As I mentioned before, I decided to get myself a new Surface pro 4 tablet. And since today it finally arrived, I thought I share with you few first impressions, and why I actually bought it.
This is my third tablet, after an Ipad 2 and a Nexus 7 2013. My main reason to have a tablet, is that I don’t like to cary a laptop with me when I’m traveling. So over the years I tried using iOS and Android, but not really to my satisfactions. The limitations on what one can do on those devices is just too much to handle. Even trying a simple tasks, like creating a new blog post, was just too much. Copy/paste without a mouse is just so strange and slow. And of course, not being able to have Lightroom and Photoshop is quite a big problem.
So when I seen the first Surface Pro, I knew I want one. Of course due to the availability outside US and some money constraints, I got one only now, in the 4th generations. But always better late then newer.
So let’s take a look at my first impressions after few hours of use.
I went here for the midrange model, with the Intel i5 processor, 8gb of RAM and 256gb ssd drive. I wold have been probably OK also with a slower version, but I really wanted the 8gb of ram for Photoshop.
The Surface pro 4 looks great. A bit heavier than I would though, but the metal build screams quality. The stand is nice and sturdy, so it does not wobble at all. Having no need for a dedicated tablet stand makes having it on the table so easy. The magnets on the pen and the power connector are crazy strong. When I attach the pen, it feels it it suck it out from my hand :)
The high resolution screen is just beautiful. Very colorful and very bright. I did notice a slight light leak on the bottom edge, but it’s very minimal and only visible during the boot, when the whole screen is black. One thing I learned from my LG monitor is, that a small light leak has no effect on the usage of a device. One forgets about it very quickly (also, I seen few articles, that all IPS screens suffer from this problem).
I’m not used to using a pen on a tablet, so it’s a bit strange for me. Does not completely feel like a normal pen on a paper. Still, it works fine, I haven’t seen any noticeable lag in OneNote or Photoshop.
The Surface got warmer while I tested it, but not really hot. The only time until now I heard the fan, was when I was performing windows update. Still, it’s quite quiet, and I had to turn of all the other sounds in the room to hear it at all.
I don’t yet have the type cover, so can’t tell how that is. I plan to get one, but since I ordered the Surface Pro 4 form Germany, and I want an English keyboard, I have to get that separately.
With software this is a little more hit and miss. After I first started the Surface, I of course did all the updates. There was a new Windows build recently, and also new firmwares for the surface line. For some strange reason, when I was connected to a 2.4ghz wifi, the downloads were very slow (under 1 megabyte per second), but switching to the 5ghz wifi solved this right away (not sure how it is after the update, haven’t yet tried switching back).
Then, between two updates, I got a blue screen error. This is so unusual for Windows 10 in my experience, as on my main desktop PC, I have been using Windows 10 since the first preview, and I never seen one. But it showed up only once, and looks to be gone after the rest of updates (these errors are mostly a hardware problem or bad drivers, here I bet it’s the drivers).
Additionally I run into two smaller problems. One is the task manager showing wrongly the SDD speeds. It shows 100% usage already by few megabytes read per second, while a benchmark program was able to measure much higher numbers (1500mb/s read, 300mb/s write). Still, this does not effect anything.
Secondly, the Intel video driver crashed on me few times. Again, this is more of an annoyance, as it only causes the system to be unresponsive for few seconds, and it than refreshes back. I seen that this has been a problem with most of the users, so hopefully Intel updates the drivers soon.
On the positive side, this tablet is fast, really fast. Using store apps is a breeze, with them loading and switching instantly. I tried Photoshop and Lightroom, and booth start pretty fast, comparable to my desktop PC.
I really like the tablet interface. Just swiping from the left edge opens a list of open programs, swiping form the right opes notifications and quick settings. I do prefer this to having to look for some button or double clicking and similar. It’s really nice to see in the Microsoft apps, how they try to provide a consistent experience through them all, and I hope all other developers will follow suit. Regrettably, some of the apps still use the Windows 8 approach which means that they are controlled a bit differently.
Having a real desktop browser on a tablet is just wonderful. No limitations, no mobile websites and similar. Edge is fast and very responsive. Windows Hello works as advertised, recognizing me withing seconds. The system even recognized my horrible hand writing once I got a little used to writing on the screen.
I haven’t yet tried to edit a photo on the Surface Pro 4, but it the next step, and I will go more about the Photoshop, Lightroom and other software usage in my review (in a week or so), where I will focus more on that. If you would like to know something specific I can check with the surface pro 4, feel free to ask in the comets.
Btw. If you would like the wallpaper that I used in the Surface photos, you can get it from the Wallpapers page.