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Category: Windows RT

Surface 2

The new Surface 2

Some days ago I wrote a blog post about my new Surface Pro 2. I not only upgraded my daily work device, I also upgraded my Surface RT which I mostly use at home to browse the web,  read or watch movie sand TV. Microsoft did some cool changes to the next generation Surface.

  • Up to 10 hours battery life
  • a lot more performance
  • The built-in Kickstand now features two positions
  • Full HD display
  • USB 3.0
  • silver option
  • better front and rear camera, perfect for Lync and Skype
  • running Windows RT 8.1
  • includes Office RT with Outlook RT

Surface 2

Here are some of my personal first impressions about the Surface 2:

 

  • Hardware quality – As every Microsoft Surface, the Surface 2 has a perfect build quality and the new color makes it look really nice and does not pick up and fingerprints at the back of the device.
  • Amazing display – The new 10.6 inch ClearType Full HD Display with 5-point multi-touch is basically the same quality as the Surface Pro 2. This is a huge upgrade from the original ClearType HD Display 1366×768 pixels of the Surface RT. Not that the screen of the Surface RT was bad, it was still one of the best screens I have seen but the new Full HD resolution adds a lot of value.
  • New Kick Stand – The new kick stand which can be placed in two different angles is just perfect. As already mentioned in my Surface Pro 2 review, I really love the new position if you on the road and working with the Surface on your lap or on your coffee table.
  • Performance – Microsoft added a new Nvidia Tegra 4 processor and it’s looks like they also replaced the storage with some faster SSD storage which in my opinion make a huge difference. If you have used a Surface RT you may had some performance issues, with the Surface 2 this is totally difference. It’s finally as fast as it has to be, which is perfect work the Windows 8 Apps, browsing the web, watching movies or working with Office.
  • Accessories – The new Type Cover 2 which is thinner as the original type cover and comes with backlit is just great. I will never give this keyboard back.
  • Size and weight – The Surface 2 is also a little thinner and lighter as the Surface RT. It is not a huge difference on the paper but if you are working with it you can feel it and you will definitely like it.
  • Battery life – The battery life of the Surface RT was always great for me, but the Surface 2 should have added even more to it which is not a bad thing.
  • Camera – The new cameras in the Surface 2 are just perfect. I do a lot of Lync and Skype video calls and the improved front camera is perfect for that. Video calls only make sense if you the quality is good, I don’t understand why other vendors still include low resolution cameras.

Surface 2

For me the Surface 2 added some great new things which would make it basically the perfect work device. The performance improvements, the Office Suite with the new added Outlook RT, the new Full HD screen and the awesome battery life would make it the perfect device. But there is still some things which make the Surface Pro 2 for me a better choice. First I really love the digitizer pen which comes with the Surface Pro 2, which allows you to draw and take notes on the device. I also love the new docking station for the Surface Pro and Surface Pro 2 which are not working with the Surface 2. And the last point for me as a consultant is that I can run Hyper-V. If Microsoft adds a digitizer pen to next generation Surface it will be a hard decision for me.



Arc Touch Mouse Surface Edition

Microsoft Arc Touch Mouse Surface Edition

Yesterday Microsoft announced the new Surface 2 and the Surface Pro 2 with different accessories. Microsoft did also announce the Arc Touch Mouse Surface Edition which will be the perfect mouse if you are traveling. I was using the original Arc Touch Mouse all the time until I changed from my notebook to the Surface Pro, because the original Arc Touch Mouse had a wireless connection which used a USB receiver and the Surface Pro only had one USB port. So when I was using the Arc Touch Mouse I couldn’t use another USB device like a Ethernet adapter or a USB flash drive.
The new Arc Touch Mouse Surface Edition not only comes in the Surface design, the mouse also uses Bluetooth to connect to the Surface/notebook, and this does solve another issue.



Surface Imagine Ad

Microsoft finally released an video ad which shows why the Surface is such a great device. Surface Imagine shows you a device that can finally do it all.  It has the power of a laptop with the portability of a tablet.  It has a USB port and a click-in keyboard and the power to run Office.



Two months with the Surface Pro and how it replaced my notebook

Swiss Microsoft Surface Event

At the Microsoft MVP Summit back in February I had the chance to get a brand new Microsoft Surface Pro, after I already used a Surface RT which a had since November 2012. I already wrote a very small review a few days after I got it in the Microsoft Store in Bellevue WA and used it during the MVP Summit.

