I love the vision of the Surface Pro with a good dock. A single device that can be docked with monitors and a real keyboard/mouse, used as a laptop or carried as a tablet would make an awesome machine. It seems they are there in principle right now but need some time to get it polished enough to be usable for most.
Too soon to count Microsoft out regardless.
I didn't expect to end up loving the SP1 so much. I'll never be able to go back to a tablet without split-screen multitasking, or to a small laptop without touchscreen and stylus input. Everything else feels incredibly rudimentary in comparison.
The first-generation SP has a good deal of flaws, but none of them have been dealbreakers for me. This is the first device I've truly loved so thoroughly, ever. It feels like it's truly pushing the envelope.
So Microsoft needs to just get it's act together and put out/fix/resolve the Desktop OS and focus the tiled OS on mobile and THEN they might be able to gain ground.
I hate to admit that this actually bothers me. It's true of all laptops, though.
That's always been a massive disapointment in USB - the fact that you can't host and draw power through the same port at the same time. Big part of the reason you don't see many docks for non-iOS devices.
I had one for an older laptop. Worked fine, but I didn't use it much just because I wasn't at my desk at home very much.
I'd much rather use a wired keyboard and mouse anyway. Every wireless one of either that I've tried has had lag and connectivity issues.
I think they know exactly where things are going to in the next five years, yet they will try their best to arrive late. Remember the MS Courier?
I believe the future is going to be a hybrid of mobile and desktop. Its already happening with the web and other OSes especially Win8 and Ubuntu (Ubuntu mobile that turns into a full fledged desktop when docked in). So technically MS is on the right track, they are just a bit too early - 70's Groovy in the mid 60's. The biggest gripe I have with them is that sometimes they make something very good and then mess up something very little in a very noticeable way. Seriously, I am starting to believe that these tiny screwups are their signature. I have the Surface Pro I and its perfect for my needs except when I am out of wifi or need directions. Just put in a GPS and 4G already. I have waited for 2 iterations now.
It was never a product, it was a concept.
This, by the way, is why it's a bad idea to show everyone your concepts. They will hold them against you for years.
Similarly, they were already working on a voice assistant called "Tell Me" even before Siri was introduced by Apple .
A lot of people think MS doesn't come up with great ideas but its quite the opposite. They just fail to execute it in a timely manner or require a few iterations to get it perfect.
Even Apple is running into this - Siri requires a rock solid Wireless connection, without it, Siri no longer works, which kind of defeats the purpose of a mobile voice assistant.
That thing had two screens. How much would it have weighed? What would the battery life have been like? How much would it have cost.
These things matter.
The technology when they 'announced' it was one thing, I'm not sure that we have the technology today to make the Courier practical. Getting it thin and light enough at that size, but keeping good battery life would be a real challenge.
It was introduced before the iPad product -- but not before the iPad concept, which Apple was working on far before the iPhone's introduction.
The Courrier (shown in 2008) was actually a PR envisioning of what the rumored Apple tablet will be. And, as something that came out after the iPhone, it wasn't that hard to think of.
Heck, Apple had similar concepts from the nineties even -- including the "voice assistant" thing, but I don't think those count. Execution and brinding a solid offering to market counts.
You nailed it, it's kinda like when a Windows version came out. 2000 and Millenium were bad. XP was great. Vista was bad, SP1 was better and SP2 was great. People just remember Vista without the SP's. Windows 7 was what i needed, but that seemed like SP3 for Vista, only they named it Windows 7.
Then you have Windows 8, which will probably go a similar way like Vista did.
(Actually the more likely explanation is that the 2000-using XP-haters and the XP-using Vista-haters are not the same people. Maybe the former group gave up and no longer cares about Windows.)
And Microsoft was trying to push a tablet YEARS before the iPad came along and wowed everyone. They just did it really, really badly and didn't market their efforts well. Kind of like what is happening with Windows 8. If history repeats itself, Apple or Google or Someone New will come along, present the public with the SAME CONCEPT as Windows 8 but do it right and everyone will again claim Microsoft was late to the party. They've never had a lack of vision, but always have had problems with execution.
