Tools & Technologies

Surface Pro 4 vs. iPad Pro – One Person’s Decision Experience

Chris was recently looking for a digital tablet to enable him to return to a paper-free workflow; like a few of us a decade or so ago, he used a Tablet PC with stylus. For 2016, Chris did all the right things and asked his friends for their input and direction, and made a decision conceptually to go for the Surface Pro 4 – which is a fantastic device (and which is on my list too).

March 1, 9.08am on Facebook
Chris asks:

Friends with a Microsoft Surface: thumbs up or down? I’ve been looking back on some old documents and by far my best and most creative work was done when I had my tablet PC and one of the early incarnations of OneNote. I think I want to go back to that, especially with the ability to use the cloud, which at that time was kind of my main inhibitor…being able to easily store and share across platforms/devices.

His question attracted a discussion thread of 36 items, most of which were filled with positive reactions towards the Surface Pro or Surface Book (“really like,” “LOVE,” “love it,” “excellent”). A couple of people mentioned the iPad Pro.

Chris himself added at one point:

I think I need to take a trip to the Microsoft Store! Sure wouldn’t have thought I would ever say that years ago, but they have been killing it lately with their stuff.

Before he spent the cash, however, he tried both the Surface Pro 4 and iPad Pro. March 6 was the big day:

March 6, before 3pm
Chris spent quite a bit of time in the Microsoft Store, trying the inking capabilities.

March 6, 3.32pm (Apple Store, Eton Village, Ohio)
Chris writes:

Well, that did not go as expected. Came in to check out the iPad Pro just to rule it out. Walking out with one for Maria and one for me (her treat for our anniversary!).

March 7, 11.19am
Chris comments on what happened on March 6:

I’ve been looking to get back to taking my workflow completely digital. From a productivity perspective, I far prefer written notes. However, the attendant problems with having lots of paper makes me less productive than I like. I was planning to try it, say “meh”, and decide on the Surface Pro 4. A few minutes convinced me otherwise.

March 7, 11.36am
Chris comments on his original question on Facebook:

As a follow up, taking a right turn that I did completely not expect, I went with the iPad Pro. My primary criteria centered on the device as a tablet for notes, drawings and diagrams made with the stylus. I have a highly capable laptop for work, so this didn’t need to be all that. After spending quite a bit of time in the Microsoft Store and messing around with the inking capabilities, I wasn’t blown away. A few minutes with the iPad Pro was a completely different story. No latency, no drop out, amazing pressure sensitivity. If I needed a full computer experience, the Surface Pro 4 would be the winner. As a tablet for my purposes, the iPad was the clear winner. Even though I love my current (long in the tooth) iPad, I didn’t think that the Pro would be worth it. So count me as very surprised but pleased. We’ll see what happens after I get some good experience under my belt. Thanks for all of your input!

What fascinates me with Chris’s experience is the complete turnaround – from starting March 6 with the expectation to buy a Surface Pro 4 to ending it with two new iPad Pros – based on actual performance.

Code talks. Results matter.

I look forward to the follow-up on his experiences with going digital again.

Categories: Tools & Technologies

4 replies »

  1. He’s still lugging around two devices whenever he travels. For people who want to actually consolidate down to one device, the Surface line is superior.

    • That’s true, Beau…but it’s so light and thin that it’s inconsequential to me. I think that is a good decision point to consider, but for me having one device wasn’t a factor. Most often, I see myself leaving my computer parked at my desk and bringing the iPad along for notes, drawing, etc. But yes, if I just wanted one device and especially if I needed that device to do heavy lifting, I would pick the Surface. The inking capabilities of the iPad blew it away though, hence my decision. Cheers!