Surface Pro Winning Mac Fans?

by Dave Michels

There’s a very popular news story this week about the Surface Pro computers winning over Macbook Pro customers.

From The Verge

Microsoft has been targeting Mac users with its Surface commercials recently, and it appears they might be paying off. The software giant claims that November was the “best month ever for consumer Surface sales,” following a number of Black Friday deals on the Surface Pro 4. Microsoft still isn’t providing sales numbers, but the company claims “more people are switching from Macs to Surface than ever before.”

Two key phrases “Microsoft isn’t providing sales numbers” and “more people are switching from Macs to Surface than ever before.”

It’s the second one that really bothers me – how many is that? Considering the Mac has been the most popular computer for years and the SP4 is a relatively new and niche computer, I figure it only takes a few converts to make a claim like that true. We will never know because MS isn’t actually sharing any figures. To be fair – the new MacBook Pro is a major disappointment. I’m not a Mac user, but I’ve always respected them until this one came along. I wrote about it a bit here. I wouldn’t consider buying a Chromebook or a PC laptop without a touchscreen, and while that touch-bar has potential – why settle for potential?

I remain very happy with my Lenovo 900S. I wrote about it here. Though I do have one complaint – the keyboard is hard to read in certain light. It’s an odd setup with light colored keys and a light colored font. In some light the back lighting is needed and some in situations the back lighting makes it worse. I’d go with a dark keyboard and light letters in the future. On a positive note, I have run into a few situations where I was expecting power and there wasn’t any – and it wasn’t a problem. The 900S can go about 6-7 hours on a charge.

Regardless, the Surface Pro is a terrible computer. You have to be really upset about the Macbook Pro to switch to a Surface Pro. I had the Surface Pro 3 and I can’t say I was too upset when it broke. It’s an impressive machine, but none of the characteristics that make it a design marvel apply to my use cases. Instead I found the Surface Pro 3 to be very difficult to use. I spent about $500 in accessories to make it work (a gen 3 and then gen 4 keyboard and a secondary power supply). The kickstand doesn’t fit on my lap or my tray table, and the small battery and huge screen make for a very long, dark, and boring flight. I wrote more about my frustrations with the Surface Pro 3 here.

There’s no such thing as a great laptop for everyone. There’s common trade offs like screen size vs. portability and high performance vs. battery time. For me, I use a desktop at home, so my laptop is all about travel. My top concerns are overall size and how long the battery can last. I put a lot of value on the keyboard (real keyboards not touch-covers). USB C and a touchscreen are requirements in 2017. I like the fact my Lenovo has a stylus and I’ve already processed (signed) paperwork on the road without a printer. My requirements are likely different than yours – and if you happen to like large screens, crappy batteries, and removable touch covers that make typing a nightmare – than perhaps the Surface Pro is for you.