I've actually been googling "penny-arcade surface pro 3" waiting for this review. And please, please don't tell me about the iPad's wonderful art apps. My feature request became the first commit when Inkpad (easily the best iPad vector drawing app) went open source. Give me a computer with the input resolution of 0.3 mm pencil, or 0.05 mm pen, on high quality paper. I actually use pens under a microscope. Input resolution, Apple. Do you hear me?
I think Microsoft has winning hardware in this machine. Can I load Ubuntu?
Every now and then I think about buying the Android version since it can also be used as an actual Cintiq, unlike the Win 8 one.
She spent about a month arguing with them and not being able to use the device because she couldn't charge it. They kept saying it was a software issue and to reinstall, even though she could wiggle the power adapter and get it to connect.
Other than that, the hardware is good, much better than the Surface from an artist perspective (and several of our artists have shelled out over two grand for a Companion after seeing hers, and none have bought a Surface).
What kind of apps do they use for Android when drawing with it?
That is a very, very generous description of Windows 8.
edit: it is amusing to me that THIS is the first comment I've made that some clique decided to go medieval on.
I avoided it like the plague when it was first released mainly due to the lack of start menu but between the 8.1 update and classic shell maturing a bit, I basically see it as a faster Windows 7 (especially start up on an SSD). I have some minor complaints but so long as I never have to enter the metro UI I've been pretty happy with it overall.
I keep discovering new ones, I think in part due to the 8.1 update. Perhaps that's not why, it's hard to say. This is all a purely negative process for me: trying to keep the PC from doing something I don't want it to do. Apparently driver writers and Microsoft don't want to give you an official "make this trackpad not act stupid" option, either, last I checked.
As for the learning curve, have you ever seen a lifetime Windows user try someone else's Mac? Hot Corners drive them absolutely crazy, or they will accidentally pinch to zoom or they will scroll by mistake and not realize whats happening. There is always a learning curve, even in the most user friendly operating systems like iOS. And what actual computer do you have? The problem is people use a $400 Dell and then compare it to a $2000 Retina or $1200 Air. The Surface Pro 3 is a premium Apple like device, and what do you know, early reviews from places like The Verge say its the best possible Windows 8 experience. My Mac and my PC cost about the same, and I love each of them for different reasons. Each OS has its own pros and cons.
As for metro, what are you doing that causes Metro to show up? On my desktop, I have almost never seen it since 8.1 came out. Once you enable boot to desktop and pin your most widely used programs to the taskbar, the only time it ever shows up is when you are looking for a rarely used program. Even then it is actually pretty good when you think of it as nothing more than an advanced start menu replacement. And in the next update MS is making an option to do just that: http://www.pcworld.com/article/2138443/rejoice-the-start-men.... The real problem is Windows doesn't automatically detect what hardware is connected and change the settings to ones like these automatically.
When I use my right index finger to move the cursor around, if my palm nudges the palm rest, it usually activates some kind of gesture that switches to Metro.
If I use my right index finger to move the cursor around and my left index finger or thumb to click, then that activates some gesture that switches to metro.
If I'm typing and my palms touch the mousepad, that activates some gesture that switches to metro.
If you've never seen it once on your desktop, I would guess that it's because you don't have a touchpad that lets Windows interpret random touches as a "go to metro now!" command.
The surface would, of course, need to work well without a mouse. Perhaps the pen could be used as a pointing device in desktop mode as well?
>As for metro, what are you doing that causes Metro to show up?
There are various gestures (in my case, quite literally always made by mistake) a person can make on the trackpad that cause random metro behavior. Swiping from the side or top and so on, very easy to do with a large trackpad by mistake.
Your comments about lenovo are off base in this instance. The problem with the trackpad is that it's working as Microsoft intended.
Doesn't bring anything up at all on my Lenovo with 8.1. The option doesn't seem to be in PC settings either. Tried searching on "touchpad" as well. Let's see...
