Microsoft Surface Pro 7 – Be Aware of the USB-C

First let me say this is NOT a full product review. Yes, my household does own a MS Surface Pro 7. Yes, my impressions of it are very positive. No, I have not used it as a daily driver, for heavy production like video editing or for gaming.

However, one thing that seems to be lacking is that if you are buying specific accessories to work with the USB-C, your only choice MAY be to buy from Microsoft.

We bought this primarily for my wife’s work (contract worker with frequent travel) and it seemed to fit her needs pretty well, with a few exceptions. External monitors and charging through the USB-C port.

She had no way to attach to an external monitor, like for a dual monitor set up or to perform presentations. I tried USB-C to HDMI dongles and nothing worked. They weren’t even acknowledged by the OS. I finally broke down and bought an MS dongle and it worked. It was five times the cost but it worked great.

I found on the internet that the USB-C port could be used for direct charging en lieu of the proprietary MS charger. Don’t believe it. It doesn’t matter the cord or quality or amperage of the supply. In a situation where the charger was left behind, the only fix was a mad dash to a local retailer that had the MS proprietary charger available.

Nowhere is it stated or implied in any MS information, either marketing or support, do they let you know the USB-C interface is somehow keyed or coded to use ONLY Microsoft proprietary accessories. It may be that the USB-C can support some industry standard stuff, but I haven’t found any. Buyer be informed.

Vista Tax – It’s All that Apple Claims

I am neither a fan of Microsoft or Apple. However, after a hard failure of a laptop and a scramble for a decent deal I purchased a Lenovo y510 Ideapad for about $800 tax included with Vista Home Premium edition.

In recent months I’ve heard the MS company and loyalists try to convince consumers of an “Apple Tax”. Added costs for software transitions and incompatibilities. As one experienced with Vista Home Premium, I have to share my observation.

I have to say when I first got Vista the experience started rough. I had to replace my Windows based cell phone due to lack of compatibility, I had to replace a scanner due to lack of compatibility and I lost the ability to send or receive faxes that was built into Windows XP.

Quicken 2006 has some compatibility issues to boot.

Understanding that, I shrugged and soldiered on giving this experience the benefit of the doubt. However, like one of my marriages, it went awry over time. Around the six month mark I began seeing slow downs. Over the past two months (eight months total) things have progressed to the Blue Screen of Death at least THREE TIMES A DAY EVERY SINGLE DAY.

Now, I’m a fairly techie guy. Built my own pc’s and worked with many versions of Linux.

I know where to find answers and what makes sense. For the past two months, I’ve updated all my drivers, checked the admin logs and done all that I feasibly can and Nothing works.

I’m hoping the extended warranty I have can somehow work with this.

I have to tell you I’m completely unimpressed with Vista. It fails more than Windows 98, has more incompatibility issues than XP by far and has cost me more time and money than any other system alone to maintain compatibility including the worst systems in the Linux world.

If I’d only known I would have definitely bought an Apple.

So, when someone starts telling you about the costs of “Apple Tax” just steer them to this. Any “Apple Tax” can’t be any worse than the “Vista Tax” that I’ve continued to pay for an OS that continues to fail on me.