Considering surface pro 7

Started 4 months ago | Discussions
bibop83
bibop83 Regular Member • Posts: 300
Considering surface pro 7

Hello all  !

Here is the thing, I'm now travelling quite often for work for extended period. I carry of course my camera.

I have to bring my work computer but cannot install any program on it. It means I have to wait til I return to edit my pictures and share them.

I would like to have a solution to edit "on the go" as its hard to fit both my work computer and my heavy 17" personal laptop.

Im considering a surface pro 7 but id like to have some feedback from people using it. Especially without a mouse or keyboard as Im a bit curious on how easy it is to use windows without them. I'll use it in the train and a mouse is not super practical there.

I bought capture one and I really enjoy it. Thats why Im lookibg at the surface as it seems its the only tablet that can run it...

Final question for the one who use it, how is your work flow  ? Do you import the files, edit and then move them to external storage  ? Space is ratjer limited in those devices...

Thank you  !

Theo

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Austinian
MOD Austinian Forum Pro • Posts: 10,916
Re: Considering surface pro 7

bibop83 wrote:

Hello all !

Here is the thing, I'm now travelling quite often for work for extended period. I carry of course my camera.

I have to bring my work computer but cannot install any program on it. It means I have to wait til I return to edit my pictures and share them.

I would like to have a solution to edit "on the go" as its hard to fit both my work computer and my heavy 17" personal laptop.

Im considering a surface pro 7 but id like to have some feedback from people using it. Especially without a mouse or keyboard as Im a bit curious on how easy it is to use windows without them. I'll use it in the train and a mouse is not super practical there.

I bought capture one and I really enjoy it. Thats why Im lookibg at the surface as it seems its the only tablet that can run it...

Final question for the one who use it, how is your work flow ? Do you import the files, edit and then move them to external storage ? Space is ratjer limited in those devices...

Thank you !

Theo

I'm not doing photo processing on my Surface Pro 2017, but it should be capable of it. I prefer using the physical keyboard, but if you're used to the virtual keyboard that may be OK.

In place of a difficult-to-use-on-the train mouse I'd suggest a pen for precise touch work. I have a Bamboo Ink.

https://www.windowscentral.com/bamboo-ink-review

Note the need to switch pen protocols; it's easy.

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SC489 Senior Member • Posts: 1,314
Re: Considering surface pro 7
2

I would never buy a laptop having a bonded construction like the Surface Pro which is difficult to upgrade and repair. See here why it achieves a 1/10 reparability score https://www.ifixit.com/Teardown/Microsoft+Surface+Pro+7+Teardown/128004

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bibop83
OP bibop83 Regular Member • Posts: 300
Re: Considering surface pro 7

Thanks for the input but I dont care as I already have a laptop

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PHXAZCRAIG
PHXAZCRAIG Forum Pro • Posts: 17,475
Re: Considering surface pro 7

Working in a train is perhaps one of the few specialized applications I can see a Surface Pro being good for.    Never having used one I don't really know.

I like the pen idea, but I've also long liked to use a very small mouse when traveling because I can just use it on my knee when sitting.

I cannot imagine doing photo editing on any device without a pointing device like a mouse, touchscreen or not.  (I have a touchscreen laptop, but once went a year forgetting it was touchscreen as I use that feature so little.)

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Thurnau Contributing Member • Posts: 543
Re: Considering surface pro 7

SC489 wrote:

I would never buy a laptop having a bonded construction like the Surface Pro which is difficult to upgrade and repair. See here why it achieves a 1/10 reparability score https://www.ifixit.com/Teardown/Microsoft+Surface+Pro+7+Teardown/128004

I have one, and the screen isn't replaceable as you suggest. Even the aftermarket repair shops by me won't work on them.

For the price of $400 they have a program that swaps your broken screen surface pro for a shiny refurb. For over a $100 you get a decent physical keyboard that snaps on with magnets and it's stronger than apple's version.

With a refurb program, you don't have two side by side to transfer your data and confirm it's correct on the new one. You back up what you want to a hard drive or thumb drive, and hope it works out when the refurb model shows up.

The refurb program itself is actually ok, the time to receive the replacement is short.

bmoag Senior Member • Posts: 2,806
Re: Considering surface pro 7
1

I have a Surface Pro 7 with the i5 Icelake CPU and 8gb RAM. I bought it for travel--the iPad pro was useless for me for image processing--and now use it in some fashion for something everyday, even if just reading the digital newspaper and email. I am very fond of the device to the point where I find reasons to use it.

