My Favourite Mobile Productivity Device

Last week the subject of my post was Chromebook and why manufactures are not making better Chromebooks (processor, display and build quality). I am pleased that I finally got my hands on Acer’s new Chromebook 13 with a 1080p display and the new Tegra K1 CPU. While the Acer Chromebook 13 is hands down the best pure Chromebook I have ever used it got me thinking about the best all-round mobile computing device. In my opinion, this honor goes to the Microsoft Surface Pro 3.

In my business, I have the pleasure of testing out all kinds of devices. For a tech enthusiast like myself, I often find that I am the proverbial kid in a candy store. How can work be so much fun!?! This year, I have been on a mission to find the ultimate productivity device to get real work done while on the go and away from my office. I have tried everything from convertible Windows tablets, devices that fold up like a tent, Chromebooks, Macbooks, iPad and the relatively new 12.2 inch Samsung Pro tablet. None of these devices matched up to all of my criteria: light, portable, at least 11.9 inch screen, minimum 1080p resolution, under $1,000, stable OS with no quirks getting in the way of productivity (sorry Samsung) and an above average build quality.

About 4 weeks ago, my Surface Pro 3 arrived. I ordered the base model with a keyboard cover. For astute readers, yes this came very close my threshold of $1,000, and it was the most expensive of the devices that I’ve tested this year (Canadian pricing). Even with the base specs of an Intel Core i3 processor, 4GB ram and 64GB of storage, the Surface Pro 3 runs flawlessly for business productivity. No, I have not tried playing Call of Duty on it…yet. The build quality is flawless and the screen is absolutely gorgeous. Having owned the first 2 iterations of the Surface, I can say that with version 3, Microsoft nailed it. The keyboard cover is now much stiffer and the typing angle is perfect using the magnetic fold up feature. The fully adjustable stand allows me to tilt the device at any angle for optimum viewing and typing no matter if I am sitting at a desk, or on a train.

From a productivity perspective, I spend a lot of time in both the Google Apps for Work and Office 365 ecosystems. I mainly use Office in the cloud and Google’s cloud based equivalents. I am mostly connected to the Internet at all times. For those rare times when I am without an Internet connection, my Google apps are synced locally to my device, and they work great. In fact, when working the Google ecosystem, I use Chrome in “Windows 8 Mode”, and, in this mode, my Surface Pro 3 becomes the best overall Chromebook I’ve ever used. What an amazing device.

A couple of quick notes to this post. Firstly, while I review and use most of the top tech toys, I refuse to accept money or loaner equipment from any manufacturer. My views are not influenced in any way. Secondly, this article is not intended to be a full review. Rather, my post is just summary of my impressions.

As always, thank you for reading.

Paul Melnyk