Your mentioning that this now exists did inspire me to dig a little more... the setting I needed was buried in the Lenovo-specific "thinkpad" tab under mouse properties: "enable gestures" on the OLD control panel.
Searching on "swiping" instead in the manner you described wouldn't actually help anyone. This setting lives in old-control-panel land and the metro screen's search only searches new-control-panel land, apparently. It's hard to know who to blame for such a thing: lenovo for using the old-school panel for its custom trackpad settings and messing with the default behavior, or MSFT for splitting settings across two completely different paradigms.
edit: just to be clear, I double checked Settings -> Change PC Settings -> PC and Devices -> Mouse and Touchpad settings and there is absolutely not a "Choose to allow swiping from touchpad edges" option there.
However the search should definitely include old style control panel options as well as the new. Again, it does for both my Surface and my Dell (it's a lot slower on the Dell since it doesn't have a SSD, but instantaneous on the Surface).
What can I say? Possibly this search was broken by whoever decided pdf and txt file searching should stop working properly for no apparent reason.
It's not all completely grim with this Lenovo laptop, though. You can replace the CD-ROM drive with a second SSD, so I'm also running Linux. :)
But you can also find it the long way:
Settings -> Change PC Settings -> PC and Devices -> Mouse and Touchpad settings
Which is a deep but logical hierarchy, IMO.
Definitely check out classic shell if you haven't yet, I wouldn't be using Win8 if it didn't exist. Also you'll find plenty of guides to turning off charm bars/ gestures/hot corners and whatever other UI trickery Windows 8 brought us.
It really is the touchpad for me that's the huge annoyance, and dealing with the UI to make wifi work properly, which I guess is a Metro gripe. The last time I checked, the touchpad thing required registry tweaking and positive results were not at all guaranteed. Whoever decided that the touchpad, of all things, should sorta-kinda try to incorporate the same gestures as the touchscreen (maybe? I have a touchscreen but barely use it) was probably guilty of huffing gasoline.
Also, yeah, retaliatory downvoting. Yay.
Not to mention UI lags. 2014 and GUI is lagging. Someone needs to get shot.
It isn't surprising it has issues; the Surface line is a little less than 2 years old.
The iPhone wasn't polished from day one; it took them a few years too. I don't think it was until the end of the 3G, somewhere around the iPhone 4, where the iPhone was generally accepted as a well-polished product. Which, I might add, was a timespan of ~3 years.
I'm running my lenovo win Win8 dual monitor on the 1377x768 & 2560x1440 external monitor and I don't see any UI lag. This is on an older Intel HD3000 integrated chip.
My 13" MBP from the same time lags even if I'm using just the built in screen.
To ship a flagship that lags is unacceptable.
(NB: I know the age of my technology is part of the issue. Bought it in early 2011, had it replaced under warranty after 23 months in 2013, have only just started to feel the problem so hoping it lasts until the 6 is released.)
Maybe it should be a rule that these folks below post their own product for review. Hopefully they have something significant that can be open to critique.
Of course, that would not be too much fun.
- nivla: "Seriously, I am starting to believe that these tiny screwups are their signature."
- rasz_pl: "...rock solid product.. notice the number 3 in the name of said product? and still not good enough. Not to mention UI lags. 2014 and GUI is lagging. Someone needs to get shot."
- justin66 "> Windows 8 tries to be too many things at once
That is a very, very generous description of Windows 8."
- jodrellblank: "2014, Intel Core i5, SSD and stutters when 'browsing files' in PS. shakes head"
- carlio: "I feel a little cynical by saying this, but does Microsoft really care about artists as much as they care about the audience they're reaching via Penny Arcade?"
- enraged_camel: "It's the execution that is lacking significantly. I've always said that Microsoft is really, really good at engineering, and really, really bad at UX and usability. After reading Gabe's review, I'm disappointed that this is still the case."
