By Chris Reid, Senior Desktop Support Specialist, Data#3 Limited
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Pitched as the device that can replace your laptop and your tablet, the Microsoft Surface range continues to go from strength to strength with the recent release of the Surface Pro 4 and Surface Book. These devices are the ideal hardware to support your organisation’s mobility strategy.
At Data#3, our IT department has deployed Surface devices for a number of years, most recently deploying our first Surface Book.
There are plenty of consumer reviews of these devices, but not from the perspective of the IT department. Read on to see what we think of this range of devices – what works well, and what you need to look out for.
What’s so good about the Surface Range?
- Built for Windows
Surface is the perfect match for Windows 10 and vice versa. You can use all the touch apps and desktop software you need (like Microsoft Office), plus write directly on web pages with Surface Pen in the Microsoft Edge browser. What’s more, as Windows 10 enables you to transition seamlessly from laptop to tablet, it’s the ideal operating system to suit the Surface’s dual capabilities.
The Surface Pro 3 weighs in at as little as 766 grams (depending on specification). That makes it easier to carry around, especially on public transport or on flights. In fact, users have reported thinking they’ve lost their Surface because it feels so light in their bag.
In terms of power and performance, our users tell us that there’s no noticeable difference between Surface and their previous laptop. Spec for spec, most are more powerful than our previous devices, so there is no trade off in power for portability. In fact, the Surface Book can be configured with an i7 processor, 16GB RAM and a dedicated GPU in the keyboard base to really beef up its performance.
Put simply, the Surface range looks great. The sleek and modern design incorporates an ultra slim keyboard (an extra we recommend for every Surface Pro), adjustable kickstand (on Pro models), plus a huge screen resolution that’s great for reading longer documents in tablet form.
- Multi-purpose capabilities
Rumour has it that the Surface Pro 3 and Surface Pro 4 also have the ability to carry up to 8 beverages at a time – which is surprisingly handy for coffee runs. Note: Data#3 in no way recommends carrying multiple hot beverages and testing your dexterity with your mobile device!
What you need to consider.
- Limited warranty
The Surface range comes with a one-year warranty as standard. Not bad, but less than we’ve come to expect from enterprise devices. At Data#3, we upgrade our device warranty to three years, and would recommend that you do the same.
- No built-in network card
This is something you need to consider particularly when managing larger fleets. When a machine is imaged using System Center Configuration Manager, the MAC address of the Ethernet adaptor attaches to the asset number. Without an inbuilt Network Interface Card, you need to purchase a USB adaptor or dock. That adaptor or dock then needs to stay with that device for any future re-image, and users need to avoid swapping them – and losing them. This isn’t a show-stopper, more just something to consider and manage.
- Additional peripherals
The Surface Pro will require additional peripherals if you want to use it as a full workstation. This is something you need to consider when pricing units as you will most likely need to add an adaptor for networking, display and the keyboard cover. However, the dock is really good for hot desks environments if you are standardising across your fleet.
Like to know more?
Data#3 specialises in Microsoft Devices and Deployment, and is recognised as Microsoft’s largest partner in Australia. We also won the worldwide award in this category in 2013, and were a finalist in 2014 and 2015. Speak to us today about how you can take advantage of Microsoft Surface devices in your workplace.