Category: Hardware

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Microsoft Windows 10 January Event

What’s next for Windows 10

Microsoft yesterday held the January event about the next generation of Windows and showed some great new features of Windows 10. If you have watched the Windows 10 webcast, you have seen that Microsoft announced and showed a lot of new stuff yesterday. In this post I do a quick summary about this Windows 10 event. Spoiler alert, since this was a consumer event, there were no news about Windows Server or System Center.

Windows as a Service

Well the first great news yesterday was that Windows 10 will be a free upgrade in the first year for Windows 8.1, Windows Phone 8.1 and Windows 7 users. After that Microsoft tries to keep the install base very up-to-date to make it easier for developers to develop and deploy new apps to customers.

New Windows 10 Experience

Windows 10 Expierence

Joe Belfiore demoed some great new features and the experience you get with new Windows 10. One of the great things you will see that there will be just one version of Windows 10, everything should be one platform. He also demoed the new Action Center and the new Start menu.

Continuum Mode

Windows10 Continuum

Continuum Mode was announced back in September. Continuum helps two-in-one devices to switch between different modes such as desktop mode with mouse and keyboard and tablet mode using touch input. So you always get the best experience when using the device.

Cortana

Windows 10 Phone Laptop Cortana

Another big news was the release of Cortana for Windows. Cortana is the personal digital assistant you already know from Windows Phone. Microsoft also showed some great improvements and how Cortana can make your life easier.

Windows 10 for phones

Windows 10 Phone

Microsoft also announced that Windows 10 will be coming to phones and small tablets.

New Browser

Windows 10 Spartan

Microsoft officially showed a new browser called Project Spartan, which will bring the latest web standard to the Microsoft web platform and some other cool features like digital inking and Cortana integration.

New universal applications

Windows 10 Universal Apps

Microsoft bring several universal apps to the Windows 10 platform like a great new Photo, Video or Music apps. This apps are running across several devices such as phones, tablets, desktops, TVs and the Xbox One.

Office universal apps

Windows 10 Universal Office

Not only Windows integrated apps are coming as universal apps, Microsoft is also releasing a touch-friendly version of Office as universal app which will run Outlook, Word, Excel and PowerPoint across different devices types.

Xbox app

Windows 10 Xbox App

Microsoft also demoed a new Xbox app on Windows 10. The Xbox App will allow you to get your Xbox experience to Windows 10. This will bring multiplayer across devices (PC and Xbox One), Game DVR, Game streaming (from Xbox One to PC) and DirectX 12.

Microsoft HoloLens

Microsoft HoloLens

One of the biggest things Microsoft announced yesterday was the Microsoft HoloLens which is the world’s first holographic computing platform. With Windows 10, holograms are Windows universal apps and Windows universal apps can work as holograms, making it possible to place three-dimensional holograms in the world around you to communicate, create and explore in a manner that is far more personal and human.

Surface Hub

Surface Hub

Microsoft yesterday not only announced a new device called HoloLens, they also announced a new device called Surface Hub, which is basically a 84-inch touch screen with multi-touch and multi pen input, including Skype for Business and some great whiteboard technology.

Feedback is really important

Windows Insider

Microsoft did talk a lot about the Windows Insider Program and the feedback they are getting from a lot of people around the world.

 

Some facts

  • The next Windows 10 Preview will be available next week
  • Project Spartan will not be included in the next preview release
  • The first Preview for Windows 10 for Phones will be available in February
  • HoloLens will be released in the Windows 10 timeframe

 



InstantGo powercfg

Troubleshoot Windows InstantGo (Connected Standby)

In Windows 8 Microsoft released a feature called InstantGo (formerly know as Connected Standby) which should bring smartphone like Power Management features to your Windows tablet or notebook. Devices such as the Surface Pro 3 do offer this feature. This post should help you troubleshoot issues with InstantGo or Connected Standby.

InstantGo requires the following:

  • Windows 8.1 Operating System (In Windows 8 this is called Connected Standby)
  • A firmware flag indicating support for the standard
  • The boot volume must run on a SSD disk
  • Support for NDIS 6.30 by all network devices
  • Passive cooling on standby
  • Secure Boot
  • Memory to be soldered to the motherboard
  • The Hyper-V Hypervisor role must be disabled on Windows 8 and Windows 8.1 systems. Windows 10 Hyper-V will allow you to use Hyper-V and InstantGo at the same time.

