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Surface Pro 3 with Type Cover

First Impressions of the Microsoft Surface Pro 3

Over a week ago I finally got my Microsoft Surface Pro 3 and I will try to cover my first impressions in this blog post. Two years ago I replaced my notebook with the Surface Pro and one year later I replaced the Surface Pro with the Surface Pro 2. I have used both devices as my primary work devices for work as a consultant, at university and at home. The Surface is the perfect work device since I travel a lot. With the Surface I replaced my notebook, my desktop and my tablet with one single device. I always had one complain about the Surface and this was the screen size. If you travel and you work 8-10 hours in front of a 10-inch screen, you start thinking about a bigger screen. Lucky with the Surface Pro 3 Microsoft changed that. Now the Surface Pro 3 got a 12-inch screen and they also changed the ratio from 16:9 to 3:2 which makes a huge difference in terms of space on the screen. I just love the new screen size, it is absolutely perfect and still not too large for traveling. But let me jump back to the review.

Technical Specifications

Surface Pro 3 Specifications

First of all I got the I7 version with 265GB of storage:

  • Windows 8.1 Pro
  • Size: 292.1mm x 201.4mm x 9.1mm
  • Weight: 800 grams
  • Screen: 12” ClearType Full HD Plus
  • Resolution: 2160 x 1440
  • Aspect Ratio: 3:2
  • Touch: Multi-touch
  • Battery Life: Up to 9 hours of web browsing
  • Storage and RAM: 64GB or 128GB storage with 4GB RAM and 256GB or 512GB storage with 8GB RAM
  • CPU: 4th generation Intel® Core™ processor family (i3, i5, i7)
  • TPM Chip for enterprise security
  • Wireless: Wi-Fi 802.11ac/802.11 a/b/g/n
  • Bluetooth® 4.0 Low Energy technology
  • Full-size USB 3.0
  • microSD™ card reader
  • Headset jack
  • Mini DisplayPort
  • Cover port
  • 5.0 megapixel rear-facing camera
  • 5.0 megapixel front-facing camera
  • Stereo microphones
  • Stereo speakers with Dolby® sound
  • Ambient light sensor
  • Accelerometer
  • Gyroscope
  • Magnetometer
  • Surface Pen
  • 36W Power supply

Design and Durability

Surface Pro 3 with Pen

For me a great device includes three different things, design, features and a great eco system for applications and accessories. And this was one of the reason why I was a Apple user for a long time, because they offered great design, great hardware features and they had an ecosystem were software and hardware worked perfectly together.  Microsoft does not disappoint with the Surface line, the first and the second generation was already great and the third generation does not stop there. With the Surface Pro 3 Microsoft could finally make the device a lot thinner and than before. The device now has a larger 12-inch screen and a new 3:2 ratio instead of the 16:9 ratio before. This makes a huge difference if you hold the device in portrait mode to read something or browse the web and it also offers you a lot more space on the screen. Another change Microsoft did was to change the color from the dark VaporMg from the Surface Pro line to the silver color of the Surface 2. I am still not sure which color I like more, but both look great to me. After the size and the color the third big change is the new kickstand. The new kickstand does not only offer two position like the Surface Pro 2, you can now put the Surface in any position you want.

As always the build quality of the Microsoft Surface Pro 3 is just impressive. As a former Apple product user, I am really happy with quality, design and the durability of the Surface Pro 3. Microsoft sends a clear message here to his partners and competitors, about quality of tablets and notebooks. Everything seems to be at the right place and all buttons and the whole chassis is feeling very “high-class”. I really like the size and dimensions of the Surface Pro 3. The Surface Pro 3 is not only thinner as the Surface Pro 2, it is also lighter. The Surface Pro 3 is 9.1mm thin and 800g light, which makes it a lot more portable than most ultrabooks out there but of course heavier than most tablets.

