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Thread: MS Surface Pro 2

  1. #1
    Maximum Bitrate Mickz's Avatar
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    MS Surface Pro 2

    Been playing with a Surface Pro 2 and along the way was wondering how easy it would be to incorporate one in a quick release vehicle installation.

    Before I go on, can we NOT have insipid posts about other OS's or tablet designs in this thread.

    Some of us have a SPECIFIC need for a system running Windows and we are NOT going to dump years of programming code and hardware interface designs because someone doesn't like Win or MS products/systems or feel they are inferior for whatever reason.

    Start you own thread! Or there must be at least a dozen threads on other tablets and OS's and why MS and Windows are no good, post in one of those

    So back to the SP2.

    The main thing I don't like is the reflective effect of the glass screen, however that would not be a problem 95% of the time in my vehicle. Only one audio input (microphone) but quality USB sound interfaces are low cost these days. In reality I really only need one input anyway as DAB and my integrated phone module can be fed straight to the AMP via SW controlled switching.

    Stopwatch timed resume from sleep in one second, resume from hibernate or a cold boot is around 5.4 seconds, even after installing a lot of SW, that's close enough to instant on for me.

    DC supply voltage is 12 volts, depending on system load that would allow for very simple wiring and most likely a very low noise interface. I've had 8 devices connected via a 10 port hub having 7 x USB2 and 3 x USB3 ports and everything including the FE, micro hardware interfaces, 2 GPS puck's + Garmin PC and a web cam connected and it ran perfectly.

    UPDATED: There is a vehicle charging/power adaptor available, all that's needed in the vehicle. Rating quoted: input 10-15vdc 8A. output: 45w (12v @ 3.6A) prices vary from $15 to $29.

    With interface ports at the top and bottom (when mounted in portrait mode) it would be easy to incorporate into what would look like a custom integrated installation but with quick release to allow removal when leaving or entering the vehicle.

    Anyone using one? how do you find it?
    Last edited by Mickz; 11-12-2013 at 11:26 PM.
    GA-Z77N-WIFI, i5-2400S, 8GB, Intel 520 128GB SSD, M4-ATX Modified, 2 Rev Cams, 2 Web Cams
    8" 16:9 TRANSFLECTIVE, Win8-64, Dual GPS RX and Garmin PC + Odyssey Nav, FM-DAB+, BB-Rec
    T-Screen HVAC control, custom microcontrollers, code and FE. CarPC Project

  2. #2
    Variable Bitrate camo.b's Avatar
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    On the high gloss screen..I have a old dell capacative touch screen in 10.1 ips.its super glossy and a amazing fingerprint magnet...but I wouldnt swap it for anything now. The veiwing angles and colours are just what i wanted.I would imagine the surface screen is better and with the ambient light sensor..(which I havnt setup yet) it would be a dream... i dont find the reflection that much of a problem either.think i had more problems with my old lcd and resistive touch..if I hadn't invested so much money in my carpc I would be looking very hard at a surface....

  3. #3
    Variable Bitrate camo.b's Avatar
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    I believe vegasguy is running a little asus tab in his ride as of now.pretty sure he is happy...if it was me I like the dash install option but removable for maintenance and showing off purposes....there was a guy here that did a tab install but wireless....does the surface have pogo pins or somthing alike for charging?

  4. #4
    Maximum Bitrate Mickz's Avatar
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    Hi, some users don't like the ambient sensor control but you can turn it off if needed. I find it pretty good, very similar to the expensive 8" Car-PC screen I currently have with light sensor.

    The brightness I can get out of the SP2 is really great and viewing angle is only affected by the reflected light from the screen, the colour and contrast does not change even from almost side on viewing.
    GA-Z77N-WIFI, i5-2400S, 8GB, Intel 520 128GB SSD, M4-ATX Modified, 2 Rev Cams, 2 Web Cams
    8" 16:9 TRANSFLECTIVE, Win8-64, Dual GPS RX and Garmin PC + Odyssey Nav, FM-DAB+, BB-Rec
    T-Screen HVAC control, custom microcontrollers, code and FE. CarPC Project

  5. #5
    Maximum Bitrate Mickz's Avatar
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    Interface for the power is a tiny magnetic connector plug with 5 pins, just seats itself into the socket. Making this thing look totally integrated into the vehicle but still removable would be a simple task.
    GA-Z77N-WIFI, i5-2400S, 8GB, Intel 520 128GB SSD, M4-ATX Modified, 2 Rev Cams, 2 Web Cams
    8" 16:9 TRANSFLECTIVE, Win8-64, Dual GPS RX and Garmin PC + Odyssey Nav, FM-DAB+, BB-Rec
    T-Screen HVAC control, custom microcontrollers, code and FE. CarPC Project

  6. #6
    FLAC SNOtwistR's Avatar
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    Pics and video please and thank you It's nice to hear about some real world use than just the commercials. Following with anticipation SNO
    Last edited by SNOtwistR; 11-09-2013 at 10:45 PM.

  7. #7
    Maximum Bitrate Mickz's Avatar
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    Hi SNO, there are so many videos and pictures on the net of this thing that I haven't bothered with any but, I'll see what I can do when I get a chance, perhaps a close up of the power and display port connections. If you want something specific please let me know and I'll try and capture/record and post it for you.

