a more decent keyboard is ncessary?

Discussion in 'Microsoft Surface Pro 3' started by unruledboy, Jun 11, 2014.

  1. unruledboy

    unruledboy Active Member

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    I am new to surface pro, I just pre-ordered one i5/256/8.

    I played with surface pro 2 at the store, comparing to sp3, it's kind of bulky, and the experience of type cover is far from ok.

    I am a developer, I type a lot, I am not sure the type cover for sp3 is improved so much that the user experience is ok enough to satisfy heavy duty day to day work.

    I am using thinkpad right now, I like the thinkpad keyboard.

    Anyone who types a lot that can give me some idea how do you feel about the type cover?
     
  2. DogmaHunter

    DogmaHunter New Member

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    I'm a software engineer and use a first generation surface pro as my main pc. Literally. I don't use any other computer anymore (unless when I'm at a customer as a consultant / contracter and have to use their hardware).


    I only use the type cover when I need to type up a few things quickly. It's okay for meetings, typing a mail, doing a bit of Word stuff etc. It's certainly not ok (imo) to use as primary input for a day of work. But to me that is a non-issue. For the simple reason that the small screen (even the larger screen of the Pro 3) is waaaaay too small for me to work a full day on. I'm one of those people who, while working, can't have enough screen real estate.

    So, what I do in my home office is plug in 2 cables: an HDMI cable that plugs into the displayport and a USB3 cable.
    The HDMI connects directly to a 27" multi-touch display. The USB3 does as well. The monitor hosts 3 more USB3 slots. One of those is connected to a dual video USB3 docking station, which connects to 2 additional displays.

    So my desk at the office has 3 monitors. All 3 light up after pluggin in 2 cables in my surface, giving me a setup of 4 monitors (the pro itself included), full keyb + mouse and 9 additional USB ports in total (on the main monitor as well as the docking).

    Reason for this setup is because the native docking station wouldn't be available in my country for several months. And I didn't feel like using a 1000 $ browser during that time, LOL.

    So to sum up, a surface pro as main computing device is MOST CERTAINLY okay. But it requires a docking setup to do serious work. The small screen and the type cover will not be upto the task. They are more then fine for quick note taking, editing some documents etc during meetings or to type up some mails or whatever.

    For the "real deal", a docking with full keyb, mouse and monitor is required.

    For the record: the fact that the first generation pro handles this setup of quadruple monitor so well and with such great performance, speaks volumes about the quality of these machines. Even after all this time (bought the pro on day 1 of availability), I'm still quite amazed at how smooth this works. Every time I plug in those 2 cables and see everything light up instantly while it transforms into a multi-monitor power house, a smile appears on my face, lol. It's really fun to work with.

    I've also never been a laptop person. Laptops annoy me. Trackpads especially. Even when I used to have a work-laptop, I'ld still dock it to have additional monitors and full keyb + mouse for doing my job. Actually working on a single (smallish) screen device without a mouse annoys the hell out of me.

    The surface pro is the perfect device for someone with my useage scenario's and preferences.
     
    Last edited: Jun 11, 2014
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  3. MickeyLittle

    MickeyLittle Active Member

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    I'm thinking about doing something similar only 2 monitors so do you recommend a good switch/port for this setup so that I can run the monitors, keyboard, mouse, a couple hard drives, and a printer?
     
  4. unruledboy

    unruledboy Active Member

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    @DogmaHunter

    You really rock!!!

    I am a seasoned software dev, I also have 3 24 inches monitors at work, so to boost dev performance LOL

    Talking about laptop, it is provided by the company, I personally prefer desktop because it normally has more horsepower. But laptop has portability.

    That's why I bought a kicka** desktop at home recently, with 24'' FHD.

    I am changing my job, it will take me about 2 and a half hours round trip, by train. So I figure a powerful laptop(ish) like ultrabook is needed, as I would like to make good use of those "dead" hours. And, during the weekends, I can sit at the backyard and do some dev while enjoying the view...

    I am so glad that surface pro 3 comes with a bigger and better screen, lighter and slimmer body, better performance.

    I have been observing surface pro for sometime, but just never really "use" it on a daiky basis, but I notice it has mini DisplayPort and full USB 3.0, supporting 2 external monitors is not a problem. I also bought USB splitter, USB to HDMI etc.

    Type cover is good to have, as I need to use it within that 2 and a half hours trip.

    And you are right, if we type a lot, we need the right keyboard, like those pricy mechanical ones (if I can offer...), either at work or at home.
     
  5. DogmaHunter

    DogmaHunter New Member

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    The docking I use is the USB3.0 Targus Dual Video Docking.
    It comes with gigabit ethernet, several USB3 and USB2 ports and, off course, dual video out. I'm pleased with it. Can't really say anything negative about it.

    However, if I would need to recommend a docking for the surface specifically, I'ld advice going with the actual surface docking. The video-out performance will no doubt be better with the native docking as opposed to a USB3 docking.