Display and Audio

Surface Pro 3 with Type Cover

For a tablet the display is the key component, and Microsoft did a great job with the Surface Pro 3. I already liked the screen of the Surface Pro 2 but the new screen is just amazing. Not only do I like the new high resolution (2160 x 1440) and the aspect ratio of 3:2, I also love the colors. One of the most underestimated features of the Surface Pro line is the integrated digitizer pen, which allows you to use digital Ink.

The Surface Pro comes with a digitizer pen which is perfect to take notes with OneNote and other stuff. As I mentioned I am using the Surface Pro at work and at university. At university I am using the pen mostly to take notes and mark some important stuff in documents and PDF files. At work I am not only using it to take notes, it’s also great during workshops or presentation, where you quickly want to draw something instead of using a whiteboard or a flipchart. And for all iPad or Android users, this is not just a normal Pen which buses capacitive touch, which basically is just a simulated finger, this is a digitizer pen which only works with special displays and for example offers pressure sensitivity and automatically deactivates touch input during your writing so you can place your hand on the screen.

The new pen also adds an OneNote button. If you press the OneNote button once you will open up a new page in OneNote even if the Surface is locked. This feature really helps you if you have an idea you want to write down really quickly. If you press the OneNote button twice you will be able to quickly mark the spot on your screen and quickly take a screenshot and save it to OneNote. This feature is just one of the example where Microsoft brings together there products and services for a better customer experience.

Microsoft again improved the audio on the Surface Pro 3. And it is great if you want to watch a movie in the hotel room and it is pretty much better than on any other notebook or tablet I have used. But still if you are a music lover you better get some headphones or external speakers.

Ports and Internals

macbook-air-surfrace-pro-3

The Surface Pro 3 has full-size USB 3.0, microSDXC card slot, a Headset jack, a Mini DisplayPort and at the bottom a Cover port for the Type Cover 3. Of course also the older Covers work perfectly but they just don’t match in size. The position of the ports have changed a little bit from the Surface Pro 2. The great thing here is that Microsoft moved the Mini DisplayPort to the upper right side which allows you now to use that port even you have docked the Surface into your docking station. So you can easily use to 4K displays at the same time.

One the power adapter you get another USB port for charging other devices like your phone, so you can still use your USB 3.0 on the Surface for other things.

Heat and Fan Noise

The Surface Pro 3 comes equipped with a powerful 4th generation Intel i3, i5 or i7 processor. For myself I got the i7 version and if you run some heavy workloads the device gets a little hot. You can feel a little bit of temperature on the back site and you can some fan noise. In normal conditions the Surface stay cold and you can’t here anything from the fan. I think the heat and the fan noise are the result of the new and thinner design.

Wireless

The wireless performance on the Surface Pro 3 seems to be great with no issues or troubles at all. I really can’t wait to get one of the Miracast adapters to stream my display to a beamer or another display.

Type Cover 3

Surface Pro 3 with Type Cover

One of the great features of the Surface product line are the covers. With the Surface Pro 3 Microsoft also released the Type Cover 3 which is basically the successor of the Type Cover 2 and is even thinner. Microsoft are claiming there are a lot of optimizations in Type Cover 3 and the two you will really see are the size which matches the Surface Pro 3 now and the new trackpad. The new trackpad is key here, it is bigger and a lot better than the trackpad of the Type Cover 2. They changed it back to a hard plastic and made it clickable again, which just feels a lot better if you work with it but it does look better than the first version of the Type Cover. The new Type Cover 3 comes with backlit which makes it perfect if you are working low light conditions like the Type Cover 2. The backlighting is automatic and turns of if you are not using it. If your hover over the keyboard with your hand, the Type Cover will automatically turn on the light again.  They also added new color options two the lineup, the Type Cover 3 is available in purple, red, blue, cyan and black.

Again the Type Cover is on of the must have accessories if you want to use you Surface as a laptop replacement. It works pretty well with the build in kickstand.

