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Microsoft Surface Pro 4 review

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Comments (34)
  1. Pan oRoya says:

    I’m a sucker who bought the SP2 “Pro” (what profession would that be? Scrap metal dealer?) It’s a ****ing joke. Currently it’s “successfully installing” the Touch KB patch every couple of days. Maybe 20 installs in two months. I don’t own this KB. That’s just one example of the incessant, infuriating faults this lump exhibits. Firmware installations (same problem of endless “successful” installations) maybe 100 times over its life so far. What a joke. Dozens and dozens of problems, almost daily for 2 years + MS replaced the first one. The second is identically buggy. And from what I read it seems they still can’t get it right, even on V4. USELESS. Meanwhile the “reviewers” continue to advertise these half-developed products.

  2. Nak says:

    I’d agree with this review if the SP4 was at all reliable. It is not. Please google “Surface Pro 4 – Screen won’t wake from sleep”. There is a thread on answers.microsoft with over TWO THOUSAND POSTS. The February update did not fix the problem. The April update did not fix the problem. The SP4 randomly will not wake from sleep. This is a bigger deal than it sounds like. When you force restart the SP4, you get corrupted files which then lead to a host of other problems. I exchanged my SP4 at a Microsoft store today. Within three hours of use the new unit failed to wake from sleep and required a forced restart. Does that sound like MS has fixed the problem? Seriously, if this machine was reliable it would be outstanding. IT IS NOT RELIABLE AT ALL. Avoid the many, many hours of frustration and stay clear of this POS. Unless, of course, you’d rather spend more time trying to diagnose and fix problems than actually using this thing. Oh, and by the way, the battery life is horrible. Not even a little bit close to what MS advertises.

  3. Geedoubleu says:

    SP4 is unreliable junk, otherwise its almost perfect!

  4. Alex A says:

    this would be a great laptop, EXCEPT for the fact IT DOES NOT WORK. i got the surface pro 128gb i5 version when it came out and it has been nothing but problematic, doesnt turn on after goes into sleep, needing a hard reset. power drain when in sleep. freezing up and numerous other issues. the support deteriorated from bad advice to non-existent, and i will be submitting a formal complaint as soon as my study period is over. I had already done their full restore process with the downloaded restore pack to a pendrive and problems remained which i think are not specific to my laptop but are apparent on all of the surface pro range. which their firmware updates have never fixed.
    its a shame, its like a Ferrari with a fiat engine,,, well a 1970’s fiat.

    i so wanted it to work well but its nothing but a pain of a system to do what i want from it and im a techy person who can usually fix problems and get things to work.

    but i give up and since their microsoft have battened down the hatches to helping their customers i have no option but to voice my criticisms here

  5. John Love says:

    Is this equipped with GPS?

  6. NotaFanBoy says:

    Too bad these battery life tests are so device-inappropriate. You need to test battery in a real-world scenario. This is a productivity device, test it by working remotely all day, working on the plane and in a hotel with crummy wifi coverage. Stop streaming videos and playing Warcraft. For the desktop capability this provides I’d be happy with 5 hrs of battery. But, I can use my i5 SP4 all freaking day with wifi on all the time, office 2010 running constantly, and push email via outlook. 8+ hours every darn day. A quick boost charge at the end of the day and I can watch a movie on the flight home. I turned off Cortana, de-bloated and battery saver only kicks in at 15%. Otherwise, running the full zoot OS services.

    There is no other device this size that can do what the SP4 does, and I’ve tried them all.

  7. Fellwalker says:

    I thought this was updated?

    QUOTE
    Battery life

    Now tested on pre-production hardware that I’m promised has been scrubbed of its battery woes, the Surface Pro 4 produced far better battery life results than before.

  8. Robert Alguire says:

    Personally – I dont care about the cost – I want something useable – and right now with out cellular or GPS this is useless – it is not portable – good for office use only where you have wifi – no good in the field – so sad 🙁 – was really hoping for something that could be used for field work anywhere in Canada, USA and Mexico

  9. AK says:

    In my opinion, Microsoft really needs to focus on:

    – A real battery that lasts a day of working (8~ actual hours of usage).
    – A price point that is affordable (market share > profit, at least in the short/medium term!).
    – Fewer moving parts like fans, hard drives, etc to improve reliability and reduce faults. When people are paying for a premium device, they want to know it will last and remain usable!
    – Focus on improving the OS to a more stable and reliable version so that users have confidence in what the are using.

