Planning on Doing The Switch to the Microsoft Surface Lineup

over 6 years ago from , Product designer


After the dissapointing (for me) Apple event and the awesome Microsoft event I'm just planning to do the switch to the Microsoft Surface products. My big fear is the OS. I've been using Apple devices for more than 5 years and I don't know if switching to Windows 10 will be a pain.

Any tips or warnings on switching to a windows device for a web designer?



  • Ben RamseyBen Ramsey, over 6 years ago (edited over 6 years ago )

    "Any tips or warnings on switching to a windows device for a web designer?"

    My warning would be: You probably shouldn't make a decision about your professional digital workflow based on a few launch videos. Ignore the hype and make a decision based on your needs. Use the products first. Understand what each offers by using them, then make a decision based on that assessment.

    74 points
  • Marcel Wichmann Marcel Wichmann , over 6 years ago

    I wanted to update my graphics driver last Saturday. Spent 9 hours finding out why my PC doesn't boot anymore and needed to reinstall Windows to fix the problem. FYI.

    15 points
    • Vision 229Vision 229, over 6 years ago

      Sounds like Layer 8 problem!

      0 points
    • Thomas OsmonsonThomas Osmonson, over 6 years ago

      I very rarely comment but this sounds absurd. This almost never happens anymore with up-to-date hardware, outside of user-error.

      5 points
    • Rob Carreno, over 6 years ago

      Damn that sounds horrible! I totally get why a lot of people use mac os instead of Windows. I still have an old mbp for meetings with clients but my workhorse is a built PC. I haven't had any issues lately, but when I upgraded video cards and sad, it was 2 days of some hassles.

      0 points
      • Brian HintonBrian Hinton, over 6 years ago

        You upgraded hardware. You were able to upgrade hardware.

        0 points
        • Rob Carreno, over 6 years ago

          Yep, pros and cons in everything, but it's basically why I don't get desktop macs, soldered things and mobile components don't really go with my definition of workhorse

          0 points
  • Emanuel S.Emanuel S., over 6 years ago

    In this moment of time where tools like Sketch, Framer, Principle, Origami and a whole other batch of them are exclusive for the macOS, I think it doesn't make sense to swich. Also Windows should be enough for you to say "ewww".

    9 points
    • Emily SaforrianEmily Saforrian, over 6 years ago

      Agreed, I really like the Sketch -> Framer Studio workflow. Additionally, if you do development, getting setup on a Mac is much easier then on Windows. Getting down into the command line is easier and I can use tools like Homebrew to install Linux type tools. While, I'm sure it's possible to run a design AND dev environment in Windows, it's been a long time since I did that and think it would be very disruptive.

      1 point
    • Nathan HueningNathan Huening, over 6 years ago (edited over 6 years ago )

      "Ewww" might be overstating a bit -- Windows has improved dramatically over recent years, if you haven't spent time with it lately (though I really can't stand how Windows handles type on screen, which is sort of a deal-breaker for me). But the point stands. Of the web dev tools I use and can't live without, most are Mac-exclusive:

      • Sketch + Invision Craft
      • Transmit
      • Affinity Designer (Windows version imminent)
      • Pixelmator
      • Sequel Pro
      • Dash
      • CodeKit
      • Terminal / UNIX
      • Ulysses (not web dev, but still)
      • Ember
      • Tower
      • Screenflow
      • Keynote
      • IconJar
      • ImageOptim
      • Fusion/Parallels to virtualize Windows

      Coda / Espresso I don't use, but admire; Sublime Text is cross platform, as is Atom & Brackets. But if I couldn't use the apps on that list, I'd do something else besides make web sites.

      0 points
  • Brennan Smith, over 6 years ago

    Touching my screen goes against my beliefs.

    5 points
  • Nicolas PrietoNicolas Prieto, over 6 years ago

    While I really like the new Surface Pro, and I'm not so sure about the new Macbook Pro, as a web designer I don't see any real reason to upgrade to Windows. I can't imagine myself titling the screen to design a web form with a pencil and a knob. Maybe I'm wrong but I would get a Surface Pro if I wanted to start doing digital art instead of User Interfaces. Someone said the Surface Pro is a direct competitor of a Cintiq and not an iMac and I think I agree. So as someone else said as well, I would think first if I need a huge touch screen for my regular design work. If the answer is "yes", go for it and don't worry about the OS. Is not a bad one.