    While it certainly performs well enough for my use, it becomes apparant that the data for 2 monitors is being pushed over a USB cable when playing HD movies or games on those monitors. When switching the video app or game to the "main" monitor that is connected through HDMI, performance clearly goes up.

    I'ld imagine this won't be a problem with the native docking. The only reason I didn't went with the native one is because it wasn't yet available at the time. And I was impatient. lol
     
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  6. DogmaHunter

    DogmaHunter New Member

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    The pro 3 certainly looks to be an incredible machine with a beautifull screen. As I said, even the first generation was fully capable of replacing all my devices (barring phone, off course).

    But a laptop-killer? Not quite.
    There's nothing wrong with the hardware. In fact, the pro3 in terms of specs is quite a lot better then what you'ld find in most laptops at the store.
    The problem is that keyboard. While it can certainly function as a laptop... to truelly compete with other laptops, they need an additional keyboard accessory. The type-cover is fine for occasional and short-term use and it's great that it doubles as a protective cover.

    But I feel they need a 3rd variation thereof (next to type and touch-cover). I'll call it "hard cover". And I think everyone reading this already knows what I mean.

    This "hard cover" may not be "bendable".
    It's also not enough to merely magnetically "snap" to the surface. It needs to actually lock to it. To put it on your lap or desk while locked to the keyboard, it also shouldn't depend on that kick stand (not that I don't like that kick stand... I think it's great and use it all the time - with or without type cover). The "locking mechanism" of this "hard cover" should effectively turn the thing into what people expect when they hear the word "laptop". Which, btw, means that the hard cover should be heavier then the pc itself (for balance). The locking mechanism should, by itself, be able to hold the tablet in place in any angle the user wants - just like a regular laptop. I'ld also stuff an extra big additional battery in there to bump the total life to 12+ hours. Perhaps even some extra peripherals (USB, ethernet, HDMI-out, etc) much like what we find on the docking. In fact... This hard cover could be build using the very "technology" of the desktop docking. To put it really simplisticly: just expand that docking with a hard keyboard with extra batter built in.

    Then engineer the thing to make it more compact / sleek / elegant / whatever.

    People simply expect those kind of things from a laptop. A no-compromise hybrid should... make no compomises. :)
     
    Last edited: Jun 12, 2014
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  7. daniielrp

    daniielrp Active Member

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    Personally (due to lack of dock availability), I would find monitors that support the DisplayPort daisychaining so you can plug them both directly into the displayport out on the surface. I'd then have a separate USB 3 hub for peripherals

    Agreed, for a tablet - a Kickstand and snap on keyboard are great.
    For a laptop, something like the Asus or HP Envy's lock in and then work like a hinge solution would make more sense.
     
    Last edited: Jun 12, 2014
  8. N.G.

    N.G. Member

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    Should be able to take the internals of the power cover and make a "slot docker" out of it. They know how to do hinges now, so if they hinged the cover's connector, they could get multiple angles out of it (lack of multiple angles is the predominant complaint about slot docking keyboards). Or they could just stick the power cover in new plastic with a slot and start pushing them out the door, or outsource the whole problem to Logitech or someone.
     
  9. kevinlevrone

    kevinlevrone Active Member

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    If you are a developer (like me) you will shortly realize that the best thing they should have done to the Type Cover for SP3 was to separate the function keys from the editor keys (Home/End/PgDn/PgUp) and make the up/down arrow keys larger. Despite the fact that they had this opportunity given the larger area, they didn't do it and they just crammed a SP2 keyboard in the middle of a SP3 format. So the SP3 keyboard is as "bad" as the SP2 (I use a mouse anyway so I don't need a better touchpad).

    This being said, I use a SP2 with Type Cover 2 for heavy development work and it's great besides the flaws I have mentioned.
     
  10. jnjroach

    jnjroach Administrator Staff Member

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    Panos and team are uninterested in making a keyboard dock for the Surface, it doesn't support the design aesthetic of brand. They've even prototyped it and agreed it just doesn't work for the device. Other OEMs and Intel are pushing this paradigm and the Surface Team is willing to let them have it....So as long as Panos and Ralf are running the design you won't see a keyboard dock, and personally I applaud their decision.
     
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  11. unruledboy

    unruledboy Active Member

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    @DogmaHunter


    so true about the hard cover.... I saw the convertable books from Asus have decent keyboards, maybe surface is not yet popular, and 3rd party are not yet ready to contribute to the accessories markets.

    a professional keyboard will boost surface pro to really meet the "replace your laptop" dream.
     
  12. drolem

    drolem Active Member

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    It's fine for light duty work, but you can use any USB or BT keyboard your heart desire. Maybe even a PS/2 kb with the right adapter. ;)
    In the office I normally use it with a real mouse and keyboard (connected via a more or less mandatory USB hub; on the road -- it's type cover all the way.
    Thing is, even the touch cover is much better than the On Screen keyboard.
     

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