Check if the hardware supports InstantGo

To check if your hardware supports InstantGo you can run the following command:

InstantGo powercfg

InstantGo Issues / Connected Standby Issues

In some case you can run in some issues where you have your battery draining more than expected during the InstantGo or Connected Standby time. This could be of the following reasons:

  • Drivers – Make sure you have the latest drivers installed
  • Firmware – Make sure you have the latest Firmware (BIOS) installed
  • Mails –  The Windows communication app keeps the broker infrastructure (BI) system active. BI, in turn, keeps the WLAN network up so that the system stays up-to-date with emails. If you get a lot of emails this can end up in a higher power drain.
  • Software –  Some installed legacy Software which does not let you go into the InstantGo modus.
  • VPN Clients – Some older VPN Clients can also cause issues with InstantGo
  • Network Activity – The WLAN device might have a challenging radio environment and the Windows system might not be able to establish a reliable Internet connection. We see how these events affect the WLAN device, which, in turn, impacts the battery.
  • Hyper-V – If you run Hyper-V in Windows 8 or Windows 8.1 you can not run InstantGo, this is solved in Windows 10.

Troubleshooting InstantGo / Troubleshooting Connected Standby

To get some more information about your device and InstantGo or Connected Standby you can use the following tools and reports.

powercfg /SleepStudy

Powercfg SleepStudy

The maybe best way to Troubleshoot Connected Standby or InstantGo issues, is to use the powercfg /SleepStudy command. This will generate a Sleep Study report which allows you to analyze different things about Conncted Standby:

Connected Standby / InstantGo Overview

SleepStudy Report

Connected Standby Transitions

SleepStudy Report Connected Standby Transitions

Connected Standby Sessions

Here you can analyze which application or driver did use battery resources during the Connected Standby session.

SleepStudy Report InstantGo

powercfg /batteryreport

powercfg batteryreport

With powercfg /batteryreport you can generate a report about how your battery is used.

Battery Report

And you can also see what kind of state drained your battery, if this was an active session or a Connected Standby session.

Battery Report Battery Usage

powercfg /energy

PowerCFG Engery

With powercfg /engery you can see not only InstantGo or Connected Standby issues, you can see what other applications, drivers and more does could drain your battery.

Energy Report

I hope this helps you to troubleshoot Connected Standby issues.

Sources

 



Nokia Wireless Charging Plate DT-903

Quick review of the Nokia Wireless Charging Plate DT-903

Some days ago I got some new Microsoft or Nokia gadgets. One of the was the Nokia Wireless Charging Plate DT-903 which basically does wireless charge your phone and has some other cool extra when you pair it via Bluetooth using NFC.

So what does the Charging Plate do:

  • Of course it charges your phone – The DT-903 Wireless Charging Plate uses the Qi charging standard. It works with a wide range of devices and it can be powered by a USB port. Take the DT-903 with you, plug it into a USB port and enjoy quick and easy charging.
  • It reminds you when your phone is low on battery – Pair a Bluetooth Low Energy enabled Lumia with the DT-903 and a soft light will ‘breathe’ from beneath the charger when the battery is low. A subtle reminder to charge your phone makes wireless charging even more convenient.
  • Get notifications – Know what’s happening on your phone without looking at it. When you have paired your Lumia with the DT-903, the notification light on the charger glows for missed calls and messages

Nokia Wireless Charging Plate DT-903 Glowing

To connect the Charging Plate to your phone, just hold it on the NFC symbol on the plate and you will get ask if you want to pair it.

After that you can find the settings for the Wireless Charging Plate in the Device Hub Settings on your Windows Phone.

So you can setup which notifications from which app you want your plate to glow and you can also define a night mode, where the glowing is disabled.

Overall I really like the new charging plate, it is a pretty cool gadget and I am really happy about the notifications. Since my phones is always on silent I don’t get the notifications. Normally I just had to grab my phone to check if there are some new notifications, now I know if there is nothing glowing, I can relax ;-).



COD Berlin 2014

My 2014

Another year ends and I am ready for a new one to start. Since Christmas time is not the busiest time of the year, I always find some time to review my year. I really had a great year and I had the change to meet, talk and work with some really great people from all over the world. I really tried to summarize this year in this blog post, but there is just not enough space to cover it all.

Locarno 2014

I am now currently working three years for itnetx and my job as a Cloud Architect and Consultant takes me still to the most beautiful places in Switzerland and Europe. Even after three years it is just great to work with such great and talented people and see how things are moving forward.

COD Berlin 2014

During the Microsoft Community Open Day 2014 I had the chance to meet a  lot of people from Microsoft Germany and other DACH MVPs as well.

Thailand 2014

In April I had the chance to visit my friend in Thailand. I really enjoyed Thailand, great food, nice weather and friendly people.

Cisco Champions

In May 2014 I was awarded by Cisco with the Cisco Champion 2014 award. This was a great honor and I really enjoyed the new connections I got inside Cisco.

Moving 2014

2014 was also the year to move to a new flat, well not as big as a step you might think, but still a lot of work.

itnetx Office Bern

Not only I moved in 2014, also itnetx moved to a new and bigger office in Bern. The new location is great with a great city and mountain view.

