- Behind the design: Meet Surface Laptop 3, Surface Pro 7, and Surface Pro XToday we revealed updates to the Surface device portfolio for the commercial channel, including Surface Laptop 3, Surface Pro 7, and Surface Pro X. If you’re a tech enthusiast seeking an inside look behind the design of these new devices with complete specifications, you’ll also want to watch our Microsoft Mechanics deep dive with Jochen Siegl, Senior Director on the Surface engineering team, to get the backstory and details of this newest round of Surface devices. With today’s announcements, we have added two new devices to the Surface portfolio. We now have a 15-inch display option for the new Surface Laptop 3. The Surface Pro X is a new ARM-based device with built-in LTE and next generation Surface Pen. We have also made major updates to Surface Laptop 3 with 13.5-inch display and Surface Pro 7. Shared innovation Each new Surface is designed with purposeful innovation across every detail. The fit and finish is a signature of the Surface lineup and with every generation we are balancing battery life, portability and comfort with premium design so that we can get you into your flow as fast as possible and have the tech just fade into the background. There are new color options for more personalization and new material options with both Alcantara and full metal keyboard covers offered on the Surface Laptop. Surface devices featuring Intel mobile processors share many updates, including: Quad core, 10th Gen Intel® Core™ i5 and i7 mobile processors on Surface Pro 7 and Surface Laptop device lines. Power efficient LP DDR 4x memory on our Intel devices with up to 16 GB RAM Surface Pro 7 and up to 32 GB RAM on Surface Laptop 3. Premium sound with our best-ever, dual Studio Microphone array that removes background noise and allows for crisp Teams calls and seamless dictation of voice commands. USB Type-C 3.1 is standard on all devices and replaces the mini display ports. These ports are now capable of driving two 4k monitors at 60Hz. Updated Windows Hello infrared cameras to optimize sign-on Read More
- Modernized updating for your Surface DockThe latest firmware for Surface Dock now runs automatically in the background and simplifies the process of keeping your Surface Dock up to date. For full details, refer to Microsoft Surface Dock Firmware Update. The tool comes packaged as a separate .MSI file in Surface Tools for IT. Simply download and install the tool on your Surface device to automatically update your Surface dock. And of course, the Windows Installer .MSI file can be deployed remotetly across multiple Surface devices. Download Surface Dock Firmware Update Requires Surface devices running at least Windows 10 version 1803 or later. It supersedes the earlier Surface Dock Updater tool, which has been retired, is no longer available for download, and should not be used. Surface Dock includes two high-definition video ports, a gigabit Ethernet port, four USB 3.0 ports, and an audio output, enabling users to transform their Surface device into a desktop PC. Read More
- Reducing IT complexity: Surface + Autopilot + M365Sometimes the best way to learn about cool deployment features is straight from the source. So if you missed the latest from Microsoft Mechanics, check out their take on newly added features in Windows Autopilot. Together with Autopilot and Microsoft 365, Surface devices reduce IT complexity and eliminate time-consuming corporate re-imaging by shipping and deploying straight to your users' hands. A great way to integrate Autopilot is to engage with a Cloud Solution Provider (CSP). To learn more, check out the Microsoft Docs Partner Center site. Read More
- Ensuring Wi-Fi connectivity for Surface devices across your networkHere’s a quick summary of Surface engineering recommendations for optimizing wireless connectivity. To stay connected with all-day battery life, Surface devices implement wireless connectivity settings that balance performance and power conservation. To ensure connectivity in demanding mobility scenarios or congested network environments, network admins should configure wireless protocols designed to facilitate roaming. At a minimum: 802.11r (fast transition) and 802.11k (neighbor reports). And if your mobile workforce uses Surface Go: 802.11v. To learn more, check out Fast Roaming with 802.11k, 802.11v, and 802.11r. Manage access points first An inability to connect to wireless resources is more often due to an access point issue, networking design flaw, or environmental site issue. So ensuring that your network is properly configured to provide users with the best wireless experience is the recommended approach versus attempting to manage user settings on individual devices. To learn more about configuring access points and user settings, see Optimizing wireless connectivity for Surface devices. Read More
