Microsoft Surface Pro 7, what version and is it worth it?

DANIELE

Senior Member
Hi all,

after trying different tablet and because I want a tablet with a very good digitizer (for StaffPad for example) I ended up my long investigation on Microsoft Surface Pro 6.

Now, obviously, because there are many different models and many different prices do you think it will be better (from a quality price ratio point of view) to buy...

  1. Microsoft Surface Pro 6 Tablet, Core i5 8250U, 8 GB RAM, SSD 128 GB (now on sale for prime day on Amazon);
  2. Microsoft Surface Pro 6 Tablet, Core i5 8250U, 8 GB RAM, SSD 256 GB (costs a lot more of the previous one);
  3. Microsoft Surface Pro 6 Tablet, Core i7 8650U, 8 GB RAM, SSD 256 GB (almost double the cost of the first one);
  4. I should wait for better times.

Consider that I have to buy the pen and the keyboard too and I know they are pretty pricey (I don't know exactly what model to buy).

I'd like this to work with stuff like staff pad, to take notes, for work and other similar purposes. I don't think I'll use it for heavy orchestral projects or similar, I have the main workstation for this.

Any advice from you would be very appreciated.

Thank you.
 

Denkii

Active Member
I got the i7 16gb Ram 500gb SSD version last year. Although I'd say it's a super handy device that you can always fit in whatever bag you're traveling with and even do light orchestral Work on it, I would suggest that now is not the best time to buy.

If I were you, I'd wait for the next version, hoping that it will feature either a second USB port and/or a USB-C port. It's a pain to always have a POWERED USB-hub with you, if you want to work on something where you need an interface, a hard drive and a keyboard.
 
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DANIELE

DANIELE

Senior Member
I got the i7 16gb Ram 500gb SSD version last year. Although I'd say it's a super handy device that you can always fit in whatever bag you're traveling with and even do light orchestral Work on it, I would suggest that now is not the best time to buy.

If I were you, I'd wait for the next version, hoping that it will feature either a second USB port and/or a USB-C port. It's a pain to always have a POWERED USB-hub with you, if you want to work on something where you need an interface, a hard drive and a keyboard.
Thank you for the advice. Very useful.

So except for the "waiting advice" that I may will follow (most likely), you would buy the top version that it is very very pricey. What would you advice being more important? i7, 16GB RAM or 500 GB SSD?
 

Denkii

Active Member
I7 16gb Ram is top priority. You can always work with external hard drives but no such thing as external RAM ;)

If you're really really really only doing office work on it, then i5 8gb should be fine.
 
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DANIELE

DANIELE

Senior Member
I changed the title of the thread from "Microsoft Surface 6 pro i5, i7 or wait for a new version of it?" to
"Microsoft Surface Pro 7, what version and is it worth it?" because of the new Microsoft Surfaces Pro 7 and because of the discounts on them for the Black bla bla bla.

Do you think it is worth the money? I think it is a bit expensive from what it is, considering that you have to buy the keyboard and the pen to have a complete package in your hands.

But...if you say me that this 2 in 1 is so powerful that could bend the energy of the universe I could think about buying it (it is a metaphor but I hope it's understandable).

Thank you.
 

Denkii

Active Member
I changed the title of the thread from "Microsoft Surface 6 pro i5, i7 or wait for a new version of it?" to
"Microsoft Surface Pro 7, what version and is it worth it?" because of the new Microsoft Surfaces Pro 7 and because of the discounts on them for the Black bla bla bla.

Do you think it is worth the money? I think it is a bit expensive from what it is, considering that you have to buy the keyboard and the pen to have a complete package in your hands.

But...if you say me that this 2 in 1 is so powerful that could bend the energy of the universe I could think about buying it (it is a metaphor but I hope it's understandable).

Thank you.
My opinion is still the same.
If you want to do DAW stuff, you'll need a version with 16 GB RAM which automatically puts you into the version that has an i7. From there on its your choice if you want to go with 256 or more SSD space.

It's expensive for what it is, yes but it is a little mobile workhorse.

