC wirelessly would be a pretty awesome peripheral as well. Something I intend to build out of my SP4 when I upgrade it.


I use mine in tablet mode when watching a movie. I get the keyboard out of the way so I can angle the thing just right when on a plane or a train. I also do it when browsing my RSS feeds with NextGen Reader.


i use my SP2 primarily in tablet mode for note taking in onenote. I study part-time and all my writing and notes go in there, which are auto synced to my Desktop and Macbook. In theory i could use the Surface for everything, but then i would need to hookup external peripherals and the note taking experience would suffer with rearranging/unplugging all the time. I wonder how others solve that.


It's great for drawing/doodling/note-taking and reading books and comics in tablet mode.


One trend I am noticing is that I keep sensing a clear difference between, say, a standard iPad vs. a Surface. A standard iPad feels like a tablet appliance, whereas a Surface is a full-bore laptop in tablet form.

Mentally, whenever I hold a Surface, I don't find myself thinking of the kind of experience I expect from the iPad. I realize now there is the iPad Pro, which has more horsepower/keyboard/pen etc., but it still doesn't feel like a full laptop.

Does anyone else feel like the iPad experience is more.. I dunno, geared towards casual use and entertainment with the walled garden of apps, and Microsoft really doesn't reach/target the same market (even though they are trying)?

EDIT: I guess I am trying to say, something about this market still doesn't feel quite right.. maybe there are still options to innovate.


I think you are just channeling the tensions that exist in the market. And that is to be expected.

It is really fascinating to look at laptop and tablet and phone evolution from a distance.

Computers became "personal", and then "luggable", and then "portable", and then "laptop", and then "handheld", and then "phones." As they walked that transition computers were getting more and more powerful, but they were still shedding features as the evolved.

And then at the 'phone' endpoint of evolution they sort of 'bounced backward'. The key to that bounce was screens. First they got to be higher resolution, and then they got to be bigger (clearly testing what was more desirable). And as boundaries along size have started to settle out they have been getting back peripherals (pens, styli, and keyboards).

I feel like the current hardware has re-affirmed a couple of truths. One is that keyboards remain an accelerator for input much like bicycles accelerate walking. Very difficult to improve upon. Styli only make sense if they are at least as good as the instruments most people use and that measure of 'goodness' is sensitivity and lag. The last is that command entry is often gesture based, and while you can do it with keyboards or styli there is a certain "grace" associated with turning the page by flicking your finger rather than pressing the 'down arrow' key or the 'next' button.

The tension is that all of them, the laptop, the tablet, the phone are the "same" thing but tuned in slightly different ways.


I had really bad experience with Surface Pro 3 (lots of hardware and software issues), but I have to say this: Microsoft is trying to do the right thing here. There is no reason tablets should be dumb-down media consumption devices when they have computing power equivalent to desktop PCs of a few years ago. But to be used as real computers they must have keyboard and stylus by default and must allow to install arbitrary apps without jailbreaking and hoops.

The biggest thing that's dragging Surface down is its UI. Neither classic Windows apps, nor Metro apps are very pleasant to use on the given hardware.

I wonder what Alan Kay thinks of Surfaces compared to iPads.


Surface Pros run Windows 10, so they have the same UI as other computers. I don't see the problem?


Something that works well for a desktop with a large monitor, keyboard and mouse doesn't necessarily work well for a tablet with a relatively small touchscreen and vise versa.


Unfortunately, as far as "tablet mode" is concerned, Windows 10 is still a step back from Windows 8. Obviously Windows 8 had its problems, but the tablet UI was fantastic. W10 has gradually been getting back the W8 tablet features it dropped though, so maybe it'll get there


If the UI/UX is bad for any one or all devices it runs it, that is a problem.


It's not, there are two modes, one for tablets and one for desktops/laptops, and you can quickly switch between them.


And that's the problem. The two modes doesn't "change" (or the apps are just the properly optimized for the different modes) the apps enough so in reality, an app is either good in one mode or the other, not in both.


The primary use-case I'd imagine using with the Surface during the time I'm using it as a tablet is via the web browser. So as long as it has the web browsing UX down in tablet mode then I'd be perfectly happy with a product that switches between tablet vs laptop/desktop mode.


  > The most versatile laptop.
...that doesn't ship with a keyboard (pen isn't included either). No USB-C. 16GB RAM maximum.


They'll "give" you a USB-C dongle.

https://www.theverge.com/2017/5/23/15674254/microsoft-surfac...

> Microsoft is planning to release a dongle that will plug into the new Surface Pro and Surface Laptop devices and provide USB-C support. It’s like any dongle you’d expect, and it simply slots into the Surface connector port on the device. “If you want to charge a device with a Type-C charger, you can. If you want to put data back and forth with a Type-C peripheral, you can,” says Panay.


> “If you love Type-C, it means you love dongles,” jokes Panay. “We’re giving a dongle to people who love dongles.”

And of course I would prefer to have a magnetic charging connector over USB-C all day. Makes even more sense if your USB-C is from this very same connector.


You can also buy a $200 dock for plugging in the Surface Pro to a monitor and it has some more USB ports.