- Exploring resources for Surface Hub 2SNow that Surface Hub 2S is publicly available, whether you're evaluating the product for the first time or preparing a deployment, numerous technical resources are available to assist you. You'll find the technical documentation on the Surface Hub portal hosted on Microsoft Docs. Be sure to check out these intro videos and the rest of the Surface Hub playlist. Read More
- Surface Hub proxy improvementsProxy server identification and registration in Surface Hub With the Windows 10 May 28, 2019 update (KB4499162), Surface Hubs now have improved logic, and the ability to save the FQDNs of proxy servers that are discovered as part of the regularly occurring network ping.Over the course of regular cleanups, Surface Hub will eventually store every single proxy server in the organization. Surface Hub proxy list via Intune Also with this update, we introduced a new CSP that allows IT Admins to configure a list of the FQDNs of every proxy server that the Hub can interact with. When this policy is enforced and proxy credentials are set to Device Account, the Device Account’s credentials will automatically be used against any Proxy server on the list. The credentials and proxy servers list will never be removed as part of the Surface Hub cleanup. As a result, if an IT Admin can enumerate all proxy servers FQDNs, there should be 0 prompts for passwords on the device. The OMA-URI for this setting is: ./Vendor/MSFT/SurfaceHub/Properties/ProxyServers Value type is: String Proxy servers should be represented in their FQDNs: ProxySRV1.corp.contoso.local, Not in host name only format (ProxySRV1)And should not include additional prefixes (https://ProxySRV1, http://ProxySrv2, etc.) Proxy servers should be semi-colon delimited: Proxy1.contoso.local;Proxy2.contoso.local;Proxy3.contoso.local;Proxy4.contoso.local Preferably, The Intune Device Configuration Profile should also contain the ./Vendor/MSFT/SurfaceHub/Properties/AllowAutoProxyAuth OMA-URI to ensure the Device Account credentials are being used: Read More
- Surface family May 2019 firmware and drivers updateWe released new firmware and drivers updates on May 16, 2019 for all Surface family devices, starting from Surface 3, to Surface Studio 2.These updates are available for all Surface devices running the Windows 10 May 2019 update, version 1903 or greater. Please note that firmware updates can’t be uninstalled or reverted to an earlier version. There are no firmware or drivers updates for Surface Go and Surface Go with LTE Advanced in this round. Surface 3 LTE - Outside of North America and Y!mobile in Japan Windows Update History Name Device Manager Name Marvell Semiconductor, Inc. – Bluetooth - 15.68.9127.58 Marvell AVASTAR Bluetooth Radio Adapter – Bluetooth 15.68.9127.58 improves system security. Marvell Semiconductor, Inc. – Net -15.68.9127.58 Marvell AVASTAR Wireless-AC Network Controller – Network adapters 15.68.9127.58 improves system security. Download the updates here. Surface 3 LTE - North America Carrier Unlocked Windows Update History Name Device Manager Name Marvell Semiconductor, Inc. – Bluetooth - 15.68.9127.58 Marvell AVASTAR Bluetooth Radio Adapter – Bluetooth 15.68.9127.58 improves system security. Marvell Semiconductor, Inc. – Net -15.68.9127.58 Marvell AVASTAR Wireless-AC Network Controller – Network adapters 15.68.9127.58 improves system security. Download the updates here. Surface 3 LTE - ATT Windows Update History Name Device Manager Name Marvell Semiconductor, Inc. – Bluetooth - 15.68.9127.58 Marvell AVASTAR Bluetooth Radio Adapter – Bluetooth 15.68.9127.58 improves system security. Marvell Semiconductor, Inc. – Net -15.68.9127.58 Marvell AVASTAR Wireless-AC Network Controller – Network adapters 15.68.9127.58 improves system security. Download the updates here. Surface 3 Wi-Fi Windows Update History Name Device Manager Name Marvell Semiconductor, Inc. – Bluetooth - 15.68.9127.58 Marvell AVASTAR Bluetooth Radio Adapter – Bluetooth 15.68.9127.58 improves system security. Marvell Semiconductor, Inc. – Net -15.68.9127.58 Marvell AVASTAR Wireless-AC Network Controller – Network adapters 15.68.9127.58 improves system security. Download the updates here. Read More
