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Thread: Getting a new machine

  1. #1

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    Getting a new machine

    I'm thinking of getting a new machine and was consider a MS Surface Pro.

    I have had a Surface Pro 2 for a long, long time - been a great machine.

    Am I nuts to consider this in today's hardware market?

    TIA!

    Steve

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    coder. Lord Orwell's Avatar
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    Re: Getting a new machine

    Quote Originally Posted by szlamany View Post
    I'm thinking of getting a new machine and was consider a MS Surface Pro.

    I have had a Surface Pro 2 for a long, long time - been a great machine.

    Am I nuts to consider this in today's hardware market?

    TIA!

    Steve
    i believe (and you will want to confirm) the surface pro they currently sell runs on an arm chip. It's also, for the price, slow. People have ran windows 10 on a new m1 macintosh in a vm and it runs faster than it does on the surface pro and the m1 costs the same.

  3. #3

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    Re: Getting a new machine

    @lord orwell

    Not the Surface Pro X (which is ARM). Looking at a Surface Pro 7...

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    Re: Getting a new machine

    I guess I thought phones and tablets met most "on the go" needs any more, making laptops largely obsolete. In the current long-term situation portability is less important than ever.

    Surely you can get more bang for the buck and longevity from a small desktop tower today? The flexibility and upgradability are hard to beat.

    I'm not telling you what you need. I just can't imagine investing much into any kind of thin laptop/clasptop and basket of dongles (power, optical drives, secondary hard drives, USB hubs and adapters, special external monitor cords, etc.) today. But that's just me.

  5. #5
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    Re: Getting a new machine

    I've had lots of Surface devices and been pretty happy with all of them. Had a Surface 3 back in the day, which I used mostly while commuting. Got a Surface Pro 5 that replaced the S3 and got more duty at home besides. Got a Surface Go that was more convenient while commuting because of the size and still powerful enough. I've had my own desktop system all the while and used that while working from home, which I did increasingly over time. We went full work-from-home at the end of 2019, so before COVID hit, and my employer got me a Surface Pro 7. I have that on my desk, hooked up to a Surface Dock 2 and the same two monitors that my desktop is hooked up to. The SG sits in the lounge room and is mostly connected to the TV, but sometimes gets duty in bed while watching England play cricket, which is always odd hours for someone living in Australia. The SP5, which doesn't last long on battery any more, is a second machine for my partner, who uses it as an adjunct to her Surface Laptop 3.

    With regards to the SP7 specifically, I'm perfectly happy with the performance. You may also be able to get an SP7+ for better performance still. I doubt that most people would be disappointed with an SP7 in real-world usage. Having said that, I would also expect that you could get better bang for buck if you went for a laptop (convertible or otherwise) from another OEM. One thing the Surface does give you that you won't find elsewhere is the 3:2 screen. 16:10 is getting more common and is better than 16:9 but, in my opinion, 3:2 is better still. If that's a feature you like then give the Surface Pro serious consideration.

  6. #6

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    Re: Getting a new machine

    @dil - thanks for the counter points. Always makes it easier to plot a course when all options brought up. The MS SP series has nice docking stations to make lots of those issues go away. One of my clients supplied me with a great HP EliteBook (for HIPAA reasons) - that's a big powerful machine. My second choice would be a second laptop of this type (although I've seen battery swelling problems with others that were purchased at that same time).

    @jmc - really appreciate that feedback. I read lots of those same points online, great to hear a real person back them up. Since they no longer have that hdmi mini port, can you only get a secondary monitor when in the docking station?

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    Re: Getting a new machine

    My Surface Go is connected to my TV from the USB-C port via HDMI and you could do the same with a monitor and any recent Surface. I got the dock because I wanted two external monitors. There is a dedicated Surface USB-C to HDMI adapter, which is what I use, but any adapter or hub should do the job. The USB-C port offers at least as much bandwidth as the old Mini DisplayPort, which my SP5 has, plus additional flexibility. If you use the USB-C port for video then you still have the Surface Connect port for charging but you can charge via USB-C too.

  8. #8
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    Re: Getting a new machine

    I bought a new laptop last year.

    I wanted a high-end laptop, something portable and yet powerful enough to not only develop on but potentially do some video/audio editing on and so this ruled out a surface pro which I do like the look of.

