Surface Pro 3

Surface Pro 3 Review

Does the Surface Pro 3 really replace your laptop? Microsoft makes some bold moves with their new Surface design but it remains to be seen if people will buy it.

Microsoft has big goals and a new message for the Surface Pro 3. Instead of attempting to compete with the all-popular iPad from Apple, they're targeting laptop owners and wannabe in-betweeners. Emblazoned everywhere is their new motto: "The tablet that can replace your laptop." So has Microsoft achieved this goal with the redesigned Surface Pro 3?

After spending four weeks with the Surface Pro 3, I think for the most part the answer is a resilient 'yes', but it won't necessarily convince diehard laptop users to switch. Regardless, it's an impressive, category-defining device, even if there's limited adoption by the masses.

Out with the Surface Pro 2, in with the Surface Pro 3

The Surface Pro 2 was announced by Microsoft back in September of last year, with a street-date the following month, just in time for Halloween. Only seven months later on May 20th, Microsoft held another Surface event in New York City, and although a Surface Mini was missing, they instead introduced us to the Surface Pro 3.

The Surface Pro 2 never fit into my repertoire of go-to devices. I do have the original Surface Pro, which in terms of design is analogous to its second-generation sibling. Don't get me wrong, the Pro machines are tank-like, real top-quality devices with superior performance over the RT variants. But the black color, thickness and small (in my opinion) 10.6-inch display was never enough to convince to use it over my two other choices: Surface 2 and my laptop. In fact, I picked up the Surface 2 LTE just to make the Surface 2 even more useful as my leisure tablet that, in a pinch, could be used to get some real work done.

Surface Pro 3

In my opinion, Microsoft has done everything right with the Surface Pro 3's redesign. Let's see what's new, because there's a lot to list. The Surface Pro 2's respective features are in parentheses.

  • 3:2 orientation (versus 16:9)
  • 12-inch display (versus 10.6-inch)
  • 2160 x 1440 display resolution (versus 1920 x 1080)
  • 0.36-inches / 9.1 mm thickness (versus 0.5315-inches / 13.50 mm)
  • Core i3 and Core i7 variants, in addition to Core i5 (only Core i5)
  • 1.7 lbs. / 27.2 oz. (versus 2 lbs. / 32 oz.)
  • Matte grey (versus black)
  • N-trig pen (versus Wacom)
  • Dual 5 MP 1080P cameras (vs dual 1.2 MP 720P)
  • 'Connected standby' enabled (versus not supported)

The Surface Pro 3 is a completely different beast than its predecessor. The above list doesn't even mention all the other subtle changes and improvements, like the thinner glass for the display, less reflectivity in the screen, the new ultra-quiet, low-power fan, and the other "100 customized parts" that are in the inside. Then there's the new kickstand and keyboard (more on that below).

Surface Pro 3

As far as I can tell, Microsoft took all the best features of the Surface 2, including thinness, the brighter look and lighter weight and combined it with the Pro's performance while making the display larger and the device lighter.

At the very least, you have to give credit to the engineering team for creating an amazing piece of technology. Not everyone will find a need for the Surface Pro 3, or even want one, but it is a marvel, nonetheless.

Personally speaking, the Surface Pro 3 addresses every issue I had with the Surface Pro 2. It's almost eerie.

Surface Pro 3 trackpad

New Type Cover, better trackpad, and a different angle

Microsoft has made some significant improvements to their pioneering Type Cover, aka the one with the physical keys and not the less attractive Touch Cover. Although the previous Type Cover had a lot going for it, its trackpad was heavily derided due to its small size and insufficient sensitivity. Trackpads must be the hardest things in the world to design because it seems like only Apple can get it right.

Luckily, the Surface Pro 3 gets an improved Type Cover, which has a larger bezel to accommodate the bigger display. (Point of fact, the older Type Covers do work, but they don't cover the large Surface Pro 3 display when closed). The new Type Cover, thankfully, has a newly designed trackpad. It is much better. Microsoft claims that the trackpad is 60%+ larger, made with "embedded glass beads for a smoother feel", and it has a mechanical button, which satisfyingly clicks when depressed. Gesture sensitivity is increased as well, letting you use two-finger scrolling and swipe movements with ease.