- Behind the design: Surface Hub 2SIf you are following the day’s announcements, you’ll have noticed that in New York today we revealed the first device in the Surface Hub 2 family, the Surface Hub 2S. The Surface Hub 2S is an all-in-one collaboration device that’s built for teamwork – delivering a digital meetings platform, whiteboard, and Windows 10 computing experience, all within one device. If you are a tech enthusiast interested in going behind the design, you’ll also want to check out our Microsoft Mechanics deep dive, with Dave Kearney, senior director on the Surface engineering team, to get the backstory behind this latest addition to the Surface family. As Dave explains, a core design principal for the Surface Hub 2S is its light and mobile form factor that allows you to turn any space into a teamwork space. This combined with the custom engineering that went into optimizing for ink and touch as well as for both in-person and remote participant meeting experiences, helps set Surface Hub 2S apart in its category. Also, the modularity of its design, makes Surface Hub 2S more serviceable and updateable than previous versions. One note here, Surface Hub 2S has not yet been authorized under U.S. Federal Communications Commission (FCC) rules; actual sale and delivery is contingent on compliance with applicable FCC requirements. Untethered mobility The ease by which you can shift the Surface Hub 2S from space to space was a top priority for us during development. We set out to ensure that the device was not only mobile but could be untethered from the traditional conference room. To achieve this, first we partnered with Steelcase to create an optional Steelcase Roam Mobile Stand that allowed for fluid movement when moving Surface Hub 2S from space to space while also ensuring that you can get up close to the device obstruction free. Second, as AC power outlets aren’t always located where your team needs to do their work, we partnered with APC by Schneider Electric to build the lithium-ion APC Charge Mobile Battery for Surface Hub 2 Read More
- Updates to the Microsoft Teams app on Surface HubThe Microsoft Teams group announced the latest update to the Microsoft Teams app for Surface Hub recently on their blog. This update introduces new Teams features, brings back old Surface Hub features, and provides additional stability and fixes to the app. Microsoft Whiteboard Integration A feature that was recently introduced to Teams in preview allows integrated whiteboarding directly from the Teams app on any Windows PC. This feature introduces the option to start a whiteboard co-authoring session with enyone that's in the meeting. There's no need to copy and paste URLs into a chat window or even invite users to the whiteboard session. The moment one user shares their whiteboard from the Microsoft Teams app, all users will automatically see the whiteboard in Microsoft Teams and everyone can work together. This isn't screen sharing. This is real-time, productive collaboration. Whiteboard collaboration in the Teams app is not available in point-to-point Teams calls.It's only available if you're in a scheduled meeting or if the meeting has 3 or more participants From a Windows 10 Teams client the user will see a canvas and 4 pens on the right side on the screen: You can also open the canvas in the Microsoft Whiteboard app: On Surface Hub, however, the experience is even better. When anyone in the meeting initiates Whiteboard sharing, you'll be prompted to sign in to the app (if you haven't signed in before). Signing in ensures that the whiteboard data is saved under your personal whiteboard and that you can continue to work on this canvas from any Windows 10 device. Once signed in to the whiteboard app, you can co-author with your teammates from Surface Hub: Auto Camera switching The feature that was previously available only in the Skype for Business app on Surface Hub is now available in the Microsoft Teams app. Note that by default, auto camera switching is not enabled, which means you'll have to enter the Teams' app settings and set it to auto (configuration persists once set). Read More
- Surface Pro 6 Drivers and Firmware (Initial Release)First published on TECHNET on Dec 24, 2018 On November 8th we made available the initial release of drivers and firmware for Surface Pro 6 from the Microsoft Download Center. Visit https://www.microsoft.com/en-us/download/details.aspx?id=57514 to download the MSI file: SurfacePro6_Win10_17134_1808507_3.msi Note: Surface Pro 6 released with the Windows 10 April 2018 Update, version 1803. This version is noted by the minimum build number in the driver and firmware pack file name, Build 17134. This build number indicates the minimum supported build required to install the drivers and firmware contained within the file. To install this driver and firmware pack, you must have Windows 10 Version 1803 or greater installed on your Surface Pro 6 To extract the individual driver files from the MSI file, for example to prepare for deployment of