Surface or iPad

Hi all,

I have been using the Windows version of Scrivener since it was in beta and am loving it. I’m now considering a tablet or hybrid for writing on the go and was curious if anyone is using Scrivener on a Microsoft Surface Pro or similarly small-screened device, and how well it works in that context.

Alternatively, I am considering an iPad since most of the software I want to use exists (or in the case of Scrivener will exist) in iOS form, and it’s cheaper than a Surface. My guess is Scrivener for iOS will be optimised for this screen size.

Anyway, any thoughts you all might have on which is the way to go is appreciated.


Last I heard, Scrivener (like many other programs) does not work in Windows RT for the ARM chip architecture. So that is definitely something to consider.

Yes, have heard the same about RT. But the Surface Pro has full Windows 8 Pro, running on Intel.

In my opinion, RT is not the way to go for this very reason!

I haven’t heard anything regarding whether Qt programs work well with it. Now that Microsoft is starting to open retail stores, it’s possible to go in and play with these things, and if you manage to get everyone ignoring you for a few minutes, maybe that’ll be enough time to run the installer and see if it works. :slight_smile:

… and of course report right back here for the benefit of all… :sunglasses:
You naughty evil you AmberV :smiley: :smiley:

I wouldn’t buy anything (ever again) from Microsoft, let alone when the product’s future is so unsure. Zune-like fate of redundant obscurity? … ce-launch/

The Surface Pro runs Windows 8… Why would it have any problems running Scrivener?

As for the screen size, yes Scriv works fine on a smaller monitor. It depends on your preferred way of working of course, but remember that you have a lot of control over the layout. If you already have a copy of Scriv, then just press the “Restore Down” button (the one between “Minimize” and “Close” on the top right) and play around with a smaller window for a while.

I suspect, though, that there are plenty of other factors more germane to deciding between an iPad, a Surface, and an Ultrabook. Personally, if using Scrivener was the primary function of my new device (and you’ve not suggested it is, so apols if this isn’t relevant) then by far the most important consideration for me would be the keyboard quality.

On that Microsoft does sell an optional keyboard with the more tactile switches commonly used by laptop keyboards, rather than the strange one that has no tactile reaction and seems to be more like a moulded touch surface. Both keyboards fold up against the device in a closed position, protecting the screen and providing a stand when in the open position.

One nice thing about the surface pro is that it shares with other tablets the ability to switch screen orientations just by moving it. So in full-screen (composition, now) mode, the pro should give the user something like a full size typewriter page on which to work.

But with binder, outline, an editing tab, and the inspector open, the screen on a surface pro is going to be a bit cluttered.

I’ve used Scrivener on a netbook with a 10" screen, and I also use it extensively on an 11" MacBook Air, with good success. In fact the basic design principle of the UI was built for a 13" laptop monitor in 2006, which had far less resolution than even a smaller (measurement wise) screen today. It helps to get used to the interface hotkeys. Switching the binder out to work with the inspector for a bit will retain the original scale of the editor(s), learning to rely on history will reduce the need for excessive splitting, etc.

My Thinkpad Tablet 2 works well with Scrivener–but only if I use a keyboard & mouse. I’m very satisfied with that combination: 10 hours of battery, no fan noise, flexible keyboard positioning. Sometimes, I prefer my laptop: easier to set up and tear down, usable on a lap (where the tablet just falls over), larger screen means more legibility when using four Scrivener panes. Without a keyboard, though, Scrivener is barely usable; it simply isn’t designed to be manipulated by touch. That’s okay, OneNote (the free, RT version) works perfectly with touch, so I can dump notes in there for later review.

I like that I can plug a keyboard and printer into my tablet, and that I can run Word, Excel, and Photoshop (if slowly). I can only see two reasons to get the Apple tablet: it has better games and it can run OmniOutliner.

If you decide to go with a Windows tablet, I strongly encourage you to get one with an active stylus. I don’t know how I’d navigate through desktop apps without a mouse or pen. Also, inking in OneNote is great. (Killer usage scenario: using Windows Snap, open a working document in the main window and a OneNote document on the side, then use the stylus to take notes about what’s in the other window. But then, I also like using traditional pen & paper, so this might not work for people who don’t handwrite.)

I have just completed my first novel using a combination of a laptop for day to day work at home and a Surface Pro when I was out and about with ideas still churning in my head. The Surface Pro worked well with Scrivener and I had few issues with the screen size. You do need a good resting surface for the external keyboard - otherwise some keys do not register properly when struck (pun intended).
I purchased the Surface specifically to be able to use out and about and it has proved to be very dependable for me. I linked it to a Dropbox account for cloud backup. Not too sure about Microsoft’s cloud offering yet. They try too hard to monetize everything and if they don’t get a high enough rate of return they summarily drop the product.
I don’t see Microsoft getting out of the tablet market. Software prices are falling and feature sets are equalizing. Apple has shown that you need hardware as well as software to remain competitive. However even if Microsoft does drop the Surface, it is a Windows 8 box. So use just back it up and move to the next OS.
One serious recommendation though, get the biggest system they offer. You will want it down the road as new software emerges. Software developers are paying less and less attention to the size of their applications. Most simply optimize for speed and ignore the program size. (Scrivener is a welcome exception.)
Another serious recommendation is to get antivirus for your pad immediately if you are going to use it on the road and be very careful when typing passwords on your pad in unsecured settings. Best of luck.

I know this discussion is a little old, but I thought I’d chime in anyway.

I just purchased a Surface Pro 3 specifically for mobile writing. I have a Win 8.1 laptop, but I was doing a good deal more writing on my Android tablet (using a plain text editor to maximize compatibility between platforms). Though I’ve used Scrivener on all three platforms in the past, I haven’t been using it for quite awhile because of the mobility issue.

I’m far from all settled in to Scrivener on the Surface, but I’m looking forward to re-learning it now that I can use it everywhere again. I think the success of the Surface Pro 3 is a good indicator that Windows tablets are here to stay.

Can’t comment on Surface, but if you decide to go with ipad, get a good BT keyboard. I use the Apply one. Works a treat. I use WriteRoom to write for importing into Sriv on desktop, but as you say, hopefully that will change :slight_smile:

I’m with pigfender on this though, I would base the decision on your primary use for the device.