Jesus christ this is insane.


Doesn't say Thunderbolt 3 though. :/


I don't fault Microsoft for doing this, the USB-C connector is so far from being off the ground in the market, there's no reason to support it on major devices yet. Most new technologies are going wireless, you move data wirelessly, you charge wirelessly. The need for USB connectors is dying, the old USB connector is nice to have on the Surface out of sheer convenience with some legacy devices, but I only use it maybe 2 times a year.


But why not replace the display port of power with usb-c. You get a versatile port for free?


> No USB-C

What would you even plug into it? It's not like USB-C accessories are readily stocked everywhere, I'm still carrying around dongles all day for my TouchBar MBP.

If the laptop shipped with USB-C people would be whinging they need dongles, literally can't win.


Not really, if they replaced either mini-DP or the surface charging port.

I have a 4k monitor with a USB hub and it connects via USB-C. So I can just plug in one cable for power, video, keyboard and mouse. On the surface that means three cables coming out of both sides of the thing, and one of the cables going to a USB hub since there is only one USB port. But I guess you could use the dongle, assuming it supports HDMI output.

That monitor is 2 years old now, I bought it with my 2015 macbook.


What connector do you think you'll need in two years, five years, 10 years?

The transition to USB-C has begun. For most of the life of the device, you'll probably want USB-C.

I'm sure Microsoft will get to it in the next release.


> two years

USB-A.

> five years

Both—not having either will mean tons of dongles.

> 10 years?

USB-C.

[EDIT] actually the 10-year will probably be "some other stupid new connector, with USB-C dongles"


I think you are vastly underestimating how fast trends in the market come out.

USB-A was two years ago.

We're currently in the "having tons of dongles" state. In a year, it'll be 50% USB-C 50% other stuff. In 3 years, it'll be 100% USB-C, with high probability given the current market trends. Even Apple is adopting the USB-C standard. That speaks volumes to the coming trends, and how fast they're coming.


Do you mean USB-C was two years ago? I think that's the only reading that makes your comment make sense.


USB-C is already shipping on cheap desktops, a lot of smartphones, and many laptops. In two years Apple won't ship any computers with USB-A. USB-C has arrived:

http://www.bestbuy.com/site/shop/laptops-with-usb-c


Sure, but most of my USB-A stuff will still be fine in 2 years, and much of it in 5. I won't have acquired enough USB-C things in 2 years to care much about it.


Everyone buying a newly released Mac this year will only have USB-C. People buying svelte Windows PCs will be getting only USB-C. Next year's Surface will be only USB-C.

I'm guessing that many of the almost 400 million Android phones that ship this year will have USB-C. Chromebooks? They're going USB-C.

You're just telling us that you'll be happy with legacy. That's fine with me. Not everyone has to plan for the future. It's coming with or without you.


Those are host devices. My wife's and my external CD/DVD burner, USB DAC, Arduino, external hard drives, iPhone 7 Plus, two iPads, half-dozen flash USB drives, various controllers, external keyboards and mice, wireless non-Bluetooth mouse adapters, laser printer, et c., et c will mostly still be working just fine in 2 years, and all connect over USB-A. I'm guessing I'll only have one or two USB-C things by then unless I decide to drop a ton of money replacing lots of perfectly-good equipment.

[EDIT] I'd add: yeah, we have some USB-C Android phones at work. Most of them have... USB-A on the other end of the cable that came with them (there's one exception).


Why are you telling me what people have in 2017? No one is saying that USB-C is the standard now. Although in thin laptops it will be the standard this year. I'll be using my "legacy" USB stuff until it dies too.

The point is that market is starting to adopt USB-C, and everyone should be ready for the transition. I want a future port on my new computers, which will have a 5-10 year lifespan. USB-A would be nice too, but if I can only have one type, I'll take the future port.


Because the question was:

> What connector do you think you'll need in two years, five years, 10 years?

And my answers were USB-A, both, and USB-C (but probably also whatever replaces it), respectively.

Your response to my answer was to tell me that lots of host devices are shipping with USB-C, which has no effect whatsoever on my answer (which I expect is typical, even of people on HN). I thought you must not understand that a bunch of host devices supporting USB-C barely has any effect on what I'll be plugging into my computers for the next few years, since you responded that way, so I gave an (incomplete) list of my USB-A devices which will almost all still be working in 2 years, and most of them in 5, and also, incidentally, a complete list of my USB-C devices (none).

USB-A is hands-down the more useful port to me for the next few years. USB-C is a nice bonus for future-proofing but has zero immediate utility, and will still have little or none in 2 years. Just answering the question.


> so I gave an (incomplete) list of my USB-A devices which will almost all still be working in 2 years, and most of them in 5

If I'm not mistaken, save from the flash drives and non-bluetooth dongles, all of those can be converted with a simple cable switch. Wired KB+mice may unfortunately be cabled into the device but it's still practical enough to just keep an adapter on the end or there's some soldering for a cable swap to be done. Unless you plan to change all of your gear at once, you're in for such a transition anyway, one way or the other.

I have to agree with melling here, such a pricey device that I'd plan to keep for at least 5 years should have the new port.