[EDIT: Software to "product" + line breaks]
Sometimes its better to not do something unless you can do it right. E.g. Surface RT shouldn't have shipped without a final version of Office. It featured prominently in every rewview, and almost nobody went back and updated theirs. E.g. Surface Pro shouldn't have shipped without Haswell. E.g. Surface Pro 2 shouldn't have shipped without the major firmware update that improved battery life by 20%. E.g. Apple has wisely avoided shipping a Retina MBA because they can't do it yet without regressing battery life.
Microsoft is playing in Apple's price range, and is late to the game. What it lacks is Apple's ability to take on limited ambitious, but (usually) execute those without major flaws.
[Edit] My intent is not to be facetious. What I'm seeing (and I may well be wrong, it wouldn't be the first time) is consistency bias - our compulsive desire to be consistent with past decisions. If I have an iPad then the iPad must be good and the Surface must be bad.
Not to mention the original intent to not support native 3rd party apps at all.
Having said that, Microsoft really did fuck up with the Metro (or whatever it is called now) rollout in stupidly trying to apply the same basic UI to everything despite the fact that it only works really well on touch-centric devices. And they've been stumbling a bit with hardware.. I'm not a Surface user but I do have an Xbox One and it is pretty disappointing compared to the PS4 (YMMV if you care about the live tv stuff, but as a "cord-cutter" I don't).
These slips really fucked up the user experience on desktops, laptops (via Windows 8) and consoles (the Xbox One console UX is in quite a lot of ways vastly inferior to the UX on the Xbox 360 and the primary reason seems to be to allow it to be yet another Metro platform).
However, there are pretty strong signals that the new leadership realizes this was a mistake and they are now attempting to fix it. It is way too soon to write Microsoft off as a major platform player.
Is there any support for this claim? The original developer story was to write web apps, sure, but how are we to know what the original intent was? It seems more likely that they were keeping their cards close to their chest while quietly polishing the SDK into a shippable condition.
It will have gotten the product out the door much, much faster than if they made it battle-hardened against third parties from day one.
It's worth noting that the SDK was released just nine months after product launch and the full app store experience came within twelve months of launch. For a 1.0 release, the SDK was quite polished and surprisingly well documented -- hardly the product of a last minute change of heart.
For future reference: Hacker News is only for the Android fanboys.
The difference is that Microsoft is late to the game. Surface isn't trying to compete with the 2006 iPhone that has no copy/paste. It's trying to compete with 2014 Apple and Android devices whose historical flaws have already had time to be polished out.
On the other hand Office was basically the reason to buy an MS tablet; and they didn't have it ready.
Office was their main differentiator in your eyes, other people might have different priorities to which the designers must also cater. Keep in your mind they had to get right on the first try everything their concurrents developed throughout years (including copy/paste), the sole fact they did this to some degree is an example of competency.
The pen/x86 processor were, to me, the main selling points of surface pro. I did not see any reason to own a RT. Later I bought a Samsung Note that, although wasn't everything I wanted, was at the right price range for what it offered.
Its also worth noting, with regard to the Apple comparison, that "copy/paste" wasn't a central selling feature of iPhone, whereas "it runs Office" was a central selling feature of Surface, including RT.
The new Surface is being introduced into a very different market. Is it a new type of product altogether, like the first rudimentary iPhones were? If so, it had better be able to fulfill a lot of unsatisfied market demand, like the iPhone did, or it will languish forever in its niche.
If not -- if we're supposed to judge it as a replacement for existing laptops, tablets, or both -- then the required features and performance characteristics are very well understood, and Microsoft has no excuses if they fail to meet those requirements. Their failure to engage with graphic artists and other key users at the design phase was clearly a bad move.
I think the Surface sounds great personally; and it has a very good shot at being my next laptop.
In fact, now that W8 has made me used to combining productivity and touch in a single device I've found that I dislike using all non-touch PC's, including apple's.
It's great that you find W8 to be the best of both worlds. But you are the anomaly right now. And for me personally I like having two devices dedicated to what they do best, "work" and "play". I think Apple may just too.
Touting the HN echo chamber in the context of the Surface is hard to take in good faith. Frustrated Surface engineers? As someone who waited in line on launch day and returned their Surface within a week, how about frustrated Surface customers? After reading a review where the device sounds like a strong step back and was developed in isolation without customer feedback, I think your sympathies are misplaced.
