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App Name:
Docs To Go™ Free Office Suite v4.004 build 1597 [Unlocked] [Balatan]
Requires: 4.4+
Description:
FREE! View native Microsoft Word, Excel and PowerPoint files & attachments with Documents To Go Main App. Supported file formats include .doc,. docx,. xls,. xlsx,. ppt,. pptx.
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submitted by Blood_Bleeder to ApksApps

Surface has a Microsoft Problem

I'm probably going to get a lot of backlash and downvotes for this, but this is something I really care about and I want to foster a discussion about it. Please hear me out! I will be breaking down all the issues and problems that plague the entire Surface brand. This is not just here to vent or complain, my goal is to help foster and encourage critical discussion of the products. I apologize for how long this post is, but I'm just so passionate about this topic and I want things to be better. A TL:DR summary will be included at the bottom of the post.

Let me start by saying that I am a huge Surface fanboy. I always wanted more from tablets, and the Surface line piqued my interest when it was first launched. My first Surface was a Pro 3, and it was the perfect college companion. (However, I do NOT miss the molten core that it would become) I think the Surface line of products is one of the few truly innovative line of mobile PC products. Each product brings something brand new to the table. I can not wait for the Surface Neo, what a great innovation in the mini-tablet market!

That said, the more Surface products I buy, the more apprehension I have with buying from the Surface brand. That really pains me to say; I love the sleek brand, the look, the name. As I said, I'm a fanboy! Unfortunately, the brand has been plagued by Microsoft's incompetency: Hardware/software issues, defective units, inconsistency, little improvements with devices, and worst of all, Windows. Lastly, and I never thought I'd ever say this, but the biggest issue with the Surface brand is Apple. Let me break it down…

Part 1: The Surface level

The new iterations of each device feels even more disappointing that the last. Minor improvements, it feels like Microsoft is trying to see how little it can do and still justify releasing a new version every year. I feel so bad for the Surface Book fans waiting for a proper upgrade… Don’t get me wrong, it's got great hardware, but 3 years…. And 0 changes to the design? 3 years and they didn't even move the awful placement for headphone jack??

Speaking of headphone jacks, (or lack thereof…) we all made fun of the iPad Pro for being a 'professional' product without a headphone jack, and the SPX deserves equal treatment. A gorgeous device, incredibly sleek, a screen to die for... It's a shame that Microsoft had to handicap it so badly. I don't hate ARM, I 100% understand the reasoning for going that route. (As I understand it, that's how they're able to achieve the fan-less design. I may be wrong though) It just feels like such a strange decision to create a 'professional' device that can't run 80% of professional apps. At least the iPad Pro has a sizable app library. I understand it's an amazing device if it fits your use case, but I can't see why anyone should pay $1,000 for an iPad with fewer apps and less support. It doesn't help that Microsoft is once again making no effort to get third-parties to make compatible apps. At least the pen has a rechargeable battery, and it only took them 8 years.

To make matters worse, sometimes it feels like the SP7 was held back as to not overshadow the X. How many people would have bought the X if they took the new pen, screen, and (if possible) the body and put it into the SP7? It would be a bold new improvement for the Surface Pro line. It'd be a confident showing for the Pro line, a big reminder that the Surface brand isn't afraid to be different, a huge leap for the device… Instead, we got two split devices, the X and the SP7. (I upgraded to the 7 from my faithful Pro 3, so this is personal) I've got to hand it to Microsoft though, they did make the bold decision to release the Pro 7 with a WORSE battery than the 6!!! Very brave. At least we FINALLY got USB C. (Of course it's not thunderbolt, we'll have to wait a couple of years to have the privilege to make that $1,000+ upgrade)

One thing that all devices do share, however, is the piss-poor QA. Each device has a slew of hardware and software issues that take months to be addressed, if they ever do. Remember when the Surface Book 1 launched and regularly bluescreened and wasn't fixed for months? Call me crazy, but when I purchase a product, I kinda expect it to function at a basic level, especially at this price point. There are still issues in the Surface line that have been unaddressed despite updates and EVEN NEW PRODUCTS. Why is pen jitter STILL a thing?? This is from a few days ago! I'm sorry, you're saying that my $1k+ device can't even draw a straight line if I get too close to the edge of the screen? And this device is for professionals? Are you kidding me?