Another contender would be the razer blade stealth 13" with similar specs if you want something of similar quality and portability. Benefit of the razer would be a dedicated GPU and more USB A slots.
Though the surface pro 7 finally has a USB C nowadays but so does the razer.

Either way you'll probably want to have a powered USB 3.1 hub (Amazon basics has a great one) for dongles, sound interface, keyboard and an external SSD.

Regarding the pen: depends on your workflow. Cubase handles it meh in some regions and GREAT in others (drawing in automation is a blast!!!) But it takes time to get used to it.
E.g. Ableton Live handles it very well.
It's definitely not a necessity.

There are apps for creating your own keyboard shortcuts that you can put on screen as an icon-bar. With this you can eliminate the use of actually using keyboard shortcuts and improve the workflow with the pen. I have shortcuts for play, pause, stop, delete, undo etc. So I never have to put away the pen. Again: this does need time to set it up and getting used to but once it works, it's a rather playful way of working which grew to enjoy.

Ultimately even those 16gb ram limit what you can do with these systems and if you have a beast workstation at home you'll find yourself freezing tracks way more than you are used to but it definitely works.
Nucleus or inspires run just fine.
When youre going into full SCS/CSS/CSB/BBCSO/whatever abbreviation territory, you'll end up freezing tracks of course.
But it does allow you to have an ultra portable way of at least sketching stuff out that you can pick up working on at home.

My portable rig always comes with inspire 1+2, BBCSO, FORZO, NOVO, gravity, true strike, damage, action strikes, all tarilonte ERAs except dark era (because I don't own it). I have always been able to put together something with this stuff and my trusted surface pro 6.
 
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DANIELE

DANIELE

Senior Member
My opinion is still the same.
If you want to do DAW stuff, you'll need a version with 16 GB RAM which automatically puts you into the version that has an i7. From there on its your choice if you want to go with 256 or more SSD space.

It's expensive for what it is, yes but it is a little mobile workhorse.

Another contender would be the razer blade stealth 13" with similar specs if you want something of similar quality and portability. Benefit of the razer would be a dedicated GPU and more USB A slots.
Though the surface pro 7 finally has a USB C nowadays but so does the razer.

Either way you'll probably want to have a powered USB 3.1 hub (Amazon basics has a great one) for dongles, sound interface, keyboard and an external SSD.

Regarding the pen: depends on your workflow. Cubase handles it meh in some regions and GREAT in others (drawing in automation is a blast!!!) But it takes time to get used to it.
It's definitely not a necessity.
The pen is a must have for me, I use it a lot on my main PC, exactly to draw automations (I have a graphic tablet).
I'd like to use it to write some music in staff pad and also on simple digital staff paper.

I could also use it to read some e-book etc..so I need to use it as a tablet too.

I may consider some cheaper alternatives but I don't know exactly how to move and actually I'm thinking if should I take it with black friday discount.
 

Denkii

Active Member
The pen is a must have for me, I use it a lot on my main PC, exactly to draw automations (I have a graphic tablet).
I'd like to use it to write some music in staff pad and also on simple digital staff paper.

I could also use it to read some e-book etc..so I need to use it as a tablet too.

I may consider some cheaper alternatives but I don't know exactly how to move and actually I'm thinking if should I take it with black friday discount.
Well if you want my honest opinion if you only want to put something together in GM and read e books I wouldn't be willing to spend that amount of money.
But it's your money after all.
 
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DANIELE

DANIELE

Senior Member
Well if you want my honest opinion if you only want to put something together in GM and read e books I wouldn't be willing to spend that amount of money.
But it's your money after all.
Well I meant to do that other than do some music production and maybe some Photoshop and After Effects working.
 

dzilizzi

I just hang around pretending I know something
Years ago I had a 13" Yoga to try to do the same thing. Never could do much, but the touchscreen wasn't as good. My Flex 15" touchscreen is better but at 15" it is a little large to carry around. I've thought about getting a surface but am concerned they aren't as good as they seem. I'd like to use it more for photo editing but I'm concerned the pen won't keep up. Or maybe I need a better pen?

So, I'm kind of interested in this as well. Something I can throw in a large purse sort of thing. Oh and as an FYI, Reason will run on an underpowered Yoga, though I didn't do big template pieces. So it should run on the 8gb/128 surface without a problem.
 