    Extra power or more gadgets are not going to make me buy a Surface Pro 5, but the above certainly will!

  10. Eric_F says:

    Owned for 4 months, still wrought with annoying bugs and things that don’t work right, though I’d bet most of it has Windows 10 to blame. Fortunately it restarts really quickly, because I have to do that all the time. Even seemingly simple tasks have required google to help troubleshoot.

  11. SeanRobert Alexander Jacoby says:

    I work with the Geek Squad and We have seen a rash of these being returned lately all with hardware issues. Last 2 weeks alone we had to send out 5 with various hardware issues. This could be our store getting a bad batch but Im in a college town and students like me really enjoy the idea of a Surface, but the just don’t survive long in the hands of most careless college students. I was really excited about purchasing the new Surface Pro 4 but have sense been soured by what I have seen happening to them. The Surface Book on the other hand has been fantastic!

  12. Old_British_Academic says:

    Had an SP3 that was pretty good but it got stolen. Waited for SP4 to replace it and had to return it. In addition to all the problems people have mentioned here (especially errors, lock-ups and very poor battery life), I felt that handwriting recognition (my favourite feature) works less well under Windows 10. I especially dislike the smaller input panel that can’t be resized. From the volume of complaints online, I don’t think these are isolated problems so l’m surprised (and disappointed) to read endless positive reviews online. They seem a bit misleading to me.

  13. Hugh Daly says:

    Absolutely hopeless

    Took delivery in December, nothing but problems. I was upgrading from a SP3, and bought the i7 512 SSD 16GB RAM, basically the top spec at the time. So, very expensive. (Although I agree I have no idea why people are complaining about the separate keyboard price – it is simple arithmetic)

    Lots of nice things, but it is more or less unuseable as the whole sleep / hibernate / wake functionality is random. I can un-dock from my desk, and go to a conference room, and have to hard re-boot with the 30 second power button in front of clients, plus re-start all my services.

    My colleague has the same model, and has also had multiple basic problems – battery draining, video drivers problems causing black screens, etc. etc. etc.

    Really poor, and must be fixable. Many thousand people in Redmond should be hanging their heads in shame at this high-end product having such fundamental flaws.

  14. Futokuko says:

    sad the SF isn’t optimized….nice looking machine.. had one but returned it for a Miix 700, Checked for Bios bloatware(its lenovo, you never know) and all clear.

    Unlike my SF….off the box the miix had no issues (must be lucky) runs cool and smooth, no keyboard glitches, or sleep issues. Battery life is way better, even after the MS firmware update.

    For those who want something now, for multimedia, office work, and light Photoshop…get the miix 7. did i mention its fanless…so no super gaming or 4k editing.

    Maybe the surface 5 will be better optimized, for those willing to wait, i say wait for ms to workout all the kinks on the 4.

  15. Marc says:

    I’ve got the “hub” for SP4 and as others have commented (see Microsoft’s store comments or Amazon comments) it’s buggy as heck.

    To wit, on a 2nd monitor at 2560×1080 (miniDP to DP cable) Outlook, Word, and Excel scale, fine. But Powerpoint’s ribbon is like 200% bigger not matter what I do.

    Not sure if this is SP4, Windows 10, Office, or hub issue but there it is.

  16. Theresa says:

    WORST PRODUCT EVER!!!!!! Run far, far away from this product! If you own it – return it!
    I had a Surface Pro 3 for less than a year and it was malfunctioning and the Microsoft store couldn’t fix it. Long story short they switched me into a Surface Pro 4 (I had to pay difference which I wasn’t happy about because it was a huge inconvenience). I had the Pro 4 for not even two weeks when I started having problems with the screen freezing and going black when I was using the internet – not a bunch of pages, just checking emails. I had two lengthy phone calls in to their tech support. The first one because of the screen freezing and going black – which the tech couldn’t resolve and didn’t give me any sort of acceptable resolution. The second call was to try to deal with a now laptop not turning on but the keyboard being backlit like it was trying to turn on. It was sort of fixed but within a few days the laptop just wouldn’t turn on any more at all. And I mean nothing, totally dead (and yes, the battery was charged). Took it to the Microsoft store and I was not surprised to see the large number of consumers all standing around waiting for tech support because everyone was having problems with their Surface Pro 4’s. The guys beside me had even gone from a Pro 4 to a Surface Book and was in getting that replaced with a different Surface Book because it was also malfunctioning.