Battery life and Performance

Surface Pro 3 Lumia 930

The first thing I realized when I did start the Surface Pro 3 was that this thing is a screamer. The performance seems to be amazing but since the Surface Pro 3 is using the same generation of Intel chips I don’t think there is a huge difference between CPU performance. I think the key difference could be that Microsoft is using faster SSD storage in the Surface Pro 3 than in the previous generations. Since performance never was an issue for me I still like the new performance boost. With the new core i7 version you should not only get more CPU power, you should also get some more graphics power.

Microsoft is claiming that you get up to 9 hours of battery life, which fore me is a little more than with the Surface Pro 2. In my first test I think I am pretty close to get this 9 hours. But what impresses me even more is the Connected Standby or InstandGo features which allows you to wake up the Surface Pro 3 within an second. In my first tests the I charged the Surface on Friday and worked during Friday, Saturday and Sunday around 7-8 hours and the battery life was okay until late Sunday evening. But to get exact numbers I still have to run some more tests and see how it behaves in day to day usage.

Camera

Finally Microsoft also upgraded the front-facing camera to a 5 megapixel camera like the Surface 2 already had, but the Surface Pro 2 didn’t get. For me this gets even more important if you do a lot of Conference Calls via Lync or Skype for example.

Software and Accessories

Surface Pro 3 Docking Station

Software is where everything comes together. Windows 8.1 works perfectly on the Surface Pro 3 and I really like the mix between touch and keyboard usage. I use it as a tablet with touch apps and can run a full desktop applications like Office to get real work done. I really love the combination of different Microsoft Services such as Skype or Lync for communication. But where the real power comes together is with OneDrive and OneNote. The new Surface Pen and OneNote are already a perfect combination. You can press the OneNote button on the Surface Pen and OneNote opens instantly and you can start taking notes, even if you are not logged. The notes from OneNote get sync via OneDrive on all your devices like your phone or desktop pc. Microsoft is not only bringing software services together, they are now also integrate hardware.

Microsoft also offers a lot of different accessories like display or Ethernet adapters which you just need to work efficiently. But they also offers some great accessories like the Type Cover 3 which allows you to use your Surface Pro 3 together with the built-in kickstand as notebook replacement or the Surface Pro Docking Station which allows you to dock your Surface if you are at the home or in the office and connect automatically to external displays, external hard drives, keyboards and other stuff. This two accessories complete the whole story of the Surface Pro 3.

Conclusion

Surface Pro 3 Docking Station

Now what can you expect from the Surface Pro 3? The Surface Pro 3 is a high class work machine which can transform to different devices such as a tablet or notebook and with the Surface Docking Station you can even replace your desktop. For me the Surface Pro 3 replaced three devices. It replaces my notebook which I need to get work done and I also use it as my tablet at home or when I watch movies on flights or in the hotel. At home I got the Surface Pro 3 docking station which allows me to use two external displays. Of course if you are looking for just a tablet or just something to replace your iPad, the Surface Pro 3 is probably not the right device for you. But if you like to replace your classic notebook and your tablet with one device, the Surface Pro 3 is just the best machine available right now.



System Center Universe Europe 2013

System Center Universe Europe – The Microsoft CloudOS Event you shouldn’t miss

In about 6 weeks System Center Universe 2014 opens it doors and if you want to learn and network about Microsoft CloudOS or Microsoft Datacenter solutions, you should definitely book this event.

System Center Universe Europe 2014

Register now for System Center Universe 2014 in Basel Switzerland. Date: September 17-19, 2014 Location: Basel-Switzerland Venue: Congress Center Basel Conference Language: English

SCU Europe 2014 is the successor of System Center Universe DACH 2013 in Bern, Switzerland. SCU DACH 2013 was a very successful community event, and got a lot of great feedback.

Never seen such a great event before. Thanks again for the great work and organization!

SCU DACH Is a potential succesor of MMS for people in Europe

Lineup was great.

