Surface Pro 4 – First Impressions

The Surface Pro 4 is an ideal companion for the mobile knowledge worker
At Triella, we have deployed about 50 Surface Pro 3 and 4 devices to law firms and non-law firm’s alike.  All deployments have been successful and the users love the devices.  I thought it was about time that I invested in a Surface Pro and gained firsthand experience with the device.
Triella offers Private Cloud Services to our clients – more and more, clients are seeing the benefits of the Cloud.   Last May, when we moved from King Street to Richmond Street, we decided to take our own advice and move our entire infrastructure into our Private Cloud – the same one that our clients use.  I say this because the nature of the Cloud is that I can use any device to connect to it so I didn’t think having an expensive Surface Pro would actually be of benefit.  It turns out I was wrong!
I picked up a Surface Pro 4 about a week ago and after initial use these are my early impressions.  The Surface Pro 4 I purchased was an i7 with 256GB storage and 8GB RAM.  The Surface itself is not that expensive relative to a laptop – at least on the surface!!  However, you need to add a lot of accessories to get it to where you want it.  I purchased the following accessories:
Surface Pro Keyboard:  There are two types of keyboards, one with a finger print reader for those who don’t like entering passwords and one without.  I got the one without.   The keyboard is where you can lend your personality.  It comes in black, blue, teal and purple.
Arc Mouse: The Arc Mouse is an accessory for those who do not like to use a trackpad.  It is a mouse that folds flat and is lightweight.  During use it forms into a curve for easy use.  I like the trackpad and don’t want another thing to carry so I did not get the Arc Mouse.
Display Adapters:  The Surface comes with a mini display port and a USB port as well as a headphone jack.   If you have to do a presentation, you’ll need to connect to a projector or a TV.  One uses a VGA port and the other HDMI.
HDMI Adapter: The HDMI adapter allows the Surface to connect to a TV.  This is good for places that have TVs as replacements for projectors however it may be a bit awkward to hook up the Surface to the TV and present – depending on how the office is set up.
VGA Adapter:  The VGA adapter allows the Surface to connect to a projector.
Wireless Display Adapter:  This is an adapter that can connect to an HDMI port AND USB port on the TV and then allow the Surface to wirelessly display on that TV.  This provides complete freedom to show the information on your Surface in a boardroom equipped with a TV.  Many firms that have purchased multiple Surfaces also use the Wireless Adapter so that any lawyer can present in a boardroom from their Surface.
I purchased one of each adapter, mainly to have the option to connect to anything.

Ethernet Adapter:   The Surface is too small to contain an Ethernet port.   If you need to connect via wire then you need this adapter.  I got one of these also.
Warranty:  When buying a Surface, there is a standard 2 year warranty for consumers and a 3 year warranty for businesses.  The warranty is recommended because it covers a broken screen – the most likely thing to happen to your Surface.
Carrying Case:  You need something to hold all of this.   I recommend a carrying case that can hold all the accessories and the Surface Pro with attached keyboard.
By the time you add everything together, you can be in the range of $2,000 m- $3,000 for the device depending on the memory, processor and storage space selected.  Remember that the Surface is not upgradable so purchase the power you want to live with for 3 years!

So is the Surface worth it?

In my opinion, yes!  What do I like?

  • The Surface boots up quickly – less than 15 seconds after pressing the power button
  • The keyboard can be separate from the main computer allowing the device to be used as a tablet, which is great for processing email, reviewing web sites and social media.
  • The device is touch screen with increased sensitivity making it easy to write on the screen, address objects on the screen and manipulate objects on screen easily.
  • It works well with Citrix – which is used on our Private Cloud.
  • It comes with a Pen that allows alternative selection and allows for the conversion of handwriting to text.
  • It weighs just over 2 lbs. making it easy to hold over a period of time when used in tablet mode.
  • Battery life is between 5 to 8 hours so you can go a whole day without charging.
  • It can be used as a laptop computer when the keyboard is attached.
  • If I am working in the office and need to go to a meeting, I can just shut the Surface and leave. When I get to site, I turn on the Surface, connect to Wi-Fi and then I am right back to where I left off in the office.  I can do this all week long without logging off – from home to office to client meetings.
  • I can also use the Surface in locations that I might not otherwise use a laptop – just because of its lightness and quick start up time.

The Surface replaces the need for an iPad, desktop computer and laptop.  It’s a great tool for mobility!  If deploying many Surfaces to your firm, there are special considerations for deployment.   Watch for our future article on Surface deployment.
Charles Bennett is the Principal Consultant of Triella, a technology consulting company specializing in providing technology assessments, consulting, maintenance services and CIO-related services to small and medium sized firms. Charles can be reached at or 647.426.1004. For additional articles, please visit Triella is a BlackBerry Alliance Partner and Authorized Worldox Reseller.
© 2016 by Triella Corp. All rights reserved. Reproduction with credit is permitted.

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