I've been using the Surface Pro 3 for a long while now and am thoroughly impressed with the "tablet that can replace your laptop." To be honest and up front, though, I've not journeyed with a laptop since receiving the first generation Surface Pro, so I'm already used to all the conveniences of lightweight travel. But, so are many consumers, which is why my story is a bit different. If you travel much, you can't sit at an airline gate without seeing iPads and Android tablets in almost every hand. Of course, they're watching movies, reading books, playing games, etc., which is different than my needs. I have real work to do, which is why the Microsoft Surface is so valuable to me. I can work and play on the same device.
And, then there's the business professional. You'll see them with their legs propped up on their carry-on luggage to keep from hunkering uncomfortably over a laptop. Once work is done, they'll snap shut their laptop lid and then pull a separate tablet out of their bag to do other, possibly, more personal stuff. After traveling with the Surface Pro for so long, this seems a bit ridiculous to me. But, sadly, not everyone has figured out my little secret. Or, probably more the case, they invested in whatever tablet of choice long ago, and are tied into whatever platform ecosystem.
The Surface Pro 3, is heads above Microsoft's original foray into the tablet world. It's bigger but lighter, and more powerful. And, the additional performance has me wondering if it can also be a "tablet that can replace your desktop." I've always considered that the proper direction of computing must follow the path of a single device that provides for everything – not just replacing a laptop, but replacing everything, and doing so adequately. In the early 2000's I owned and used a Gateway TabletPC, which was an early convertible laptop, and I did very much the same as I'm professing to try now. It worked, but wasn't ideal, primarily due to the size and weight of TabletPC and WiFi technology wasn't as advanced as it is today. And, I only had one additional monitor at the time. Today my job requires four monitors. So, this isn't the first time I've attempted something like this, and have my past experiences to rely on and compare to.
So, I'm off on a journey, and I'd very much like you to join me. This week, I'm investing the time and hardware to attempt to replace my desktop completely with the Surface Pro 3. I have the Surface Pro 3 docking station and miscellaneous video adapters ready to go. My goal is to mimic my desktop environment as much as possible, while also simplifying those areas where I feel my daily computing has become bloated. Based on my desires and requirements, here is what I expect my final configuration to be:
- Surface Pro 3, i7, 256GB
- Surface Pro 3 docking station
- 4 monitors (1 driven by the mini display port, 3 driven by USB 3.0)
- Wireless keyboard and mouse
- Skype/Lync USB Headset
- Surround sound computer stereo system
- Wired network
But, here's a shock: I don't expect to be successful. Huh? It's true. I want to be honest about it, and where problems exist, I don't want to be one of those people that find ways of justifying the decision just because it's my decision. I plan to go into this with open eyes and leave the pride of my choices out of it. I want to give it a good test and try to see how close we really are to my dream of one device for everything. I really, really hope to be surprised, though I'm fully expecting there to be issues. But, think about it. Many people balk at the price of the higher end Surface Pro 3 devices, so if this does work, and you can truly replace a laptop and a desktop with a single device, that price becomes much more manageable and appealing.
Can the Surface Pro 3 be the one device for everything? Can the device replace a desktop?
I'll let you know.