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Mobile PC Wiki is about Microsoft Surface and other Microsoft Mobile Technologies

Supporting You with Your Mobile PC Technologies

This is a place where you can find, add, and edit knowledge about your Mobile PC Technologies. The main focus is on Microsoft Surface and other portable devices running Windows.

Recent Articles

Surface Book to 4K Monitor

With 4K TVs coming down in price I was curious to see if I could use a 4K TV as a monitor with my Surface Book.

Screen shot of my 4K desktop on my Surface Book

For this discussion I’m using the UHD-1 definition 4K is 3840 x 2160 pixels That’s the equivalent of four 1920 x 1080 monitors.

Why would anyone want to do this? Well in my case it was because I was already running four 24” monitors with 1920 x 1080 pixel resolution. When I came across a great deal on a 48 inch 4K TV it held the promise to get the equivalent of my four monitors all on one screen.

I had already shopped around and tried a couple of those 21:9 monitors. These are 3440 x 1440 and there are several of these 34” monitors.. The result was less than I wanted because there wasn’t enough screen real estate to replace my four monitors. (3440 x 1440 vs. 3840 x 2160)

I had already tried several 4K monitors and found that the Surface Book could run with fine in Duplicate mode (3000 x 2000) on both the Surface Book and the external monitor, but in Extend Mode, I couldn’t get the external monitor to run 3840 x 2160. I have since found out that not all mini-display port to HDMI adapters are equal.

In my hunt to find just the right combination I found a retail store that was willing to let me try different 4K TVs who happened to have a mini-display port to HDMI adapter that worked. I got a 48” curved screen TV. Got it back to my place and it wouldn’t run at full resolution. The difference – I wasn’t using the same mini-display port to HDMI adapter, so I went back to the store to get one of theirs. And it all worked.

This is the TV that I got. This is information NOT a recommendation. It’s too soon for that.

Samsung UN48JU6700 Curved 48-Inch 4K Ultra HD Smart LED TV

Surface Dock vs 4K Display

To get the full context of this note you’ll need to read Surface Book and a 4K Monitor.

First, I really wanted this to work because I like the Surface Dock. It’s a thoughtfully designed device and unlike its predecessors, it’s not tied to a specific Surface Model. If you’ve got a Surface Pro 3 or later or a Surface Book. this could serve you very well.


Unfortunately I could not get it to work with my 4K TV/Monitor.

It worked fine to duplicate the Surface Book display giving me 3000 x 2000 resolution. But if I wanted to extend my desktop to the external monitor, it would not offer me the full 4k option 3840 x 2160. It also worked in extend the desktop mode if I was willing to use the external display at 1920 x 1080. But I was getting the full 3840 x 2160 experience with a direct connection to the monitor and I’m unwilling to give that up.

The Surface Dock connector goes into the Surface Book power port, but it covers access to the mini-display port adapter port so I can’t connect the Surface Dock and run a monitor directly from the Surface Book.

I really wanted to keep it and if I had been able to connect the monitor directly to the Surface Book at the same time, I would have.

Surface Tools

Microsoft has provided Surface tools.

This download location stores all the right tools you need as a IT Professional when you want to deploy, manage and secure a Surface device in your organization.

Surface Tools Download

Surface Tools download

See also: Microsoft Surface Data Eraser

Find out how the Microsoft Surface Data Eraser tool can help you securely wipe data from your Surface devices.
Microsoft Surface Data Eraser is a tool that boots from a USB stick and allows you to perform a secure wipe of all data from a compatible Surface device. A Microsoft Surface Data Eraser USB stick requires only the ability to boot from USB. The USB tool is easy to create by using the provided wizard, the Microsoft Surface Data Eraser Wrapper, and is easy to use with a simple graphic interface, no command line needed. To learn more about the data wiping capabilities and practices Microsoft uses during the service process for Surface, see Protecting your data if you send your Surface in for service.

You can see a video of these tools being used here: NIC 5th Anniversary - Surface Pro and Book Explained

Microsoft Surface 3 Hands On

I finally got my hands on a Surface 3. Here it is (red keyboard) beside my Surface Pro 3 (black keyboard) at the Microsoft Store.


Keyboard and Typing Experience

You’ll notice that the actual keys on the keyboard appear to be the same size.  The difference in width is in the border on the sides of the keys. That border is much slimmer on the Surface 3 keyboard. The Trackpad is about the same width, but not as tall.  They trimmed some of the border between the top row of keys and the screen. Overall the typing experience seemed comparable to what you get with the Surface Pro 3 keyboard, and I like that.