Incredible high skilled speakers there. Loved it!Thanks to the organizators to bring up so many good speakers.Nice location, good beer and food and awesome people.

Absolut excellent! The entire team did a great job! Thank you for that.

Great job organizing this event. I would love to come back next year.

Extreme good organized, highly skilled speakers, very cool people and the content was amazing. Loved it and will be back next year for sure.

The Content

System Center Universe

This time System Center Universe Europe 2014 will be even bigger, with more speakers, more sessions and more experts. This time in for tracks there are around 60 breakout sessions around topics for the Microsoft Datacenter, Private Cloud, Public Cloud and Hybrid Cloud, focusing on technologies like:

  • Microsoft Hyper-V
  • System Center 2012 R2
  • Windows Server 2012 R2
  • Configurations Manager
  • Windows 8.1
  • BYOD
  • Software Defined Storage
  • Software Defined Networking
  • Microsoft Azure
  • Windows Intune
  • PowerShell
  • Windows Azure Pack
  • and a lot more…

For event attendees, only the best is good enough! SCU Europe will host the crème-de-la-crème of the Windows Server and System Center Community from all over the world, including a variety of Microsoft Most Valuable Professionals (MVPs) and Microsoft employees. Take the opportunity to learn from the best and most experienced experts and community leaders in the Microsoft System Center Cloud and Datacenter Management area. In addition to classic breakout sessions, attendees also have the opportunity to discuss specific topics with several experts in small groups. So make sure you bring your questions and problems with you to discuss them with the experts. A real added value!

More Value

SCU Experts

So you will have a lot of great content and real word examples in the breakout sessions. But this is not the only benefit. In this three days you will have a lot of opportunities to talk to experts and other attendees to share some real world experience.

As in SCU DACH 2013, SCU Europe 2014 will included lunch and some networking parties so there is enough time to share experiences and knowledge.

The Location

Messe Basel

The location is different this time. Last time SCU DACH 2013 was hosted in Bern Switzerland. This time, since the location had to grow, the event will be held in Congress Center in Basel Switzerland. Basel is a great city with a lot of things to see around the event it self. With it’s two train stations and it’s airport, Basel is a perfect location for an international conference like this. You can reach the event location from anywhere in about 15 minutes.

SCU Location Map Basel

Conclusion

Well if I would have the summarize all this, I would find the following reasons to go to the SCU Europe 2014:

  • A huge number of Microsoft Cloud and Datacenter Management Experts from all over the world.
  • Around 60 breakout sessions
  • Great networking opportunity, meet the who is who in the Microsoft Cloud and Datacenter Management stack.
  • 26 Microsoft MVPs
  • Speakers from Microsoft
  • Great organization
  • First Class catering
  • Perfect location
  • Networking Party
  • Perfect for a city trip in the heart of Europe
  • Cheap price CHF729 (599.88 Euro) for a three day pass including lunch and Networking party
  • exhibition & networking area with a lot of different vendors showing there products
  • Easy to reach (Airport, Train or Car)

So make sure you reserve the date and register for System Center Universe Europe 2014:

System Center Universe Europe 2014

Register now for System Center Universe 2014 in Basel Switzerland. Date: September 17-19, 2014 Location: Basel-Switzerland Venue: Congress Center Basel Conference Language: English



Windows Phone Nokia Lumia 930

My new Nokia Lumia 930 arrived

Okay it is a couple of months ago since I got a new phone or gadget. This time I got a Nokia Lumia 930 and I loved it from the first second. I the past months I was using my Lumia 1020 a because of the awesome camera which allowed me to take some great pictures. I was pretty happy with it, but until I got Windows Phone 8.1 I add some performance problems,maybe resetting it could fix could fix the issues, but I will try that later. Now I know I only got the Lumia 930 for a day and of course it is too early for a review but I want to write a little about my first impression. There are already a lot of good review out there in the web so I try to focus on the things I really liked about the device.

