Tag: Microsoft Surface

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Surface Pro

First impressions on the Surface Pro 2017

I am one of the lucky persons owning an brand new Microsoft Surface Pro as a new device for work. This is the my devices I used for the last couple of days and weeks as my daily driver and this allows me to write a quick review about my first impressions about the Surface Pro.

After using the Surface Pro, the Surface Pro 2, the Surface Pro 3, the Surface Book became my daily driver. And I had to say that it is a great notebook. But after using the Surface Pro for awhile, I really got used to the form factor. The 2-in-1 form factor and the small and light design, made the Surface Pro a really great travel companion and this was the reason I decided to go with a Surface Pro again.

Surface Pro 2017

My first impression when I took the Surface Pro out of the box was: “wow, this feels premium”. Even the Surface Pro and the Surface Book always felt really great, Microsoft improved it even more. The amazing premium sound of the kickstand,  the new rounded edges and the display of the Surface Pro making it even more premium and as mentioned the build quality is amazing.

The second thing I realized while using it, is the resume form standby is incredible fast. You basically press the on button and you can start working. And this while battery life is still great, I get around a whole working day out of it with a single charge.

Surface Pro 2017 Desk

Unfortunately I couldn’t really test the new Surface Pro Signature Type Cover, because it was not available at launch. But I will included it in my final review of the Surface Pro 2017, after I have used it for a couple of weeks.

 

 



Surface Book

My first impressions of the Surface Book

Last week Microsoft released some of their new device including the Surface Pro 4, the Surface Book and the Microsoft Band. I was one of the lucky few who had the chance to pick up a Surface Book in Las Vegas during the VeeamON Conference. I didn’t really plan to get the Surface Book in the US since it has another keyboard layout, instead I planed to get the Surface Pro 4. But when I had the chance to have a look at the Surface Book I really had to get it. The Surface Book is the first laptop made by Microsoft, and I have to say it is gorgeous and fast! I think this is the fastest machine I have ever owned. The reason for that is not only the new Core i7 processor from Intel or the dedicated Nvidia graphics card, in my opinion the reason for that is also the integrated flash storage which is extrem fast. This factors and some tuning by Microsoft really makes it fast. In the Microsoft Store in Las Vegas they only had one version left, which was the Core i7, 8GB RAM and 256GB Storage version. I really would have loved to get the version with 16GB RAM to run more Hyper-V Virtual Machines, but well I am happy I could at least get one.

Surface Book

I will write a full review later on but let get the quick impressions I could get during the short time I had to use it.

  • The display is amazing, the color and brightness is stunning.
  • The display ratio of  3:2 is perfect, I loved it on the Surface Pro 3 and I love it on the Surface Book. you have much more space to work on.
  •  It is fast, Microsoft was not lying when they said it is fast, this is the fastest machine I ever owned.
  • The detachable screen, which makes it to a tablet is very light, even lighter than a Surface Pro
  • Build quality is great as even better than the Surface Pro 3
  • The keyboard is also some of the best keyboards I have ever used, it feels great to type on.
  • The trackpad is maybe the best trackpad you can find on a Windows laptop
  • Audio Quality is good as well.
  • Detaching the screen from the keyboard is easy but it takes some time, it is not as fast as you could do it with the Surface Pro.
  • Design is just great it looks and feels premium.
  • Windows Hello on Windows 10 which allows you to sign in via face recognition work perfect, even in a dark hotel room. I think I will never sign it using a password 😉
  • The new Surface Pen feels a lot better than the old one, it feels more writing on paper instead of a glass screen than before.
  • There are some minor driver issues for example screen flickering when you install the Hyper-V role, or some battery drain during the sleep time which can be solved by disabling the WiFi connected during sleep (under settings).
  • The screen is a little bit larger than the one on the Surface Pro 3 or Surface Pro 4, which I really like for my daily work machine.
  • I still like the concept of the Surface Pro which allows you to faster switch between notebook and tablet mode. Over the past 3 years I really got used to it by using the Surface Pro, Surface Pro 2 and the Surface Pro 3. I think I still have to test the Surface Pro 4 which brings the most of the improvements the Surface Book has, including the better screen.