You need the keyboard to use the Surface fully as touch controls are not as convoluted or responsive as on the touch only iPad. The Surface is a Windows computer with touch enabled, big difference. The keyboard can be a little wonkey but you will want it anyway. Mass storage can be augmented with a microSD card of any size--I use that to transfer raw images from a Nikon Z because XQD cards are stupidly expensive. FIle transfer times are what they are but I set it and forget it.

If you carry a mouse with your work laptop you can use that on the Surface. The power brick is reasonably petite.

With a keyboard and mouse the Surface is adequate for text based, business type applications in and of itself, if you can live with the screen size. I do, did, all kinds of things with it on the road as my one and only laptop. The main problem with keyboard based productivity for me is the occasional wonkiness of the keyboard but you learn its wonks.

If you want to draw you need to invest in a high end pen, like a Microsoft brand--many of the cheapo pens on Amazon are just awful. I am by no means a digital artist but with a good pen complex drawing on PS layers is very doable--maybe not as sophisticated as the truly nifty Apple pen but those with the talent and know how achieve high end results. A pen can be used as a mouse but there's a learning curve.

The resolution and gamut of the screen are comparable to an iPad but the Surface is quite a bit heftier. The higher resolution makes text sharp. Being a Windows machine it is not geared for passive consumption like an iPad. The Icelake processor is low power so quite battery efficient and cool-I get 5-6 hours of interactive use on a charge. I have only used the i5--its adequate, as is the 8gb of RAM, for how I work. I assume the I7 with more RAM may seem faster for some tasks but I doubt there will be much difference for text based activities, like in every Windows machine.

On the Surface I use PS CC to convert raw images to jpegs for internet distribution when wifi is available. It speeds things up to stay in 8 bit sRGB world rather than the 16 bit ProPhoto I would use on a desktop. I also like to use on1 which would not work on the Surface for a very long time but they seem to have fixed that. I never use Lightroom so no opinion.

When travel again resumes I might see if I can get by with just On1 on the Surface.

If Microsoft revamps the line with either Tiger Lake or Ryzen 5000u parts you might want to wait and see. They should be significantly faster and have better battery life. I could be tempted to upgrade if there are enough improvements without massive price rises.

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bibop83
OP bibop83 Regular Member • Posts: 300
Re: Considering surface pro 7

Thats quite a feedback thanks  !  I think I'll give it a go, see if i5 and 8gb of ram give me satisfaction and then keep or return.

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bastibe Regular Member • Posts: 386
Re: Considering surface pro 7

I have tried to use the Surface Pro 7 (i7 8Gb) as my main editing machine for a few months, while minding our baby on the middle of the night.

Beware that only Capture One and Lightroom are actually fast enough to run smoothly on the Surface. ON1, Exposure, Silkypix, Darktable, RawTherapee, Affinity, Luminar, and ACDSee do run, but only in fits and starts, and some crash every now and then due to graphics driver issues. I haven't tested DxO.

The screen is somewhat small for editing, which can be a problem if you use a lot of modules. While a mouse and keyboard work well, the appeal of the Surface is in using it only with the pen and fingers, to save space. I found Lightroom Classic to be absolutely aggravating in that regard: miss the module scrollbar by one pixel and it hides all modules instead. Many functions are only available with keyboard shortcuts or menu entries, like enlarging the pen or switching between images. (Although there are plugins that can help). And then there is a terrible bug in some versions of windows 10 that eats the first few pixels of pen movements in Lightroom, making precise slider adjustments a pain.

Capture One is much smoother in all of these regards, and actually works reasonably well. Lightroom CC works fine, too, if that's your thing.

One thing I find absolutely awesome about the surface pro 7, is that it can be charged from any old USB charger with a USB-C cable. Even a phone charger works (albeit slowly). Thus I usually don't even bring a dedicated charger for the surface. I would definitely recommend getting the keyboard, though, if only to protect the screen when traveling. But it also transforms the Surface into quite a usable traditional laptop.

Overall, I was glad when I could return to my desktop for image editing, mostly on account of its much bigger screen and more ergonomic desk. But the surface did work for the task, and I still use it for that while traveling. Otherwise, I use the surface daily, and find it an extremely enjoyable device.

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