Windows Phone Nokia Lumia 930

The first thing I have to say is that I love the colors you can get that thing. I got a green one but if I would have to go back I would probably go for orange. However both colors look great and it is a hard decision. The first thing I noticed when I unboxed the Lumia 930 was the amazing build quality, Nokia phones always had a great build quality but this one makes other phones look cheap. It feels really good in your hands and feels like a real premium device. The second thing is  the amazing screen, since not a lot of review talk a lot about the screen, I didn’t expect a lot of difference to the Lumia 1020 or 1520, but the Lumia 930 screen makes me not want to use other phones anymore. It is a bright screen with great colors and a true black. The performance looks great again, similar to the Lumia 1520 and Windows Phone 8.1 on that device also got some new features which are not available on the Lumia 1020. Such as a setting which allows you to use the cellular data if the wireless connection has a limited connection, and much more.

Windows Phone Nokia Lumia 930

Well this are my first impression after the first day, feel free to leave comments and questions.

 



InovatiX

Back from inovatiX Amsterdam 2014

A little over 24 hours the itnetx team arrived at the Zurich airport. At the end of last week some of you may have seen a lot of tweets around Microsoft System Center with the hashtag #inovatiX. Well the name inovatiX comes from the company names of inovativ and itnetx. Both companies do focus on Microsoft Cloud solutions based on System Center, Windows Server, Hyper-V and Microsoft Azure. So what is behind that inovatiX event. InovatiX was the first run of the know-how sharing event between inovativ.nl, inovativ.be and itnetx.ch. In different focus groups around topics like Windows Azure Pack, Hyper-V, Config Manager, Windows InTune, Operations Manager, VMM or Microsoft Azure,  the cloud experts of those companies shared knowledge and experience with real world deployments.

InovatiX

For me personally I had some great talks about Windows Azure Pack, Hyper-V, VMM, Storage Spaces, Scale-Out File Servers, Network Virtualization and a lot more. And it was fun to finally meet the guys from inovativ in person.

InovatiX

This event was a perfect example how different companies can collaborate with each other to evolve and to make the quality even better, and help employees to Thanks here to the management of Inovativ and itnetx for organizing this.



Install Sysinternals from PowerShell

More about PowerShell OneGet

As already posted and as you can see on my blog, I really like the new feature called OneGet. With the Windows Management Framework 5.0 Preview, Microsoft released a new PowerShell module which is called OneGet.

OneGet is a new way to discover and install software packages from around the web. The way how this works is that you can connect to repositories around the web or you can just add new repositories by your self for example for internal use. In the preview you have the Chocolatey repository connected. I am pretty sure Microsoft will also add some own repositories to the list, so you can install Microsoft software and packages from a trusted source.

You can get all the different repositories with the Get-PackageSource cmdlet.

Get-PackageSource

You can than list all the packages available for you by using Find-Package, or you could use it to find a specific package.

Find_package

If you have found the right package you can also see all the versions available by using the Find-Package <Package> -AllVersions cmdlet.

Find Package Versions

You can now install the version you need or you can just use the Install-Package cmdlet to install the latest available version.

OneGet PowerShell

After you have installed packages you can of course list them by using the Get-Package cmdlet or uninstall a package by using Uninstall-Package.

But this is not everything, another great thing about OneGet is that it can be integrated in PowerShell Desired State Configuration (DSC). So think about it for a moment, you can now create simple server configurations with DSC and you don’t have to think about software repositories at all, OneGet does handle this for you.

By the way, Garrett Serack (Senior Open Source Software Developer at Microsoft) also pointed out to me that OneGet also has a place on the Microsoft Open Source Software site CodePlex.