    Anyway I bought an HP Spectre 15inch in the end (the top one if you follow this link)

    https://store.hp.com/UKStore/Merch/List.aspxsel=NTB&ctrl=f&fc_sb_spectre=1&gclid=CjwKCAiAmrOBBhA0EiwArn3mfDELk6EUPT5T1lLNhHFSycyHvp-_92hgA0GxyUzzaGUgwpHJkYsWvxoCu2cQAvD_BwE&gclsrc=aw.ds

    It is a really nice Laptop with a great screen and good enough specs to do pretty much any task, bar maybe some of the latest high-end graphics games which I don't play anyway.

    It is a convertible but it does feel a bit heavy to use regularly as a tablet, to be honest. Probably good if you were travelling by train or plane, but I haven't done much of that lately obviously.

    Other than that its a great machine, very fast and responsive and looks really nice too.

    It's not cheap, but I do feel its a fair price for what you get.

    The laptop can get a little warm sometimes if you leave in on for an extended period of time (I can't be exact but I would say over 12 hours and its not every time it depends on what you doing) but that tends to happen with a lot of these high spec laptops from what I have read.

    I have had the machine for about 7 months now and its been great.
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  9. #9
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    Re: Getting a new machine

    Quote Originally Posted by dilettante View Post
    I guess I thought phones and tablets met most "on the go" needs any more, making laptops largely obsolete. In the current long-term situation portability is less important than ever.

    Surely you can get more bang for the buck and longevity from a small desktop tower today? The flexibility and upgradability are hard to beat.

    I'm not telling you what you need. I just can't imagine investing much into any kind of thin laptop/clasptop and basket of dongles (power, optical drives, secondary hard drives, USB hubs and adapters, special external monitor cords, etc.) today. But that's just me.
    I'm the reverse... I'd prefer to invest in the slim form that I can move about. Take the two worlds I live in: work & home. For work, they gave me an Apple MacBook Pro. My setup includes two external monitors, a wireless mouse and a wireless keyboard. For cable management, I use a USB-C Kensington docking station. It all works really well. The advantage of this setup is that I can pick it up and go when I need to. And the company I work for knows this, that's why we all have laptops. IT allows us to work from anywhere. When we have to shut down for hurricanes, we can still work from home when we need to. When we needed to shut down due to a chemical incident at the office, we didn't skip a beat. When corona happened... it just became another WFH day (then week, then month, and now year) for us.
    Looking at the cables off the back of the desk, it's really no more or less than what I'd have with a traditional desktop. Having the docking station helps though.
    My home laptop on the other hand... I don't need much for that... it gets moved all over the place. The mouse dongle for it is tiny, so it gets plugged in and just stays there. Nothing else gets plugged into it except the power cord and the occasional thumb drive. It also gets to go with me on vacations, evacs, and what ever. Desktops.... eeeeeh, not so much.
    But then again, I suppose it all depends on what you're doing with it too.


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    Re: Getting a new machine

    With regard to a 'new' machine. I never buy new to the shops as it simply takes cash from the pockets of those that care to lose it easily and readily.

    Instead I tend to look around for older hardware that would act as an upgrade to what I am currently using. I bought a NOS Dell E6410 i7. New old stock is a good way to find a bargain. It is the best laptop that I have used so far (but my last was a core 2duo), it compiles all VB6 programs in mere seconds, has enough memory to run multiple programs (photoshop, VB6 x 3, twenty or so widgets, thunderbird, palemoon) and is no slouch doing any task. The GPU is sufficient for running Mediaeval Total War II if I really do need to game a little.

    It is a DELL and that says solid and easy to get parts for. I wouldn't touch anything from Microsoft with a bargepole, considering they might just make it obsolete the week after you buy it.

    Oh yes, it cost me 110 and it shone like new when I opened the plastic wrap. Forget the Surface, look for a bargain instead.

  11. #11
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    Re: Getting a new machine