Seriously, the Surface is a great move. Aside from the whole Pro / RT naming thing, of course (confusing customers is not good).
The Surface is, AFAIK, the only good tablet PC out there - it's a real flagship product for Wintel tablets. The OEMs will eventually beat MS on value, but I suspect Microsoft will be OK with that. Microsoft can afford to take a loss creating the market for Windows 8 tablets, and won't be upset if other OEMs start competing in the space - they'll then make money on software sales.
MS needs tablet PCs to be a thing. Tablets are a thing - people love tablets. People will either choose between a laptop and a tablet, or just a tablet that can also run Office. If there's good Windows tablets, people will tend to go with that. As Intel improves mobile x86 chips, the choice will be even easier.
Microsoft does not want everyone using Android / iOS tablet, because then the software ecosystem will move to iOS / Android apps (as it is already doing).
Whether Microsoft should have made the hardware itself, or let OEMs do it is a good question, but I think they were right to do it themselves. Just look at what the competition has been like - every other Windows tablet I've seen (not a huge sample) has been pitiful - ugly and either not portable enough, or grossly underpowered.
Also, making Surface probably gives them the institutional knowledge to make Windows better for tablets.
MS accept (now) that its going to be a niche product but are OK with that because it leaves space for the OEMs
I've been using tablets since the early 1990's when Toshiba had the Windows 3.1 based pen tablets using MS-DOS 5.0 with the option for MS-OS/2 1.21 if you wanted it.
Also, it goes without saying that if you want to submit any criticism to this comment, you'll have to submit a full resume, a short fugue, and run a marathon backwards.
edit: Heh, I might have gone a bit over the top. On-topic: SP3 is a seriously impressive piece of work and I sense great things coming from Microsoft under Satya's reign (if only they would start properly leveraging their wonderful MSR).
My observation was that a single glitch is seen as some sort of disaster, when in reality is a simple issue in one scenario that clearly was not prioritized over many other scenarios. Anybody knows there are constraints in design, and clearly they decided one thing over another.
We can all be arm chair generals, but my focus is on the engineers themselves who must be frustrated that their work is generalized as a global failure because "it's Microsoft."
In fact some of the best reviews I've seen of the Surface, such as Penny Arcade's, we're so happy with the precisely because of the ability to draw.
Given that that's one of their standout features, it seems odd that they would make such a big mistake with it. From the description it sounds like something that anyone who used the Surface for drawing for more than a short amount of time would've run into. It also sounds frustrating enough that it might ruin the usefulness of the tablet for precisely the kind of people who might of bought it.
That makes the regression seem very strange.
The thing is, the engineers KNOW all the stuff we're talking about, and the products ship anyway. I bet they're frustrated for reasons a little deeper than an HN "shakes head" comment.
>Maybe it should be a rule that these folks below post their own product for review.
Umm... that is exactly what I am doing. I own a Surface Pro 1 and I had a genuine criticism about it. From my previous comments you can easily deduce that I am far from echo chambers of MS bashing. However that does not mean I can't criticize the products I own, like and have experience with. If I din't it will make me a blind fanboy and trust me I have been on that path before and it doesn't have any merits.
MS like every other company has its strength and weaknesses and genuine criticisms will only help them improve their product line and keep them motivated.
Most of the time they do have the right idea but it gives out the vibe that they rather do the trial and error than learn from their competitors success and mistakes.
They could have taken 5 minutes, given the prototype to an artist and noticed the hand placement issue immediately.
You can be an apologist if you wish, but I don't know how you can excuse such a glaring failure of design.
In the resulting bashing and crowd pleasing "this sux" comments, there will be a few people who WANT to love the product but just can't, and are willing to explain exactly why. Those are the people you latch on to, give free products to, and pick their brains for their insight so that you can iterate better on your next version.
And that's exactly what Microsoft is doing. This is the correct strategy.
People like to take something that exists, take the problems it solves as a given, and act like all that's left is fixing the problems remaining. That's not how it works.
