I’ve had a couple reminders recently that I’ve been neglecting the blog. The first was when I got an email asking if we are still in business and the second was when it took me 30 minutes to remember the username and password to edit some broken links I discovered in one of my older articles. Sorry about that, all the time has been going to make Instant Practice Manager better. We’ve got some great new features coming soon!
Today the family and I are packed into the van heading to see family for a long weekend. My wife Kim is driving and I am taking the chance to try my new Surface 3 Pro out from the road and do a little (way overdue) blogging.
Last year I did a similar exercise with my very large and heavy Lenovo W520. On that trip I used a laptop desk. The black thing under the keyboard in the photo above is a sleeve. It isn’t rigid, I just didn’t want to put it on the floor. So, I really am using it as a laptop and I find it to be perfectly comfortable.
This is my third day with the device. I was convinced to take the leap after reading this post by Corey Roth. It’s a great post and I won’t recycle it here, but I will add a few things.
Let me start by saying this is a great device. I’ve spent a couple of long working sessions writing code and I’ve gone to a couple meetings where I used OneNote and the stylus. I love this thing and I wholeheartedly recommend it. I don’t change hardware very often and I did a good bit of shopping and tire kicking before I made a purchase. Compared to the alternatives this device is a solid value. It isn’t cheap, but neither is it extravagant.
All that said, my first couple of days haven’t been completely issue free. The first challenge I had was when I used the traditional Remote Desktop app to connect to my W520 which runs Windows 7. For RDP into Windows 7 and 2008 there is no scaling and so I was presented with a 2160×1440 desktop on a the Surface Pro’s 12 inch screen. To my middle aged eyes it was completely unreadable. The new Windows 8 RDP app wasn’t any better and I thought, ‘this is a really nice device that I am taking back to the store.’ Fortunately my third try, Remote Desktop Connection Manager, http://www.microsoft.com/en-us/download/details.aspx?id=21101, works just fine and I still own the device.
The second issue was that the device would not reliably wake from sleep mode. If you da a search you will find that this is an issue that has plagued Surface users since v1 and that Microsoft has done a really poor job communicating with users. There is a full 26 page thread on the MSDN forums lasting over a year with some very disillusioned folks and not a Microsoftie to be found. Fortunately there is Twitter and Marc D Anderson let me know there is a firmware update. For some reason it didn’t show up in Windows Update for me and I had to download and install it manually. So far, so good and my sleep mode issues are solved.
The thing that impressed me most was how well the whole MS ecosystem is coming together and how well the integration works. I signed into the device the first time using my Microsoft account and was shocked at how well it pulled in everything with almost no effort on my part. It took me less than an hour to get Visual Studio and Office 2013 up and running and I didn’t have to blow a day setting up my environment. This is my first new machine since I really made the move to OneDrive and Office 365 and I just hadn’t noticed how seamless the integration really is.
I give the Surface Pro 3 two snaps and a circle.