    If you can live without a Laptop then DO NOT , DO NOT buy a laptop.
    In the end desktops can upgrade for a LOT longer than laptops (OK unless you strip the MB and the Graphic card out) , they are cheaper in comparison to a laptops with the same specs, etc etc, i think you know it...
    However if you DO need a Laptop then , and kinda knowing your line of work, you should be better of looking a a better CPU and monitor in expense of a Graphic card.
    I recently forced to get a laptop because due to the lockdown I went to my cottage house back and forth and it's hard to carry the desktop and monitor and disks around, so I got an HP with intel 3 10th gen CPU for 500 Euro. Living in US you might be able to get a better PC for these money with a core I5 10th gen maybe.
    I just want to say here that the AMD Ryzen CPU's are a LOT better for desktops but they are putting junk to the laptops,so better get Intel over there.
    Also I would not go for an MS laptop, they are simply paying Pegatron to build it anyhow and, although I don't know the price, I'm betting they would be 15-20% more expensive than a laptop with the same specs from another manufacturer.. I would personally go with manufs that know their stuff but NEVER Lenovo NEVEEEEEEEEERRRR! We had 5-6 new Lenovo at the company, all broke down in the first year! I never saw that with another manufacturer.
    Last edited by sapator; Feb 17th, 2021 at 12:58 PM.
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    Re: Getting a new machine

    We should all have a desktop... was that ever in question? When someone wants a surface they automatically want a portable laptop that is stylish and trendy with supposedly good performance.

    I have four desktops.

    1. XP 32bit testing, quad core Xeon
    2. Win10 for gaming/testing with a big fan, overclocked i7-975ee running Win10 and a big GPU
    3. Win7 32bit i5 for testing, silent running for desktop usage and coding
    4. Mac for doing that Mac stuff...

    and the laptop, and the old Dell laptop and a HP AMD pavilion and an Acer 7720 plus 2 x Raspberry Pi, ZX80 and a ZX spectrum or six.

    Surely we all have a desktop?

  13. #13

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    Re: Getting a new machine

    Quote Originally Posted by yereverluvinuncleber View Post
    We should all have a desktop... was that ever in question? When someone wants a surface they automatically want a portable laptop that is stylish and trendy with supposedly good performance.

    Surely we all have a desktop?
    I had an actual server - that's been turned off for years.

    I had a desktop for doing video editing with specialized board and all. That machine died a slow death.

    I have a Windows 7 big old tower that is no longer safe to use (OS is dead).

    I have had about 6 or so laptops - have an HP EliteBook pro right now (HIPAA use only - single client).

    And I have a Surface Pro 2 right now - that is getting long in the tooth.

    I also have a full blown GoDaddy server for hosting client websites (actual RDP access, not some silly dashboard for managing OS).

    Why are you against me getting another Surface Pro?
    Last edited by szlamany; Feb 17th, 2021 at 03:12 PM.

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    Re: Getting a new machine

    It was sapator that didn't want you to buy a laptop, not me.

    If you really DO have to buy a laptop, remember three things that make the experience worthwhile, many seem to forget, it isn't just the specs that matter:

    1. A PROPER keyboard. The older Dells have a superb keyboard, the HP range have dead flesh boards.
    2. The touchpad, test run it before you purchase, the Synaptic offerings always seemed better.
    3. Make sure the base shell is made of a lightweight and non-flexing metal. Holding a plastic laptop by the corner and flexing its motherboard is a certain way to ensure early failure.

  15. #15
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    Re: Getting a new machine

    Since you are rich, can you spare the win i7 PC?
    I want to put a Ryzen in there to make it a proper one.

    What MAC stuff are you doing that your i7 cannot I'm wondering...
    .

  16. #16
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    Re: Getting a new machine

    I' not against getting a Laptop, I just said that you can get a better brand.

    Also yereve ratted me out in cold blood.. Niiice.
    .

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    Re: Getting a new machine

    All those desktops that I mentioned are all still working, none are defunct, they all operate and have a role...as do the laptops. Never give up old laptops, you can convert them to garage 'puters

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    Re: Getting a new machine

    Quote Originally Posted by sapator View Post
    Since you are rich
    I am definitely NOT rich, the desktops have all been cobbled together from parts, scrounged, donated &c. Mostly by buying long dead machines and extracting the working parts and repairing the so-called 'dead' bits.

    Quote Originally Posted by sapator View Post
    can you spare the win i7 PC?
    I want to put a Ryzen in there to make it a proper one.
    That is the one I am playing with now, it is my most powerful machine and I am enjoying it too much to let it go, also you are in Greece.

    Quote Originally Posted by sapator View Post
    What MAC stuff are you doing that your i7 cannot I'm wondering...
    I have some old Adobe software that I still use from time to time and also Quark Express and I also test my Yahoo widgets on it too, they were multi-platform and some users still use them on OSX.

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    Re: Getting a new machine

    Wasn't there a Surface Pro 6 with virtually identical specs as the 7?

    But I'll admit that with laptops it makes more sense to buy bleeding edge to prolong service lives.