No, the question is "why is it important that the Surface, or other laptop, ship with a USB-C port today. Asking 2, 5, and 10 was to illustrate that over most of the life of the Surface, USB-C will be preferred.

A $2000 device should have the new port.


But what things other than flash drives (Who even uses those anymore) have ports built in? I have a USB-C -> USB 3.0 mini-b cable that I use for my external hard drives that cost me about $5.


Flash drives are a necessity in some countries and some environments. In my case, a Chinese university.


There are countless flash drives that have both USB-A and -C connectors.


seriously... what do people even use usb-a for besides charging things? compatibility was crap, transition to 3.0 was crap and even the highest end computers offered limited ports - opting to keep a few 2.0s given that support for 3.0 on the device side was even weaker, big, asymetric, fragile, ...

lets just let it die and move to cables that won't need a dongle and aren't thicker than almost everything in a laptop from this generation


Mouse, headset, keyboard, gamepad, bluetooth receiver, USB sticks, and yes a phone charger.

I have no intention of replacing any of these things until they break, that could be a long, long time.


This is exactly the same things people were saying when USB 1.0 arrived, yet somehow people managed to switch.


I'm pretty sure I didn't retire the last of my ps/2, serial, and parallel port equipment until about 2010. Gameport and AT probably went out around '05-'07—until then USB saw very little use and if I'd had to pick all-USB or no-USB, I'd have chosen the latter. My ~3-4yr old unremarkable desktop motherboard still has several legacy ports. I've made no special effort to resist USB, I just haven't retired equipment if it's still useful.

USB came out it 1996. Peripherals stick around a long time.


A bit misleading. Apple was the first major manufacturer to adopt USB in 1998. It took a good 5 years before PC's started adopting them. The move to USB-C is happening much faster.

http://www.tomsguide.com/us/why-your-next-phone-or-laptop-sh...

You'll soon need adapters to use those peripherals for laptops and Surface type devices.


The day when I don't have to squint to tell the difference between the various flavours of Micro/Mini USB cannot come too soon.


Serial and parallel devices died off pretty quickly though the ports lived on for various reasons. PS/2 keyboard and mice endured a good while longer.

I've only seen the joystick port appear on sound cards, which themselves are pretty much dead, and the AT connector was all but extinct by the mid 1990s.

New motherboards seem to fall into two camps: Legacy ports of all flavours, or ridiculous numbers of USB 3.0 ports. I saw one recently with 12 USB3.0 connectors on the back.


Doesn't mean those people were wrong at the time. I was still using a serial port until 2012, still using a PS/2 keyboard until 2014. So I was right not to buy a USB-only PC in 2010, even though I've now switched to one.


I picked up a 2-pack of USB-A/USB-C adaptors on Amazon for $10. I keep them in my bag, it hasn't been a problem. If you're plugging in more than two things at a time then you'd probably benefit from a hub anyway.


on desktop, i definitely feel you.


I still want to be able to transfer data to/from my phone (S7) and my camera. I still want to use my headset. These things are going to last for several years; as such I'm not buying a laptop without USB-A any time soon.


bluetooth? wifi? the future is wireless (hopefully, imo)


I tried a bluetooth headset but it had enough extra latency to throw me off (I play rhythm games sometimes). In theory my wifi's fast enough for copying data to/from my phone, but I don't think it offers an easy way to do that (and my camera doesn't have wifi at all).


> In theory my wifi's fast enough for copying data to/from my phone

I could HotSync my Treo over Bluetooth 10 years ago and it was an effortless two-way sync with reasonably good conflict resolution.

It amazes me that nothing quite gets that right these days.


Maybe something like that would be usable for text or sound, but transferring a video over bluetooth is paniful.


WiFi is clearly the correct solution in 2017. It's just sad how this has gotten harder for users as technology has otherwise improved.


My 5250's still uses twinax to talk to the AS/400 and my VT-100 is on a DEC-432 connection to the VAX.

No. USB-C will soon dominate.


> If the laptop shipped with USB-C people would be whinging they need dongles, literally can't win.

How about multiple USB ports, say 1 USB-A and 1 USB-C?


i think we're pretty much done with USB-A given any form factor besides desktop(-replacement?) these days. I'd rather not sacrifice the space for the next 3+ years when its basically relegated to phone charging duties - and barely that given this generation of battery life.


There's a couple of docks which are quite reasonably priced, and support a couple of 1440p/4K monitors, plus a keyboard/mouse etc.

That's what I'd plug it into.


Just ship with one USB-C and one USB-A. It's not that hard to figure out.


Plus that kickstand always looked so inconvenient to me. On normal laptop I can adjust screen angle however I want. The kickstand also require a bigger surface to put it down properly. On normal laptop I am fine as long as the bottom half can fit on the table (or any flat surface), here there is need for much more space, seems very inconvenient especially when working in tight spaces like server room, car, or small coffee table.


So buy a f*cking laptop! I'm only half-kidding - but criticizing an integral part of a product, when there are multiple alternatives with exact the feature your desire is ... silly.


Well...the product GP is criticizing does bill itself, right up top, as "The most versatile laptop."


