MS Surface


Very thin/ultraportable, powerful, 15" screen, and long battery life is a tough proposition. You’ll need to compromise on one or more of those factors even if price is no object.

You can do portable, like the XPS15 and MBP15, but not ultra-portable. All the ultra-portable 14/15" laptops like the LG Gram and others are compromised in some way, usually battery life (which isn’t improving any time soon) and dual-core CPUs (which will improve next month).


Yeah, something like the HP Spectre books feel nice in my hand, but only the “U” processors. There are quite a few options that are interesting to me, but they all have the “U” dual core processors. Just give me some of those with the new i8 quad core U processors - assuming that they don’t lose battery life and the 8 U really are as powerful as an i7 laptop quad core.

I see Dell is already announcing an XPS 13 with the i8 U processor. It will be interesting to see the reviews in terms of what that new processor really delivers.


It won’t be as powerful as the H-class CPUs, because they’re designed to run in a much lower power and heat envelope. Generally this means they clock lower and/or can’t boost to their maximum frequency for an extended time before throttling. But for content creation work, 4 cores are almost twice as good as 2.


Just for the record, I had a Dell XPS 1530 back in ~2008. I finally retired it earlier this year. It has been going ~16 hours per day almost every day. In the last couple of years it can’t be turned on sometimes (mobo issue?) but nothing that corrupts data. The hard drive and dvd player that came with the machine died. Hard drive replaced and then the machine keeps on going.

That essentially convinced me to buy Dell again. It was not even milspec like my Thinkpad.


All of my family laptops, for years, have been Dell. I’m typing on an old Alienware M17x (owned by Dell, of course, and support comes from them.)

However, in recent years, I’ve seen a real degradation of support, and quality control. With the XPS 15 they’ve tried to push the envelope and they get great reviews. But so many quality control issues as evidenced in many forums. I’ve been around long enough to know forums are self selecting in that they draw people who are unhappy with their product, but the XPS 15 has a LOT of problems that you see reported very consistently. I really, really want it to get “fixed” but not so far.


Yeah at this point I have my fingers crossed. How the mighty have fallen.


The secret to buying Dell is to always buy refurbished.

Not only is it cheaper, but it’s gone through a “personal” QC and repair that the assembly line computers do not. They also ship almost instantly, where buying through their main site can take days or weeks to ship. And you usually get same or sometimes occasionally even better default warranties, and usually cheaper extended warranties - i’ve often seen (for unknown reasons) refurbished computers coming with a 2 year warranty by default.


Yeah, I bought my 9350 from merkamericaco, which is an authorized reseller. They get the refurb units from Dell and then inspect each one themselves. My 9350 was practically brand new apart from the refurb sticker (easily removed), and it works perfectly.


I will keep that mind. Might need to grab a new desktop in the next year or so.


Autodesk Sketchbook, which was $5/month or $30/year, is now free.


Do you need a surface to use Sketchbook? I have a nephew that draws comics. On paper. He posts pictures of his comics to Facebook. It’s fine, but I’d love to set him up with some software that would help him create digital comics. He probably just has a PC with no touch screen capability. And a phone (if that helps).


No, you can download it for any PC or Mac. For the PC you can download the installer or get it from the Windows Store.

I put this is the Surface thread as it’s perfect for the Surface’s drawing ability. You do probably want a waccom tablet if you don’t actually have a Surface or iPad. Though he could probably import a photo of the drawing and use digital ink with a mouse?


Any idea how this is different from the free app I already have installed on my Surface from the Windows Store?

edit: answered my own question when I opened my app from the store. It had already updated and had a note that everything is free if you set up an account.


Quick question for current era Surface owners: does your desktop look like a normal Windows desktop?


What do you mean?

I’m staring at my Surface Book now, and it’s running Windows 10, and it looks just like my work PC, which is also running Windows 10.


Any Surface running Windows 10 is no different from a laptop in terms of what the overall UI looks like.

There’s an optional “tablet mode” you can enable if you’d like, but overall Surfaces are just laptops for all intents and purposes.


Anyone have any experience with one of these keyboards?

They’re supposed to convert the surface into a conventional laptop and are available with extra storage (128/256gb).

I don’t think i’d have much need of the storage but my surface is a little uncomfortable to use on the sofa. I have a 3 week old and I figure i can have a go at steam streaming turn based games to the surface from my desktop PC and get a bit more gaming time in without abandoning the wife and child. (thanks to @Scott_Lufkin and @Lantz whose fatherly gaming advice i have been deploying thus far with good success).


Surface Go. This is being announced tomorrow. Tom’s Hardware accidentally broke embargo and unpublished, but the Internet remembers…


Those bezels…


CPU actually isn’t bad, that’s a Kaby Pentium. But yeah, bezels aren’t great.