On the Surface

At the beginning of the year, I promised to post more frequently. Haven’t exactly been able to keep up the pace :(.

We have been busy, and I have found some distractions.

In addition to my ongoing distraction of Liddy, I now have a new Surface Pro 4. I lust after a Surface Book, but decided not to go there because of the $$$$. Also concerned that the funky hinge is going to stand up when the device is wedged into my camera backpack.

The Surface Pro 4 has been out for about a year now, so i won’t bore you with too many specs. I thought I could share some of the adjustments I am making to my workflow. There are a couple of significant differences between the Surface, and my desktop computer.

Disk Space

I purchased the i7 model with 8 GB of RAM, and 256 GB of Disk. The memory is OK, but when compared to the 7 TB of disk on my desktop, it has been a bit of an adjustment. How to be able to access a photo from 6 months ago, when… oh yeah… its at home 😦

Display Size

My desk has a 24 inch ASUS PA246Q display. A really nice monitor with really good color rendition. The Surface display is 1/2 that size. On the other hand, the surface has a resolution similar to Apple’s Retina displays at 267 Pixels Per Inch (PPI). The ASUS doesn’t quite match that, coming in at 94 PPI.


What does this mean? It means the display is stunning. Color rendition is wonderful, and the high resolution means, by these old eyes, no discernible staircase or jagged edges on object drawn on the screen.

It also means the display is small. Lightroom feels cramped. Because of display scaling, other apps aren’t visually appealing. Rendering of text and forms can be downright annoying. This is because the apps were designed for older displays, like the ASUS with 100 PPI or less. When scaled up… well they don’t adapt well. When left without scaling, they are too small to read. onOne’s Perfect Photo Suite 9 is a good example of how the text gets mashed. Wonder if their newer release is better.

Keyboard & Pen

A pet peeve with most reviewers of the Surface devices is that the type cover keyboard is not included in the package. Well after using the device for a month, I can see how I might not want to shell out $130 for the Type Cover when a slightly less portable $25 device would be good enough.

Don’t get me wrong, I did buy the Type Cover, and do enjoy it, but I think I could live without it. This because the pen works really, really well. The handwriting recognition is amazing, and for note taking on a tablet – it just makes sense.

Where I really love the pen though, is in Photoshop and Lightroom. Being able to use the pen as an adjustment brush is just a joy.

Going Forward

So. Now that I have a device that is mobile and versatile, I find I don’t want to use the desktop. It has been relegated to the role of file server.

Because I come late to the disk space constraints that the MacBook and NetBook users have been experiencing, I did not realize the value of Adobe’s Smart Preview feature in Lightroom. This is an interesting compromise that needs to be explored. I will share my thoughts as we go.

Thanks for the moment.