Thoughts on my technology loadout for ASHP Midyear

By | December 12, 2014

As mentioned previously, I used ASHP Midyear to experiment with my technology loadout. My equipment consisted of a Yoga 2 Pro, a Surface Pro 3, and a Samsung Galaxy S5. Was it successful? Let’s find out.

First off, let me reiterate that Microsoft OneNote is awesome. The ability to take hand-written notes, insert photos, “print” documents into notebooks, link things together, sync across multiple devices, and so on is incredible. Such a valuable tool. Below is an example of what my OneNote data looks like on my laptop versus my smartphone. All notes were taken on the Surface Pro 3 and automatically synced across all my devices.

OneNotePC

OneNotePhone

  • Galaxy S5 – Performed perfectly. My days at Midyear were long, and I was concerned about the battery life on the S5. I knew the S5 had good battery life, but was I was concerned nonetheless. I put the S5 through its paces, i.e. used it for email, text, calls, web surfing, photos, some GPS navigation, and a small amount of video. It performed like a champ. I carried an external charger, but never had to use it. Some of the photos I took weren’t the best, but then again I find that all smartphone cameras have limitations. The advantage to using the S5 as my camera was obvious, I didn’t have to carry a separate camera. Overall I’d say the S5 did its job well.
  • Surface Pro 3 – What a great machine. I carried the SP3 with me everywhere I went. WiFi was available throughout the exhibit hall so I was able to do just about anything and everything I wanted. I took hand-written notes in OneNote, edited some documents, looked things up online, marked-up some PDFs, responded to some emails, etc. all while on the go. The pen experience was fantastic and the battery life was unbelievable. Seriously, I couldn’t believe how long the battery on the SP3 lasted. I put it through its paces and still managed to make it back to the hotel each night with better than 50% battery left, all while driving a 12.5-inch screen, a Core-i5 processor, and WiFi. I found that I almost never needed the keyboard during the day. The SP3 worked flawlessly as a pen-enabled tablet, which has me searching for a case that works well without the keyboard. So far, no luck finding one. One other really cool benefit of the SP3 turned out to be its ability to act as a “second screen” for my Yoga 2 Pro. Even though I had my OneNote notebooks synced across all my devices – Y2P, SP3, S5 – it was much easier for me to compose blog posts using the SP3 as an electronic notebook propped up next to the Y2P while writing. Very handy.
  • Yoga 2 Pro – Well, what can I say? I didn’t find a lot of use for my Y2P while I was in Anaheim. The SP3 was the workhorse over the three days I was there. I did pull the Y2P out a couple of times to compose a blog post. The keyboard on the Y2P is better than the SP3 keyboard, no doubt about it. And as I mentioned above, using the SP3 as second screen for my notes was quite useful.

Overall my loadout worked great. This was the first opportunity I had to use the SP3 in such a manner. Great machine overall. Can it replace my laptop? Yes, I believe it can definitely replace my laptop while traveling. However, I really enjoyed having the extra screen real estate while in the hotel room. I think I will continue to carry both machines for events like this. However, I believe I’ll be leaving the Y2P at home unless I find myself in a similar situation.

4 thoughts on “Thoughts on my technology loadout for ASHP Midyear

  1. Rob Fahrni

    Are there any third party keyboards for the Surface Pro 3 that would make it a better experience? If that’s the only problem you ran into you may actually be able to replace your laptop.

  2. Jerry Fahrni Post author

    The keyboard wasn’t really an issue. The Y2P had a better keyboard, that’s all. The SP3 has an “ok” keyboard, but not something that I’d like to use all the time. Not sure I’d like to carry a third party keyboard around. The SP3 keyboard works well with the tablet in terms of size and fit.

  3. Jim Longo

    Jerry – interesting writeup on your technology experience, I think a lot of people are attempting to critically evaluate the Surface Pro 3 as a laptop replacement.

  4. Jerry Fahrni Post author

    Agreed. I find many of the reviews of the Surface Pro 3 to be misguided attempts at trying to make it something it’s not. In my opinion, Microsoft has created the finest tablet on the market today….then they added a keyboard to give you an amazing tool. Can it replace a laptop? Absolutely. As I mentioned in my post, I could use the Surface Pro 3 alone while traveling, which to me equals laptop replacement. Remember when people were replacing their desktops with laptops, and everyone was asking “can a laptop replace a desktop”? The answer to that question was also yes, but with some caveats. Laptops didn’t have the same armament of ports, drive space (mostly), and so on. So what did people do? They started using docking stations for their laptops when they wanted to use it as a desktop. Not long after, most people were simply willing to live with the shortcomings of a laptop when compared to a desktop. I was like that. I rarely dock my laptop these days. I feel like the SP3 is in the same boat as the early laptop-replacing-desktop adopters. I hope Microsoft continues to develop the platform because I feel like they’re right on the edge of creating a real game changer.

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