The process and consideration outlined is certainly in-line with my own experiences at Microsoft.
What a crock of bullshit.
I believe that Scott Jenson put it best in 'Why Mobile Apps Must Die'- http://vimeo.com/33692624
The problem with native apps is the installation barrier- if I had apps installed to do everything that I'd love my phone to do, I'd be overwhelmed with hundreds of apps installed. Web-based apps have the potential to slip in and out of use as necessary, with more applicable discovery mechanisms (geo, proximity, etc).
Also, Microsoft made a huge mistake keeping the 4400 GPU. It was already slow for the 1080p Surface Pro 2. And they kept it for Surface Pro 3, which has even higher resolution. By comparison, the Macbook Air comes with a much faster Intel HD 5000 GPU, and it has a much lower resolution.
edit: below: "Core i7 version is the i7-4650U model, with HD5000 graphics."
Does Microsoft have an internal culture that discourages criticism, which results in criticism from the outside world catching Microsoft employees by surprise?
Frankly, I don't think my friends who work on Windows Phone realize that it's a failure. When I last talked to former coworkers from Windows 8, they didn't think it was a failure.
You do have a fair "design process" question.
Negativity is wrapping paper on the gift of feedback - it is to be torn off and thrown away, because it has no value.
Most of the negative comments in the article can be distilled into a single phrase: they don't use their own product. Otherwise, for instance, the button that dumps you back to the desktop wouldn't work the way it does, be placed where it is, or be so difficult to disable. (You could say much the same of Metro as a whole, but that's not germane here.)
Failure to eat your own dog food is a mortal sin in this business.
In MSFT, engineers (and pretty much all other employees) are sheltered from the criticisms of the outside world.
I think that is one of the reasons they struggle. They're not plugged into what the rest of the world thinks.
MSFT is weird, they do something rad, like the Xbox and 360, and totally fuck it up with the XboxOne. They take a mediocre product like Excel, and make it rad (seriously I love Excel 2013). Then they take Office2013, and make it stupid with Office365 (You can't install a single Office 365 product. You have to install the entire fuggen suite...).
Windows 8 was a really cool idea, but I'm not sure how they managed to get so many people pissed about it.
I think a fanboy would have called out (listed) every single criticism in the thread, not just the ones I called out as not adding to the conversation, as defined by me somewhere else in this thread.
I am looking into whether a Surface could extend my Mac, iMac, iPad, Windows Server and Windows 7 (no Android yet :( collection.
Instead of being a tattletale (of dubious quality), respond to comments you find egregious and lead by example (unless they're trolls, then simply downvote and then ignore them).
However, I once chose to work at that company, have continued to choose to work there, and I get paid for it every month. Who am I to tell anybody how to criticise my work? I'm a professional, and being able to tolerate even harsh criticism is part of what I think is professional integrity.
There will always be a class of people who will stick with Windows and they don't/won't care about Linux compatibility anyway. So nothing to lose there.
Then there is the un-captured "technical/Linux user" segment to whom they can sell Surface so thats more devices sold. Unless they are making a loss on the device just to push Windows - even then, at least this segment would appreciate the quality of the device (and this segment tends to care about/be more loyal to quality) which is the kind of impression you want to make on people. If nothing else, that is a good to have thing for future devices.
Basically, Scott Kurtz found that the stylus lag on every tablet was so bad that he ended up using his Wacom Cintiq, which requires a wall-outlet.
I just brought it up because Krahulik is one of the louder cheerleaders of the Surface Pro line, and so one of his colleagues in the same field that disagrees is worth reading too, even if that article is now a bit dated with the launch of the SP3.
Details in Ed Bott's article: http://www.zdnet.com/which-cpus-will-you-find-in-the-surface...
Link to Intel specs: http://ark.intel.com/products/75114/Intel-Core-i7-4650U-Proc...
Frankly, I have Apple everything, because it works for me. My family use a lot of Windows and Microsoft products, because it works for them.