It's a throw-away marketing headline not some super-technical classification. One-click away is a comparison grid of Surface products which includes ... a laptop.


It can be the most versatile laptop without catering to all use cases.


This looks like a laptop to me! Having read your comment I imagine I have to reassess. But in my head while watching the video I was evaluating it to replace by old MacBook Pro.


It is a laptop, or at least a laptop replacement. Try the kickstand setup and see whether it's good enough for what you want to do or not. Criticising the kickstand is absolutely reasonable, but do so based on experience rather than speculation.


As some others have said, the kickstand can actually be more convenient in tight spaces (especially flights.) Most of the time, it's perfectly lap-able (typing this from a chair by my pool.)

Additionally, it has the great feature of elevating the heat source off the ground. This comes up any time I want to sit it on, for example, my couch. With my old laptop, the fan exhaust was largely getting smothered in upholstery, but with my surface pro it's sitting 6 inches above the table/couch/surface.

You can barely use it in your lap if your legs are crossed, and the keyboard can't be used if you're holding the device in mid-air. Other than that, my complaints are all about heat dispersion/generation, not the form factor.


My wife inherited my 1st generation Surface Pro after her beater HP laptop died two years ago, out of all the things I expected her to complain about the kickstand was never an issue (the touch cover pissed her off to no end though, so I bought a type cover instead).

I can see some people not digging the kickstand, but I'd say give it a try before dismissing it.


I own a SP, and I actually like the form factor, which I find much more flexible than it looks. I didn't find any condition where I can't use it.

I don't have experience on a car, but I routinely use it on my lap in the public transport, on airplanes, and on "small coffe tables", as long as I accept "90% of comfort".

Of course, the SP is a hybrid, so if the laptop form factor is a requirement (or "100% comfort"), then no hybrid is an appropriate choice (except the Surface book, which is arguably overpriced).

Regardless, it's definitely wrong to state that it needs more space; it actually needs less than a laptop, as it only needs three contact points - the kickstand, the screen bottom, and the top/lower side of the keyboard.


Honestly this is the number one reason i quit using my SP. I know a lot of people here love them, but it was just too obnoxious to use on my legs, soft surfaces, and lots of other places.

I will agree it was awesome on plane tray tables, but that was about the only "oh cool! obvious advantage!" location.

i found myself wanting a normal laptop that could hold itself up repeatedly, and kept switching back to my macbook pro


Are you saying that 16 GB isn't enough?


Yes I'm saying it's not enough. It's the same RAM that was available 4 years ago on Macbook Pro (and still not available any higher on MBP either).

It's common to run several types of server in production, these all need to be run on localhost for development purposes. Also virtual environments so server architecture can easily be scripted.

16GB works for me, but is far from ideal. I was hoping MS would one-up Apple here, but not yet.


Counter-example: I worked in ML research at one of the largest companies in the field (in the billions of predictions per day) and 16GB was more than enough to do anything I would ever do on a laptop/tablet/etc..

Furthermore, I found that solutions which couldn't be successfully worked on with <16GB RAM were basically architecturally unsound. Not being able to scale the workload on demand or control peak demand. Extra RAM just hid poor developers from their non-scalable solutions - or just increased their downtime till they got an OUT OF MEM error. The issues were only exacerbated at scale - failing even with 128+ GB in RAM.

Basically, when the difference between a dev sample and a prod sample is 3+ orders of magnitude, your ability to scale the process up/down, fail gracefully, even battery life, etc. are far more important than having large swathes of memory to fail on. Especially on the go.

If you do deal with production (big) data, you're ssh'ed in to some always-on, process-maintained hardware if only for the sake of latency and interruptions. And you better have the toolset to do it. How much memory does a terminal take?

For graphics, I understand - but then you're definitely not working on a surface pro or on the go at all really.


I'm not crunching big data in development or doing much with graphics (other than occasional faffing on some image editor). What I'm running is a lot of local servers. Each server has overhead even if you are only storing one byte of data.

ie I'm running Rails, MySQL, Elastic, Redis, Nginx, Memcached, and in some cases, multiple instances (dev, test, and multiple shards)

And then the usual OS requirements - Vim, 250 browser tabs, Slack, Hangouts, etc.

I'm sure there are all manner of optimisations and assumptions that could cut things down, but I'd rather the big manufacturers upgrade their RAM capacity every few years so I can focus on a dev environment that's a good approximation for prod.


Dev-Prod parity is probably the best reason to want the extra power, but then you're just limiting your software to the lowest common denominator between mobile computing and a server farm. At the end of the day, if you want to take advantage of the big guns, you will have to sacrifice mobility or parity and spend some good time on devOps. And even an extra 16GB won't get you around that.

Also, 250 tabs? dayum. I don't know how anyone could effectively use that many tabs. I don't think thats what browsers/laptops are designed for. My mind memory of just the tabs would be saturated long before the laptop's.


I frequently have that many tabs open because I use them as lighter one-shot bookmarks (although see onetab). Basically things that I need/want to refer back to once or twice but don't want to bookmark. So they tend to stack up until I go through them and close out the stuff I'm no longer interested in. Really I think FF/etc should probably just garbage collect most of them if they haven't been active for a few days.