Surface Studio devices with the Microsoft Deployment Toolkit (MDT) or System Center Configuration Manager, you can use the following msiexec command (where C:SurfacePro6Drivers is the destination folder for the extracted files): msiexec /a SurfacePro6_Win10_17134_1808507_3.msi targetdir=C:SurfacePro6Drivers /qn Note: When extracting driver files from the MSI, the destination folder (targetdir) must be different than the folder containing the MSI file. Once the files have been successfully extracted, you can find driver and firmware files under the folder SurfacePlatformInstaller, found in the destination folder. For example, using this command, you would find the Surface Pro 6 driver files in the following folder: C: SurfacePro6DriversSurfacePlatformInstaller The following drivers are available in this download: Windows 10 HID PCI Minidriver for ISS (v22.214.171.12427) Intel(R) AVStream Camera 2500 (v30.15063.6.6082) Intel(R) Control Logic (v30.15063.6.6082) Intel(R) CSI2 Host Controller (v30.15063.6.6082) Intel(R) Display Audio (v10.25.0.10) Intel(R) Dynamic Platform and Thermal Framework Power Participant (v8.4.11000.6436) Intel(R) Dynamic Platform and Thermal Framework Processor Participant (v8.4.11000.6436) Intel(R) Host Bridge/DRAM Registers – 5914 (v10.1.10.2) Intel(R) iCLS Client (v126.96.36.199) Intel(R) Imaging Signal Processor 2500 (v30.15063.6.6082) Intel(R) Integrated Sensor Solution (v188.8.131.5227) Intel(R) Management Engine Interface (v18184.108.40.2061) Intel(R) Precise Touch Device (v220.127.116.11) Intel(R) Serial IO GPIO Host Controller - INT344B (v30.100.1823.1) Read More
- New Office 365 licensing options for Surface HubA new Microsoft Teams Meeting Room License is now available on Office 365.For Surface Hub owners, this new license is great news -- it joins other Office 365 licensing options to help maximize your productivity and improve your meeting experience. The new license is called ‘Meeting Room’ (SKU Part Number: MEETING_ROOM) under the SKU code: 6070a4c8-34c6-4937-8dfb-39bbc6397a60. The complete bundle includes the following services: SKYPE FOR BUSINESS ONLINE (PLAN 2) MCOSTANDARD MCOSTANDARD (0feaeb32-d00e-4d66-bd5a-43b5b83db82c) SKYPE FOR BUSINESS CLOUD PBX MCOEV MCOEV (4828c8ec-dc2e-4779-b502-87ac9ce28ab7) MICROSOFT TEAMS TEAMS1 TEAMS1 (57ff2da0-773e-42df-b2af-ffb7a2317929) INTUNE INTUNE_A INTUNE_A (c1ec4a95-1f05-45b3-a911-aa3fa01094f5) AUDIO CONFERENCING MCOMEETADV MCOMEETADV (3e26ee1f-8a5f-4d52-aee2-b81ce45c8f40) When you purchase the new Meeting Room license, you will immediately have access to the full Teams bundle features and the ability to turn them on or off, as shown below: This new SKU will allow existing Surface Hub customers to begin migrating to a modern platform, making the upcoming transition to Surface Hub 2S even more seamless: No Exchange Online license is required for Meeting Room Mailbox. Customers can run both Skype for Business and/or Teams with the full conferencing feature. Customers can utilize Surface Hub’s preferred management tool with Microsoft Intune. The transition to the new Meeting Room license is easy and immediate – no downtime or heavy PowerShell-lifting required. Customers that have already assigned other Office 365 licenses to a Surface Hub can now switch to this licesnse -- without losing any functionality. If you’re creating a new Surface Hub account, this license greatly simplifies the set-up process. After creating the Exchange Online Resource Mailbox, you no longer need to run the Enable-CsMeetingRoom cmdlet from Skype for Business Online Management Shell. Assigning this license to the account (via Azure AD PowerShell or Office 365 Management Portal) automatically enables the account for Skype for Business Online and/or Microsoft Teams. Remember that if you’re using Skype for Business as your preferred Communications app, running Enable-CsMeetingRoom has Read More
- Introducing the Battery Limit feature for Surface devicesFirst published on TECHNET on Oct 09, 2018 We know that Surface devices provide great mobility experiences and fantastic battery life to power those experiences, even eliminating the need to carry around a charger for our latest devices with all-day battery life. We also know that not everyone uses our devices in this way. Some Surfaces are used in kiosk solutions, some are integrated into other devices, and some are just connected to docks all day long. In these scenarios, charging the battery constantly, even with the algorithmic approach we take to battery charging, can be detrimental to the device’s ability to hold a charge over the lifespan of the battery. The new Battery Limit feature of Surface devices from Surface Pro 3 forward addresses these