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    Re: Getting a new machine

    Quote Originally Posted by dilettante View Post
    Wasn't there a Surface Pro 6 with virtually identical specs as the 7?
    The SP6 was the last one with Mini DisplayPort and the SP7 has USB-C, so that was probably the most obvious change. The processor jumped from 8th gen Intel to 10th gen and both WiFi and Bluetooth got version upgrades. The SP7+ has an 11th gen processor, but I'm not sure how easy it is for an individual to get one of those, because I believe that they're aimed at enterprise buyers.

  21. #21

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    Re: Getting a new machine

    @dil - yup, there is a 6 that the 7 did not rise much above. And as JMC mentioned there is a 7+.

    As far as 6, 7 and 7+, it's all about the chip. I might not care so much about that, it might come down to availability and bundle setup.

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    Re: Getting a new machine

    Quote Originally Posted by szlamany View Post
    it's all about the chip. I might not care so much about that
    https://www.windowscentral.com/surface-pro-7plus-review

  23. #23
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    Re: Getting a new machine

    Quote Originally Posted by szlamany View Post
    it might come down to availability and bundle setup.
    https://www.windowscentral.com/best-...-surface-deals

  24. #24

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    Re: Getting a new machine

    Thanks for the link.

    The 7+ is a nice machine - I think this one has all that I need

    11th Gen Intel Core i7, 16 GB RAM, 256 GB, Platinum/Black

    I'm going to explore options for getting my hands on one.

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    Re: Getting a new machine

    Quote Originally Posted by szlamany View Post
    I'm going to explore options for getting my hands on one.
    https://www.onmsft.com/how-to/how-to...from-microsoft

  26. #26

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    Re: Getting a new machine

    @jmc- I'm going to get one from a client for kind of work in trade.

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    Re: Getting a new machine

    Sounds like you've made your mind up but I'll put my two cent worth in anyway. If portability is not a factor you can't beat a desktop, price, ports, expandability, it's all already there. No need to buy extra docking devices. I also have Surface Pro. Around 3 or 4 years old, pricey but a great machine (didn't like the Mini Display Port). If price is not an issue then GET WHAT YOU WANT. lol

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    Re: Getting a new machine

    Spectrum 48k

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    Re: Getting a new machine

    DEC SYSTEM 20. If I clear out the garage, it should just fit. Don't know about the power bills though.....
    All advice is offered in good faith only. You are ultimately responsible for the effects of your programs and the integrity of the machines they run on. Anything I post, code snippets, advice, etc is licensed as Public Domain https://creativecommons.org/publicdomain/zero/1.0/

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    Re: Getting a new machine

    Quote Originally Posted by 2kaud View Post
    DEC SYSTEM 20. If I clear out the garage, it should just fit. Don't know about the power bills though.....
    Offset by not needing to turn on the boiler during the Winter. Timesharing by season.

  31. #31
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    Re: Getting a new machine

    Yeah - but the cost of the air-conditioning during the summer.....
    All advice is offered in good faith only. You are ultimately responsible for the effects of your programs and the integrity of the machines they run on. Anything I post, code snippets, advice, etc is licensed as Public Domain https://creativecommons.org/publicdomain/zero/1.0/

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    Re: Getting a new machine

    That is why I said, timesharing by season.

  33. #33

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    Re: Getting a new machine

    Name:  SP7+.jpg
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    New MS Surface Pro 7+ on the right!

    11th Gen Intel Core i7, 16 GB RAM, 256 GB, Platinum

    So far I've installed VS 2012, VS 2017 and MS SQL 2016 Developers Edition!

    Machine is super fast.

    On the left is the old Surface Pro 2, with a sweet Toshiba 22" display. Toshiba makes some of the best video products at consumer costs, imo.

    Granite stone was surf tumbled at Wingaersheek Beach!

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  34. #34
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    Re: Getting a new machine

    I missed out on this discussion, so I'll get in late.

    I got a new surface pro 7 last fall/winter. I'd been debating that for a long time. I really liked the improvements of the 7 over the 2 (which I also still have, and which is acting as a database server, currently). The problem I had with the 2 was that the keyboard was too cramped. I could type on it, but not all that well. With the 4, MS increased the screen size, which allowed them to increase the keyboard size (since the keyboard has to be the same size as the screen such that it folds correctly). They used that extra size to increase the key spacing, and it was just enough. I can type very well on the 7, the battery is considerably better, the screen size is larger, and best of all: It's lighter!!

