Review of the surface Pro 3 in conjunction with Citrix
I think I’ve hit mobility nirvana!
I was able to get my hands on a Surface Pro 3 with i7 processor and 256GB of memory for the weekend. The weekend started out as normal with me doing some work on Friday night and then catching a movie. Saturday morning I decided to check out the Surface Pro 3 working with Citrix for Remote access. Note that I have not yet used the Surface in the office as a desktop computer but will be trying that next week – so this blog is just about the remote experience.
I booted up the Surface – it starts quickly – ready to use in 15 seconds from a cold boot. The Windows 8 Start screen appears. I’m not a fan of Windows 8’s interface but I’ve been steadily getting used to it in preparation for the real upgrade to Windows 10. The system is very responsive. Pen sensitivity is the best I have seen in a tablet. The screen size of the device is great – a little smaller than you’d expect on a laptop but bigger than the average tablet.
Speaking of bigger, the Surface feels heavy. I felt I had to brace it against a part of my body when using it as a table. As a laptop with the attached keyboard, it was easy to use as long as you have a surface to place the unit on. The keyboard attaches magnetically – like an iPad cover. The keyboard lifts slightly at the back for a more ergonomic laptop-like feel.
From a full charge at 1:00pm I was able to work with the Surface until 10:00pm before getting a 10% battery notification notice. That’s 9 hours of solid battery life and then some!
I connected to Citrix and worked remotely on the Surface for most of the day. In the afternoon, my Internet went down due to a problem with Bell. I was able to plug in my Rogers rocket stick and pick up from where I left off. The Surface has a full sized USB port for this purpose. The important thing is that the reliability of the Citrix’s session allowed me to switch internet providers without losing any of my work. After the Internet was partially repaired, I left the Surface running and went down to my desktop downstairs for a larger screen experience. Again, the session running on the Surface transferred down to my desktop for a seamless experience.
Back to the Surface. It comes with some built in applications (programs) to aid in productivity including:
- News – A customizable news app that features stories from the Globe & Mail, the Toronto Star, CBC News, Metro, The Wall Street Journal, Reuters and DW
- Weather – A customizable weather application. This is really well done and has tons of features. Who knew you could get so much information in the weather?
- Fresh Paint – an artist’s canvass application for painting with oil or water colours – all simulated.
- Flipboard – a personal magazine of news and information presented in an unusual flip fashion.
- Money – News and information on the markets. Likely a topic of interest given the market conditions these days!
- Maps – Typical mapping functions
- Skype – video conferencing application
And a lot more. Plus additional apps can be downloaded from the Microsoft Store. One thing that is a bit annoying is that most apps want you to have a single Microsoft account to sign into when you use those apps. The Apps also want to store their data on OneDrive, Microsoft’s Cloud based storage. If you don’t want this, you need to be careful to deselect it when prompted.
So far though, I am impressed with the speed, screen quality and battery life of the Surface – and believe me, I’ve just scratched the Surface! (couldn’t resist).
We recently replaced all the laptops at a law firm with Surface tablets. The lawyers are ecstatic! Want to know more about Surface deployment and using Citrix for remote access? Contact us at 647.426.1004 for more information
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 firstname.lastname@example.org or 647.426.1004. For additional articles, please visit https://www.triella.com/publications. Triella is a BlackBerry Alliance Partner and Authorized Worldox Reseller.
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