Friday, October 2, 2015

Thoughts on the Microsoft Surface Pro 3

This past summer, I was given a chance to visit CDW in Chicago. I was given a tour of their facility and talked about how their system of managing products for businesses can impact education. It was interesting to see how their shipping facility worked and how they were expanding to create better services for all of their customers. It was nice to hear how they were interested in making the process to buy and receiving tech for schools a much easier process. CDW has been a sponsor at MACUL events and their staff has always been helpful when I had questions. If you have not worked with CDW, you need to check them out and see how they can help you or your school.

It was an awesome trip that included a visit to Microsoft Office in downtown Chicago. I was able to see some new things and here about how Microsoft is becoming more flexible in the tech space and wants to work more with other types of software. This was refreshing to hear. I think it is something that can truly help Microsoft down the line in the educational world. As part of the visit, I was able to play with a Surface Pro 3 for the past month and I'm going to share what I think about with all of you.

I'm actually writing this post on the Surface Pro 3 right now. I'm using the new Edge browser and I'm running Microsoft 10. Blogger warns me that Edge is not supported and this moment and that there might be some issues. I've done a few posts using the Edge Browser and I have not encountered anything goofy yet.

The keyboard, which is an extra cost if you are buying a Surface, is very easy to use and snaps on wonderfully. It also folds back behind the screen if I want to carry it around and use it in tablet mode. I have found this wonderfully helpful in the classroom. I can be standing at the podium listening to class discussion and entering info into Google Classroom or the Google Doc and then quickly pick up and walk around to get a closer view of the students talking in their groups. This flexibility in the classroom is awesome. The Surface is not very heavy, so carrying it around is not cumbersome at all.

The battery was able to last all school day with heavy use. I was even able to throw on a movie from Netflix at the end of the day while I graded to see how long it would last. There was still 20 percent left after a full school day and 90 minutes of playing Netflix. I was able to charge it over night and it was ready to go in the morning. That is awesome!

I was able to download all of the things one would need for their computer without an issue. I downloaded Chrome so that I can access all of my school Google Apps. I can switch to Edge when I need to use my personal account. I could add another browser if I really wanted to. The downloads were fast and simple.

Another awesome feature for me was the stylus that comes with the Surface. I've never been a huge fan of using a stylus, but other web apps have made it very helpful. I use SMART amp with my students. It is an awesome application from SMART that integrates with Google Apps and allows me to work on a digital space with students in real time. Click the link for more info. The Surface is an awesome tool for working with students while on amp because it allows me the freedom to move away from the computer connected to the screen and SMART Board and access amp on the Surface. The stylus allows me the ability to draw and annotate anything I want as I walk around. Students can also access amp from their devices as well. This allows for a completely mobile environment where all students are connected and sharing. The Surface and the stylus make this possible with ease.

I'm a big Evernote user. I always have been. People have asked me about OneNote, but I've never used it. OneNote is built into the Stylus with a click of the top button. OneNote opens and you can start writing your notes or typing away. You can also capture directly from your screen and drop that into OneNote as well. If I wasn't so deep into my Evernote use for me and my students, I could see using OneNote regularly with the Surface.

The 12 inch screen is beautiful and I was able to watch Netflix without an issue. The picture is crisp and clean. No stray pixels to be found. It is a large screen that makes it feel like I am seeing everything I need without an issue. The touch screen is accurate and responsive without any lag. It makes the workflow seamless.

Cortana is nice to use, but I do not use it very much. It is tough to use in class with all of the students chatting. It is nice to tell it to open a specific app instead of trying to find it. It hears me clearly and rarely does it get confused or have trouble executing the task requested.

The Surface starts at $699 and the keyboard is an additional cost of $129. That might seem like a steep price, but you are getting a full computer that could replace your laptop easily. The tablet use is great and the Windows store has all the apps I need and use on my other tablets. The bigger screen is great and it is a wonderful mobile device. Microsoft is pushing the competition and I would recommend people to take a serious look at the Microsoft Surface Pro 3 if they are considering purchasing a new device for work or for home.

No comments:

Post a Comment

Please post your thoughts here. Thanks!