A.K.A. how I weaned myself off my iPad for good.

4k Viewsonic monitor connected to Surface Pro 3

4k Viewsonic monitor connected to Surface Pro 3

So recently I upgraded my old boat-anchor notebook for something small and light, eg a Surface Pro 3.  Unlike my old laptop, which had a 21″ screen (yes) and matching wheel-bag to haul it around with, the Surface sports a little 12″ screen.

So I needed a new external monitor, and was contemplating a two-monitor setup like many of us use here. I determined that for the price of two smaller monitors, I could buy one 28″ 4k monitor (yes, that’s 3840×2160 resolution) and hook it up to the Surface’s  mini displayport connector.

I had some concerns that text might be too small at that resolution, but on the 28″ monitor it is just fine for me.  I can use the windows-right and windows-left arrow keys to dock programs on the left or right side of the screen and simulate a two-monitor setup.  I also tested the displayport 1.2 technology to daisy-chain two 28″ monitors (using the displayport “out” connector on the Viewsonic, not available on all models) to drive a second 4k monitor.  My built-in video card on the surface cannot drive them both at 4k, but it was impressive nonetheless and gives an idea where the technology is headed.

The setup was pretty much trouble-free, although it this is one instance where buying the expensive cable is a good idea, because the first cheaper cable I purchased did not work properly. It is a digital connection moving a lot of data, so good cables are a must.

Sitting next to my second-generation iPad, the surface makes the iPad look like a toy. Plus, the Surface runs all my business applications (including CAD) and sports a 500GB SSD, i7 processor, and 8GB of RAM, it truly functions as a desktop replacement – but it is as light and portable as my old iPad at only 3lbs.  Now you might think I’m trying to sell you a Surface, but I can’t because Microsoft limits that opportunity to really big companies.  I think with the 3rd gen Surface Microsoft is really starting to refine the platform and with this type of power and connectivity in your hand, who needs a desktop or iPad anymore?  Now you can have your cake and eat it too!