My Surface Pro in its natural habitat......
So I've had my Surface Pro 3 now for a couple of months or so. We've had our ups and downs:
Ups: Reading magazines at full size (and weighing less than the printed copies). Running full fat Windows apps at blistering speed away from home on battery power. Snapping in and out of the dock with ease. Being very shiny and pleasing to own.
Downs: the time it refused to start up in front of a full class of first year students. And then later the same day hid my Bluetooth mouse and keyboard in front of a slightly smaller audience. Getting a horrible experience using Hyper-V (which you need to emulate but not write Windows Phone apps)
I think it is fair to say that I now love the device. If you're thinking of getting one, here are my tips for how to get to love yours too:
Don't enable Hyper-V (f you don't know what that is, skip to the next paragraph) I’ve turned off Hyper-V and don’t intend to turn it on again anytime soon. Hyper-V has broken pretty much every machine I’ve ever used, starting with my Samsung Slate whose usb drivers were just not able to handle it, going through my Sony Ultrabook and earlier Surface systems. If not having Hyper-V is a deal-breaker for you, then think hard before acquiring a Surface Pro 3. I now write Universal apps and debug them by deploying to the machine. That works without Hyper-V being enabled and if I want to debug on the phone I plug one in and deploy to that. Not sure if this is optimal for everyone, but it works for me. If you want to turn Hyper-V on and off there are a couple of batch files you can use here.
Shut down before you undock if you have hard disks connected to your docking station. I always shut my machine down before I undock it. To me this seems like common sense. If I corrupt one of my big USB drives I might have a data recovery job on my hands which I’d rather avoid. I’d use eject if I could be sure that I’d always do it. The machine boots from cold in under a minute or so and this doesn't seem to be costing me much time. If you don't plug your Surface into an external monitor while it is undocked and you haven't got any storage devices attached to your docking station it should be fine to use the dock as it is meant to be used, just snapping the tablet in and out as you go through your day.
Be patient when you hit the power switch. I’m working on acquiring more patience (if only I could get that in a hurry). I give the machine time to get going after I press the power button and I've turned off "Allow this device to wake the computer” for the Surface Type Cover in Device Manager. It’s so that I don’t open the cover, turning it on and then press the button and turn it off again.
A few years ago a machine like the Surface Pro 3 would have seemed like impossible magic. And now it is here and working for me. And I really like it.