Is 11" too big? (For a tablet device...)

Discussion in 'Flight Following' started by Jim_R, Jul 27, 2020.

  1. Jim_R

    Jim_R Cleared for Takeoff PoA Supporter

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    I ran across a site selling refurbed Surface 3's for $299 (including the keyboard/case and Win 10 Pro). It's the "bigger" version with 4GB RAM and 128GB SSD, but does not include LTE/GPS.

    The primary role for this device would be for EFB use in the cockpit, but I'm concerned it might be too big. I currently have a 10" ASUS tablet on the yoke, and while it works, it's always felt bulky compared to the 8" tablet I used to have. The Surface 3 is an inch bigger in both dimensions, which I worry will just be too big.

    ASUS ZenPad 3S 10: 9.5" x 6.4"
    MS Surface 3: 10.5" x 7.4"

    Anyone have any experience with a tablet that large in the cockpit? If so, how do you have it mounted?

    (PS: Yes, I know the Surface 3 is old and somewhat anemic. But I've been curious about the 2-in-1 concept and would like to dip my toe in and try it out without committing ~$1000+ to the experiment. If I think I can at least get a few years of EFB use out of it, that could make it a worthwhile experiment.)
     
  2. jrcox19

    jrcox19 Pre-takeoff checklist

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    What EFB are you using?
     
  3. Jim_R

    Jim_R Cleared for Takeoff PoA Supporter

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    iFlyGPS. Not sure how that plays into whether a Surface 3 is too big for my yoke mount, though.
     
  4. Deelee

    Deelee Line Up and Wait

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    Probably because folks are concerned about whichever EFB you are using running on Windows as opposed to Android or IOS.

    While it may be ok on height/width, I would worry about the weight and also the thickness. From what I recall, the surface is thicker and heavier than a true tablet.
     
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  5. Adam Weiss

    Adam Weiss Pre-takeoff checklist

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    I very briefly used a Surface Pro.
    It is big.
    As folks mentioned, too...not a lot of EFB support for Windows.
    I ultimately went with an iPad mini, and have not regretted it at all.
     
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  6. Deelee

    Deelee Line Up and Wait

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    I sorta wish I had gone with a mini instead of the iPad Air. The Air blocks some of the Aspen HSI and part of the MP gauge. I can see around the iPad and it's not a safety of flight issue, but still... I think the mini would have been better.
     
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  7. Jim_R

    Jim_R Cleared for Takeoff PoA Supporter

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    Yeah. The Surface Pro is a whole inch taller and .5" wider than the Surface 3. That's 2" taller and 1.5" wider than the tablet I already consider borderline too big. I think that would definitely be a bridge too far.
    Yeah, but the one I use runs on Windows, so that's not an issue.
     
  8. Jim_R

    Jim_R Cleared for Takeoff PoA Supporter

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    That's almost exactly the size difference between my original 8" Samsung Tab S2 (iPad mini-sized) and the 10" ASUS tablet I'm currently using (iPad Air-sized). I agree that I prefer the 8" size, but there aren't a lot of options in that form factor today. (I don't want an iPad mini.) The size of the ASUS has been acceptable...but I'm worried the Surface 3 won't be. Thus this post.
     
    Last edited: Jul 27, 2020
  9. Jim_R

    Jim_R Cleared for Takeoff PoA Supporter

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    I have been thinking about this. I don't think thickness is an issue (I'd use a RAM X-grip mount; it holds my current ASUS tablet without removing its bulky case just fine), but weight might be a consideration. Especially since I would want to offset the mount from center (as long as the tablet isn't too big to do that), which means when I turn the yoke it will tend to "fling" the tablet.

    Just did some checking: My ASUS in its case weighs 724g. Specs say Surface 3 weighs 620g. So it's actually lighter, but again I'd want to offset the mount, so it's not exactly apples-to-apples.
     
  10. Sinistar

    Sinistar En-Route

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    What about screen brightness?

