Surface Pro 3: A User's Experience

New technology is thrilling… and kind of scary, at the same time.  We’re all used to using a laptop for our business needs.  But a tablet has traditionally stayed in the realm of “watch movies, check email, entertain the kids on long car rides”.  Microsoft is seeking to change that with the Surface Pro 3.  As we are wont to do here at Agile IT, we asked Tony (who did this series on Office 365) to chronicle his experience with it.

So read below, and when you’re done, contact us to learn how you can benefit from partnering with Microsoft and Agile IT.


I have been an avid fan of Microsoft for many years however the thought of replacing my laptop with a tablet left me skeptical.  I have owned several personal devices as secondary devices to pair with my laptop but have never depended on one as my primary work tablet.  After reading many reviews and articles, and watching a few independent user reviews, I decided to purchase one for myself.

Physical attributes

The Surface Pro 3 offers the versatility of a tablet with the sense and feel of using a laptop.  While this device is not exactly like a laptop, it serves as a very close second.  On the physical side it is much lighter and more portable than any laptop I have ever owned.  The detachable keyboard cover that allows me to “tilt” the screen like a laptop makes me feel at home.  At only 217 mm thick its almost like typing on top of a book cover.

Since I planned to use the device as a laptop I purchased the type cover which is the thinnest keyboard that easily connects to the Surface Pro 3 through a strong magnetic connection.  The device itself has an adjustable arm which allows me to sit it up on my lap or at a desk.  I recommend wearing pants while using this device on your lap as the adjustable hinge can become uncomfortable on your bare skin with extended use.  Typing on the keyboard is just as easy as typing on my laptop keyboard though the clicking sound the keys makes is slightly louder than a traditional laptop keyboard.  The backlit keys make it very easy to type in low light or no light.  The fact that the keyboard doubles as a screen protector is a handy feature as well.

The AC charging cable is very nice as it uses a small magnet to attract the cable to the tablet which makes connecting it a breeze.  The improved fin type design over the previous generation’s cable makes it easy for me to connect the charger in much less time than traditional micro USB connectors.

The surface pen feels more like a pen than a traditional stylus.  I love using the pen in Word and PowerPoint and plan to use it for photo editing and more later on.  The top button is useful to open OneNote.  More than a regular stylus, the Bluetooth connection pairs seamlessly with the tablet.  Just like using a mouse I can use the right click button on the pen for apps like OneNote to open a menu with options to change the pen’s on screen “ink” color, line thickness, and many other options.  When I click and hold it down I can select text.  The eraser button is easy to use to erase text or whatever I want to erase.  I can write and draw naturally with the tip.

Since I travel a lot I decided to purchase the car charger.  I have no problem plugging it into my 1970 Chevy or my 2013 Toyota.  I have noticed the battery life of the Surface Pro 3 could be improved for the next generation, however, considering how much I use it and the fact that I’m close enough to a power supply everywhere I work, power is not an issue.

Video

When I’m not working I often use my Surface Pro 3 for watching videos.  The video capability is great. I can easily view videos at full screen in daylight or at night.  I have a Google Chromecast that I paired with my Surface Pro 3 through the Chromecast app and can display TV shows, movies, and other videos on my large screen TV.  The only issues I have experienced with video use were due to either the Internet connection or website.

Portability

One of the main reasons for my purchase of the Surface Pro 3 is because taking my laptop with me everywhere I went was becoming a hassle.  Whether traveling by air or auto, the Surface Pro 3 is very light and portable.  I use it as a tablet when taking notes and convert those notes to larger documents or articles later on with the keyboard cover.

The Surface Pro 3 may not be a complete replacement for a laptop however I find it quite useful and while I still use my laptop at times I find myself migrating more data and files through OneNote to use on the Surface Pro 3.  This powerful tablet is more of a hybrid than a tablet with Windows 8 and Office 365.  As I continue to discover more features I find myself using it more often than my other devices.  Uploading and sharing files is a breeze through Office 365 and the fact there is no USB port or CD-ROM is not as big of an issue as I initially thought.  I highly recommend this device to anyone who loves tablets and is looking for an all-in-one type device they can use for many of the applications and software they currently use.

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