Microsoft’s Surface Pro is a fantastic device. Hybrid devices like the Surface Pro is the future of portable computers. It’s well-built, well-thought of design, and it has great specs in a tiny package. Windows also improved a lot and works well on the Surface Pro. It’s an amazing device but I’m returning it.
I spoke of Microsoft’s Surface here, here, and here, sad to say but I was wrong about the Surface. If you’re on the fence or a Mac user who’s considering buying a Surface device, don’t buy it until you fully read this review/experience with the Surface.
THE SURFACE PRO TL,DR REVIEW
I won’t go into too much detail about the Surface Pro those are irrelevant because I’ve returned mine after 30-days of use. But let me just give you a quick impression of Microsoft's Surface Pro.
WHY I’M RETURNING THE SURFACE
This is my first PC after more than a decade of being a Mac user and it’s a let down. I might’ve gotten a lemon but close to the 30-day mark, I suddenly couldn’t tap on the “X”, minimize, and maximize buttons of any windows. The upper right hand corner of the screen also became unresponsive. After calibration the screen suddenly started tapping itself on the upper right hand corner, causing any maximized windows like Photoshop to close. This renders the device completely unusable.
I was quickly reminded of why I’ve been a Mac user all these years. They may not create the firsts of the tech industry, but when Apple creates something it just works!
VIRUSES, MALWARE & MAINTENANCE
The shift from Mac to PC is a jarring; you suddenly worry about protecting your device, in a way that you don't when you have a Mac. You have to update as much as possible to not risk infecting your computer. Suddenly you’re more paranoid about anything you open. There are more viruses and malware for Windows OS vs OS X. You also have to do regular maintenance–you’ll have to start using programs such as Ccleaner and Spybot. Using Ccleaner and the likes run the risk of deleting registry that is essential to Windows. These are things you don’t worry about with Macs. Quite frankly, coming from a Mac world, it’s annoying… really annoying and inconvenient. I didn't expect it to be this annoying.
WINDOWS REGISTRY & THE INEVITABLE SLOW DOWN
Here’s why Windows inevitably slows down and the biggest reason why I returned the Surface Pro (read carefully): Windows have a registry where apps and hardware store keys. This is essential for Windows to function. This registry is a hierarchical, Windows goes through this registry from top to bottom. Overtime things (hives, keys, subkeys) accumulate in Windows’ registry. This causes the inevitable slow down of the system.
Installing programs and connecting hardware stores keys in the registry, which creates too many keys that degrade the performance of the system overtime. Windows has to go through all the items in the registry since its hierarchical. If you have too many, you can imagine the time it will take for it to read through the registry.
Uninstalling programs leave entries in the registry that go nowhere. When you uninstall a program in Windows, the registry doesn’t reflect that action. The hive, key or subkey still exists in the registry. So when Windows go through the registry it will still read the registry for that uninstalled program and it will take longer for the OS to read this item from the registry because its looking for the program, eventually it will return an error before moving to the next item in the registry. If you have these items in your registry this definitely decreases the performance of your PC. You could either manually delete these gunk in Windows registry editor or use Ccleaner. If you do the latter, note that it can delete essential items in the registry and it also leaves some entries so you have to run the cleanup 3-4 times.
This is something that I've forgotten with Macs. In the past I sometimes delete keys that are essential, and thus every time I clean the registry I have to back up the keys just in case I remove anything by mistake.
Though you can cleanup the registry bottomline is, this is something that doesn’t happen in OS X. Using Windows quickly reminded me of the reasons why I’ve been a Mac user all this time.
I’ve never encountered any problems in more than 2 decades of using Apple products, from their iPhone, iMac, MacPro, MacBook, MacBook Air, iPad to MacBook Pro. Apple’s hardware simply works! As a professional graphic designer I prioritize reliability above all else. I might’ve received a lemon from Microsoft but this to me is unacceptable, a very inconvenient, and unpleasant experience. It remains to be seen whether the Surface Pro is built to last, but I doubt if the Surface could last for 10 years like my MacBook Pro that I’m using right now.
Time is precious for self-employed graphic designers, time which I don’t want to spend maintaining a device. Time that I don’t want to spend thinking about viruses and malware.
I quickly forgot about how efficient Mac OS X is compared to Windows. Again reliability and performance over time. Those are important traits. As a graphic design professional, my conclusion is: my experience with Microsoft Surface was not pleasant. I prefer the reliability and simplicity of my Mac. So I’m returning this defective Surface and sticking with Apple. To me these devices are not toys, these are tools that bring food to my table and keeps the roof over my head. I need them to be as reliable, less-problematic, and I need them to last for a very, very long time.