    5 points
  • Ian GoodeIan Goode, over 6 years ago

    The Surface Studio looks like a incredible PC, and Apple's Macbook Pro updates were strange to say the least, but was there anything specific that appealed to you as a web designer to make the switch?

    My tip would be to make sure that you switch for good reasons and not just G.A.S.

    5 points
  • Andy LeverenzAndy Leverenz, over 6 years ago

    I'm in the same boat but for other reasons entirely. I'm building a PC to have the best of both worlds. My plan is to dual-boot Windows and OSX(or macOS?)(Hackintosh).

    The benefits of the PC/Hackintosh Combo:

    • Upgrading hardware is possible down the road. You don't have to opt in for the long haul like with most Macs that really only allow you to upgrade memory.

    • I currently run an iMac 27". I love it but I'm sick of the CPU being tied to the screen. A driving force behind my switch is to use a 34" curved display. Having hardware in your control is pretty sweet though it's crucial to choose compatible parts.

    • Considerably cheaper depending on your needs and comparison toward brand new Macs.

    • You can get some insane speeds and processing power with little know-how. I'm a novice when it comes to building computers but the internet is a hell of a resource.

    • Windows 10 is a big step in the right direction for Microsoft and is pretty sweet.

    Benefits of the Mac:

    • They just work. No need to troubleshoot as you would with a Hackintosh build.

    • No need to do tons of research to see if parts are compatible.

    • Macs are extremely dependable. I rarely have to reboot or get that hellacious blue screen of death as on a P.C.

    • Native apps like Sketch are available. PC users suffer in this department but Affinity is working on a Windows version of Affinity designer that I'm excited about.

    • Some development tools just run way better like Ruby on Rails.

    My suggestions:

    Keep your mac but run Windows 10 on it. Try out the ecosystem and see if you can work with it. You'll have to find other methods to execute your current workflow on a PC no doubt but I'd say its very much possible.

    Hope this helped spread some insight!

    4 points
    • Rob Carreno, over 6 years ago

      awesome points! Im glad designers are opening up to windows, albeit there are drawbacks, the option to maybe run a xeon or a titan for heavy design is awesome.

      0 points
  • Kris Barratt, over 6 years ago

    I'd say try out "brackets" first as your coding software. Adobe started it and then open sourced it. Great great coding software. Best I've found on windows. Has an awesome live preview.

    2 points
    • Austin PaquetteAustin Paquette, over 6 years ago

      Opinion on Atom? Not sure if you've used it at all, but it's been a heaven-send to me at least.

      0 points
    • Jacob JJacob J, over 6 years ago

      I agree. I've been using Brackets on windows and mac and am loving it!

      0 points
    • Dana (dmxt)Dana (dmxt), over 6 years ago (edited over 6 years ago )

      As a person who used to use Brackets live preview, please get http://cmder.net/, then install and setup gulp. Gulp has much, much more superior live preview (https://www.browsersync.io/), it gives you address like localhost:3000 and you can open it in any browsers, any devices[1], it refreshes on file save (even images) and it doesn't break if you open dev tool (unlike Brackets). Gulp also have excellent SCSS compiler plugin, and many other plugins you'll not be able to live without.

      [1] On other device, instead of entering localhost:3000, enter computer's IP address (such as 192.168.1.-, 10.0.0.-, etc) and add :3000 or whatever port it provided you)

      1 point
      • Brian HintonBrian Hinton, over 6 years ago

        Now you can just use the bash prompt instead of having to worry about installing commander.

        Seems few realize bash is on Windows now. RoR dev on Windows is like on Linux. Windows also has a big package system just like Homebrew called Chocolatey: https://chocolatey.org/

        0 points
  • Aaron SagrayAaron Sagray, over 6 years ago

    There are two things that prevent me from using Windows:

    1. Sketch
    2. Not UNIX-based makes web development a pain
    1 point
  • Ryan MackRyan Mack, over 6 years ago

    If you ever decide you want to get into iOS/macOS development, cross that off your list now. No Xcode on Windows.

    1 point
  • Kris KimKris Kim, over 6 years ago

    OK, besides cool tilting monitor and looks-cool dial, which I think don't benefit web designer TBH, what does Windows have for web designer? You wouldn't design a web with new Paint 3D or dial thing right? I'm sorry if I'm being rude, but I can't understand the point of switching to Windows. It's the same Windows that you've seen all along.

