Getting Ready for Surface Pro

On 15 March 2013 my Laptop celebrated its 7th birthday. While it’s still working, needless to say, it is pretty slow and I spend quite a bit of time waiting.

Because I wanted a device that was a good compromise between the portability of a tablet and the power and compatibility of a PC, I’ve had my eyes on the Microsoft Surface Pro for quite a while. As the Surface Pro is supposed to become available really soon here in Germany, I have been looking into what I would need to make it work as a replacement for my current laptop + docking station setup.

In his Going Pro series, Paul Thurrott has some interesting pointers, e.g. for replacing the desktop. There are certainly some trade-offs in this endeavor, but from what I have seen and read so far about Surface Pro, these do seem worth it for my particular situation.

Required accessories

Because I want the Surface Pro to replace my desktop and connect to all my other devices, there are a couple of things I will need in addition to the Surface itself. Please note that since I do not yet have a Surface device, I cannot test any of these accessories. I will do that, though, once I get my Surface Pro.

There has been quite a discussion about the amount of storage available for apps and data on the Surface devices which many people feel is too little. But since the Surface has a microSDXC slot, I can just get a memory card such as this 64 GB microSDXC card and upgrade its storage for about 50 EUR.

Because the Surface Pro comes with only one USB 3 and no Ethernet ports, I will need a USB 3.0 docking station. In the article I linked to earlier, Paul Thurrott mentioned a Pluggable USB 3.0 docking station. I haven’t been able to find that exact model on Amazon Germany, although they do have a couple of comparable models. Such as the i-TEC Docking Station Advance USB 3.0 or the Toshiba PA3927E-1PRP Dynadock U3. When you look at their specs and pictures, they all seem extremely similar, like it was in fact the same device made by some OEM. Of course I don’t know this for sure, but I think I will just get the cheapest one of them and try it out.

The final piece I will need is an external Blu-ray disk drive. I wish video-on-demand could fulfill all my video needs, but for better or worse, I still have a lot of DVDs that I want to watch. And since I have a Full-HD display and then finally a computer that will be fast enough to decode them, I want to watch Blu-rays, too. Based on their Amazon reviews I think the Samsung SE-506AB external Blu-ray burner looks like a good choice. It comes with a software called CyberLink BluRay Disc Suite which I hope is enough to watch Blu-rays. This seems to be a piece of software that is only available as OEM, so I haven’t been able to look up reviews on it. We’ll see.

Conclusion

I hope the Surface Pro will become available soon (it was promised for late March/early April). With the accessories mentioned above, I think it will make  good laptop replacement and connect to all my existing peripherals. I will report back once I have everything and had a chance to test it out.

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