Microsoft Surface Pro 3

It’s Surface Pro 3 Launch Day in Canada! I was at the Microsoft Store bright and early to get my Surface Pro 3 – Core i7 with 8 Gigabytes of RAM and 512 Gigabyte SSD.

I already have a Surface Pro 2 with 8 Gigabytes of RAM and 256 Gigabyte SSD. I wanted to explore the outer limits of performance and capacity with the latest machine.

First Impressions The Surface Pro 3 is beautiful and fast and I immediately noticed that there’s about a 1/3 more vertical real-estate. This is going to make a huge difference in Visual Studio 2013 and Excel. In both cases there’s a lot to be said for being able to see more on the screen without scrolling. The keyboard feels great and the touch pad is bigger, smoother, and feels more responsive.

The unit is bigger around the outside perimeter than the Surface Pro and Surface Pro 2, but it’s thinner and lighter. The fully adjustable kickstand is a marvel of engineering. I will no longer need to carry around rubber bumper things to support the screen at the leisurely reclined angle that I prefer for writing.

Despite the difference in size the Surface Pro 3 fits in the same carrying case I have for the older Surface Pro 2. But there was a great deal on a bundle (Office 365, Keyboard, Surface Complete warranty, and a case). So I got the bundle.

It’s too bad that I had to wait until today to get the Surface Pro 3. I had a very intense week last week with all day lectures every day. That would have been a great real-world test of power and battery life. I did it with the Surface Pro 2, but I had to keep an eye on the battery meter and stay close to a power outlet. I’m looking forward to finding out what kind of real-world performance I’ll get with the Core i7 in the Surface Pro 3.

Battery Life

Hmmm, the battery meter on the task bar does not show estimated run-time like my other Windows machines. It does show percentage though. That probably makes sense because the machine could not possibly estimate the battery life with Connected Standby (aka InstantGo).

If you’re new to Surface check out this article: Surface Pro battery and power.

Microsoft Surface Pro 2 Comparison to Surface Pro

I got the Surface Pro as soon as it was available in February 2013. It seemed almost premature to get the Surface Pro 2 when it came out in October 2013 but I got it anyway. The main reason: For many of my presentations I like to have two screens up as I'm speaking. Until now I had been using the Surface RT as my second screen, but my must-have applications (Mouse Without Borders, Sketchbook Pro) do not run on that machine. When the Surface Pro 2 came out - I was ready to make the jump. The intent was not to replace the original Surface Pro, but to get another full-function tablet to use with it. In short - it's exactly what I needed. I want to add that if you have a Surface Pro, I wouldn't be looking to replace it with a Surface Pro 2. There are advantages to the new unit but the original Surface Pro is still a wonderful machine and by no means obsolete.

The biggest advantages of the Surface Pro 2 over the original Surface Pro:

  • Battery life. For my typical applications: Surface Pro runs 3.5 hours. The Surface Pro 2 runs 5.5 hours. This difference matters when I need to spend extended time away from AC power but when I'm doing presentations the Surface Pro lasts long enough.
  • Kick Stand angle It's a small thing but the Surface Pro 2 has a two step kick stand that allows it to sit tilted both at the original angle of the Surface Pro, and also a second position - tilted a little farther back. If I have the Surface Pro 2 on a desktop, lectern, or hand-held, this does not matter at all. The only time I use the new second position is when I have the Surface Pro 2 on a flat surface that is low, but not low enough to lay it flat.
  • Processor Speed In all the reviews that I've read much has been made of the faster processor in the Surface Pro 2. For what I do when I'm teaching and day to day computing, I don't notice the difference when I have the machines side-by-side.

Enjoy your Surface Pro if you have one, but if you don't take a really good look at the Surface Pro 2. It's a wonderful machine.


Microsoft Surface Pro

Microsoft Surface Pro
Now THIS is going to change things. Not only can I run all my old applications, this is fast, light, has a great screen, and is very quiet. The digital pen works as well if not better than with my previous Table PCs. I've already gotten more than 4 hours running time with it, and this would be more than enough to do a typical lecture for me. I'm very excited.
What about the Surface RT I picked up 90 days ago? Well it's still here. I knew that it would take a backseat to the Pro when it arrived, but I don't regret having it. If you've ever seen me do a lecture, (at least from my side of things), you would know that I usually have two machines with me. I like to have a backup, and it also lets me look ahead even when my main machine (in this case the Surface Pro) is mirrored on a projector.
More about all of this when I have the workflow ironed out.

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Microsoft MVP - Surface (previously Windows Tablet & Touch Technologies
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