I have used a Microsoft Surface Pro 3 work computer for almost more than a year now. My desk at the office have a docking station with a keyboard, mouse and headset with microphone connected. I also have two 24″ monitors connected in addition to the screen of the Surface. The docking station for the Surface Pro 3 only have 1 mini display port but a USB 3.0 graphics adapter was all I needed to set up the second monitor. My Surface is not joined to the domain and is treated as bring your own device.
Here are my experience with my Surface Pro 3 work computer.
Surface Pro 3 Work Computer – My setup.
The first thing I do at work (after I got my cup of coffee), is to log in to two different Citrix Desktops. The first Citrix desktop is a normal Atea desktop where I access all my company resources, and I place this on the first monitor. The second desktop is a management desktop where I access several customer environments and is where I do most of my work. The screen on my Surface Pro 3 work computer is used for Outlook, Skype for Business and a web browser. Microsoft Office 2016 is installed locally on my Surface Pro 3 through Office 365.
Windows 10 since the beginning.
The Surface Pro 3 came with Windows 8.1 installed but I reinstalled it with Windows 10 Technical Preview Build 10074 the same day. Why use old technology when you can have the newest? I suffered with driver problems the first 6 months, especially the driver for the graphics card was bad and it could crash 10+ times a day. Running two external monitors didn’t help the issue either. This was very annoying as it messed up my Citrix Desktops but a driver and firmware update around Christmas 2015 fixed that.
I’m still a Windows 10 Insider on the fast ring, currently using build 14342. Windows 10 is very stable on my Surface Pro 3 work computer, and it I can’t even remember the last time I had any issues relating to drivers. The worst issue I had was an insider preview build released to the fast ring that caused Citrix to stop working, and I could no longer connect to my work desktops. This could have crippled me, but it only took about 10 minutes to roll back to the previous build that I knew worked fine. I guess that is expected when you volunteer to beta test their products before they become stable.
Hardware and my perception of performance.
I have the version with Intel I7 CPU and 8GB ram. It is fast enough for all my daily work and I really don’t feel any difference from running my old Lenovo T540. I guess I don’t really need the strongest computer anymore when all I do is remote in to servers anyway.
The fan makes a lot of noise when it kicks in, which only happens when there is a huge load on the computer. Running 2 Citrix desktops, Outlook, Skype for Business and Edge is not enough to trigger that. But oh, did I mention I also run Hyper-V on my Surface Pro 3? I do, and the fan kicks in when I start a virtual machine to do some testing. My colleagues know when I fire up my virtual machine. But no worries, we have a lab environment at work that I can RDP to, and I also have VPN to my private lab at home.
One feature I really love about Surface Pro 3 and Windows 10 is Windows Update. Microsoft publish driver and firmware updates to it through Windows Update and it just works. No more googling for new driver updates.
Overall: I love my Surface Pro 3 work computer and I have never felt the need to go back to a laptop or a stationary computer. This thing is made for Windows 10, it really shines. And I don’t really use all the gimmicks, like drawing and writing with the Surface pen. If it wasn’t for the company policy to only replace computers every 3rd year I would already have a Surface Pro 4.
Also check out ArsTechnica’s review of the Surface Pro 3 for a second opinion.