Since I am back from Redmond I am using my Surface Pro for work when I am on the road, at customers, working at the office, at university, at hotels or at home when I am working in the living room. Basically the Surface is my daily companion. At home and for long flights I still use the Surface RT because it’s lighter, has better battery life and it because of it size and weight it feels more like a tablet.

And here are my impressions after I used it now for two months.

Microsoft Surface Pro

Hardware quality – The build quality of the hardware is just amazing. As the Surface RT the Surface Pro is just high quality hardware. Even after 2 months this piece of hardware still looks great and elegant. There is nothing broken or anything else which I am unhappy about. I really like to work with great devices that’s was one of the reasons I used Apple products some years ago and I still think Microsoft is maybe the only one who can keep up with the quality of Apple hardware, because most of the other OEM’s do not get it right.

Microsoft Surface Pro

Amazing display – The screen of the Surface Pro is great with a good contrast and great colors like the Surface RT but with a Full HD resolution. I am really happy with the Full HD resolution, especially when I am working with System Center products or I am taking notes with OneNote.
I am using my Lenovo ThinkPad X1 for lab installations and testing, and the screen is terrible if you compare it to the Surface Screen. The only problem I had with the Surface Pro is that it’s hard to sit in front of a 10.6” screen for like 8-10 hours. At the office I don’t have this problem because I can use a external monitor and most of the customers I work for are doing the same, so this isn’t a big issue.

Surface Pro

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. 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.

Surface

Performance – The Surface Pro is equipped with a Intel Core i5 processor and 4GB of RAM which brings really good performance. Well I cannot really talk about performance because normally you only talk about performance when you don’t have enough, but I never had any performance issues with the Surface Pro and I even think the performance is better than the notebooks I used before.

Microsoft Surface Pro

Features – Well many people already know about features like the kickstand or the Touch and the Typecover, which is by the way pretty good to write on and I am used to use a ThinkPad which has an amazing keyboard. Another cool and useful feature is the build in USB charging port in the power adapter, which lets you charge another phone even if the Surface USB port is already used by another device.

surfacespecsheet

Size and weight – The Surface Pro is not much thicker and heavier than the Surface RT but if you compare them site by site it’s a big difference. Even my Lenovo ThinkPad X1 was a very light and small business ultrabook, the Surface Pro feels a lot lighter and needs a lot less space and is much easier to carry it around.

Battery life – Same as the size the battery life is not like it would be on a normal tablet. I got in my tests 4-5 hours of battery life, when I am working 100% on my Surface Pro. During time at university I get around 6 hours which is enough for one day. During long flights it does not really make sense to use the Surface Pro because the only thing I need there is Office 2013, to work on presentations and documents, a video player to watch movies and of course a lot of battery life to do all this things. The Surface RT is much more suitable for this scenario.

Surface Typecover Touchcover

Accessories – If you want to replace your notebook with the Surface Pro you may need three things, except the Type- or Touchcover. First you need a adapter for VGA or HDMI output so you can connect a projector or external monitor. The Surface Pro has a Mini-DisplayPort output and offers two adapters, one for HDMI and one for VGA, but you can also use adapters from other vendors.

The second thing you need is a USB to Ethernet adapter, because most of the enterprise customers do not offer Wifi access to their network and business users basically need a Ethernet port. The downside of using such a adapter is that you loose the only USB port and this can be a problem if you want to use a USB drive or a external disk at the same time. Microsoft offers also a USB to Ethernet adapter but like for the display adapter you can also use other adapters.

The last thing you need is a mouse, even you have a touchscreen and a trackpad, there are a lot of thing which are much more efficient with a mouse. I use the Microsoft Wedge Touch Mouse Surface Edition which is small and perfect if you travel.

Software – Windows 8 is the perfect mix from desktop and tablet OS. For a lot of people the mix of two different UIs is something bad, for me its just the best solution because the OS offers me the best from both worlds. I am also a huge fan of the Microsoft Account integration which syncs settings from all your devices.

SkyDrive and SkyDrive Pro make my life a lot easier, I don’t really have to copy files between different devices because they are available everywhere and get synced automatically. And Office 2013 or Office 365 Home Premium integrated perfectly in this scenarios and you get 20GB of extra SkyDrive storage.

The Xbox integration with the Xbox Smart Glass technology is just perfect, if you are sharing media in the living room or watch movies or listen to music it’s the a great Xbox companion.