    The icing on the cake was having to call back to the Microsoft store two days after I dropped the computer off because they couldn’t seem to be bothered to call me to be told that they couldn’t extract my files from the Pro 4. No doubt in my mind they didn’t care and probably didn’t really try. There are no words for how completely disgusted I am with the horrible product quality and terrible service – they don’t even care that they just lost all my files. Literally everything is gone and I used my laptop daily for business and personal.

    1. severn sea says:

      It’s extremely short sighted and naïve to tell everybody to avoid it just because you had problems. It really annoys me when people come up with that line. How would you like it if people were saying the same about your business just because there just happened to be a problem with a product or service your business offered? Things do go wrong, that’s why we have warranties and consumer rights, otherwise they would not exist because they would not be necessary.
      As for losing all your files, you run a business and don’t have backups of your files? If that’s the case it’s almost criminal to blame somebody else for losing them.

      1. SeanRobert Alexander Jacoby says:

        There is a huge population of people having these issues not just Theresa. She is just stating here experience and warning other of it so they can make their own decision.

        1. severn sea says:

          WelI I thought it only fair to report back – I did buy one of these and I’m absolutely delighted with it. No disrespect to Theresa but from my own research I found that the switching off problem was a known issue, but further searching also led me to a solution, which is to simply hold the power button down for around 15-20 seconds and it reboots.

          It has happened a few times to me, very rarely now following recent updates but using the above solution it starts up again every time. Not perfect admittedly but I am confident a permanent fix will be found in due course. That aside I have had no problems whatsoever and it has made my computing life so much easier.

          Backing up files? Simplicity itself, just copy the important stuff to your OneDrive folder and it’s automatically saved to the cloud version. The added bonus is you can access your files from any computer anywhere, so a breakdown isn’t going to put you out of business.

          The full Office 365 Personal edition is a complete no-brainer for anybody running their own small business. It’s worth it just for the 1TB of online storage, as well as the way everything syncs and backs itself up almost instantly from your phone or your computer.

          I have a Windows phone which helps, but I love the fact that I can take a photo or edit an Excel preadsheet on my phone and almost instantly view them on my computer. NEVER rely just on your computer’s hard drive to store your important files on, they can fail at anytime regardless of what computer you own.

      2. Theresa says:

        The irony is that your response is exactly what you’ve accused me of – shortsighted and naive. I would not be surprised if you either work for Microsoft directly or are receiving some benefit(s) from them for posting. And I’m sure you will adamantly suggest it isn’t true – as anyone who’s on the payroll to give good reviews for a company discreetly would.

        If you read the entire post I mentioned that the store was full of people also returning or having their SP4’s “fixed” by the tech support. I was not the only person on the face of the planet having these issues. And judging by the recent comments by others there are plenty of issues with this product. If it was a one off I would have chalked it up to that – oh wait, I did when I originally had a problem with my SP3 and after multiple trips to the MS store I had to have it replaced with a SP4. But when the problems persisted on this brand new device and within two weeks of having a brand new laptop it was having issues it raised the question that maybe there’s a larger problem with the product. Something that was confirmed by the 20 other people in the store all having the same issues with their SP4’s. And that’s just one store out of who knows how many.

        As for the comment about people saying negative things about a business or it’s product and services – yes, that comes with the territory of running a business. Any business. The difference between one business and another is whether they accept responsibility for the issues and provide good customer service to rectify the situation or not. In this case it has been an uphill battle dealing with Microsoft. Another difference is that when there are product issues some businesses will choose to pull the product and work hard to try to provide a solution whereas others, as I strongly suspect with Microsoft, will knowingly ignore the issue and continue to sell the product and then pretend they don’t know what’s going on. They might even try to blame third party vendors, as has also been the case in this situation. As an example, this method is a common practice with automobile manufacturers. They will deny, deny, deny until they are absolutely forced to admit there’s a problem.

        Finally, a warranty is only good if a company honours it. I have had nothing but problems trying to deal with this company. That is also explained in my original post. Yes, I still stand by my statement that this is the worst product ever and that people should avoid it. First off, because it has so many issues and because Microsoft’s own techs finally admitted the SP4 has more problems than the SP3 did. Secondly, because their customer support – whether it’s tech support, customer service, or dealing with store managers is horrible. I can outline every detail of how that experience has played out because I’ve experienced it firsthand. This is not the result of a one time visit to a store but the culmination of many hours over a multitude of store visits, emails, and phone calls with the company.