    Our Android tablet easily bests the iPad Mini 4 for visibility in daylight. It comes at the cost of the battery life though but we have it on ships power...which raises the second point.

    We use Surface Pro 2's at work. Nice for travel when we have to interface with ethernet devices, legacy Windows software, etc. But I have never even looked to see if there is a 12vdc cig lighter adapter. So put another way - can you even recharge the surface 3 in the plane?

    Also do not car fore Surface Pro 2 battery life. If you do any intensive graphics it burns the battery fast and the fan runs quite a bit. For us, this does this for high speed 2D imagery with overlays so definitely faster updates than EFB's but maybe along the same order.

    As I recall, the Surface Pro's are really heavy compared to tablets. Not for W&B but for whatever mount you find. Might need a second suction cup or bigger than standard ball/clamp.
     
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  11. Groundpounder

    Groundpounder Pattern Altitude

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    My wife works in IT support. Her company started replacing their Dell laptops with Surface's, and they had huge reliability issues. They sent them all back and started buying Dell again.

    Also, Delta started using the surface for their first EFB, and it wasn't very long before they dumped them for iPads.
     
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  12. Jim_R

    Jim_R Cleared for Takeoff PoA Supporter

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    Yeah, this is something of a concern, but probably not a dealbreaker. The ASUS tablet has a rated screen brightness of 426 nits. The Surface 3 is 395. So a little less, but roughly comparable.

    Yeah, I had this concern as well. It charges from a microUSB port, so should be okay.

    I addressed weight above. Surface 3 weighs less than the tablet+case I currently fly with, so only concern is with my desire to offset the mount.

    Note also that this is a "Surface 3", not a "Surface Pro 3". It's the baby brother of the line, so smallest/lightest/lowest horsepower.
     
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  13. Jim_R

    Jim_R Cleared for Takeoff PoA Supporter

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    This is the biggest concern I have with the specific model, and it may be what ultimately keeps my $300 in my pocket. I have read elsewhere of reliability issues. (Refurbished units are always a crapshoot, anyway.)
     
  14. Radar Contact

    Radar Contact Pattern Altitude

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    I think tablet size and flying is almost a Coke vs Pepsi debate and highly dependent on the person. The iPad mini is my perfect size.

    My close friend has a larger iPad similar to the size you’re referencing on his yoke and there’s no way I can fly with it...personal preference and all. Works for him.
     
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  15. Ryan A

    Ryan A Filing Flight Plan

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    I used the iPad 10.5" at first and quickly bought a mini 4 from eBay. The 10.5" was just too big, no matter where it was mounted (I tried right and left window, yoke, dash...)
     
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  16. Jim_R

    Jim_R Cleared for Takeoff PoA Supporter

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    I'm guessing that would be my opinion, too. I think I'm going to keep looking...
     
  17. N1120A

    N1120A Pattern Altitude

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    I've been a loyal Surface owner since the Surface Pro 2. I'm a huge fan. They are useless as an EFB, unless you can somehow crack them to run Android. I (shudder) bought an iPad for an EFB because GP's Android tablet app sucks and I like Jeppesen charts.
     
  18. Jim_R

    Jim_R Cleared for Takeoff PoA Supporter

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    Not if you're a happy iFlyGPS user, like me. It's seamless to use across Android, Windows, and iOS.
     
  19. WDD

    WDD Cleared for Takeoff

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    I use an older I Pad Pro 9.6, and to be honest it's just a bit too big. IMHO the Surface you're suggesting would be too large.

    Installation - the Ram and other mounts I'm aware of are I Pad sized. Not sure of the mounting options for surfaces.

    Heat - Will the surface overheat? There are known solutions for I pads to keep them cool.

    Software - ForeFlight and Garmin run great on I Pads / built for I Pads. What would you run on your Surface?

    If I was starting over, I would go for the I Pad Mini to be honest. Heck the new Mini is just slightly smaller than my old I Pad 9.6 inch pro.