> For graphics, I understand - but then you're definitely not working on a surface pro or on the go at all really.

I do work in graphics/rendering, I work on laptops often and plan to get a surface pro, 16 GBs is the most painful part of working on a laptop for sure. It is the primary reason I spend most of my day on the 128GB ram desktop whenever I'm close. But even 32GB would go a long way for me.


I'm using 13GB right now just doing some normal web/backend dev. 4GB to a Linux VM running VScode and some servers. Then add Outlook/VS/Firefox/Chrome and a bunch of other utilities and I'm there. I've only got about 40 open tabs total (few docs, few Azure, few GCP, several reading), across all browsers so I'm not going nuts on that side.


Yea... I never said you couldn't saturate the memory, just that if it saturates 16 GB easily, its a shitty architecture. you're running a 4GB VM to run an IDE inside it... and "40 tabs"? That could be anything between a couple MB and X GB depending on the content. Not really a measure of anything. Just think about how much more efficient Chrome/Google is being than you're 4GB+ VSCode (text editor) set up.


To go over 16GB right now on Intel mobile chips you need to sacrifice battery life (going from LPDDR3 to plain ol' DDR3 or 4). This will be resolved with Cannon Lake/Coffee Lake, but until then don't expect to see many ultra-thin form factor computers with >16GB.


I have a lenovo t460p which has 32 gb of this supposedly power hungry RAM and it can make it through a workday on a charge just fine. From what I can tell, the power needs of non-LP RAM are overstated.

AFAIK, the reason ultrabooks have LPDDR3 is because it is very low profile when soldered. If thin is your thing, you want LPDDR3. My t460p has a smaller footprint than a MBP, but it is as thick as a whole stack of them.


That has a 72Wh battery; the Surface Pro 4 has a 40Wh battery, and this is presumably similar. So it's a pretty big difference.

The difference between LPDDR3 and DDR3 isn't dramatic in actual operation; LPDDR3 uses about 70% of the power of DDR3.

It becomes a bigger deal when the machine is in standby, however; LPDDR3 uses 10% the power of DDR3. This would be a big deal for Apple, which also insists on using LPDDR3, and has historically sold machines with standby times measured in weeks or months. Not sure if people have particular expectations of standby times from Surface Pros, but if they're used like tablets you'd want it to be decent. Keeping the memory powered is nearly the only power used when a computer's in standby, so 10x the power usage would be a huge deal.


I have had several windows laptops with lpddr3, and the standby battery life was never that great. Windows just isn't good at managing battery in standby. I think only apple can bring up the power argument for choosing lpddr3 because it only makes a real difference in their case.


Never really used a modern Windows laptop; I remember the whole power management situation being a complete nightmare in 2001 or so, but would have assumed it'd been sorted out by now...


I agree. I don't do anything crazy, but I consider 16gb the "starting point."


RAM is lung capacity for a device, as well as longevity.

Longer device life and usefulness comes come from additional ram than a beefier processor.

Apple mentioned somewhere the 32 GB laptop jump involves dealing with a battery usage hit. While 32 GB arrives, a few vendors like Lenovo seem to have the 32 GB offering available in laptops, but not their Surface Pro clone.


I would considering it's a "pro" device. 16 should be minimum.


OK its pro, but it is also mobile. Who has a mobile device (not something that just sits at your desk all day) with 32 GB of ram?


Lenovo has laptops with 32g. HP does too. ASUS... gosh... lots of companies offer it...

What's the point of the question?

Lots of end users want a laptop with 32g.


Yes, there are workstation class laptops available for exactly that purpose. This isn't one of them.


I think the point they're trying to make is that the sort of person who wants 32 or 64 GB of RAM in their laptop (and I'm definitely in that group) also wants a fast processor and a decent graphics card. The number of people who need 32+ GB of RAM and are happy with a slow processor is probably quite small. The sort of work I'd use my Surface Pro for doesn't need more than 8GB of RAM and the sort of work I need 32+GB of RAM for I wouldn't do on a Surface Pro.


But, depending on your workload, fast enough may well be... laptop i5/i7 are pretty fast, again depending on workload... if I'm trying to simulate a tech stack, with modest data loaded, I'm the only user, so it's plenty fast, but memory can become constrained pretty quickly...

Windows overhead, Visual Studio, Linux VMs, multiple docker containers, local dynamodb, sql database, queues, etc. If you're developing locally against a workflow with a few VMs in the mix, 16gb can be an incredible constraint. I'm not trying to simulate hundreds of users, just one across a stack.


But that is probably not the usecase most people who will buy a Surface Pro for. It's a very portable device and 32GB would consume more power and probably be only bought by a very small amount of users.


Not sure... "PRO" should probably be a label for "PRO" versions of something, and 16GB should probably be a minimum in that case. Lots of people doing heavy image work or video may be better served by more than that as well. Which is well within that segment.