    That last point may not matter so much to everybody, but it does to me. I bought the 2 so that I could code while on a 1000 mile bike ride. I'm not willing to carry the weight hiking, but it's insignificant when biking. Still, lighter is better, and I now have a bike trip coming up that could end up being about 1600 miles. That's what prompted me to finally buy. I think I ended up with the exact same specs that szlamany opted for.

    Great computer, and my solar charging system will make use of the USB-C.

    Also, when at home, I plug in a hub that allows me to hook a pair of 27" monitors into the SP, which gives me three screens. The one issue I've had with that is that when the SP sleeps, it usually 'forgets' about the third monitor. To get it back I either have to unplug then replug, the hub, or else reset the video driver (Ctrl+Shift+Windows+B) three or four times. I have no idea why it requires three or four times, and it isn't even consistent with the number. Sometimes three is enough, sometimes it takes four.
    Last edited by Shaggy Hiker; Mar 9th, 2021 at 05:07 PM.
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  35. #35

    Thread Starter
    MS SQL Powerposter szlamany's Avatar
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    Re: Getting a new machine

    Quote Originally Posted by Shaggy Hiker View Post
    ...the 2 (which I also still have, and which is acting as a database server, currently).
    I'm actually doing the same thing - I've got 3 different versions of SQL running on the SP2 - and I'm going to leave that as my database server.

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  36. #36
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    Re: Getting a new machine

    This thread's title just states "getting a new machine" so I think I can chime in and say the same. I am getting a new machine, in fact I just did.

    Spectrum 128k +2

    Already disassembled for overhaul. All electrolytics being replaced. Addition of new technology 5v voltage regulator, rotating three incorrectly installed transistors, new heatsinks on ULA, Z80 CPU, converting RGB output to SCART, addition of a small switch to the PSU, new 6600uf capacitor, addition of a DIVmmc SDcard reader. Possibly a new HAL chip and conversion of the default aerial output to composite video.




    Stock photo but it looks just like this. Will act as a 80s retro console on the main telly in the lounge, real keyboard, z80, 128k, hundreds of games on SD card, a reset button, what's not to like?

    PS. It runs BASIC only so it is very on-topic.

  37. #37
    .NUT jmcilhinney's Avatar
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    Re: Getting a new machine

    If you want to be able to use your Surface Pro just like a laptop at times, consider one of these:

    https://www.brydge.com/products/bryd...32526368800873

    I got one for my SP5 because my partner didn't like using it on her lap with the standard keyboard. Works very well.

  38. #38
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    Re: Getting a new machine

    My cousin had the Spectrum ZX with the rubber keys.

    What should be bought IF PC WAS ONLY FOR USING AT HOME, is:

    AMD Ryzen 5 3400G ,
    Nvidia 1060 Ti (GPU shortage, else a 3070 and the GPU card of the laptop that is crying in the corner with the TI would have committed suicide),
    500 GB SSD M2 card for basic disk,
    AM4 Motherboard,
    32 GB RAM,
    4 TB HDD secondary,
    550W Power unit.

    That, and taken into consideration the GPU shortage, is about 1200$ in Greece and it's 3 times better than the Surface Pro 7+ . For the remaining money of the Pro I just throw in an Asus 32'' STRIX curved monitor to the pack or a couple of TB SSD's .
    .

  39. #39
    Super Moderator Shaggy Hiker's Avatar
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    Re: Getting a new machine

    Quote Originally Posted by jmcilhinney View Post
    If you want to be able to use your Surface Pro just like a laptop at times, consider one of these:

    https://www.brydge.com/products/bryd...32526368800873

    I got one for my SP5 because my partner didn't like using it on her lap with the standard keyboard. Works very well.
    I had to read over that page a couple times, and at this point I'm still not sure what the point is. It appears to be just an alternative to the Type Cover, which MS stubbornly refuses to include with the SP. It talks about wireless, but the pictures make it look like it attaches to the SP directly. So, is this something about the SP 5? Did the Type Cover not exist at the time? That cover looks to be the same thing, just bulkier, and a bit more expensive.
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  40. #40

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    Re: Getting a new machine

    I know someone who broke a SP2 while using it on their lap, when the type cover decided to disconnect from the tablet unexpectedly. I like how sturdy the new SP7 to type cover "magnetic connection" is...

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