But you'll only have to deal with those issues if you actually get a device that works in the first place. Raise of hands, how many people have had to return a Surface product? I get it, it's not too big of an issue. Mistakes happen, nothing's perfect, and sometimes you get a bad egg. But for the Surface line, it's like a right of passage. It doesn't take long to browse this sub and see the comment "Sounds like a defective unit, contact Microsoft for a replacement." over and over again. I like to pay the higher prices for higher-end tech so that I DON'T HAVE TO DEAL WITH THIS. I have returned more Surface products than any other product, yet it costs more than all of them. This is the type of stuff you deal with when you buy the cheaper knock-off, NOT the largest tech company's flagship products. I understand that it sounds a bit privileged to complain about having to return products when they do it all for free, but I am SO TIRED of getting a product, setting it up, installing all my programs, logging into all of my syncing my files, etc. And then it has some issue, so I call Microsoft, get a return setup, ship it out, wait a week to get a new one, and then I do it all again! THEN THAT ONE HAS SOME OTHER BS PROBLEM. How is this acceptable? Returning a defective product is no big issue. But doing it regularly is an absolute chore. I am not kidding, while writing this post I discovered that my SP7 has some weird light bleed dots on it. Time to contact Microsoft…

These are premium products and they're charging premium prices. Is it too much to ask for premium service? Generally, you purchase a premium product so you don't have to worry about reliability issues, but for the Surface line, it's the exact opposite. Look anywhere and people will suggest different and cheaper alternatives if you need something reliable. And for the love of all things holy, please make the black coat deeper.

My experience with my Surface Headphones sums up the brand perfectly. I love the design, which is what the Surface line excels at. I love the dials, and the features, the quality. I really did not want to get burned, so I did a lot of research to make sure that these would be good for me. I had never spent so much on headphones, and I didn't want to buy them just because of the Surface brand. After a lot of research and poking around, I decided to get them on sale for $250, $100 off! I purchased them with 100% confidence that this was the product for me.

Honestly, I have a hard time recommending them at $250, much less full-priced. (Note: this is the original model, before the new updated one. I have no experience with the updated model) The quality is great, they're very comfortable, and the battery is pretty good. Honestly, physically, I have no complaints. For the mediocre, the touchpads have a hard time distinguishing between single and double/triple taps. The side dials feel awesome, but they still only increase in increments of 5 or 6. At this point, it's no more precise than a button for volume, and I wish there was more control with them; it'd make the dials much more useful.

It's all downhill from here. Cortana is built-in, which at first I thought was no big deal because I don't NEED to use her…. Right? Well, her voice is what tells you everything like low battery, ready to pair, ect. Again, not a problem in theory. However, her voice commands are SO LONG, and they completely mute all other audio without pausing. So you're watching a movie and invested in the dialog and- "Your battery is very low. They need to recharge." Did they really need her to say all this? It's so easy to miss dialog, favorite parts of your song, people talking in discord calls. Could they not have it be a simple "low battery" or maybe just a little beep? It's so annoying to have to go back just to rehear everything you missed. That's only if you can even get it to connect in the first place. I have had so much trouble getting it to connect to my PCs, including my Surface. Getting my Microsoft Surface Headphones connected to my Microsoft Surface Pro 7 was HARDER than it was to connect to my iPhone. I have no idea what causes this - sometimes it just won't connect. I have to run through the entire on/off, restarting, normally resetting it to factory settings works - but I have to do this CONSTANTLY. That means I'm constantly having to reset all my settings and connect them back to my devices - so annoying. Also, when switching between devices, there's this strange audio conflict where the audio will cut out for a split-second, like it very briefly switches to the other device for some reason. You can fix this by turning the headphones on and off again, but then what's the point of the whole seamless audio switching in the first place? Before you say that I have a defective unit, it's not. I had this issue with BOTH pairs of Surface Headphones I've owned. The first pair just suddenly broke while using them, and I needed to replace them. For $250/$350 headphones, I expect them to last at least 3 years, but I’m not crossing my fingers here. If I have any more issues, I will be returning them and getting a pair of Sony's, I've heard good things about them.