At the end of the day, these are tools, not lifestyles. I think we'd all do well to remember that you are not your gadgets...
Me, I'm trying to break into 3D design in my "spare time" and I need either a Wacom Cintiq or one of these Surface Pros for painting on 3d textures in applications such as Substance Painter. I am undecided. The Cintiq looks really nice as a permanent workstation tool, but relies on a computer to run the application. Perhaps I need to accept that what I am wishing for is merely an input device for my main computer, rather than a completely separate computer.
But like the MacBook Air, three generations in, and it looks like this is going to be Microsoft's Hail Mary.
I preordered one.
I'm still waiting for my 2 and I'm not convinced. I'm going to try to "upgrade" from a 12" ThinkPad X series and I really liked that the screen size is smaller. All the other changes don't necessarily feel like an upgrade to me, too.
I'm really not against the whole idea of a Windows tablet, but if the keyboard is that important...just make a keyboard that handles the weight of the screen. In fact, the keyboard I bought for my mother-in-law's iPad does that just fine (minus the variable-angle) so I'd still rather have the iPad or Android tablets. Or a well-executed ultrabook. Easier for working on the couch/plane/train etc.
Still, I'll forward this article to an artist friend. It looks great for a drawing tablet and maybe it'll work for him.
I'll definitely try out the SP3, and I'm still trying to get my hands on a Samsung Note Pro (12" tab). The screen is what I crave, a 12" 3:2 aspect ratio screen with 2160 x 1440 feels pretty close to ideal in this form factor.
Now I use the "hunk of plastic" as a tilting platform to let the laptop vent exhale easier.
On tablets and small devices it's even worse. There's a reason why Apple used 4:3 on the iPod -- it's because they're actually thoughtful and pay a lot of attention to the design and use cases of their products, unlike Samsung and others who simply slap together whatever's cheaper (AFAIK 16:9 panels are more cost effective for them) and shove it at consumers.
I have tried every Surface tablet and I don't like them. Just my opinion. I got a Nook HD+ that works better and cost less, and will sell it now that Nook tablets are not updated anymore and maybe buy a Kindle HDX to replace it. Even the Android tablets are more responsive.
My son has an iPad that is faster as well and it is only an iPad 3.
We can get pens for them that draw art and cartoons.
Just my opinion, the Surface could work better for others in different things. But for me and my son, we chose a different tablet due to the Surface being sluggish and locking up at times when we demoed it at the Microsoft store.
I'm curious because that's a feature that can be the deciding factor for me.
Pressure sensitive stylus:
From what I know all iPads and Android tablets have pressure sensitive apps and touch screens and you can buy a stylus that supports it as well.
My son draws for school on both the iPad and Nook. We don't seem to have any issues nor do we need Photoshop and other expensive software.
There are attachable bluetooth keyboards for Android and iPad tablets that work better than the Surface ones. I don't know why people seem to think that only Surface has an attachable keyboard and stand?
I mean these features were standard and options standard with iOS and Android before the Surface tablets marketed them as exclusive to the Surface series only.
For iPad devices go to an Apple store.
For Android tablets some of the mobile carriers might be able to demo them for you.
Don't take my word for it, what my son and I like might not meet your standards. Look for yourself, but don't think that only the Surface has those features.
I've an Asus Transformer Prime TF201. Runs Android. Nice enough for certain kinds of drawing, but no pressure-sensitive screen.
Perhaps now they all have this, but it wasn't standard a few years ago.
Markers looks like an interesting hack; I will give that a try.
I've yet to find an Android drawing program that gets everything right though.
What makes the Surface 3 so appealing is that I've already some Windows apps I'm happy with for Wacom-driven drawing. Running those on a tablet would be ideal.
For those looking for more of a working "Tablet", well, maybe it's a different story.
The pen is great, I use it to sketch up stuff in OneNote like I would in my regular notebook.
I connect it to an external display and use a Bluetooth keyboard and mouse at work, and I confuse people by running a fullscreen mintty.exe with terminal vim in my linux VM.
