I Bought a MS Surface Book, so now I’m really P…d off with Apple

Why am I annoyed with Apple?

I’ll get back to that, later. But first, let me tell you about my “Surface Book” experience.

The Microsoft Surface Book was a compromise to begin with.  I wanted, in order of importance:

  1. Touch screen technology – with precision (ie with a fine-point stylus). I do powerpoint presentations every day for a living. And I want to be able to draw over the slides better than I can with an iPad.
  2. Lightweight.  The one thing I didn’t like about my old 17″ MacBook Pro was the 3Kg load. But I’d be OK with 2Kg.
  3. 1 TB SSD. Preferably 2TB
  4. Intel i7 processor. I run lots of VMs
  5. As large a screen as possible. 17″ would be good, but I know that that is impossible with a touch screen and still under 2Kg

The Surface Pro 4 and the Surface Book were by far the leading contenders on #1 & #2 above, but both fell short on the SSD – although I believe in the US you can buy a Surface Book with 1TB SSD.

So it was the slightly larger screen size that made me decide on the Surface Book over the Surface Pro4, even though both are smaller than I want.

And what a horrible story that has been so far.

I have to admit that I thought it was strange that the sales rep in the shop told me “Don’t leave it for long periods on standby”

Hello? This started ringing alarm bells. I’ve had a Mac Book Pro since 2009, and I only ever put it on standby.

And now you might begin to see where I am coming from. I have got used to beautiful precision and elegant notebooks. MacBooks to be sure.

So when I took my Surface Book out of the box, I could see that some effort had been gone to to try and emulate Apple packaging, but the device held within is not nearly as elegant.

But the real clanger was when I turned it on.  It booted up, but didn’t find any wireless networks. I couldn’t log onto the device. In fact, attempting to enter my email as a login-id was a challenge, because every time I hit the @ key I got quotes instead.

And the Date/Time was stuck on 21:39 Dec  12 2015!


So I got onto Microsoft Support (using a Mac). To their credit, I opened a chat session and had someone attend to me within 5 minutes, and that person even called my mobile from Seattle to avoid the tedium of typing.  But after “Holding down the Power Button and the Volume Up and Volume Down buttons simultaneously” a couple of times (which brought up a “Surface EUFI” screen – whatever that is) I was old that he best option was to “take it back to the store where you bought it“.

So I have bought a dud. And I feel so frustrated and angry – not so much with Microsoft but with Tim Cook and Apple.

Why Apple?

Because if Apple had kept up its history of innovation in Personal Computers, Apple Laptops would now be shipping with touch-screens and stylus pencils. 

And then the choice would have been easy.  Instead, Apple have abandoned PC Innovation and concentrated on the more glamorous phones and tablets, and I believe stifling PC development so they would not take sales from the iPads.

So now I’m stuck with MS quality, rather than Apple quality, and it is not a pretty place.


Postscript: 2015-01-15

I returned the Surface Book to the Microsoft Store today, and they gave me a refund without any hassle.  Turns out that they were much more familiar with the problem (they say it is more of a Windows 10 thing, rather than a Surface Book problem) at the MS store than they were on the support line, and they offered to fix it on the sport (which they did anyway) or give the refund I’d already asked for.

Throughout this exercise I must say that the support “effort” from Microsoft has been outstanding, even if the advise from Seattle was a little off the mark.

When they bring out the 1TB version in Aus, I might re-visit the store.


About RedNectar Chris Welsh

Professional IT Instructor. All things TCP/IP, Cisco or Data Centre
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