Denkii

Active Member
Years ago I had a 13" Yoga to try to do the same thing. Never could do much, but the touchscreen wasn't as good. My Flex 15" touchscreen is better but at 15" it is a little large to carry around. I've thought about getting a surface but am concerned they aren't as good as they seem. I'd like to use it more for photo editing but I'm concerned the pen won't keep up. Or maybe I need a better pen?

So, I'm kind of interested in this as well. Something I can throw in a large purse sort of thing. Oh and as an FYI, Reason will run on an underpowered Yoga, though I didn't do big template pieces. So it should run on the 8gb/128 surface without a problem.
As long as you're in the windows realm, the surface pen is as good as it gets as a native solution without getting into Wacom third party tablets.
If your priority is the quality of the pen for drawing and editing there really is no way around the iPad pro at the moment. But we are obviously comparing apples and oranges by then.
 

dzilizzi

I just hang around pretending I know something
I have an iPad pro but haven't wanted to shell out the $100 for what was, at the time, an iffy pen. My non apple pen works okay, probably as good as the Apple one. It is also a pain to put projects onto and out of the iPad. Everything is so locked down.
 

Denkii

Active Member
I have an iPad pro but haven't wanted to shell out the $100 for what was, at the time, an iffy pen. My non apple pen works okay, probably as good as the Apple one. It is also a pain to put projects onto and out of the iPad. Everything is so locked down.
I only know about the original pen so I cannot speak for third party ones. And the opinion I state is backed up by a close professional animator.
It's nice that you can work on real PSDs now on your iPad pro for example but you are totally correct about the wacky workflow between machines.

Anyway: as a portable windows machine that should be capable of making use of pens rather well, I would not look for anything else than a surface right now.
 

dzilizzi

I just hang around pretending I know something
I only know about the original pen so I cannot speak for third party ones. And the opinion I state is backed up by a close professional animator.
It's nice that you can work on real PSDs now on your iPad pro for example but you are totally correct about the wacky workflow between machines.

Anyway: as a portable windows machine that should be capable of making use of pens rather well, I would not look for anything else than a surface right now.
Maybe I will try the Apple pen then. I was going by some online reviews and YouTube videos where they didn't look that great. :)

Thanks! I'm going to keep looking at the surface but it will probably be another year. I just bought a laptop.
 

Denkii

Active Member
Maybe I will try the Apple pen then. I was going by some online reviews and YouTube videos where they didn't look that great. :)

Thanks! I'm going to keep looking at the surface but it will probably be another year. I just bought a laptop.
The iPad Pro with apple pen and procreate is the closest you can get to drawing on real paper according to a lot of people in the animation industry. I trust that notion.

Edit: You can also get specific screen shields that imitate the surface of paper more rather than just swiping on the bare glass. According to my source you should be careful and not cheap out on that though since the cheap ones mess up the recognition of your strokes a bit. But she is having a blast with that stuff and prefers drawing on that over her much more expensive wacom monitor-tablet.
Oh no...now I brought that topic up during dinner and I am getting pounded with info although I am not a pro with this stuff by any means. If you need more info let me know and I will gladly forward your questions XD
 
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DANIELE

DANIELE

Senior Member
I was thinking about apple too but I really don't like their closed ecosystem.

With the surface I'll use windows so I could possibly install and use every software I'm using on my main PC, the real problem is the same...too much money for the complete package.

I should see some videos about the pen, if I have to put so much money in it I want it to work flawlessly.

@Denkii there is also a model with i5 and 16 GB of ram with the Surface Pro 7.
 

Denkii

Active Member
I should see some videos about the pen, if I have to put so much money in it I want it to work flawlessly.

@Denkii there is also a model with i5 and 16 GB of ram with the Surface Pro 7.
pen: there are still world's between the apple pen and the surface pen due to the technology they use. But like I said: the surface pen is as good as it gets in native windows world without third party tablets.

Surface i5 16gb RAM: I did not know that, sorry! That version is definitely new. There was no such version for the sixth generation of surfaces.