situations by providing a UEFI setting that instructs the battery controller to limit total charge to a maximum 50%. Enabling the setting preserves the battery’s ability to take and hold a charge while it’s connected to external power for an extended period of time and is recommended for Surface devices integrated into solutions like kiosks, consoles, and other scenarios where they are constantly connected to an external power supply. This feature is being rolled out to devices via Firmware update. As of 10/9 Surface Pro 3 and Surface Pro 4 support this new feature after the associated firmware updates. For more information see Updates for Surface Pro 3 and Surface Pro 4 (10 September 2018) . For information on which firmware update is required and when other models will support this feature please see the KB article: KB4464941 . For full documentation of this feature see Battery Limit settings in the Surface Docs Library. Read More
- eSIM: Full manageability for mobile data on PCFor frontline workers struggling with potentially insecure Wi-Fi hotspots, the convenience and security of always connected LTE are compelling. But perhaps less immediately obvious are the benefits of embedded SIM (eSIM) in LTE devices, not only for large enterprise customers but for smaller and medium-sized business too. eSIM provides the same experience as a physical SIM card — such as access point and IMEI numbers to connect and validate your device — but without the compromises of a standalone card. When you hand out physical SIM cards to employees, you essentially give up control over how the data gets used. You can't tell whether they’re used in devices provisioned by the enterprise, gifted to a family member, or simply sold to the highest bidder. eSIM in Surface Pro LTE Embedded SIM, where the SIM component is built into a chip on the motherboard, enables IT cost centers to fully manage mobile data usage for the first time. Managing eSIM devices in the Enterprise Many enterprise customers are already using System Center Configuration Manager for desktop and a mobile device management solution (MDM) for mobile phones. Now with remote eSIM provisioning, IT admins and procurement managers can manage all their corporate devices and data subscriptions directly from familiar MDM tools like Intune. Intune replaces physical SIM cards with metadata — typically contained in a CSV file — that then can be distributed to target users or used to manage profiles customized for a specific geographic region or functional role. For detailed guidance, see Enable eSIM data connections in Microsoft Intune - Azure. Surface Pro LTE incentivizes foundational ecosystem The overall industry ecosystem that enables remote eSIM provisioning has only recently become available. Just two years ago, eSIM was still nascent technology in consumer minds. Then came the launch of Surface Pro LTE, leading the engineering development to introduce integrated eSIM in the Windows ecosystem. Since then, investments by operators, infrastructure, silicon and product companies have converged to make eSIM fully viable. As the market evolves further with 5G, unlicensed spectrum, carrier aggregation and other innovations, Surface Read More
- Set the Microsoft Whiteboard app on Surface HubFirst published on TECHNET on Oct 26, 2018 Microsoft Whiteboard can now replace the existing whiteboard (Microsoft Whiteboard 2016) on your Surface Hubs, enabling new and advanced capabilities. The existing Microsoft Whiteboard 2016 app for Surface Hub allowed co-authoring between two Surface Hubs when uses were signed in to the Whiteboard. The new Microsoft Whiteboard app is available on any Windows 10 device (and other platforms in preview) and allows all participants to co-author simultaneously. It also saves your history of whiteboards and allows you to add or remove participants on the fly. A Web sharing link is also available. On Surface Hub, you can use the two whiteboards side by side if you wish; This means you’ll be able to choose which whiteboard you want to use based on your needs. Currently, the existing Microsoft Whiteboard 2016 is the default one, and will launch when starting a Skype for Business or Microsoft Teams call or when launching the Whiteboard app from the Start Menu or the Lock Screen tiles. After installing the new Microsoft Whiteboard, you’ll need to manually open your desired whiteboard app after clipping the screen on the Surface Hub and paste the content you clipped. With the recent Surface Hub update, you now have the option to remove the original Microsoft Whiteboard 2016 app and set the new Microsoft Whiteboard app as the default whiteboard for Surface Hub. Prior to configuring your Surface Hub, please make sure you installed the October 2018 update for Surface Hub ( KB4462939 ) and that your Surface Hub OS version is 10.0.15063.1418 to allow for the successful replacement of the whiteboards. Use Microsoft Intune to replace the whiteboards Leverage the power of Intune to remotely add, remove and set the default whiteboard for Surface Hub. Follow this article to set Intune and the Microsoft Store for Business to push apps. Next, make sure you acquire offline copies of both apps: Microsoft Whiteboard 2016 in the Microsoft Store for Business Microsoft Whiteboard Read More