Thats a matter of definition. Surface Pro originally was to distinguish against the Surface RT, where it made sense. Same goes for iPad Pro which is clearly not meant in the same way you are suggesting, Macbook Pro is the same. The PRO label is meant to distinguish them against their own lower tier products. Imo the demand for 32GB RAM Laptops is pretty limited right now, which is why you usually find that in workstation laptops only. I don't know any 13" Ultrabook with 32GB to be honest.


Maybe it's limited because companies are only putting it in workstation class laptops instead of giving consumers a choice.


bingo.

the demand for 32g in a laptop was greater than the demand for a touchbar, I can tell you that.


The issue for that is kind of like the "faster horses" vs cars. In this case, however the touchbar was a half-baked interface in trade for the lack of full touch.


I think that the users who DO have that usecase (like the OP) are clamoring for a machine that is more portable. The same debate raged when the MBP was released; people want a powerful, sleek and portable workhorse that they can use for longer than 2 hours, and no one is delivering right now.


Maybe because its not easy todo with current technology ? Size, heat and power consumption all have to be balanced carefully, so you can not just stuff an i7 quad core with 32GB RAM in a tiny package and expect it to be great. Compromises have to be made. I think it's incredible what kind of processing power we can have in small packages today and it will of course move forward, but for some people it's never quick enough i guess.


How much more heat/power would 32gb vs 16b use/generate... okay, so I get 12.5 hours instead of 13... As long as it's more than 8.5 hours battery life under modest load. The RAM is very far from a big consumer of electricity in a laptop.. the screen and cpu are MUCH more of an issue there, likewise in terms of heat.


But are they ultrabooks and 13" or lower ? I can't think of any ultrabook with those dimensions and 32GB RAM.


People who needs lots of RAM usually willing to pay extra for i7 and other expensive parts, and hardware manufacturers know and exploit that.

Fortunately, there’re some ultrabooks on the market with user-upgradeable RAM. This article says Intel CPUs supports 16GB DDR3L modules since Broadwell, i.e. you should be able to install 32GB yourself: http://www.techrepublic.com/article/16-gb-so-dimm-ram-module...


Lenovo has laptops with 64g ECC.


I have the XPS 15 with 32GB ram, it's an amazing laptop.

It becomes essential once you start running VM's or Docker etc


Sure, but even if the surface pro came with 32gb of RAM (all other specs identical), would you consider trading your XPS 15 for a surface pro? We're really talking about two different market segments here.


the surface pro is more comparable to the XPS 13, which does not come with 32GB either.


Which makes it comparable to the 12" MacBook which is far from a pro device.


12" Macbook only comes with a Core M CPU and 8GB Ram max, the Surface Pro is much more capable than that, basically on Macbook Pro levels.


Depends on the exact model. The xps has an "i7" but it's pretty much just a core m with a few little extras.

Remember, this is a fanless design so thermal throttling will be insane, just like on the macbook and the xps13.


Neither the Surface Pro i7 nor the XPS13 (not talking about the 1 in 2 XPS13) are fanless. Its the same class as the Macbook Pro 13 but Kaby Lake as opposed to Skylake allows for a fanless i5 Surface Pro.


I dunno, I do all that with 16gb of RAM, and have for years.


Same. I don't get it. My machines are 16gb and have zero problems with VMs, docker. What am I missing?


I specifically bought my System76 Galago Pro (when considering it vs. the Purism Librem 13) because it can do 32GB of ram.


The space of people needing >16gb are typically looking at more fully-fledged workstations, is maybe the idea here? Not that an upgrade option wouldn't be good, it just seems a bit at odds with the surface's goals


Having a couple of idling VMs is hardly a workstation level load and 16 GB is just barely sometimes enough.


"pro", not "specialist" or "expert" device. It's still a consumer class device, just sits on the higher end of the chain.


Where is the "expert" class device for developers and SREs?


Probably not by companies by MS or Apple. They are focused on the wider, general market.


It absolutely isn't. I'm a C++ programmer working in games industry, my work machine has 64GB and all our work-issued laptops are 32GB(which is not enough to actually start local servers of our game, so doing any mobile work is quite limiting).

why does this apply here: because I can easily imagine artists using this to modify some assets and trying to run the game to see what they look like, but with 16GB of ram they won't even load the editor, much less the actual server+client combo.


Your game needs some serious work. Maybe if your developers had 4 GB RAM on their computers the constraint would benefit them.


I know you don't mean this to sound hubristic, and I hope you consider the same of me as I'm not trying to be insulting.

But I work in the same company as Gambiting, on the same game I think. And yes, loading a map that is the size of San Andreas in GTA5 (with more props) is expensive on memory.

You can't "load a region" in the editor, not because there is a design constraint but because you need to generate navigation meshes, collision systems, render objects etc before you "stream" them in, not to mention that "streaming" is a hack that is build for consoles and weak PCs and has to be optimised for to work reliably, you'd spend more time chasing bugs in your streaming than actual bugs you were working with.

So, you load the whole map, you generate your navigation mesh and run your collision detection, and then you can do mapwide things like "find breaks in the world" and other stuff.

In this case, yes, 64G is helpful, because a developers time, especially a tools programmers time who deals in very low level C++/ASM optimisations for AAA games' time is worth more than a studio full of 64G ram modules.