The stand is why I bought it over a Dell Venue or a Lenovo Helix (even though I think the Helix is the best offering).
It's a brilliant machine. I sold my Macbook Air 11" to buy it too! I sure hope Apple make something like this one day that runs proper OS X :)
that said, i'm still anxious to a tablet with a decent perf/battery life and a good pen. tired of only consuming content on tablets. and i'm sure a keyboard is not feasible anytime soon. while i could already code with my palm custom pen input... albeit painfully, it was less painful then any apple soft keyboard.
I stand corrected.
I feel a little cynical by saying this, but does Microsoft really care about artists as much as they care about the audience they're reaching via Penny Arcade?
Yeah, Microsoft really cares about artists. They absolutely want people creating digital art to be doing so on the Surface.
The types of issues Gabe describes could have been resolved if they had actual artists test the product before it was released. The drawing hand accidentally brushing against the Windows button and kicking the user out to the desktop? Please. This type of stuff is extremely trivial to discover with proper usability testing during development. (Heck, they didn't even have to release the prototypes to the public. I'm sure they have plenty of in-house people who do their drawing on tablets.)
I've always said that Microsoft is really, really good at engineering, and really, really bad at UX and usability. After reading Gabe's review, I'm disappointed that this is still the case.
We can certainly do better then the hunt and peck iOS keyboard or the quicker but often guessing wrong swipe-style Android keyboard.
MS is aiming clearly for the business customer here and things like these are more for the warehouse worker or management annotating something in OneNote or Word, than for the digital artist, but they obvious benefit as well. Why can't we have more win-win situations instead of more narrow use case wins that iOS and Android provide?
MS got ahead by appealing to a broad range of needs, users, and by playing ball with as many people as they possibly can. Sure, that got us the kitchen-sink like Win8, but I imagine Win8.3 or Win9 will have solve a lot of those issues. Ironically, MS has become the 'friendly' software vendor. Watching MS on the ropes is kinda fascinating. You can see them try desperate things, fail, regroup, etc. They're dying to make everyone happy, because of the success of iOS and Android have had with more narrow requirements. Why beat Apple and Google at their game when you can win your own game?
I kinda see the success of the tablet right now similiar to the success of the PDA device in the 90s. Everyone had one, we kinda enjoyed them, then someone asked, "Why can't these things be web browers? Why can't they also be phones? Why can't they also have wireless email?" Then the idea of a portable PDA that wasn't a phone died almost overnight with the success of the Blackberry and Windows Mobile. Now we're asking, "Why can't my tablet do all the things my laptop can? Why can't I have a kick-ass pen with this? Why doesn't it recognize my hand-writing? Why can't I just dock it and use it as a computer with no compromises? Why can't it run Photoshop or Office in full?"
And really, this is one of the reason's PA has the clout they do. They are rather blunt about the things they do and don't like. And many people trust their judgement. Even agree with it.
Now, if you were worried that they could just bribe him, that would be one thing. But, they are keeping him happy by having a product he likes using. That is huge.
How ironic: Apple in boardrooms and Microsoft for artists...
Designers and artists like Apple because it's well-designed and snappy, but not because it has any art-specific features. MS hopes to take this market and get a proven-important early-adopter market for their new tablet/laptop hybrids.
This would also be an example of MS improving its touch in terms of attempting to persuade people about Surface. Rather than just repeating over and over about how great [tabletX] is and how a celebrity they've paid to endorse it just loves it (see HP's disastrous TV campaigns for their tablets), they're letting an influential guy use it, review it, and criticize it publicly. The critical bits are what make it more effective as commercial messaging for MS' particular purposes at this moment.
If Gabe were shilling they would pay him directly to shill and it would be marked as an ad (which PA has done many times before for many companies). In this case, that's probably not happening.
The digitizer on the Surface is one of the undeniable advantages it has over an iPad for some workflows.
And Gabe's write-ups always seem very honest to me.
Why do people say stuff like this? You know what scares the hell out of me? Getting mauled by a bear.
Why do people say stuff like this? You know what scares the hell out of me? Getting mauled by two bears.