    BTW There is a vehicle charging/power adaptor available, all that's needed in the vehicle. Rating quoted: input 10-15vdc 8A. output: 45w - 12v @ 3.6A, prices vary from $15 to $29.
    Last edited by Mickz; 11-12-2013 at 11:26 PM.
    GA-Z77N-WIFI, i5-2400S, 8GB, Intel 520 128GB SSD, M4-ATX Modified, 2 Rev Cams, 2 Web Cams
    8" 16:9 TRANSFLECTIVE, Win8-64, Dual GPS RX and Garmin PC + Odyssey Nav, FM-DAB+, BB-Rec
    T-Screen HVAC control, custom microcontrollers, code and FE. CarPC Project

  8. #8
    Variable Bitrate camo.b's Avatar
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    Pics,and vids!!! love to see it running a frontend.....ambient sensor means one less thing I need to think about adjusting.

  9. #9
    Maximum Bitrate Mickz's Avatar
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    I wrote my own front end so that's not going to give any real indication but, it's a 4th gen i5-4200U running from 1.6 to 2.3 GHz with 4GB R and 128GB SSD.

    I tested internal SSD (MSATA) speed and it's around 530MBs read and 288 MBs write, big improvement from the old SP from what I have seen.

    Tested USB 3 read/write to an external SSD and it's the same speed as when SSD was installed in my main PC (it's not the fastest SSD - few years old - and tops out at around 258 MBs R/W.) The SP2 runs as fast as my late model Gigabyte with i5-3570K @ 3.40 GHz and 8MB R running Win8.1 on the tasks and apps that I have tried. I'll post a video when I get some time.

    EDIT: for my Desktop PS specs (I first wrote the Car-PC specs)
    Last edited by Mickz; 11-09-2013 at 11:51 PM.
    GA-Z77N-WIFI, i5-2400S, 8GB, Intel 520 128GB SSD, M4-ATX Modified, 2 Rev Cams, 2 Web Cams
    8" 16:9 TRANSFLECTIVE, Win8-64, Dual GPS RX and Garmin PC + Odyssey Nav, FM-DAB+, BB-Rec
    T-Screen HVAC control, custom microcontrollers, code and FE. CarPC Project

  10. #10
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    Well since I saw my name mentioned, I guess I'll chime in. My partner at work has a Surface pro, and man, is that one nice screen. No doubt about it, the Surface is the halo product in the Microsoft tablet ecosystem. I've been running an Asus Vivo SmartTab for a couple of months now. I periodically trade it out for a Nexus 7 2013. My observations are as follows:

    The best things about running a tablet are great screens, nice touch performance and no wires. I know some are looking for permanent installations, but I didn't want to lose the whole reason for even having a tablet...big-screen mobility. So I got a nice little Kenwood head unit that supports Bluetooth Handsfree, Bluetooth audio and all the other usual goodies and that's that. With the tablet out, I have a fully functional stereo with BT hands-free calling as good as any I've ever had. With the tablet in, I add big-screen navigation, streaming media apps, OBDII and lots of other goodies. And that's pretty much true on either the Nexus or the Asus. Since the Asus has a GPS/GNSS sensor, I can run Centrafuse (natch) and the nav apps of my choice. I see that as the biggest drawback of the Surface...the need for an external GPS. Likewise, Sygic on Android for the Nexus is awesome...one of the best nav apps I've seen.

    So like Mickz said, the big plus for the Windows tablets is a mature development ecosystem. One aspect that maybe most people don't think about is that the Windows guys don't have to support phones. Practically speaking, a Windows pro tablet is just another desktop. The Android guys always have to take the smartphone environment into consideration, lest they risk alienating an enormous customer segment. The result is that a lot of Android apps really don't look all that good (or work all that good) on tablets. Not a huge problem with the 7" Nexus, but very obvious on 10" screens. Yes, Android has an infinitely larger app catalog the Windows ever will. 99.999% of which will never see your screen in a moving car, they're simply unusable. Once you narrow it down to stuff you would actually use in a vehicle, the gap closes dramatically. Add the ability to jump easily to desktop apps (like RR or CF), and the Windows tablet starts making more and more sense.

    The biggest drawbacks? Mounting, obviously. I saw a GREAT solution at SEMA (see picture below), but I don't know if it's real, and I can't find it advertised anywhere.

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    Otherwise, you can fabricate one yourself (my route) or use something off-the-shelf. The other issue is peripherals. I use a BT OBDII dongle and it works great. But other than that, I don't have anything else attached. I tether to my smartphone for internet, and that's about it. I don't bother with startup controllers or power because I'm already on and all paired up before I get in the car. I don't drive more than an hour or two around town, so battery life isn't an issue and I don't feel the need to wire anything up (although I have plenty of 5v Cig adapters, A 10000 milliamp dual port external battery pack) and a 120v AC outlet in the truck, so power is there if I needed it.

    But here's the kicker for me, personally: I have everything I ever really used in a car PC, better hands-free BT calling than I've ever had, AM/FM/HD/CD/MP3 that's there all the time, at significantly lower cost. $150 for the head unit and just under $400 for the win tablet, $235 for the Nexus. That's less than $800 for BOTH systems. Take a decent Lilliput, M2ATX, Atom-based carPC, stereo amp and all the rest of the stuff and your going to be WELL north of that figure. Hell, I spent more than $400 on the last touchscreen I bought for my traditional carPC setup.

    So there you go....I'm hooked.

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