E2EVC Brussels 2014

At E2EVC 2014 in Brussels I had the chance to deliver some overview sessions about the Microsoft Cloud OS stack, including things like System Center, Software-Defined Storage and Networking, Azure Pack and of course Hyper-V, together with Michael Rüefli (Microsoft MVP)

InovatiX 2014 Amsterdam

Talking about itnetx, during the summer time, itnetx, inovativ Belgium and inovativ Netherlands met in Amsterdam to discuss some topics on the Microsoft Cloud OS and sharing some knowledge. This was great, since I had the chance to meet some of the best experts in Europe around that topic.

Food 2014

If you follow me on some social media sites like Twitter, you know that I love good food. Of course I had some pretty good food in 2014, so if you are interested not only in Cloud OS but also in great food, you just have another reason to follow me on Twitter.

World Cup 2014

2014 was also the year of the FIFA World Cup, unfortunately Switzerland lost against Argentina.

Amsterdam 2014

The Cloud OS Network (COSN) in which itnetx is a part of, brought me another trip to Amsterdam for a great training and meeting with Microsoft Hosting people and partners.

Surface Pro 3

2014 also brought me some great new gadgets like the Surface Pro 3 or the Nokia Lumia 930.

System Center Universe Europe 2014

September was the time of System Center Universe Europe 2014 in Basel close to my home town. I had the chance to deliver two sessions about the Cloud OS networking stack together with Walther Dey (Former Cisco) and Michel Lüscher (Microsoft). You can watch the session recordings on my blog or Microsoft’s Channel9.

Master of Advanced Studies in Business Engineering and Management

In the summer 2014 I also finished the last semester of my Master of Advanced Studies in Business Engineering and Management. Now I am currently working on my master thesis.

VeeamON 2014 Las Vegas

Another great event I have been invited to was VeeamON 2014 in Las Vegas. This was the first Veeam conference and in my opinion this was just great. Bringing a lot of experts from around the world on site and talking about different Datacenter availability solutions is just great.

E2EVC Bercelona 2014

At E2EVC Barcelona 2014 I had the chance to deliver another session about Disaster Recovery using Azure Site Recovery and Hyper-V Replica. After that I had some time to relay in Barcelona and meet some friends before TechEd Europe 2014.

Microsoft MVP 2014

In October I was again awarded with the Microsoft MVP Award for the third time in a row after 2012 and 2013, which is a great honor.

COSN 2014

Some of the work I really enjoyed in 2014, was the work with service providers and building solutions form them using the Cloud OS stack with Azure Pack. It is great to help customers to build new solutions and business and cloud offerings.

MVP Summit 2014

One of the highlights as always is the Microsoft MVP Summit in Redmond (Seattle). It really helps to meet other people working on the same topic and talking to the Microsoft Product Groups about the current release as well as on the on going development.

MMS 2014

The last conference I was speaking, was the MMS 2014 (Mindwest Management Summit) in the Mall of America in Minneapolis. I talked about Fabric Management with System Center Virtual Machine Manager and Disaster Recovery using Azure Site Recovery Manager.

New York 2014

My last stop in 2014 took me to New York where I met two of my friends and spend some days exploring the city.

Microsoft Band

And this is my last gadget I got in 2014, the Microsoft Band. I was really exited about this little device. Since I started to do some more sports and I still had this first generation Nike Fuel Band I was happy to get this alternative.

Veeam Webinar Hyper-V 2012 R2

Another great thing I could to in 2014 was working with my partners and sponsors in several different projects and webinars. I really have to thank all my partners here like Veeam, Savision, Altaro, 5Nine and StarWind Software.

Overall 2014 was a great year for me and I really have to thank so many people which are helping, motivate and inspiring me every day, my friends, family, colleagues, bosses, partners, customers, and my girlfriend. I also have to thank all the readers of my blog, my followers on twitter and other social media sites and all the people how makes the effort running a blog and investing so much time in it totally worth it.

I wish you all a happy new year and a great start in 2015.

Thomas



Cisco Champion 2015

Cisco Champion 2015

Last year it was the first time I was awareded by Cisco with the Cisco Champions Award for 2014. This morning I found some great news in my inbox again. I feel honored to be part of the Cisco Champions community again for 2015. Since I do a lot of Datacenter projects with Microsoft and Cisco technologies I can see that the new partnership between Cisco and Microsoft is really paying off and we can expect even better integration and services from both companies.

Congratulations: Welcome to the Cisco Champions Program 2015!

Because of your excellent contributions to the IT community, you have been chosen out of hundreds of applicants, to be a member of the Cisco Champions team in 2015. Congratulations!

 

Cisco Champions are seasoned IT technical experts and influencers who enjoy sharing their knowledge, expertise, and thoughts across the social web and with Cisco. The Cisco Champions program encompasses different areas of interest, such as Data Center, Internet of Things, Enterprise Networks, Collaboration and Security. Cisco Champions are located all over the world.

