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Why I don't like my Surface 2

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Background

My wife and I have had an iPad 1 and 2 both since their release.  They were getting long in the tooth, so to replace them this christmas I got her a Surface 2 and picked up a Pro 2 for myself.  So after the “hey cool” wore off for me, I find that I rarely even use the thing, mostly due to the small problems just all over the place.

Keep in mind here, I am a huge microsoft fan, I have an msdn account, work with their stack(s) almost exclusively…I want this thing to work…but dammit guys

Mail App

If I have my ipad and my surface open side by side and have someone email me, I hear the ipad ding near instantly, but the surface takes minutes to appear.  Worse is that there’s no way to tell the surface to refresh the mail.  Sure there’s “Sync” if you want to wait 5-10 minutes (linked to gmail).

Desktop Browsing

When I click on an input box, the onscreen keyboard pops up…when I have the type cover attached; REALLY annoying.  As I try to type this and just click on another part of the textarea it pops up again…The stupid thing takes up 1/2 the screen, and doesn’t scroll my cursor into view.  Sure I can type a key on the keyboard to kill it, but god knows where that character is going if I can’t see my cursor, and COME ON why should I have to.

Xbox Video

You can add network folders too the app…great, but here’s the problems.

  1. They can only be from a windows share, so all your NAS files on your linux\etc nas are SOL…you can browse and open, but it’s annoying because every time you have to re-type in the IP every time…nothing is remembered.
  2. Lets also say you get to your folder and you see your videos listed.  They’re listed as pictures, just pictures.  It’s near impossible to determine which file is which, especially if you’re in a folder with television files.  Give me a list, metro UI be damned…
  3. Streaming: Okay so we have an Xbox 360 and a Boxee.  The iPads can stream directly to the boxee and that’s handy because it plays almost everything.  We used to use the 360, but increasingly we ran into unsupported format problems, so…see ya later.  So while the iPad streaming works great, streaming to the 360 played 30 seconds of a song, then crapped out, then proceeded to both freeze, and not work.  If it was just me, fine, I’m a tech geek, I can reboot and things…but for my wife, if it doesn’t work, she gets frustrated…

App Store

150,000 apps, who cares, most are crap and the fact that apps like “Download Flash Player” and “Download Skype Here” appear on any sort of backend store list are inexcusable…they’re spam apps.  There needs to be SOME SORT of app approval system instead of just seemingly let anything through and have the users police after the fact.  Hell when flappy bird died or was in the news for weeks after there was no less than 3 clones in the store…like on the main trending\paid lists.  I tried to report Download Skype Here and god Microsoft have me a hard time on that one…it’s their trademark.

Battery

Maybe it’s that I have dropbox installed but I sure as hell don’t get the 6-8 hours battery life, and if I leave the thing unplugged the battery just drains away.  Our regular surface 2 seems fine on battery though, just the pro sucks.  Speaking of battery, why the hell don’t you give me a % so I can be worried instead of just a “rough” estimator icon.  The only way to check it is to go to desktop mode and click the battery icon…so on the surface 2 you need to open an msoffice app to dump you back to desktop to check?..common guys.

Login

Okay while I love the huge login images and the ability to swipe it out of the way…

  1. Picture password is too precise…easy to fail it
  2. The notifications that show up are BEYOND unreliable.  Shows I have mail when I don’t, twitter stuff, when I don’t, skype…you guess it when I don’t.  Not only that but like by a huge margin, like days old.

Instant Messaging

So apparently the old RT had a real messaging app (looked cool anyway) like iMessage, however they canned that and replaced it with shitty skype.  It’s a terrible chat UI…the font is SO SMALL too, and no way to resize it.  Also if you’re like using skype on your desktop then go back to your surface and log in you get to wait a couple minutes while all the messages annoyingly sequentially appear in your chat list…awesome.  Notifications are spotty and unreliable across the board.

OneDrive

Okay, so I like OneDrive, and it has a couple more things to impliment before I replace Dropbox with it.  However…

  1. When I Cut\Paste an image from camera roll into an album it seems to go to the END…with no ability to sort?  So I have 1000 pictures in a folder and to see the one I pasted I have to endlessly scroll.
  2. My wife shared her pictures folder with me…however it doesn’t show up in the app.  You know where it DOES appear?..yeah…the iOS app or the web.  Not their own native device.

Charger

Near impossible to get attached with one hand…I love the magnet, but the angle of the charger makes you always question if you have it the right side or not.  Also as other have mentioned the sharing of the port with the pen…sucks.

What do I like(ish)?

  1. Hardware is GREAT, on both models.  I mean the Pro 2 is crazy heavy compared to the regular model, but still feels good.  Screen is clearly awesome to look at too.
  2. UI, generally I love the metro UI, aside from the way it shows videos in a grid-style list
  3. Speaker volume is great
  4. Xbox music, I like, updated often.  Now I dont love that it’s linked to my gamertag instead of my live id.  As I needed to change gamertags this takes bloody 3 months to do and I already linked like 1000 songs to the account I transfered off.  With no export\import I get to do it all again when I get the proper gamertag over.  It also conveniently created me an xbox live gamertag about 28 days into the 30, so now I get to wait another 30 to move it off again…to again wait 30 to put the right one on…smooth.  Of course none of this can be done from the web or surface, you need your xbox to do it all.
  5. Boot time on my Pro 2 is literally 3 seconds, so fast I shut down instead of shut the screen off.  Surface 2 is longer, but no real battery issues.
  6. Camera app, works well, has some cool features.  Love that saving uploads right to OneDrive.
  7. Productivity: Sure, office is great to have, but now iPad has it too, and a better UI.  But I do feel like I’m more “free” to do things (if that makes sense)

In Summary

When I get the cash I’m going to go get a couple new iPads or iPad minis so I can replace the laggy 1&2…the surface tries, but just doesn’t totally deliver as expected.