    I'll be honest that I was impressed by Studio too but it's just cool-to-look-at kind of thing.

    1 point
    • dave fdave f, over 6 years ago

      Haven't you heard ? Apple are out and Microsoft are the new old Apple who have just out Apple-ed the new and old Apple.

      1 point
  • Yay N, over 6 years ago

    I get that people might be disappointed at the new Macbooks but at the same time I’m a bit surprised at how many want to jump the shark. Without having any real life idea of how those new Surface products actually work. My experience with Surface is that there's been a lot of quality issues in the past, both with the hardware and accessories. Personally I still think that Mac OS is a lot more refined than Windows 10.

    My 3+ year old Macbook Air is due for an update so I'm definitely upgrading to a MBP this time, partly because of the software I currently need. In a few years time, I might be open to switching platforms but it feels very premature at this moment. So if I were you, I’d wait another six months or so and see what the verdict is on the new Surfaces. Could be a game changer if Microsoft gets it right.

    1 point
    • Darrell HanleyDarrell Hanley, over 6 years ago

      I don't think that the Surface products are the right line to jump to, but I've personally gotten very tired of paying $3k every 3-4 years and never really being fully satisfied with the machine I buy. The cap at 16GB of RAM didn't help, and the 2TB SSD option are prohibitively expensive, and the configuration that would most match my current configuration is now $3.2k, up $200 for a touchscreen I don't really want and don't think will improve my experience. I don't actively look at my keyboard while I use my computer, and I dock my Macbook Pro at home, using an external display, and apple's wireless keyboard and trackpad instead.

      I also wanted official support for connecting to an external GPU. Intel supports this feature. The new Macbook Pro has Thunderbolt 3 by way of USB-C, so the parts are in place, but no support, presumably because no one would ever produce the drivers for it, nor would Apple allow them to.

      I don't think that Apple undisputedly makes the best optimized hardware anymore. I think OSX is better than Windows 10, mind you, but most out of personal preference rather than feature specific reasons why its better. I think Apple has also focused too heavily on lifestyle features (Apple Pay, Emoji keyboard, Siri) rather than aiding professionals, while simultaneously raising the price for those professionals.

      I upgraded last year to my current Macbook Pro, and won't be buying another computer for at least another 2 years, most likely 3 years. I'm reluctantly tied to OSX because I use tools that are, at present, OSX only like Sketch and Flinto. I think I will evaluate windows options for laptops when I'm due an upgrade, and perhaps step down to a base model iMac for access to Xcode and other OSX only software at home. I'm hopeful that Bohemian Coding and a few of the other developers reevaluate and go multi-platform over the course of the next few years, but in the meantime I'll be taking a second look at Figma and Adobe XD as possible replacements.

      1 point
      • Nathan HueningNathan Huening, over 6 years ago

        I don't think that Apple undisputedly makes the best optimized hardware anymore. I think OSX is better than Windows 10

        This ^ and this ^

        0 points
  • Nicolas PrietoNicolas Prieto, over 6 years ago

    "One more thing": I don't 100% agree with this article but it's worth a reading https://techcrunch.com/2016/10/28/why-apples-macbook-touch-bar-was-the-right-thing-to-do/

    0 points
  • Jrtorrents Dorman , over 6 years ago

    I'm also a big fan of the new Surface Studio and I might get one within a year.

    If you're going for the Surface Pro or the Surfacebook then I say go for it !

    If you want to get the Surface Studio then I suggest you wait at least 4months to about a year. It's a new product, I saw wait for them iron out the kinks. You can also play with one at the Microsoft store if there's one newr by.

    0 points
  • Jrtorrents Dorman , over 6 years ago

    I'm also a big fan of the new Surface Studio and I might get one within a year.

    If you're going for the Surface Pro or the Surfacebook then I say go for it !

    If you want to get the Surface Studio then I suggest you wait at least 4months to about a year. It's a new product, I saw wait for them iron out the kinks. You xan also play with one at the Microsoft store if there's one newr by.

    0 points
  • James Young, over 6 years ago

    You're considering dropping $3k+ and swapping your whole workflow over to another OS because of two videos you watched on the internet?!

    0 points