Santa brought you a Surface Pro 3? Here's what to do first

2014-12-25

Merry Christmas y'all! Today is all about celebrating Jesus' birth, but since he isn't here, we will give and get gifts in his honor. Santa Claus keeps us all saturated in gifts galore, ranging from socks and underwear, to new computers.

Speaking of computers, there is one that I find to be the best, and that is the Surface Pro 3. Did you get one under the tree today? If so, congratulations! You must have been really friggin' good this year. By all means, power it on, and have fun -- get your grimy fingerprints all over the screen. But please know that owning a Surface Pro 3 is a lifestyle -- a special club, if you will -- and there are some things you should consider.

First off, how do you plan to use it? As a tablet, laptop, desktop or all three? Yes, this powerhouse can serve as all of those things. If you want to use it as a laptop, you must buy the Type Cover. Not only is the keyboard easy to type on and features backlit keys, but it has a trackpad too. Best of all, it protects the screen when not in use. The magnetically-attached accessory will increase your productivity exponentially.

As great as the trackpad is, it is no match for a good mouse. Since the Surface Pro 3 has a USB port, you can plug in any such mouse with great success. However, to get the full Microsoft Surface experience, I recommend buying the Microsoft Arc Touch Bluetooth Mouse. It folds flat, and connects wirelessly, making it great for portability. It is available on Amazon for a reasonable $49.99 here.

If you want to use it as a desktop, you can connect a monitor to the included Mini DisplayPort connector, plus connect a mouse and keyboard by USB or Bluetooth. While this works well, it is not elegant. Instead, I suggest buying the official Docking Station, which offers a USB 3.0 Hub, sound card, Ethernet card and video out. The $200 investment will allow you to easily dock your Surface Pro 3 without fiddling with cables. You can buy it on Amazon here.

If you are a Linux fan, you can easily run a distro from the USB port, or if you are more experienced, partition the Surface Pro 3 SSD. Since it is mostly an Intel-affair, all hardware should work out of the box. Heck, as you can see above, even the dock works flawlessly!

If you simply want to use the Surface Pro 3 as a tablet, you do not need to buy anything; even the stylus comes included with the computer. Believe it or not, the on-screen keyboard on Windows 8.1 is exceptional; better than stock iOS and Android variants.

Unfortunately, the Surface Pro 3 does not come with an optical drive; hopefully you already knew that. If you need one, you can easily add it over USB 3.0. My pick for best USB optical drive for Surface, is the Pioneer BDR-XD05. It is portable, fast and supports many formats, including Bluray.

So, if you did get a Surface Pro 3, again, congratulations. You have an awesome computer, that can meet many needs. Merry Christmas, and please share your experience with it in the comments below.

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