Using a laptop for video conferencing can make or break a business deal or project. After all, there’s a certain comfort level that comes with having face-to-face conversations, even if the other person is thousands of miles away.
However, conducting a video conference on a laptop can be extremely cumbersome, especially if you’re on the go. And using a tablet? That’s even trickier, because it’s hard to keep steady. Along comes the Microsoft Surface Pro 3, and suddenly it doesn’t seem like you have to be bogged down with a laptop or shaky tablet to enjoy high quality video conferencing. Here are just a few of the things you should know about the Microsoft Surface Pro 3:
Kick Stand Makes Conferencing Easy
If you’ve ever tried to use a tablet for video conferencing, you know just how annoying it can be to hold it steady, even if you’re using a great system like the Blue Jeans Network. The Microsoft Surface Pro 3, though, eliminates that with the handy kickstand. Built right into the back of the device, all you have to do is simply flip it out and it will stand up on its own. According to CNet, the kickstand can be adjusted to anywhere between 22 and 150 degrees to make it more comfortable when using the device as a laptop.
Unfortunately, you’ll have to buy a keyboard, which you can find for between $100 to $200. True, this is an expensive add-on, but anyone who’s tried to input a bunch of data onto a tablet knows just how handy these external keyboards are.
The Touch Cover is no longer offered, Digital Spy says, but it still works on the Surface Pro 3. Instead, the Type keyboard is now more user-friendly with a larger track pad for controlling the mouse along with the tablet’s magnetic element. The latter allows you to set up the keyboard flat or at an angle.
Share Notes Easier
The Microsoft Surface Pro 3 comes with a Wacom stylus, which allows you to draw on the surface of the device like it’s a notepad. According to PC World, one of the fun tricks about the stylus is you can hold down the button on the top of the pad to rouse it from sleep mode and open a new OneNote note without having to enter a password. If you’re using the device for video conferencing, the stylus allows you to quickly and easily show notes, graphs and formulas that may be complicated to show through a normal word processing program. There’s a bit of a learning curve when using digital ink; however, the stylus is a major upgrade from the traditional stylus.
One of the biggest drawbacks to using a tablet for video conferencing is the quality of the cameras. Many even toy with the idea of using the rear facing camera to increase the quality of the image. This is a moot point since most tablets have the same digital resolution for both cameras. The Microsoft Surface Pro 3 is perfect for use with something like the Blue Jeans Network, a enterprise level video conferencing service provider because it has a 5-MP camera for both the front and rear facing cameras. According to Laptop Magazine, the cameras were not very good for taking pictures, because you cannot change the focal point of the camera. This means when you want the camera focused on something small in the foreground, the camera might still choose to focus on the background. When used for video conferencing, however, it seems to work perfectly because it focuses on the person in the camera.
Tablets and laptops don’t have the best reputation for great sound quality (and sometimes volume). That’s not the case with the Surface Pro 3. The tablet comes with two front-facing speakers with Dolby sound and is therefore louder (and clearer) than its predecessor, the Surface Pro 3.
How Long Will the Battery Last?
There’s nothing worse when holding a video conference than having a meeting cut short due to a dead (or dying) battery. And trying to hunt down a power source defeats the purpose of using a mobile device (think about where you’ll conduct some of these meetings: the airport, a restaurant, etc.). However, the Surface Pro 3 comes with a pretty sturdy battery. Digital Spy says the battery should last for about nine hours, provided you turn the brightness on to auto.
When Does It Come Out, and How Much Will It Cost?
You can buy a 64 GB Surface Pro 3 for less than $800, while a 512 GB, Intel i7 costs around $1,950, according to Microsoft. The price breakdown is as follows:
- 64 GB/Intel i3: $799
- 128 GB/Intel i5: $999
- 256 GB/Intel i5: 1,299
- 256 GB/Intel i7: $1,549
- 512 GB/Intel i7: $1,949
However, you’ll have to wait a bit longer before it comes out. The Surface Pro 3 goes on sale in August, although you can pre-order your new tablet from the Microsoft website today.