Conclusion – Well after two months I don’t carry my notebook anymore, the Surface Pro totally replaced it not only because it is much smaller and lighter, not it only because of the additional features I get with the Surface, for example the Touchscreen, the tablet form factor and the digitizer pen.

My wish list for the next Pro version would be:

  • Make it thinner and lighter like the Surface RT would be great
  • Longer battery life – I know it’s hard to get performance and battery life at the same time, but 8-10 hours of battery life would be just awesome.
  • Different sizes – This is maybe not just about the Pro version, but maybe for the whole Surface series. A smaller Surface around 7” would be great for doing some small tasks. The other thing I thought about would be a 11” or 12” Surface which would be even better, if you use it as a notebook replacement.
  • USB ports – A second USB port or a passive USB hub, which would not need extra power but fix my problems.
  • More cool accessories – In todays tablet world it’s hard to be different. One thing is the OS and the other one are the accessories. Microsoft did a great thing with the kickstand and the Touchcover but I pretty sure that there is more in the Microsoft labs.
  • Availability – Well make them available outside of the US ;-)

What would you be on your wish list?

Update:

Microsoft announced yester day that they will expand the Surface Pro and Surface RT availability. Surface Pro will launch before the end of May in Australia, Austria, Belgium, Denmark, Finland, France, Germany, Hong Kong, Ireland, Italy, Luxembourg, New Zealand, the Netherlands, Norway, Portugal, Spain, Sweden, Switzerland, and the United Kingdom. Surface Pro will launch in Korea, Malaysia, Russia, Singapore, and Thailand before the end of June. Surface Pro is currently available in the U.S., Canada, and China. Thanks to Bjorn for the link.



Swiss Microsoft Surface Event

Swiss Microsoft Surface Event

Today it’s not only valentines day, it’s also the day where the Microsoft Surface RT comes available in more countries includes Switzerland. And for this Microsoft made a small event for the Microsoft Surface Launch in Switzerland.

The Surface is available in Switzerland via the Microsoft Online Store and some retail stores like Media Markt. And with the launch in Switzerland you can also get the Type Cover and the Touch Cover with a Swiss keyboard layout.

Type Cover & Touch Cover Swiss Keyboard Layout

Because I already own a Microsoft Surface RT, I still I hope I can pick up a Microsoft Surface Pro next week on the Microsoft Global MVP Summit 2013.



What’s in my bag for the Microsoft MVP Global Summit 2013

Only a few days left until I catch my flight with Marcel Zehner (MVP System Center Datacenter & Cloud Management) to Redmond for the Microsoft MVP Global Summit 2013. Microsoft invites all MVPs worldwide (approx 4000) for a great week of learning, sharing and networking on the Microsoft Campus. For this week I had to pack some stuff for the flight and the days we will spend and work there.

Bag for Microsoft MVP Summit

  • Nokia Lumia 920 – We sure I need my smartphone and I definitely can use the Pureview camera to create some great shots from Seattle and Redmond.
  • Microsoft Surface RT – I loaded the Surface with a lot of movies for the long flight. The Surface RT should have definitely enough battery life for watching some videos and get some writing done.
  • Zune HD – I already mentioned that I am a huge fan of Microsoft Hardware and I like to have a different music player to save the battery of my Lumia 920.
  • Zune Headphones – I am still impressed by the quality of the Zune Headphones
  • Lenovo ThinkPad X1 - This is my work machine, a great powerful and light device.
  • WD USB Hard drive – Adding a little more storage to my bag
  • Microsoft Arc Touch Mouse – perfect travel mouse
  • USB Stick with Windows To Go
  • SD Cards – Additional Storage
  • And of course much more…

Btw. I really can’t wait to pick up a Microsoft Surface Pro in one of the Microsoft Stores in Seattle or Bellevue.



“Company Portal” Windows Intune Client for Windows 8 and RT now in the store

Windows intune Company Portal

Microsoft just released the Company Portal Windows App which is basically a Windows Intune Client, which allows you to deploy Apps on your Windows Intune managed devices.

App Description:

The Company Portal app helps you search, browse and install apps made available to you by your company, through the Microsoft Windows Intune online service. Apps can be installed without requiring a connection to your corporate network. You can also enroll your personal computers and devices in the service and locate contact information for your IT team.
Note: This app requires your company to have an active Windows Intune subscription and to have provided you with an organizational ID to sign in.
You can get it in the Windows Store.