 

 



Surface Pro and Nokia Lumia 1020

4 months working and traveling with the Surface Pro 2 and the Nokia Lumia 1020

In October 2013 I got my Surface Pro 2 which replaced my Surface Pro as my daily work device. Some weeks before I also got a Nokia Lumia 1020. In November I had the chance to travel a lot and I want to share some of my impression about this combo. First of all I love the devices from a design and quality view. Both, the Lumia 1020 and the Surface Pro 2 are great devices with a high build quality.

First, the Surface Pro 2 is a perfect machine if you are doing a lot of traveling. I use the Surface Pro 2 as my daily machine for work, university or personal stuff. In November I had the chance to travel a lot and I really enjoy having a really small and light device with me instead of caring a heavy notebook, ultrabook or even an additional tablet. The form factor and the extended battery life makes the Surface Pro 2 is like one device to rule them all. For example I have used the Surface Pro as tablet during long flights to watch movies and videos or at home in front of the TV.

Surface Pro 2

I also used it as notebook replacement for work or at university to take notes. I really love the stylus to draw and highlight things in the slides I printed to OneNote.

Microsoft Surface Pro

I also used my Surface Pro 2 to deliver my presentations and trainings. The stylus and the touchscreen is perfect especially during delivering trainings or in meetings to replace the whiteboard.

Surface Presentation

The second thing I love it the Nokia Lumia 1020. I don’t really own or carry a separate camera, so I use my phone to take pictures. During the presentations I did in Rome, Paris and Berlin I took a lot of pictures and honestly I haven’t owned a better compact camera yet. The quality of the pictures are just amazing.

This are some dedicated features to the devices itself, but what I really love is how they work together using Windows, Windows Phone and Microsoft Online services like SkyDrive (OneDrive). For example I planned and organized all my trips and presentations on my Surface or PC at home and saved everything into an OneNote notebook. The great thing about this is that all this information gets sync across my devices. So for example the e-ticket for my flight shows up on my phone. And even I lose my phone I can still access everything on my Surface or on another PC over the web, which makes it impossible to lose something.

I already mentioned that I took a lot of pictures with my phone. Now the worst thing which could happen, would be losing my phone with all my picture on it. With the Windows Phone SkyDrive integration, pictures get synced over the internet to my SkyDrive and across all of my devices. The same thing is true for my documents and presentation, I never have to think about coping a file from my PC at home to my Surface or something like that. All my files get synced automatically via SkyDrive. This gives me more time to work on my presentations and enjoy the places I can stay.

I really love the devices and I would really hate it if I had to give up on one of them. I think it would make me less productive and of course I would have to carry more stuff like an extra camera, phone, tablet and a notebook. And don’t for get to carry all the power adapters for all those devices. This is another small but great feature of the Surface Pro, the power adapter does not only charge the Surface it also has a USB port, with which you can charge your phone at the same time. I always thinking what could be better and besides lighter and slimmer devices and more battery life (which is always better, even the Surface Pro 2 runs for me mostly more than hours), the only thing I can think of is that I would love to have a Surface Pro with a bigger screen. The screen right now is great, but if you are working with a device for some hours you really start to like bigger screen.



Xbox One

Like my Hyper-V Applicance (Xbox One)

During my trip in Seattle last November, Amazon delivered my Xbox One. During the holidays, I finally had time to play with it and check out the games I got. Well my first impression was how fast this thing is. I really love the concept of the three Operating System in one box where you can switch fast and easily switch between games, apps and TV. And btw that’s is where Hyper-V or some of the Hyper-V technology comes into the game. This makes it easy to switch between the different platforms.

Xbox One

Xbox One Games

 

The hardware is really high quality and I really love the design of the hardware as well as the design of the software which looks pretty much the same on Windows and on Windows Phone. And the possibility to snap apps is also a great addition especially with Skype or Internet Explorer.

Xbox One Controller

 

I also love the integration between the Xbox One, tablets and phones via Xbox Smartglass. There is still some improvement which can be done but some of the first games do a pretty good job.

Xbox One Smartglass

Looking forward to get some Xbox GamerTags.