Microsoft March madness is over: Disappointments and successes, just like the basketball tourney

The number one pick let me down at times while the lower ranked device surprised me with its capability. A couple things are headed to the drawer, while others will continue to be used daily.

We've reached the end of March and thus the end of my March madness month with Microsoft experience. I hung in there as long as I could, but made a few changes along the way and dropped one of the devices from daily usage.

Computers

The easiest part, of course, was using a Windows computer all month long. I returned the Dell XPS 12 2-in-1 eval unit because I wasn't using it as I continued with the Surface Pro 4. The Dell Latitude 6430 served as my work computer and continues its daily role in my engineering office.

The Surface Pro 4 functioned as my primary home and travel computer, but let me down enough that I almost went back to my curved display Surface Pro 3. The Pro 4 continues to fail to work with a couple of the latest Type Covers and won't even work with them after a reset. Thankfully, I have an older Type Cover that works when I undock it and my Bluetooth keyboard while its docked.

Speaking of docking the Surface Pro 4, I just returned the new Surface Dock after experiencing display and connection failures on a daily basis. Thanks to the recommendation of a reader, I learned you can use the older Surface Dock accessory without the plastic adapter, that you cannot find anywhere to purchase. The Surface Pro 4 fits in just fine and with it I have not had display connection issues.

Phones

I started out with the Microsoft Lumia 950 XL and then bought a Display Dock after some readers requested I try out Continuum on the go. Both the Lumia 950 XL and Display Dock were returned in mid-March because I found the Lumia 830 to be a better piece of hardware and Continuum just had limited appeal as a technology demo.

The Lumia 830 turned out to be a real champ and thanks to Windows 10 universal apps and some supportive developers I was able to enjoy the USAA, American Express, Garmin Connect, and other daily apps. The apps are not all as functional and capable as what we see on iOS and Android, but if you wanted to go with Windows 10 Mobile I don't think you are giving up as much as you were in 2015.

Wearable

The Microsoft Band 2 was worn for three weeks and for several runs, but trying to wear it for daily activity, run tracking, and sleep tracking ended up requiring irregular charging times so I gave up on it last week. It's fine as a data gathering device, but I'm finding a wearable that can go for multiple days is the one I tend to use more than any other.

I'm now using an evaluation Garmin Fenix 3 HR and about ready to use the money spent on the Lumia 950 XL to buy one of these instead.

Summary and plans for the future

To summarize my month-long experiment, I ended up returning the Lumia 950 XL, Display Dock, and new Surface Dock while the Microsoft Band 2 is back in my wearable desk drawer. The Lumia 830 will join the Band 2 while I move on to the Samsung Galaxy S7 Edge and iPhone 6s Plus for my phone needs.

I plan to keep using the Surface Pro 4, but if I can't figure out the problem with the Type Covers then I may just go back to my Surface Pro 3 and return the Microsoft loaner.

You can definitely survive, and thrive, with an all Microsoft mobile strategy and with the continued release of Windows 10 universal apps for mobile the app gap is closing quickly.

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