This are my first impression of the Surface Book, if you have any questions just ask it in the comments of this post. I will write a full review after a couple of weeks using it.



Surface 3 Starbucks

My Microsoft Surface 3 Review

A couple of weeks ago I got myself a Microsoft Surface 3 as a secondary device to my Surface Pro 3. While I am totally happy with my Surface Pro 3 as my daily driver on the road, in the office or at home, I wanted a secondary device for home tablet use and to showcase some new Windows 10 scenarios with Azure Active Directory and Office 365 integration. I got some tweets from some user who wanted to know my feedback on the device and so here is a small review:

Technical Specifications

Surface 3 Specs

  • Size 10.52″ x 7.36″ x 0.34″ (267mm x 187mm x 8.7mm)
  • Weight 1.37 lbs (622g)
  • Display 10.8” ClearType Full HD Plus Display Resolution: 1920 x 1280 Aspect ratio: 3:2 10 point multi-touch
  • Surface Pen support
  • Battery Life: Up to 10 hours of video playback
  • RAM/Storage 2GB RAM with 64GB storage & 4GB RAM with 128GB storage
  • Processor Quad Core Intel Atom x7-Z8700 processor (2MB Cache, 1.6GHz with Intel Burst technology up to 2.4GHz)
  • Wi-Fi (802.11 a/b/g/n/ac)
  • Bluetooth 4.0
  • Full-size USB 3.0
  • Mini DisplayPort
  • microSD card reader
  • Micro USB charging port
  • Headset jack
  • Cover port
  • Software Windows 8.1
  • 1-year of Office 365 Personal with OneDrive cloud storage
  • 3.5 megapixel front-facing camera
  • 8.0 megapixel rear-facing camera with autofocus
  • Microphone
  • Stereo speakers with Dolby® audio
  • Ambient light sensor
  • Proximity sensor
  • Accelerometer
  • Gyroscope
  • Magnetometer

I got the smallest version with 2GB of RAM and 64GB of storage.

Design and Durability

Surface 3 and Surface Pro 3

Microsoft did it again, if you expect any sacrifices on design, quality and durability you are wrong. The Surface 3 comes, like the Surface Pro 3 with great design and great built quality. The Surface 3 comes with a 10 inch screen, the Surface Pro 3 comes with a 12 inch screen, but both have a 3:2 aspect ratio which I really like for getting stuff done. With that you can also use it in portrait mode without any problems.

The difference between the Surface 3 and the Surface Pro 3 is the size and performance. With that, the Surface 3 is designed to be used as a tablet. And you can feel that, the size and especially the weight is made for tablet usage. The Surface 3 is just 200 grams lighter than the Surface Pro 3 which is just enough to hold the tablet in one or to hands for awhile without getting tired arms. This is also handy if you are doing some writing using the Surface Pen.

Again, everything seems to be at the right place and all buttons and the whole chassis is feeling very “high-class”.

Display and Audio

If you think you get any sacrifices on display quality or audio, you are wrong again. The Surface 3 comes with a stunning display, very bright and good color quality, in some scenario, the display even feels brighter than the Surface Pro 3. Now the biggest surprise of the device was the audio quality, this is maybe the best audio quality I every had from a tablet. If you have used other tablets including the iPad or Surface 2, you know that audio quality wasn’t bad, but it was far from being good. The Surface 3 has changed this, of course it is still not somethings music enthusiast will really use, but if you want to watch House of Cards on Netflix the speakers are loud and clear.

The other big pictures here is the Surface Pen support. As the Surface Pro 3, the Surface 3 does support the Surface Pen, not like the Surface 2. This is great to take notes using OneNote and use it as a notebook, especially if you wake up in the middle of the night and have a great idea you can use the Surface Pen and the OneNote button to quickly open an new OneNote page.

Ports and Internals

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. 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 2. The Surface 3 does also have a new power port in form of a micro USB port, instead of the magnetic power port of the Surface 2 or Surface Pro 3. This is great so you can use every charger, even the one from your phone. But to be honest you don’t really want to do this, because the charging speed using a phone charger is very slow. And on the other hand you lose the magnetic adapter safety feature.