I am curious if you do this mapwide thing very often to debug game bugs. Cuz we all know the usual game renderer does a lot of culling optimizations like z buffer, occlusion. Maybe another approach is not doing this in realtime but rather generate frame by frame to do post-render analysis?


The main map of the game is almost 30GB on its own and is a result of work of hundreds of people - suggesting that limiting ourselves to 4GB on work machines would be "beneficial" is silly.

But hey, we're always hiring!


Who in hell does run a game server on a laptop, and outside office?

by the way the integrated graphics are real shit in this laptop, better go get a MSI or something. This PC's are clearly not for high end work, it's just Macbook Pro kind of "pro".

PD: I think if you're running the whole map on the RAM you're doing something wrong.


Which AAA game company do you work for?


Learn-Not-To-Waste-Resources Studios.


I think people are missing a point here. The game itself runs perfectly fine on a 7 year old CPU and 8GB of ram(it might run on 4GB but I haven't tested this personally). - I'd say the actual game client is optimized extremely well.

Is it really shocking that dev machines have a lot of ram?

If someone works in full frame photography or edits 4K video, do you tell them to try working on machines with 4GB of ram to see what they come up with, and how it's going to be "beneficial"?

Why would it be any different for games? When a level designer loads the entire map into editor, it's the same as loading a 4K video into Adobe Premiere - it's going to eat up your ram, and you need to have loads of it.

>>Who in hell does run a game server on a laptop, and outside office?

At E3, the answer is - literally everyone. We send one guy with a fully encrypted beefy laptop that runs all servers during the show, and he has to keep an eye on it 100% of the time. You're not going to fly a desktop over the Atlantic just for a games conference.


Well, we did that too. But yes, the standard is to slim down everything to fit on a 32G hex core workstation laptop.

Because they can travel with people and desktop computers.. kinda.. can't.


> You're not going to fly a desktop over the Atlantic just for a games conference.

Why not fly just an encrypted SSD with the game and buy desktop at the location?


I suppose that would work, but a one-time big laptop purchase that is then owned by the studio is easier to justify than buying a machine abroad(not to mention you can test that the laptop works several times before going, a brand new desktop might/might not work and people usually arrive a day or two before a conference so it's not like there's loads of time to debug problems before the big show).


With counter-terrorism, I would hope companies then have a contingency plan for governments imminently banning laptops on international flights.

With global inventories, it shouldn't be that hard for major vendors like Dell or Apple to offer an identical configuration to drop a hard drive into.


I am not sure if you are trying to be funny or if you are an arrogant prick.


Considering how long you've been here, it's really disappointing that you could bring yourself to write something like this on HN.


What he wrote was extremely arrogant. Unless he tried to be funny. I am tired of people who tell you that you are doing it all wrong after a quick look.

I work on a pretty complex system myself and every few months somebody comes in,takes a quick look and tells us we just need to use framework X and all will be easy. Guess what, we are not totally stupid and have looked at it already. And it wouldn't solve the actual problem which is that it's just a very complex thing we are doing.

First understand what people are doing before telling them they are wrong.


What's so taboo about creating things under the constraints of machines that everyday people own? The best engineers are always the most resourceful and focused.


> What's so taboo about creating things under the constraints of machines that everyday people own?

Because it's impractical, unnecessary and wasteful. There are a number of processes that by their nature require global knowledge. These are not the sorts of processes that need to be done in the client (many of them in fact are done up front precisely so that a client will not need to do them), but they are the sorts of processes that a developer will need to do if they are to be able to make a change and see its effect. Also, there are good reasons to generate assets at a higher resolution than needed in the final artifact.

Just like if you're rendering a 3d animated film you might need a more powerful machine than those who are only watching it, or if you're training a neural net, you need a more powerful system than if you're merely running it.


It's entirely unnecessary?

TEST things under the constraints of machines that people own. Multiple people have given multiple reasons why there are better ways to do things. I read another recently talking about being able to capture all the game state for debugging, too.


Maybe their stuff is extremely complex and is already optimized? Before you make such a suggestion you should be very sure that you understand the situation.


Responding to a question with a question only makes more questions


Regardless of parent's aim, that's actually a very good advice for any developer.


It reminds me of the story "The programming antihero" from an old Gamasutra article[1]

"He knew from experience that it was always impossible to cut content down to memory budgets, and that many projects had come close to failing because of it. So now, as a regular practice, he always put aside a nice block of memory to free up when it's really needed."

[1]: http://www.gamasutra.com/view/feature/132500/dirty_coding_tr...


But even if Microsoft put 64GB of RAM in the surface pro, it still wouldn't be the right machine for the job you're describing.


And if you had an eGPU?


Then you're stuck at your desk anyway, so you might as well use a desktop machine and take advantage of the additional performance and cost savings.


Being able to use the same device travelling and at your desk is really useful. Even if it were a case of only opening the actual editor at your desk and just working on emails/design docs/what-have-you while travelling, it makes for a much nicer workflow than switching devices.


I think that's kind of expected though. The game you're likely working on isn't meant to really run on a Surface either.