Part 2: Closing the curtains on Windows

Windows is the worst part of the Surface line, making an embarrassing display of the hardware. It's a mismatched outdated mess, and that's never more apparent when using a Windows 10 tablet. As well-made as it is, a keyboard attachment should not be a required purchase for a tablet. Leave it to Microsoft to create the wonderfully beautiful Fluent Design System….. Only to rarely adhere to it themselves. Why do I regularly stumbled across visual elements from 2001 on my TABLET I bought in 2019??

They keep saying that they’re going to be doing visual overhauls, but it never amounts to anything. They constantly say that they’re going to be adding or changing things, but then nothing ever changes. Remember when they promised that tabs would come to Explorer? Still waiting on that. A majority of people believe that the release of Windows 10X will be the visual overhaul that everyone has been waiting for, but it’s hard to believe that anything will change significantly when we’ve been burned time and time again.

Regarding Windows 10X, I am very interested in it, it definitely looks like a more tablet-focused UI. But it’s already been said that it’s purely for duel-screen devices, so is regular Windows tablet mode going to continue to suck? And how surface-level (ha) will the ‘overhaul’ be? Since VISTA, each visual overhaul has just simply been a coat of paint over the existing UI. It doesn’t tale long before the paint chips and all the previous elements start to pop up, making an incredibly ugly and disjointed experience. It’s the exact same OS but with a different looking start menu. They need to overhaul so much more, meanwhile they spend months just to update random icons, so that everything matches even less.. I do not care what they say or tease, I will believe the OS will be visually updated when I see it.

But let’s talk about the functionality of the OS itself, as a tablet OS. It sucks. First of all, there is no benefit in the OS with touch. The entire system is just poking tiny icons. Poke. Poke. Poke and hold. These are slapped-on touch integrations, making it a piss-poor experience. If you were lucky enough to use Windows 8 on a tablet, it had great integration. (Though it still had room to improve) I remember feeling so free being able to swipe around, access things, gestures, it felt like a TRUE tablet system!! Somehow, Microsoft decided to do away with all these for 10. Now everything is poke and hold, which is an ARCHAIC system that makes it a pain to use!! Why is using a MOUSE on a TABLET more comfortable?? Why does the TOUCHPAD have more gesture support than the screen itself?! And for the love of Panos, when I click a link, please bring up the page I clicked. In tablet mode, the link will open to my browser, but it won't bring the browser up to focus. This is basic OS stuff. (Also the on-screen keyboard is awful. Can we maybe download custom keyboards like ever other touch OS?)

Why does everything open in a new window? If I want to manage my sound devices, (without using search) I have to go through 4 different windows!!! (Not to mention that this is something I have to do regularly to get my Surface Headphones to work…) In tablet mode, each of these jumps you into a new screen, making a tiny window full screen, wasting loads of screen real-estate with white space taking up the 13” screen. This is not a good operating system. And why does the taskbar STILL get stuck and not hide? I remember dealing with this issue in XP. I hate having to navigate through menus to restart Explore.exe just so I can add a Photoshop layer. The entire eco-system around Windows hasn't changed since XP, and maybe even before, but I don't have experience before that. You can claim this is to keep program compatibility, but I strongly disagree. They don't have to change the core system, but user interface, the entire window-system, needs a serious rethinking.

If any company should be the one to excel™ at this, it should be Microsoft. They have been an advocate for the progress of tablets and tablet-desktop operating system, something I'm such a big advocate for. They have the money and resources to create a GOD-TIER OS if they put in the R&D for it. They should be looking into what makes a good tablet interface and experience, and then lay that on top of Windows. Seriously, imagine a fully touch integrated OS that is gorgeous and is incredible and user friendly for both tablet and desktop users. Microsoft CAN do this, they just DON’T. It frustrates me beyond belief that the only thing stopping incredible progress is Microsoft's laziness and/or lack of interest. We could absolutely have the best of both worlds, and Microsoft is the one than has the knowledge, money, and resources do it. Instead we just poke the tiny Windows icons and get tossed around into different setting windows that haven’t changed since XP. They could be the king of tablets, they have everything going for them, but they just sit around with their thumbs up their newly added USB-C ports. (Not thunderbolt, of course)

Part 3: Apple - somehow less embarrassing than Microsoft

All this brings me to Apple. They're a shell of their former self, and Apple hasn't done anything innovative in the past decade, that's something almost everyone can agree on. They've instead gone the route of just implementing features other people have come up with years after the fact. The iPad Pro has had a lot of updates over the years - it's definitely come a long way. Of course, it's still nowhere near being as functional as Windows. But it has developed it's own OS, one which has some pretty tablet integration. Again, it's no fully-functional Windows, but it is developing into quite the competent tablet + touch OS. Looking at Apple's page for it, it feels like I'm looking at a wishlist for what I want in a Windows-tablet UI. Now, don't get me wrong, I am NOT saying that the iPad Pro is a comparable PC replacement... yet. I do think that it could be at some point, however. Okay, hear me out.

