Surface Pro 4 at 5 months and counting Part 2

Continued from Surface Pro 4 at 5 months and counting Part 1

Purchasing the 4 GB version of the SP4 stings for monetary reasons - I could have paid less for the 8 GB SP4 if I had the luxury of waiting a month or two more. Admittedly, CorelDraw X8 runs fine on 2 GB of RAM, and can run on even less if you're not multi-tasking or work only with vectors rather than bitmap images. Moreover, I perform most network and developer-intensive tasks on my Macbook Air and Fedora 25-powered Acer ES-11, which means I only run Corel, Microsoft Office 2010, and occasionally applications for accessing VPN and corporate services.

Contrary to popular belief, Windows 10 can co-exist just fine with macOS, Linux, and FreeBSD. Ignorant mainstream users just spend more time bitching about different OS than actually learning them.

Surface Pro fans rave about using the Surface Pen, and I admit that I haven't fully harnessed its utility.  The Pen works well enough with the CorelDraw X8 Graphics Suite, but surprisingly, using the older Wacom Bamboo Pen and Touch feels more natural when creating illustrations or drawing. With the new Surface Pen around the corner, which allegedly supports better tilt functionality, and CorelDraw 2017 advertising improved Surface Pen and stylus support, there is every reason to learn to get used to the Surface Pen.

Note: Since I already have an SP4, the lack of the new Surface Pen with the new Surface Pro (the new Pen is sold separately) doesn't bother me as much. However, I agree that it is a misstep on Microsoft's part despite most Surface users not really using the Surface Pen at all.

In a coffee shop or airport

It's easy to get plenty of writing done for Unsolicited But Offered with a MacBook Air in a coffee shop. While I have no preference between the Surface Type keyboard and the Air's excellent input system, the SP4 doesn't have the battery longevity of the Air despite numerous firmware updates, and my penchant for not putting the tablet to sleep.

Note: I'm still wary about the well-known bug regarding the SP4 and Windows 10's Sleep, Hibernate, and battery functionality. To be fair, I haven't encountered any issues waking up the SP4 the last few times I put it to sleep using the Power button.

Power Management on the Surface Pro 4 isn't the most reliable, so I avoid letting the system go to Sleep as much as possible.

I'm comfortable bringing along a laptop running Fedora 25 or Debian with its depressingly short battery life to the local Costa Coffee. The SP4, of course, lasts longer than Linux installs on a laptop, though the Air bests both Windows and Linux for extended work sessions with a venti Americano.

On the other hand, I consider the data in my Air to be too valuable to bring it on holidays or business trips. Moreover, although the SP4 has only 1 USB port, has average battery life compared with ultraportables from Dell and ASUS, and only slightly lighter than the MacBook Air, it's somewhat more comfortable to carry to the airport, subway, resort, and to the beach. With airport security and rules regarding electronic devices changing daily, it's oddly easier to bring the SP4 (and retain complete productivity), than hand-carry the MacBook Air despite the similarities in dimensions and weight.

Note: While the MacBook Air is more durable when packed in your check-in luggage, the Surface Pro 4 is arguably better designed for limited space and for bringing inside an aircraft. In addition, depending on your port of embarcation, security staff generally ignore non-laptops. In the coming months, the popular MacBook Air will be included as one of the devices listed for immediate inspection in some countries.


When I first brought home the SP4, I still invested more hours on Linux and macOS machines. However, this was more of my hesitation regarding going back to drawing and illustrating rather than any dislike for the device. Now that I've finally returned to more creative endeavors, I'm using the Surface Pro 4 more and more and finally achieving my primary objective for purchasing Microsoft's tablet cum PC.

The new Surface Pro looks brilliant and can only signal more options for other users planning to embark on more creative digital endeavors.

Sketching and drawing on a Surface Pro 4 with CorelDraw X8 is a great change of pace from writing API and system documentation.


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