- Updates for Surface Studio (30 Aug 2018)First published on TECHNET on Sep 21, 2018 On August 30th we released updates for Surface Studio devices running Windows 10 Fall Creators Update version 1709 or greater to Windows Update. On September 12 th this update was made available in MSI format on the Microsoft Download Center from the following links: Click Download to download the following files from the Surface Studio Drivers and Firmware page at the Microsoft Download Center: Windows 10 Fall Creators Update Version 1709: SurfaceStudio_Win10_16299_1802406_4.msi Windows 10 April 2018 Update: SurfaceStudio_Win10_17134_1802406_4.msi These updates improve system security and stability, as well as graphics, Pen, and Cortana performance. For your convenience, the updated components and the improvements they provide: Surface Studio Marvell AVASTAR Bluetooth Radio Adapter v15.68.9125.57 improves system security. NVIDIA GeForce GTX 965M v18.104.22.16827 improves system stability. NVIDIA GeForce GTX 980M v22.214.171.12427 improves system stability. Surface UEFI v18.2311.769.0 improves wake from sleep and speech recognition. Microsoft LifeCam Front v5.20.1034.2 improves system stability. Surface Display v126.96.36.199 improves system stability. Marvell AVASTAR Wireless-AC Network Controller v15.68.9125.57 improves system security. Surface Pen Settings v23.607.139.0 improves Pen performance. NVIDIA High Definition Audio v188.8.131.52 improves system stability. Realtek High Definition Audio (SST) v184.108.40.20642 improves Cortana Wake on Voice feature. Realtek I2S Amp Device v10.0.10586.17 improves system stability. Detection Verification v220.127.116.11 improves system stability and Cortana performance. Intel(R) Smart Sound Technology (Intel(R) SST) Audio Controller v18.104.22.16847 improves system stability and Cortana performance. Intel(R) Smart Sound Technology (Intel(R) SST) OED v22.214.171.12447 improves system stability and Cortana performance. Surface Integration v1.0.456.0 improves system stability. Read More
There’s a whole lot of Creatives in the Microsoft Surface Answers Forum complaining that after installing Cumulative Update KB4089848 that the pen drags the canvas around instead of drawing. Uninstalling the KB fixes this (and this is the first I’ve seen that functionality changed dramatically after installing a Cumulative update, but you never never know. And now there may be a “fix” to return to “legacy” behavior.
Microsoft has published current pricing (in US Dollars) for those needing an out of warranty exchange for Surface devices (refurbished devices with a 90 day warranty). Until the end of March, the cost to replace a Surface Pro 3 was $450.00. It’s now jumped to $599.00. This is upsetting customers afflicted by the fallout from Batterygate and other issues. That’s a lot of money for this device and you definitely can do better looking elsewhere if you want to replace your sick SP3 with another SP3.
Microsoft’s latest addition to the Surface Pro family is the Surface Pro LTE. If you are a road warrior, this is THE Surface SKU to get. While it may not be an “always connected PC” (ACPC) officially, it sure seems so to me. It’s being offered to Business customers only, in the Microsoft Store online, and through partners. Note that if you aren’t a business, you will have to jump through some hoops to register to your personal Microsoft Account, but this can be done.
Microsoft offers downloadable recovery images for all their Surface SKU’s, and while the Surface Pro LTE has been in sale and shipping since early December, it isn’t listed in the dropdown to register a new device (as of 1/25/2018):
You actually can download the BMR recovery image today, using a strange work around.
1. Don’t try to Select a Surface product
2. Type in the Serial number for you Surface Pro LTE. You can’t paste it in, for some reason that does not work.
3. Select Download recovery image
Currently, you will see it appear to offer Surface Pro M1796 which is NOT the Pro LTE. Take the leap of faith and ignore this. You will see that the file that downloads is, in fact, the Pro LTE recovery image.
