I don't normally write about hardware, but if you're looking for a new laptop for your business, then get the Microsoft Surface Pro 3. It's a winner. And for three reasons.
Reason 1: Just about every IT person I know loves it. I have a list of about 50 friends and partners at IT firms in my area who I stay in close touch with. I was curious about their experience with the Surface Pro 3, so I e-mailed them all. I received not a single negative reply. Not one. Bear in mind, most of them are Microsoft partners and likely have a leaning towards all things Microsoft. But between them they serve thousands of small and midsized companies and have hundreds of years of tech experience. And they would be the first to criticize. So here are just a few of their responses:
"I have one personally. I love it and I probably sold about 20 of them and I have never gotten any negative feedback," Michael McCully of Spearhead NTS wrote back.
"Our sales director loves his," said Wayd Emma, an IT director at Grapevine Visual Concepts. "He says it is great and battery life is fine."
"I use it and I love it!" said Lou Kahn of Kahnnect IT Technology Services.
"I have two clients who have these and everyone who has it loves it," Scott Clark of Menark Technologies told me.
Greg Gurev of Mysherpa said: "You will love it. Very powerful with a good battery."
"I'm a Lenovo partner so I shouldn't tell you this, but you should definitely get the Surface Pro 3. It's great!" wrote another friend who, I'm sure you'll appreciate, wouldn't be happy if I included his name in this piece.
I know these people. They would be the first to complain about bad technology. The fact that they are all so passionate about this device has given me pause. But there must be some cons. Which brings me to Reason 2.
Reason 2: For a business owner, the technical pros outweigh the cons. There are certainly downsides to the Surface. It's expensive and to really get the benefits, you need the Pro 3, which runs Windows 8.1 (and Windows 10) and has enough storage space (128GB) and RAM (8GB) to make it worthwhile. You have to add on a keyboard cover to really make it functional as a laptop. You may (like me) want to spring for an extra battery pack for those long flights. There's no cellular connectivity. There are few ports, so you'll need adaptors for more USB devices and projectors.
But for a business owner, it's truly the quicker, better, wiser hardware solution. It's super-light. It has a great battery (about five to seven hours). It's both a tablet and a laptop. The screen resolution is excellent. The performance is fast and reliable. Most importantly, it integrates well with Microsoft applications -- so if, like so many other millions of business owners, you and your people use Office, SharePoint, CRM or other Microsoft products, you're going to find less headaches standardizing with this device. I've been using this thing for a month, and it makes me want to sing. Which brings me to Reason 3.
Reason 3: Ed Sheeran's pretty good. Really. You know what? Ed Sheeran's pretty good! Really. Sure, he's a bit bubble-gum and his fan base seems mostly made up of teenage girls. And I'm more of a classic rock guy. But it turns out that he's a talented musician and an excellent songwriter, and blends pop, folk and even hip-hop really well. I didn't want to listen to him at first. But after hearing "Sing" and "Thinking Out Loud" a few times, the guy impressed me. Who knew? Now I'm a fan.
And the same goes for the Microsoft Surface. I didn't want that either. My firm is a Microsoft partner and never really considered hardware options from the company. Not only that, but I was (and still am) happy with my Lenovo ThinkPad x140e and had no desire to change. But Microsoft sent me a souped-up Surface Pro 3 as compensation for some internal blogging I did for them (it was a completely separate service and I am not being compensated by them to write this piece). Not only that, but just a year ago I predicted on Forbes.com that Microsoft would ultimately kill the Microsoft Surface. "Would I purchase the Microsoft Surface?" I wrote back then. "Not anymore. And I'm not sure that you should either."
I was wrong about that. I'm officially a fan. In the past month I've been using my Surface Pro 3 non-stop and loving it. And obviously I'm not the only one. The Surface has become a big seller for the company and is building a strong following. The company just announced plans to expand its sales channel for the unit. Clearly, this device is here to stay.
Besides Accounting Today, Gene Marks writes for The New York Times, Forbes and Inc.com. A version of this column previously appeared on Forbes.com.
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