While still a tablet OS, Apple has made a substantial amount of improvements to iPad OS, regularly updating it and adding new features. They've been listening to people in what they want and implementing changes, all while staying consistent with the UI design and feel. They developed a much more intuitive system for tablets that feels so much better than Window's. Instead of pulling in multiple split views, (which you can do when you need to) you rather slide in tab-like windows that let you access apps quickly, then slide it away when you don't need it.

The iPad file browser is far from being a proper file system, but again, it's a start. Not to mention most of the hard work is done - they have a nice looking tablet file browser all in place, plus they have this wonderful slide-in picture-in-picture system like I mentioned. It feels like a better alternative to Window's massively awkward full-screen apps. Not to mention, they have native picture-in-picture support for video - across the entire OS. Meanwhile, you still can't do a vertical split view in Windows. All that, and I even think iPad OS is far from a modern tablet OS! I have a serious touch-based OS system overhaul idea, but that's for a future post. No one has used a tablet's capability to it's full potential yet, but Apple is much closer than Microsoft.

If you compare the iPad OS to how it was, say, 5 years ago, the differences are immediately evident. If you do the same for Windows 10, I honestly think most people would never notice a difference. Microsoft has also been pushing tablet-pen integration with the Surface line, another thing that I completely agree with. Yet, despite Microsoft having a 6 year head start, Apple has executed pen support extremely eloquently, making it integrated throughout the entire device. You can write in any text boxes, select text, scratch out to erase, etc. Again, this is system-wide, and without even using then pen's button. Outside of drawing, the Windows pen support is basically just having a better pointer, so that you can actually click the UI that is too small for your finger. There's so much opportunity, yet no one wants to experiment. What about a system-wide radial menu for the pen? That could be really cool, like dabbing colored-paint on a painter's palette.

In Apple's most-recent showcase event thingy, (not worth watching, by the way) they announced that future Macbooks will be sporting Apple-made CPUs. They also low-key updated some of the Mac OS's UI, making everything a bit bigger, sleeker, simpler, and more in-line with something you'd see on the iOS line… This alone doesn't mean much, but it could be the first piece of a transition for Apple. Stay with me here, but what if Apple eventually merged the iPad Pro line and Macbook line? If Apple is making both the Macbook chips and the iPad chips, how long will it take for Mac OS applications to become backwards compatible with the iPad? All it would take is Apple moving Mac OS onto the iPad hardware, or rather taking a Mac and compressing it into the iPad. Honestly, they could have done this years ago, but modern Apple is terrified of innovation and change. Of course, even Mac OS doesn't have as much app support as Windows, but I think 90% of the programs people run on their Surfaces will be compatible with Mac.

Let me just state again, because I don't want my words to get twisted, I am not saying that the iPad Pro will eventually be able to replace Windows, not at all. But at what point will the downgrade in OS be worth it for all the benefits? I'm sure that for a lot of you, myself included, there are a good amount of programs that don't have Mac equivalents, not to mention other compromises from switching OS's. However, in my case, it would be worth it if I had a stable product that always worked with a coherent tablet optimized OS, that is also a full proper OS. Something with top-of-the-line drawing experience, ran almost all of the programs I needed, and also feels like I'm using tablet - rather than a laptop with a touchscreen. Obviously, I'm not saying that we should all switch to iPads, not at all. The Surface has a vast array of users. But my point is that, in the future, the iPad Pro could be a much better and safer choice for 80% of the users, and Microsoft has been doing absolutely nothing to prevent that. Let me put it this way:
The Surface Pro's biggest selling point is the full-featured OS. If you take that aspect out of the equation, what else does Surface offer against the iPad Pro? Do these features it outweigh all the massive problems?

