Microsoft Surface Pro 3 at product launch
Microsoft Surface Pro 3 at product launch

When Microsoft reported quarterly earnings for its fiscal year, the company said it sold more than $1 billion worth of Surface tablets. That may sound impressive, but at $1000 per Surface Pro 3, sales could be as low as a million units for the quarter. With adoption still very slow, Microsoft views the Surface as one piece of its enterprise software strategy. The software giant’s goal is to grow its productivity and storage solutions on the cloud. Now that the Surface is in its third iteration, is the tablet ready for the enterprise?

The Surface 3 Pro is a 12-inch device that Intel’s “Core” line-up powers. Users may choose anywhere from the i3 to the i7. Storage varies from 64GB up to 512GB. The device includes a pen, which Microsoft describes as “delivering a natural writing and drawing experience.” True to its description, the pen works well in OneNote. Drawing pictures and writing notes is a breeze. In some cases, the user must navigate and select using the pen. Still, for the most part, the touch screen supports most gestures.

Microsoft Cloud and Mobility solutions

Compared to Nexus 7

In some ways, controlling the cursor on the Nexus 7 is easier than the use of the Surface Pen in Office 2010. King Office on Nexus 7 is one app that works as a good Office replacement in Android. The app allows for selecting text and highlighting. In Microsoft Office 2010, the pen is required.

The Android ecosystem is far superior than Microsoft one – for now. There are simply more options available in Android. Microsoft is also starting to offer its prized Office app on Android and on Apple. Conversely, Microsoft’s surface offers popular apps like Skype, FarmVille 2, Facebook, and Netflix. The Office 2010 application works, but the features do not really take full advantage of the tablet.

Understandably, Microsoft released Office 2013 and is pushing Office 365. For file storage across devices, OneDrive is available on the Surface. Windows 10 will also replace Windows 8.1 later this year. All of this just means the Surface will get better.

Microsoft OneDrive

Desktop Replacement

There is an optional desktop docking station for the Surface 3 Pro. This adds five more USB ports, a network connection, and a display port. The Type cover is also sold separately. Mounting the Surface on the docking is somewhat clumsy, and it takes a little used to. For example, the tablet’s connection to the docking station requires care: slowly and carefully.

Remote Desktop

Enterprise IT administrators might not appreciate the high resolution of the Surface. The resolution is simply too high when remotely connecting to another computer on the Surface’s Remote Desktop Connection.

Tablet navigation

Navigating in Windows 8.1 is not very intuitive, but the key functions are easily available. Swiping from the left panel, a user may open an app that takes up half the screen. Swiping from the left to the right, and then back, opens the app task list. The Start button is also accessible in this way.Windows81Startscree_Page

Clicking the ‘Windows’ button brings up the tiles page.

Swiping from the right opens up the Search, Share, Start, Devices, and Settings buttons.

Surface Pro on the right track

The mobile office worker might get more mileage from the Surface Pro 3, but the average worker might not appreciate the tablet. If used as a desktop replacement, network administrators must buy a mini display port adaptor to support a connection to a PC monitor.

In the field, the Surface is probably a better choice over a laptop: its crisp screen, 12-inch display, solid build, and cleverly placed keyboard makes mobile use a joy.

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