Last year I spent a week working with nothing but Microsoft technology. Since then Microsoft updated Surface Pro, the Lumia phone and delivered Windows 8.1. How does this change things?
The big difference is the move from 2013’s Surface Pro 2 to the 2014 Surface Pro 3. While the Pro 2 could run the Windows apps most people use most of the time.
The Surface Pro 3 does away with the need for a separate notebook. This means one less item to buy and one less thing to carry. There’s less to fuss over.
Microsoft’s Surface Pro 3 is better than the Pro 2 in every respect. Better screen, better screen size, better processor, even a better kick-stand.
There’s enough processing power to handle every mainstream application, even editing media files. Unlike the Surface Pro 2, there are no embarrassing glitches. When you add the docking station you can use a big screen for graphics and video work.
The Surface keyboard still isn’t as robust as those on desktops or high quality laptops. That aside, you could switch to using the Surface Pro 3 as your only computer. If you do, it may pay to invest in a solid desktop keyboard.
Although others use the Surface Pro 3 with large screens — or more than one screens — the 12-inch display is often enough.
Despite higher specifications is almost every department, there is less difference between the Lumia 920 and the 2014 Lumia 930. Yes the camera is an improvement. Anything needing heavy-duty processing is faster, but in day-to-day use this is unnoticable. The Lumia 930 is a good phone, but in hardware terms it has fallen behind Apple’s iPhone 6 and Samsung’s Galaxy S5.
The move from Windows Phone 8 to 8.1 doesn’t amount to much in practice. There’s an extra column of phone screen icons — as if that matters. Microsoft added a notification centre and Cortana.
Cortana digital assistant
Cortana is Microsoft’s answer to Apple’s Siri voice activated digital assistant. The 930 screen keyboard seems to work better than on the 920. You’ll get a little more done with the 930 than the 920, but it’s not going to make a huge difference to the way you work.
Microsoft fixed most of what’s wrong with Windows 8 in 8.1. The move from the start screen to the Windows desktop is less jarring. Internet Explorer 11 is a better browser. Windows 8.1 is faster and more apps and utilities come as standard.
There was nothing wrong with Microsoft’s technology when I tried it last year. Microsoft has fixed all the annoyances. Moving between the Surface Pro 3 and the Lumia 930 is natural. Saving Office documents to OneDrive from the Surface Pro 3 then editing or reading them on the phone works as it should. Microsoft has tightened its technology and sharpened its act all-round.