Surface Pro finally coming to Australia!

pussycat_dollsMy Surface Pro gets quite a lot of attention wherever I go either because people have heard about them and are amazed to see it in real life or because they’ve never seen or heard about it and are amazed to see such a device. At the end of my explanation of what it is and how great it is – they always want to buy one.

While I was lucky enough to be in the US at the time they were released, many of my fellow Australians are not so lucky. Some have chosen to ship them via freight forwarding companies in the US to get around the shipping restrictions, others are now purchasing them from a number of grey import suppliers.

Today on the Surface blog Microsoft announced it is expanding the launch of the Surface Pro before the end of May.

I look forward to seeing more people out there with Surface Pro units being productive mobile workers, and loving Windows 8.

Surface Pro as my desktop

As mentioned in my previous blog post I have been using my Surface Pro as my exclusive desktop device & tablet for several weeks now.

In this post I’ll be explaining how the Surface Pro is being used as a desktop – to give you the understanding that I am not treating this device any differently from my previous notebook.

A list of the key software installed on my machine:
– Adobe Reader (because I don’t always want to view PDFs in full screen)
– ConnectWise Internet Client
– Fitbit Connect
– Google Chrome
– HP LaserJet printer manager & scanning software
– Microsoft Dynamics CRM 2011 for Outlook
– Microsoft Office Professional Plus 2013
– Microsoft Project Professional 2013
– Microsoft SQL Server 2008 Express
– Microsoft SQL Server 2012 Express
– Microsoft Visio Professional 2013
– Microsoft Visual Studio Premium 2012
– Mozilla Firefox
– Skype (desktop client)
– Windows Intune
– And a variety of other small applications

External devices:
– Dell 21″ monitor
– LG 21″ monitor
– Seagate 1TB external hard drive
– Microsoft wireless keyboard & mouse
– Microsoft LifeCam Studio camera
– Microsoft LifeChat heatset
– Fitbit USB dongle
– Plantronics Bluetooth dongle (for the headset)

The device that connects all the hardware together is the Targus ACP71 docking station which cost around $220 + shipping. The unit is amazing as it handles two external monitors, 4 USB 2.0 device ports and 2 USB 3.0 device ports. I plugged a USB hub into one of the USB 2.0 ports to save space. Unfortunately the USB 3.0 A-B cable supplied by Targus was too short for my particular desk setup so I had to spend another $10 to get a longer cable.

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(My home office.) 

When going out for meetings locally I only take the Surface Pro, the Touch keyboard and stylus.

When travelling I need a bit more and will also take:
– Power pack for Surface Pro
– Mini DisplayPort to HDMI converter
– HDMI to HDMI cable

I am currently looking for a small case to carry all this around, however one benefit I’ve found so far is that I don’t have to remove the Surface Pro from my bag when going through airport security.

From time to time I do hear the relatively quiet whirring of the tiny fan inside of the Surface Pro, but that is when I have a lot of applications open and running at the same time, but a recent disadvantage has been a heat wave in Melbourne which has resulted in less-than-ideal air temperatures inside my house.

Can I run virtual machines off it? Probably – but I’ve repurposed my old notebook to act as a portable virtual machine host for when I need to put on my IT Pro hat and do deep technical demonstrations with local resources. Otherwise I just access my lab environment remotely.

Three weeks in with the Surface Pro acting as my sole device (other than my phone) – no regrets.

Does the Surface Pro handle being used as a personal tablet, work tablet, and desktop machine? Perfectly.