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Aug 31 2015

Microsoft Surface Pro 3 Review

Well, after owning my Surface Pro 3 for a couple of months (with half the time split between using Windows 8.1 and Windows 10 on it) I am now sharing my review.

 

It is a longer video but I cover off the following points:

  • 0m00s: Look and feel,
    • In a nutshell, Microsoft has done well in terms of refinements since the original Surface tablets (in terms of cosmetic design, weight and thickness). How Microsoft could further improve upon its winning design remains to be seen.
  • 2m32s: Whether or not to get the Type Cover,
    • Yes. The Type Cover is specifically designed for Surface and is the best keyboard accessory in terms of both portability and functionality compared to an alternative USB or Bluetooth keyboard solution. You could slum it by using the onscreen keyboard but I think you would be doing yourself a disservice.
  • 3m22s: Suitability as a laptop alternative,
    • The Surface Pro 3 won’t be suited for everyone as a laptop alternative mainly because of the reliance upon the kickstand. If you have shorter legs then the kick stand may end up either going beyond your knees (sending the Surface towards the floor). Otherwise, the kickstand will be propping up the tablet so straight that it will fall forwards.
    • If possible, go test one in store and sit down to test its “lapability” in order to avoid regret spend.
  • 5m02s: General performance
    • If you need a device that’s going to run full blown Microsoft Office, handle e-mail and web browsing then any of the Surface Pro 3 tablets will do the trick. The i3/i5/i7 CPUs in the Surface Pro 3 have more than enough grunt to handle what you might throw at them. However, if you are wanting to work on more demanding things such as photo and video editing then you should look towards the higher end models (although a full blown desktop computer may be better suited depending how intensive the processing ends up being).
  • 6m20s: Battery life,
    • I didn’t quite extract the same amount of battery life from my Surface Pro 3 as listed by Microsoft but it is still fairly respectable at 7.5 hours versus the maximum 9 hours. Again, it comes down to what you are using it for and the software you are running (as some software is better optimised for battery life than others).
  • 8m02s: Windows 10,
    • While Windows 10 seems to focus on bringing traditional desktop users back into the fold after being thrown a raw prawn from Microsoft with Windows 8.x there’s still merit in using Windows 10 for touch devices such as the Surface Pro 3. Given that Windows 10 can adapt the user interface based upon the presence of the keyboard it makes thing far more intuitive for the average user. Again, if you opt for the Type Cover then Windows handles the transition between the two modes for you automatically.
    • Windows 10 also offers up the latest generation Windows Universal Apps which you cannot use on Windows 8.x – another benefit to upgrading.
  • 10m47s: Final verdict.
    • Microsoft has done well with the Surface Pro 3 and for those looking to eschew a traditional laptop and tablet for a combined device then this should definitely be on the shortlist. Again, it may not be the best fit for everyone but if it does manage to tick all the boxes for you then this device will probably have enough staying power to last you for years (as long as you look after it, of course). Sure, Windows hasn’t been as sexy as iOS and Android devices over the last five years but Microsoft have iterated upon the Surface from humble beginnings to create a pretty solid offering in the form of the Surface Pro 3.
    • The pen is also use, alternative means with which to interact with the tablet aside from touch and keyboard/mouse. Need to get someone to sign a PDF? Just whip out the pen and sign right on the screen and you’re done. It’s also fantastic for those wanting a virtual whiteboard to use with a data projector or in international video conferences.
    • There may be some good deals on the Surface Pro 3 before the next model comes out so keep your eyes peeled.

All in all, it’s a top device and while you may need to shell out a bit for it you may end up saving a bit compared to buying a separate laptop/ultrabook and tablet.

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