So, You Want a Microsoft Surface?

Sean Wallbridge
September 4, 2018

WHAT

Without a doubt, we are very happy with our Microsoft Surface devices at itgroove and believe for business, particularly in this Cloud first, mobile world, it is the best “desktop” for the job. However, for us, it isn’t about the Surface; it is about the Surface Dock (we have them everywhere in our office). With the Microsoft Surface, you should make sure you are getting the one for the way you work.

SO WHAT

So, you want a Microsoft Surface?

Good choice – make sure you get the Surface Dock. ? Now, which one?

Surface Studio

Not a laptop, but a sweet bit of machinery. Gorgeous but incredibly expensive, and quite frankly, overkill for most users.

Surface Go

Brand new, lots of marketing, aimed at trying to take on the Chromebook – great for someone that is 100% web based but otherwise, move on.

Surface Book

The sweetest looking device, most power in the portable surface class and a great stylus experience – but lots of dollars and how much “penning” are you going to do? I’ve had 2, both were beautiful but finicky – I’ve moved on.

Surface Pro

This is the one that started it all. I’ve had the Microsoft Surface RT, 1, 2, 3 and 4. They are great but using the keyboard on your lap is like trying to type while sitting in a canoe. I found I very rarely tore the keyboard off and used the pen. So the question is … will you?

Surface Laptop

I’m typing this on one now. I feel this is the “sweet spot” for most. I want a touch screen (sometimes), but I want a decent/firm keyboard and I don’t do much pen stuff at all.

If you are most eager to use the pen experience, by all means, get the Pro or Book. I prefer my iPad when I want that “touch” or “pencil” experience (I  have an iPhone, iPad and Surface Laptop). Phone is the pocket warrior, Surface Laptop is the work warrior and the iPad is the couch/meeting warrior.

Get the Dock

Why?

  1. You want to sit down and work – the dock is waiting on your desk. One single plug in, and now you are using a real keyboard, real mouse, and larger screen(s), with ethernet connectivity and sound. Boom, baby!
  2. You now have an AC Adapter available to just leave in your bag for when you travel (nothing to unplug, don’t go buying a dedicated second AC Adapter).
  3. Put the Surface Dock in every meeting space (such as boardrooms and privacy alcoves). When you have a meeting, one person plugs in their Surface and you are going in seconds. If someone else wants to present or needs a power up, they can plug theirs in. We have the Docks everywhere, including at home.
  4. Body health. This is a general statement, but I was reflecting at the chiropractor (after popping a rib and pinching a nerve) that I move so much more now. Because we have standing desks, wireless internet, and Surface Docks, we can pick up and work anywhere. Now, in a given day in our new office, I might stand at my desk for a bit, sit at my desk for a bit, wander into the kitchen and work for a bit, sit on the couch and work for a bit, and go into the boardroom and lean for a bit. Outside of the kitchen, the Surface Dock is waiting for me at every location (note to self: buy a Surface Dock for the kitchen).
Microsoft Surface Dock
Surface Dock

Don’t get it from us (or Costco)

Well, maybe Costco as I imagine they still have their ridiculously friendly return policy… I heard you could return a half eaten ham sandwich. ?

Why? Buy it direct from Microsoft (not Best Buy, etc).

  1. It’s the easiest way to get the “Microsoft Complete Care” warranty (think AppleCare – if you drop it and break it, you pay a small deductible and you get a new unit, up to 2 times). If you don’t buy it from Microsoft, you have to jump through all sorts of hoops to get it later. Best Buy offers their own plans, but last time I looked they were over twice as expensive as Microsoft’s.
  2. Microsoft has the device registered once you buy it, so you don’t have to go through that painful process.
  3. Windows Autopilot is coming. This is where you buy the Surface from Microsoft (and to be fair, there will also be laptops from Dell, Lenovo and others) and they ship it to your location. While it is on the way, the administrator has identified it as a company machine. When you take it out of the box, you simply sign into it and your settings are loaded on it for you – meaning you are in business in no time. Not here yet, but the concept of “rollouts” just went to the user’s desk or front door.

NOW WHAT

So, to wrap up.

  1. Consider the Surface Laptop over the Pro if you won’t be using the pen much or at all.
  2. If you don’t need the i7, get the i5. Be sure to get 8GB of RAM though and at least 256GB of local storage (ya, your content is in the cloud, but every cloud provider is trying to sync all that crap to your machine – 128GB ain’t gonna be enough dude).
  3. Get the Surface Dock for the office. Hell, get one for home too. Put one in the bathroom.
  4. Buy it from Microsoft. Usually, they have bundles where the Microsoft Surface, a Surface Dock and the Microsoft Complete Warranty are bundled together with a carrying bag. Sometimes the Dock isn’t included.
Microsoft Surface Laptop
Surface Laptop

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