 



Microsoft Band

Microsoft Band powered by Microsoft Health

Microsoft today announced a new product called Microsoft Band. The Microsoft Band focuses on health and fitness and comes with over 10 different sensors for health, sports and sleep tracking like built-in GPS and 24-hour heart rate monitoring to help you reach your fitness goals.

  • 24-hour heart rate monitor: Gives you a better understanding of your calorie burn, sleep patterns, and peak and resting heart rate so you can perform at your best.
  • Run: Whether you’re on the treadmill at the gym or outdoors in the rain or sun, you can view your run summary on your band with personalized metrics in the phone app including pace splits and heart rate.
  • Steps: Set a goal and track your progress. Microsoft Band calculates the calories you’ve burned and the distance you’ve traveled each day.
  • Built-in GPS: Measures the distance you’ve run and tracks your pace and route. Save your favorites to retrace your steps and challenge yourself later.
  • Calorie tracking: Count the calories you burn each day. View daily or weekly stats, set goals, and receive a virtual “high-five” when you reach them.
  • Sleep tracking: When activated, Microsoft Band tracks the length and quality of your sleep. Analyze the sleep charts in your app to gain insights about your slumber.
  • Guided Workouts: Fun and challenging workouts from fitness partners like Gold’s Gym, Shape, and Men’s Fitness with exercise prompts on the band and much more in the app.
  • Goal setting: Challenge yourself by setting daily step and calorie goals. Microsoft Band notifies you when you meet them so that you can stay motivated.
  • UV monitor: Get a quick read of the UV Index while you’re out and about.

Cloud-based service Microsoft Health

Microsoft Health Cloud

 

Microsoft Health is a cloud-based service that helps you live healthier by providing actionable insights based on data gathered from the fitness devices and apps that you use every day. Activity-tracking devices like the new Microsoft Band, smart watches, and mobile phones plus services like RunKeeper or MyFitnessPal connect easily to Microsoft Health. Using this fitness data and our Intelligence Engine in the cloud, Microsoft Health provides valuable, personal insights so you can reach your fitness goals.

Be more productive

Microsoft Band Smartwatch

But the Microsoft Band is much more. It also offers a lot of features as a smartwatch or personal assistant. Which shows you the usual stuff like text messages, meetings, calls, Facebook and Twitter integration but if you are using a Windows Phone you also have Cortana (the personal assistant on Windows Phone) integrated. These features should not only help you trough your daily life, they also should make you more productive and help you to keep your phone in your pocket.

Some of the function Microsoft offers in terms of notifications and alerts.

  • Text Messaging: Get your text messages right on your wrist.
  • Calls: See incoming call and voicemail notifications on your band.
  • Calendar: Microsoft Band stays in sync with the calendar on your phone, reminding you of important events throughout the day so you can be where you need to be.
  • Email: Monitor and preview email activity right on your band, so you don’t have to pull out your phone in the middle of your lunch date.
  • Smart notifications: Choose which alerts you get on your wrist. Change the notification settings on your phone and your Microsoft Band will match.
  • Watch mode: Turn on “Watch Mode” to always display today’s time and date without pressing any buttons.
  • Facebook & Facebook Messenger: Stay up to date on Facebook without having to check your phone. Get the latest posts, comments, photo notifications, and personal messages on your band.
  • Twitter: Tweets, mentions, retweets, messages, new followers. Set your preferences on your phone and see it all on your wrist.
  • Cortana: If you’re using Windows Phone 8.1, you can take notes and set reminders with your voice using Cortana personal assistant.
  • Weather: Get real-time weather conditions and a 5-day forecast to plan your week.
  • Finance: Create a watch list for select stocks in your Microsoft Health app. View the latest ticker activity right on your wrist.
  • Starbucks: No need to reach for your wallet. Enjoy coffee on the go with your Starbucks card ready to scan at arm’s length.
  • Timer & Stopwatch: Time your laps or your entire workout with the stopwatch. Set alarms to wake up silently or remind you to go for a run.
  • Do-not-disturb mode: Tap the icon on your band to turn all notifications off.
  • Personalization: With your choice of background designs and colors, let Microsoft Band reflect your personality.
  • Display: The full color touch display is bright and easy to read, even in direct sunlight.
  • Bluetooth 4.0: With Bluetooth 4.0, your data syncs to your phone in the background, so Microsoft Band is always up to date. You don’t have to log in to get the latest.

Works with the phone you own

Microsoft Band iPhone and Android

 

The Microsoft Band not just works with Windows or Windows Phone devices, it can also be used on iOS or Android devices.

Microsoft says the battery life of the Microsoft Band will be up to 48h and is only available in the US for $199 (Microsoft Store). I am totally looking forward to replace my Nike Fuelband with this devices.



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.