Heat and Fan Noise

The Surface 3 comes equipped with Quad Core Intel Atom x7-Z8700 processor and I had never had any issues with heat or fan noise. To be honest, I am not even sure the Surface 3 has a fan. But on the other side, the workloads you are running on the Surface 3 are not even close as powerful as the applications you run on the Surface Pro 3.

Type Cover

Surface 3 Type Cover

The Surface 3 also comes with an own Type Cover in the right size. Microsoft also improved the Type Cover from the Type Cover 3 which you got with the Surface Pro 3, even you can not really see it directly. Especially the keys feel much better, which make it a perfect typing machine. I am sure with the next release of the Surface Pro comes out, the improvements in the Type Cover for the Surface 3 will be included in that as well.

Battery life and Performance

Surface 3 IE

I think this is the most important part for most of the people reading this review. First, the performance of the Surface 3 is a lot better than the performance of the Surface 2 and the same goes for battery life. But for the same the Surface Pro 3 performance is much better compare to the Surface 3. But this was clear right? The Surface 3 is designed as a tablet with light usage for office apps and some other apps as well, and the Surface 3 handles that just fine. The Surface Pro 3 is design as a powerful notebook replacement which is a total different story, so if you are looking on a powerful machine you should go with the Surface Pro 3, if you need something thin and light to use as a tablet and Office usage, you will definitely be happy with the Surface 3. As I mentioned I got the smallest version with only 2GB of RAM, and this is my real bottleneck if you are doing multitasking. So if you are expecting to do any real multitasking you should go for the 4GB version. The other performance bottleneck is the disk speed, this is a huge difference to the Surface Pro 3 as well, but to be honest for the things I use the Surface 3 for, I don’t really care.

Camera

Microsoft also upgraded the back-facing camera to a 8 megapixel camera which is even better than the Surface Pro 3. So you can do some simple but good shots with the tablet. But of course this never comes close to your Nokia Lumia.

Software and Accessories

Surface 3

Software is where everything comes together. Windows 8.1 works perfectly on the Surface 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 Skype for Business 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.

After the first 2 weeks I upgraded the Surface 3 to Windows 10, and I have to say the new tablet mode works perfectly, performance of the Surface 3 with Windows 10 is great.

Microsoft also offers a lot of different accessories like display or Ethernet adapters for the Surface Pro line and they will now also work with the Surface 3. You can use the same USB Ethernet Adapter or Mini Display Port adapter as for the Surface Pro 3. Microsoft also released a new docking station for the Surface 3, which helps you make the Surface 3 also a desktop replacement.

Conclusion

Well if you have to choose between the Surface 3 and the Surface Pro 3 you really have to consider what the devices are designed for. The Surface Pro 3 can be the tablet which is your powerful laptop and desktop replacement. The Surface 3 is more your lightweight tablet which also can be your laptop if you only need it of light Office usage. So if size and weight matter to you, and you don’t need great performance you should go for the Surface 3. But if you need any performance you may want to go with the Surface Pro 3, even the i3 version has much more power than the Surface 3. Another thing here is, if you want to go with the Surface 3, I really recommend you to spend that extra money and go with the 4GB model.



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.



My new Surface Pro

Microsoft Surface Pro

As some of you already have seen on Twitter, last week during the Microsoft MVP Global Summit I got my Microsoft Surface Pro from the Microsoft Store in Bellevue WA. First I have to say the shopping experience in a Microsoft is just great, very nice people and cool products you can try like the Xbox Kinect and all kind of PCs. Believe it or not it’s just much more fun than a Apple Store where you can stare at the same 12 products for hours ;).

Microsoft Store

I don’t want to do a full review because there are already so many out there. But I would love to share some impressions and thoughts.

  • Hardware quality – The build quality of the hardware is just amazing. As the Surface RT the Surface Pro is just high quality hardware.
  • 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.
  • Digital Ink – The Surface Pro comes with a digitizer pen which is perfect to take notes with OneNote.
  • Performance – The Surface Pro is equipped with a Intel Core i5 processor and 4GB of RAM which brings really good performance.
  • 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.
  • 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.
  • Battery life – Same as the size the it’s not like a normal tablet. I got in my tests 4-5 hours of battery life.

