Microsoft Surface 4 Review

I’ve been a heavy Apple user for almost 8 years from the time I bought my very first MacBook in 2007. Since then I’ve owned about 2 MacBook Airs, 2 MacBook Pros, 3 iPads, and who knows how many iPhones. From my early experience with Dell and HP laptops I’ve been anti-Windows, just because the quality of the machines seemed mediocre compared to Apple. Just on the side note my iPad hasn’t been used for almost 6 months, as much as I tried to integrate it into my life I’ve never had a good reason to use it. Everything the iPad can do… so can my iPhone. So that’s my background, you can just say I was an Apple advocate and junkie.

As soon as I received my Surface Pro 4 I felt excited, it was the first Microsoft device that I’ve held and felt good about it. It feels solid, not that clunky super glued plastic feel I was used to from HP and Dell. It felt solid like one well put together piece of technology, just like the iPhone 5. It doesn’t feel fragile, you know that feeling like it’ll be destroyed with a single drop like the iPhone 6. It feels and looks great.

Initially when I turned on the Surface it sounded like a jet, fans on full blast, you’d think it’s about to take off. But that was probably because of the initial updating and configuration of Windows 10. The loud air flow scared me because one of the things I value on my Macs is their silence. They are totally silent you can barely hear the fans, I’m not even sure whether they have any. But the loudness and high CPU usage was gone after about an hour. Ever since then I’ve barely heard it, it’s been running silently for a little over a week now.

I love the Surface Pen, it actually feels like a real pen and notebook. It recognizes the palm and the pen, so you can easily rest your hand on the screen and still take clear notes. This was a hastle on the iPad and a pain for most users I’d dare to say. The Apple touch screen styluses come with these clumsy rubbery tips, sure they have a pencil too now. The note taking and touch screen functionality is amazing with the Surface Pen.

The touchscreen feels very natural and many of the applications the Surface comes with are already touch friendly. Like for example Drawboard PDF, which allows you to open up PDF’s make notes, add pictures, and annotate them. Then simply save them or share them with other users. Gosh, such elegance and simplicity is what Apple used to be known for. But find me an app that even comes close to the Drawboard PDF app.

So I have the Surface Pro with 16GB of RAM and i7 and gosh…. it’s a beast. It runs so smoothly and with such speed, but then hey it’s definitely the top of the line Surface Pro.

So I’m a developer that does alot of traveling to sandy and dusty places and sips on Corona all day. With that in mind I have to protect it from the elements surrounding me, for this I bought the URBAN ARMOR GEAR Surface Pro 4 Case, Black for about $70. Which transformed the Surface into a military grade toughbook that I can drop from my plane and feel confident about it landing in one piece. For the front I’ve attached one of the $120 Microsoft Surface Pro 4 Type Cover (Teal), which does a great job protecting the screen itself. None-the-less you might need one of those clear screen protectors too.

When my Surface is actually working, it’s compiling java code, debugging applications, and running database/web servers without a sweat. So if you are doing anything that makes this machine slow down, you either have a virus or just doing it completely wrong. Let me remind you this is a “tablet”.

Maybe you don’t need the top of the line Surface because you aren’t running 4 virtual machines and setting up Hadoop clusters for big data. Maybe you just want the lower end model for office work. I’d still recommend the Surface, because even in the office you’ll have to take notes and read documents.. and there’s no better machine out there for note taking!! Like for real what’s better? Can you use the Macbook as a tablet? Hows the word processing on the iPad? Gosh both are a nightmare. The Surface will easily replace that Macbook and the iPad, and it’s more powerful than both.

I love the Surface and so will you.