        If I can help save someone the headache, hassle and stress I have been going through dealing with a faulty product and terrible customer service then at least it’s worth it.

  17. mm s says:

    In the last one week, I have used it sparingly and it hung twice. It would not shout down and a loud buzzing sound was coming out of it. I am disappointed. Buying a keyboard which is sold separately is another is another negative factor. The present onscreen keyboard takes away 30% of the viewing area. MS knows that eventually you would have to buy a keyboard, so extra revenue for them

  18. mm s says:

    I have used it for one week. there are serious issues that need to be looked into. It hung twice, when I cold not even power it off or start it. After investing so much of money, it is a disappointment. Paying extra for a key bird is another negative factor. MS knows that you can not manage without a keyboard, as 30% of the screen is hidden with the existing keyboard, that’s why they are selling it seperately

  19. Des Carroll says:

    I’ve had a Surface pro 4, i7, 16GB, 512SSD for a few weeks now and am wondering if I’ve just wasted over AU$4,000 in buying it. As far as I am concerned it is close to unusable in the real world. The fan never stops running because the unit runs almost too hot to hold comfortably most of the time. I have the latest updates but CPU usage is almost always above 60% and often 90-100%. Because of the constant fan whine I cannot use a number of important apps that use recording because the fan whine masks the recording. These apps include Voice Recorder, Dragon Naturally Speaking, voice into OneNote, Cortana (I have to yell at it to hear!), video/sound recording, Skype conferencing, listening to music or watching video.Forget fancy specs and concerns about type covers – this fails on basic practical usability.

  20. PegLegBoy says:

    Not sure how a 1200+ device that it’s sole exclusive purpose is portability gets about 3.5-4 hours of real life use on top of numerous other bugs and somehow manages to receives such high review scores. I’m beyond frustrated after spending this much money and getting average 3.5 hours of use out of it.

    This review is disingenuous and downright misleading to people who are potentially looking to buy Surface Pro 4.

    The only thing I’m thankful for is a 3 month return policy at Costco.

  21. Ursula Berge II says:
    1. Chris Franklin says:

      I was talking about the Surface… Just saying there’s no Bluetooth in the keyboard.

    2. AK says:

      Unfortunately for us, manufacturers think form > substance.

      1. Fellwalker says:

        It will continue while tech journalists exclaim how wonderful these devices are. Regrettably it applies to phones as well. I think a large part of the problem is that many people buying them don’t use them fully, so don’t come across the limitations. I’ve a friend with a samsung galaxy S6 who barely uses it as more than a phone. He can’t type to save his life, has never browsed the Web on it, has no apps but those I’ve put on for him, yet was looking for an upgrade when his contract comes round for renewal!!! His laptop is my old one, 6 years old now, and pretty much all he does is read emails and do a bit of browsing.
        If only I could design my own phone and convertible laptop, and get it made.

    3. apostrophedave says:

      its really hard to believe how many sites are saying the same thing. when i got the surface pro 3 first i used it without a type cover for the first few months and im using it with a bluetooth keyboard at the moment. and ive bought the first surface as well so if they did include the keyboards it would mean id have two type covers gathering dust. some bloggers cant think

    4. severn sea says:

      Agreed. The price of the keyboard is ridiculous, but it wouldn’t be such a point of contention if it was even half the price, and it still wouldn’t be cheap at that. Let’s not forget the Surface is a very expensive piece of kit to begin with, as good as it may be.

    5. elbs says:

      how are you finding it?

      1. phissith says:

        Late, late reply but I have been through 4 Surface Book, they don’t power/sleep right and kept draining battery. Bad QC from Microsoft.

        1. Pan oRoya says:

          They’ve had these problems from at least V2. Microsoft don’t care. The punters keep buying them and doing MS’s development work for them. The “reviewers” ignore all this stuff because they’re afraid to upset Microsoft.

    6. 911meltedconcrete says:

      Microsoft customer service is horrible. Only worse experience you could experience is with Intuit. Next to Intuit, Microsoft looks like a champion, but that is only because Intuit is the most poorly run company on the planet by a landslide. Intuit is #1 on my list of most poorly run Fortune 500 companies. Microsoft #2. All airlines occupy my 3-10 spots on my top 10 list.

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