It's been just over a week since I finally got my hands permanently on Microsoft's flagship tablet device - Surface Pro 3. I must admit, I have been even more pleasantly surprised than I expected to be, the first impressions of the device - sleek, thin, light and with a screen size finally befitting a tablet still hold true now.
The weapon of choice is the i5 variant with 4GB of RAM and 128GB of storage - resource intensive tasks are dealt with at ease, whilst battery life and consistent performance levels are far in excess of the laptop I have directly replaced. Whilst on the subject, laptop replacement is a very important point because Microsoft, with very little fanfare have released a tablet device befitting of being described as a "true laptop replacement" having been a previous user of a Surface Pro 2 and while the device performed admirably, I was never quite able to finally let go of my laptop and ended up using the device as a companion. For me, one of the most important factors of owning a tablet in the Enterprise is device consolidation - although a techy at heart and with a passion for playing with new devices, when I put my Enterprise IT Leader hat on, device consolidation is key, I want to be able to give my users the same levels of engagement and experience they currently have whilst saving a device or two along the way.
The Surface Pro 3 achieves this objective with ease. Working in the fast paced world of F1, international travel is an occupational hazard, and being able to work in multiple locations including planes, trains and automobiles comes as standard. As experienced first-hand last week, when travelling to Singapore to support the GP I took the plunge and the only device (excluding my Nokia Lumia 1520) I carried was my Surface Pro 3. I must admit, I did this with some trepidation, my normal carry bag would include laptop, companion Surface device and tablet device from that 'fruit vendor'. My trepidation was pointless, the Surface Pro 3 performed exquisitely, the new kick stand with "lap-ability" came in into its own when working in the cramped confines of the aeroplane. The new type cover with the latching motion, allowing slight elevation to the keyboard is a revelation when working for long periods of time and the 12" display is simply fantastic. When working in 'laptop' mode, the 30 odd % of additional screen real estate means working with large excel files is no longer a logistical challenge it once was with a Pro 2…. In terms of the new Surface Pen I haven't done enough with it yet to do it justice, but certainly the weight and feel make it easier to write legibly on the screen - all in all, the major changes from the Pro 2 from my perspective are defining and relevant upgrades.
It's fair to say, Microsoft have finally delivered the tablet we in the Enterprise have been waiting for, although their time in the Tablet market place has been relatively short and they have continually been playing catch up, Microsoft have now delivered a device ahead of its time. Consumerisation of IT in the Enterprise is over, a new dawn is on the horizon and Microsoft with Surface Pro 3 are creating a wave of Prosumerisation - something we as Enterprise IT Leaders will welcome with open arms!
Next steps for me will include a docking station for prolonged desk use in the office and a Wireless Display Adapter (when it finally becomes available in the UK, hint hint!) to make displaying in the boardroom and meeting facilities a pleasurable experience. When purchasing in bulk, I really hope Microsoft see sense and offer a bundled purchase option, including a Dock, additional power supply, Surface Pro type cover and Ethernet adapter.
Created with Microsoft OneNote 2013.
Michael Taylor, IT/IS Director, Lotus F1 Team.