Well then this isn't the laptop for you. Me neither, but I'm sure e.g. web devs would be fine. Can't make a machine for everyone. Look at the form factor, obviously it's not trying to be a behemoth gaming laptop.


What's wrong with remote desktop for mobile work? Online work only, but most dev environments require internet anyway.


Doesn’t work for a game developer, or a game asset artist.

For videogames, both latency, bandwidth, and software support ain’t quite there yet.


if you need to work on assets that won't work well with 16GB of RAM then the Surface Pro is probably not the right choice.. It competes with an iPad Pro etc which don't even offer a full desktop. The surface runs a full Windows with Photoshop and Unity Game Engine if you want, and with the i7 and 16GB would run that pretty well.


What ever happened to using servers for a lot of this?


We do. But if you take an alpha build of the game to E3 or an external presentation you need to run everything locally, and usually beefy alienwares or custom-built laptops are used for this.


I would personally consider it to be sufficient, but merely being sufficient is not enough to be "the most versatile."


How many devices, with similar form-factors offer expandable ram beyond 16GB?


None, and that's the problem.


It vastly depends on your work flow. If you are like me and just using editor, browser, small LEMP stack, git, gulp, ssh and some other small tools then you are fine and 16GB is plenty but when you start doing virtualisation, docker instances, data crunching, in memory dbs etc. then suddenly 16GB doesn't look like much.


Yes, but this "laptops" are set to use cpu in burst mode. So if you run servers like docker and VMs etc (like I do on my SP4) you often hit the burst limit and the cpu throttle's right back down.

I've taken to using an external usb fan to get extra speed.


If you run servers then SP4 is not for you. Choose proper tool for your job. SP contrary to its name is not pro at all, it just looks professional but if you want to do serious work you need serious horse power.


Obviously not running prod servers on it. But for on the go development, what's wrong with using some of that 16gb to start some docker containers to work?


If I were doing all of the latter, I think I would just ssh into a real server. But, I get it is to each his own.


Yeah and slow down every time connection is a bit slower or you want to search something across whole project. Very often I am doing search trough all files directly in Sublime and I can do that because I am restricted only by throughput of my SSD and CPU.


If you're searching across a whole project, the server is footing the brunt of that. it's only sending back the results. That's not usually a lot of data, so your connection would have to be in the kilobits to be that big of a burden.


This is simply not true. If you search using external application, all the work is done locally, not server site. During the search Sublime have to open EVERY file, search for word and then close it. That's a lot of data going back and forward. Of course search can be done using server tools like grep, then the search will look just as you said, server will do all the work and then return result. There are two problems with that approach, first this is not as nice user experience as it is in Sublime, second: server (usually VPS) is in most cases slower than my dev machine, because not everybody works with multi cpu behemoths.


Either ssh into a real server, or use (or ssh into) that clunky behemoth gaming desktop I have sitting under a desk, which I sadly use way more for work than for gaming.


Have fun every time your unreliable coffee shop wifi breaks down. It quickly gets far more convenient to just connect the power cord and do everything locally.


For most people it'd be, but some people need to bring up a cluster of machines that quickly eat away that memory.


Apparently the surface connector can do usb-c through a dongle: http://m.windowscentral.com/why-no-usb-type-c-new-surface-pr...

Which, honestly, I might prefer right now since I still use mostly usb 2&3 devices.


As someone who has a bunch of SurfaceConnect devices, and still has zero USB Type-C devices but plenty of regular USB accessories...

This product wouldn't be appealing to me if they'd put Type-C on it instead of SurfaceConnect and Type-A.


> No USB-C.

I'd say that HDMI would be make the machine a lot more versatile than USB-C (or MiniDP, for that matter). Showing a few photos on a TV, using your client's projector for an unplanned demo, using an absent coworker's screen - I can't remember how often I've envied MacBook Pro Retina users for that port. It's magic.

TVs and projects are not going to switch from HDMI to USB-C either, so waiting won't solve that problem.


Heh... the current MacBook Pros only have USB-C ports, so MacBook users now similarly need display adapters until USB-C becomes common.


Will RAM capacity remain a true valid complaint until the end of time? How much power on one device do we really need in the age of cloud computing and multi-device ownership?


Developers use more memory because it's available.

Most developers seem to assume their program is the only program running on the system.

This is why my girlfriend can't have multiple browsers open. For a "demanding" workoad (IE; IntelliJ IDE, browser, mail client) windows can easily consume 15/16G already.

Personally I use a stripped down linux machine but I'm regularly over 8G, where's the future-proof option?


The way we use our machine matters along with the continual upkeep and fine tuning of our tools. It is our responsibility to not put the foot down on the gas completely all the time. The real world constraints on this machine do not seem unreasonable for me and my type of work (software, web) at this time.

Fortunately, in my arena of software we distribute work off of the computer and our programs are more piecemeal. Very few software engineers need a large amount of resources locally.


> IE; IntelliJ IDE, browser, mail client

I run all of that on a 8 GB machine, it works perfectly.


yeah it's already pricey for what it does and on top of that you get to shell out a bunch more for accessories


... and that is a pain to use on your lap.


haha... you're right. How do you call something you cannot use on your lap (even with the keyboard attachment) a laptop?


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