4. Select Continue
I’ve been bugging Microsoft daily on getting the web site fixed so that this isn’t such a crazy undertaking. You’d think it would be easy to fix, but I guess not..
(And yes, you CAN and should create a recovery image from the bits already on your Surface Pro LTE but if disaster strikes and that image is corrupt and you need one, you can get it from Microsoft).
I thought it was time to start a separate blog all about Microsoft Surface. Even though I’ve had quirks with my SP3, I’m passionate about the product and the newest 2017 Surface Pro so far is a dream machine.
I really loved my Surface Pro 3 (purchased June 2014), but earlier this year, it became useless as a portable with a non functional battery. If I hadn’t encountered the (well known) battery issues, I would still be happily using my SP3. But being chained to AC outlets isn’t my idea of portability. I was hoping that Microsoft would offer a special trade in allowance for SP3 owners in light of the well publicized battery issues afflicting this model, but alas, it didn’t happen. Nevertheless, I decided to spend the money and splurge on the new Surface Pro, i7, 512/16 configuration. The form factor is perfect for me and the extreme portability (bad back) just can’t be equaled elsewhere.
Clearly there are speed increases moving from an older i5 processor to the latest Kaby Lake i7 and moving from 8GB to 16GB RAM (and I have to assume that the new 512GB SSD is faster than the old 256GB SSD) and then there’s the eye popping display. Wow.
Benchmarks may be meaningful to some (and I noted that some of the technical reviewers included them) but for me, real world use with the apps and programs *I* use are what is important. I’m not a gamer (and I’ve heard that gaming is much better on the newer Surface than every before). I’m an advanced user/creative (photography) and I care about things like Lightroom, Capture One, Photoshop, etc.
The new Surface Pro also has a neat feature for creatives: a dual color space where you can select sRGB or Enhanced.
So why is sRGB/Enhanced important? If you are a photographer producing for print using a commercial print house, you want as accurate a color space as possible, and sRGB is the way to go. Enhanced is great for watching movies, videos, and just general computing; colors pop and seem vibrant, almost three dimensional. It’s pretty difficult to show the differences in the two color spaces on the web, but I decided that showing thumbnails side by side of sRGB vs Enhanced might illustrate the difference. Using Lightroom 6, I switched color spaces and took a screen shot the two thumbnail images below in File Explorer (making no changes in Lightroom). I’m not sure how this will appear on the web in various browsers/platforms, etc., but hope that the difference is discernible. With the “hot” color the subject is wearing, the sRGB would make a better print (in my opinion).
I’ve found the new Surface Pen to be more responsive (seemingly no lag at all) on my new Surface. I have an older version of Photoshop (CS5) which does not have native Surface Pen support. Microsoft didn’t post the needed Wintab drivers on the specific download page for the new Surface Pro, but I downloaded and installed the 64 bit version (Wintab_x64_126.96.36.199.zip) from the SP4 download site and this works just fine. I’ve asked an internal contact about why this is missing from the new Surface Pro downloads. I believe Microsoft thinks everyone has upgraded to the latest version of Photoshop that natively supports the Surface Pen, but I know other creatives who use CS5 and don’t plan to upgrade.
Everything seems zippier on my new Surface Pro. It’s a real pleasure to use and I’m glad I made the purchase. I’ve had a fair number of “portables” over a 28 year period. I’ve captured most (but not all) of this history as I didn’t include the first Surface Pro that I bought in 2013 (or the Macbook Air I bought in 2011) in my trip down memory lane.:
Some reviewers have been complaining that the new Surface Pro isn’t bleeding edge and lacks things like USB-C, etc. and that it is only incremental. In my mind, incremental is good. Reminds me of the years that I bought ThinkPad’s where there really weren’t any huge leaps in technology, but there was stability. I’m fine without USB-C. The USB 3.0 port and an external card reader allow me to import images from my camera’s SDXC card and I’m ok with the need for an external card reader.
I’m not sure that the new 2017 Surface Pro is a meaningful upgrade for Surface Pro 4 owners, but if you have a SP3 or earlier, and you have the money, in my opinion, it’s definitely an upgrade to consider. I’m very happy with my purchase.