For me the Surface Pro is a amazing device which brings a totally new experience. For me the Surface Pro is not really a tablet and it is not really an ultrabook it’s something different. This is not a device for everyone but for me it could be the perfect device. The Surface is build with amazing hardware, has a perfect multi touch screen, it is fast and has a great keyboard. Size and weight is for me not a problem because it is more a notebook replacement than a tablet and the Surface Pro is still smaller than a notebook. The battery life is not really a problem for me, in this case I prefer performance over battery life. Sure it would be great to have more battery life but most of my notebooks didn’t really get more than 6 hours and for a normal work day I need 8-10 hours and so I need a power adapter any way.

So basically I will test the Surface Pro as my notebook replacement for the next few weeks.



Microsoft Surface Pro meets Hyper-V

This happens if you build your datacenter based on the Microsoft Surface Pro. I just saw a tweets from Jeff Woolsey and Ben Armstrong about how you install Windows Server 2012 Hyper-V on the Surface Pro and are running some Live Migrations of virtual machines.

Checkout the blog post or the short video:



Microsoft Surface – Shut up and take my money!

Microsoft Surface

Sorry but this is awesome. Microsoft just announced an own tablet called the Microsoft Surface. They released two version, one with Windows 8 RT and one with Windows 8 Pro.

surfacespecsheet

Advances in Industrial Design

Conceived, designed and engineered entirely by Microsoft employees, and building on the company’s 30-year history manufacturing hardware, Surface represents a unique vision for the seamless expression of entertainment and creativity. Extensive investment in industrial design and real user experience includes the following highlights:

  • Software takes center stage: Surface sports a full-sized USB port and a 16:9 aspect ratio – the industry standard for HD.  It has edges angled at 22 degrees, a natural position for the PC at rest or in active use, letting the hardware fade into the background and the software stand out.
  • VaporMg:  The casing of Surface is created using a unique approach called VaporMg (pronounced Vapor-Mag), a combination of material selection and process to mold metal and deposit particles that creates a finish akin to a luxury watch.  Starting with magnesium, parts can be molded as thin as .65 mm, thinner than the typical credit card, to create a product that is thin, light and rigid/strong.
  • Integrated Kickstand:  The unique VaporMg approach also enables a built-in kickstand that lets you transition Surface from active use to passive consumption – watching a movie or even using the HD front- or rear-facing video cameras.  The kickstand is there when needed, and disappears when not in use, with no extra weight or thickness.
  • Touch Cover: The 3 mm Touch Cover represents a step forward in human-computer interface. Using a unique pressure-sensitive technology, Touch Cover senses keystrokes as gestures, enabling you to touch type significantly faster than with an on-screen keyboard. It will be available in a selection of vibrant colors. Touch Cover clicks into Surface via a built-in magnetic connector, forming a natural spine like you find on a book, and works as a protective cover.  You can also click in a 5 mm-thin Type Cover that adds moving keys for a more traditional typing feel.

Surface for Windows RT

  • OS: Windows RT
  • Light(1): 676 g
  • Thin(2): 9.3 mm
  • Clear: 10.6” ClearType HD Display
  • Energized: 31.5 W-h
  • Connected: microSD, USB 2.0, Micro HD Video, 2×2 MIMO antennae
  • Productive: Office ‘15’ Apps, Touch Cover (full multitouch keyboard and touchpad), Type Cover
  • Practical: VaporMg Case & Stand
  • Configurable: 32 GB, 64 GB

Surface for Windows 8 Pro

  • OS: Windows 8 Pro
  • Light(1): 903 g
  • Thin(2): 13.5 mm
  • Clear: 10.6” ClearType Full HD Display
  • Energized: 42 W-h
  • Connected: microSDXC, USB 3.0, Mini DisplayPort Video, 2×2 MIMO antennae
  • Productive: Touch Cover (full multitouch keyboard and touchpad), Type Cover, Pen with Palm Block
  • Practical: VaporMg Case & Stand
  • Configurable: 64 GB, 128 GB

In my opinion this is the first tablet done right. It’s a mix between tablet and notebook. You don’t have to compromise by choosing one or the other.

Check out more about the Microsoft Surface on surface.com.

Microsoft Surface