TL:DR -

• New iterations of Surface devices do very little to improve the core concept. They have very little interest in improving the design, rather just refreshing the hardware to keep it relatively modern.
• The QA on all devices is shameful, and the amount of issues and problems that are ignored by Microsoft shows how little they care about their customers. Returning and replacing your device should not be a regular thing.
• The more Surface products I buy, the less faith I have in the brand. My experience with the Surface Headphones has been lackluster at best, frustrating at worst.
• Microsoft charges premium prices, yet does not provide a premium experience.
• Windows 10 is failure of a modern operating system. It's ugly, has no identity, the user interface is awful and poorly thought out, there is no consistency, and Microsoft clearly has no intention of actually improving it on any serious level. Things need to be re-thought completely, but Microsoft and thought don't go together very well.
• Windows 10 is not a tablet operating system, it has the bare minimum and nothing else. There is no care put into making the tablet experience enjoyable. If they don't want to make a tablet OS, why are they making tablets?
• Apple continues to improve their OS, slowly making the iPad Pro closer to a proper laptop. They've still got a lot of work to do, but they are clearly putting in the effort.
• Apple is making the processors for their Macbooks now - how much longer until they consolidate the iPad Pro and Macbook? If they weren't so scared of change they could already have iPads running full Mac OS.
• The Surface is a compelling offering because of it's full operating system, but what happens when the iPad Pro also has a full operating system? How many people will put up with Microsoft's BS when there will be a much safer option with only a handful of compromises?

Conclusion

I'm not writing this because I hate the Surface brand and want to see it fail - the absolute opposite! I have so much love and passion for the brand and I think it's one of the few that is truly innovating with new products. But the more products I buy, the less faith I have in the brand. I can't keep spending MORE to have a WORSE experience than what the competition offers. Of course, when you have brand new innovative products, there's bound to be rough spots; I understand that and can forgive that. But almost everything I talked about are things that are not new problems - they're things that have been solved for years.

The entire reason I was inspired to create this post was because I realize that, in the future when it's time to upgrade my SP7, I considered switching to an iPad Pro. That truly pains me to say, as I've been such an advocate for the Surface line and I've been a huge critic of the iPad Pro. But I can't keep pretending that I'm fully satisfied with my purchase when the experience has been getting worse. It kills me that a brand with such potential is squandering its reputation. It feels like they're innovating new products… So that other companies can execute it better. Surface can create amazing devices, but they fall flat at everything else. I don't have the time or energy to jump through all these hoops at this price. I'm tired of constantly restarting so it will connect to my headphones, or it won't connect to the internet, or it won't connect to my pen, or it won't unlock, or it won't recognize my type cover, or because of some other random quirk in Windows.

The whole concept is "a tablet that can replace your laptop", but right now it's basically a touchscreen laptop with a detachable keyboard (sold separately of course). Windows 8 had much more of a tablet ecosystem, but Windows 10 completely ruined that. They said they would make the tablet experience better but there has not been a single change to the tablet experience since launch.

There would be compromises and sacrifices of course, like the Type Cover's best-in-class typing experience, but I personally would be willing to lose things like that for the benefit of not having to deal with all of the garbage like I do now. Also, while I will always prefer the kickstand, their magnetic keyboard thingy is pretty slick. Microsoft and Apple both have a lot of compelling offers, yet they both end up dropping the ball so hard. It's sad how the future of full tablet-PCs isn't relying on hardware - it's software. Both Apple and Microsoft can continue to pump more and more powerful hardware into these tablets, but it won't significantly change the experience until they actually get off their butts and update their OS. (And I don't just mean a new coat of thin paint, Microsoft.)

We're at a point in personal computing that we're not limited by technology, but these companies' lack of interest in innovation or change.

I'm sure I'll get a lot of flack for this post, but I hope people understand that this all comes from a place of love. The Surface line is so close to being the perfect devices for me, but they just keep missing the mark. I understand that a lot of people probably don't have these problems - but please remember that, unfortunately, that is the minority. This should be apparent on this sub of all places, every day there's a new post on here needing help with some obscure issue or flaw that they're experiencing. If you think that all of this is too much to ask, please remember that this is Microsoft's signature line. They are a Trillion-dollar company. Hundreds of companies don't have a quarter of their money or size, yet don't struggle with these problems.
Get it together, Microsoft.
submitted by Hopper2004 to Surface