I say the trackpad is better on the Surface Pro 3, but it's still not perfect either. Perhaps it never will be, but like other reviewers I found the trackpad at times still too small for my liking. I don't consider it a deal killer as I always carry around the fantastic Arc Touch Mouse Surface Edition ($69). The Arc Touch lays flat in my bag, has a super long lasting battery and is a joy to use over any trackpad out there. Trackpads are always a compromise, even on Macs (I've owned and used a MacBook Air).

But for routine tasks? I'm okay with the new trackpad. It may be a bit short, but everything on a 12-inch computer is a dash tiny, especially when it weighs less than two pounds. I should also remind the reader that the Surface Pro 3 has a 12-inch touchpad, namely the screen.

The new Type Cover also features an extra row of magnets so that the keyboard can attach directly to the display along the horizontal bottom. Classical engineering principals inspires the new feature that triangles make the best support structures. Between the kickstand (first angle) and the keyboard against the display (second angle), the Surface Pro 3 is supposed to be more comfortable in the lap and more stable. I agree with Microsoft's rationale here as I found the Surface Pro 3 easy to use in my lap, and the additional angle makes the keyboard even nicer to type on. I'm not sure everyone will agree with that assessment (and some reviewers apparently don't), but this is where personal preference will matter.

As with the previous generation of Type Covers, this one is also backlit with sensors to detect when your hands approach the keyboard, and an ambient-sensor to enable or disable the backlight when needed. Backlit keyboard are a must these days, and I think Microsoft's solution works well for the 2014 edition.

Surface Pro 3

Finally, many people have disparaged that the $130 keyboard doesn't come bundled with the Surface Pro 3. Microsoft claims that some shoppers just want to use the Pro devices like a tablet, hence the omission. Another reason has to do with the five available colors (red, black, cyan, dark blue and plumb) for the keyboard to personalize the user experience. When combined with the five hardware variations of the Surface Pro 3, you have a compounding problem of complexity in configurations. I'm sure there are ways around this barbed concern, but Microsoft is sticking to their guns. For now, I would assume that whichever Surface Pro 3 you pick up, you budget an additional $130 for the keyboard. Personally, I don't see it that differently from having to find a cover for a tablet, sans the price difference, but I get where the critics are coming from with their complaints.

Surface Pro 3

New kickstand, more angles

On the first generation Surfaces, the flip kickstand was a clever innovation. Up until that point, adding a kickstand to a tablet-ish device was left to third-party case manufactures. Microsoft built it right into the device itself, and I have to admit it's one of the main reasons I love the Surface 2 so much. Indeed, the second generation added two positions for the kickstand, alleviating some complaints by users on restricted placement. The fact is, laptops have variable display positions and Microsoft had to compete with that selling point.

The Surface Pro 3 addresses this apprehension by invoking a variable angle kickstand. It's quite an astonishing feat, especially with the resistance the kickstand provides after a certain angle to prevent it from shifting during use. In the four weeks I've had with the Surface Pro 3, the kickstand has held up perfectly with no softening to be detected.

Surface Pro 3

The kickstand on the Surface Pro 3, when combined with the new keyboard position, greatly enhances the so-called 'lapability' of the Surface. I'm not saying it's as good as laptop, which due to heavier weight and more ridged design will always be superior. But it's a close approximation, even if a bit of a compromise.

Surface Pro 3

I really am impressed with the new kickstand. It offers choice to the user, which is never a bad thing. However, while it's an exciting coup of engineering, one does have to question all the manpower going into re-creating something that laptops do without thought. Of course, that's where the tablet half of the Surface Pro 3 comes into the picture.

Surface Pro 3 tablet

A large but powerful tablet

At 1.7 pounds (27.2 ounces), and featuring a 12-inch display, the Surface Pro 3 is an immense tablet by today's standards. However, when one considers thinness, it tells a different story. The Surface Pro 3 (9.1 mm) is nearly as thin as an iPhone 5S (7.6 mm) and because of that it feels less substantial when you're holding it.

How long you use the Surface Pro 3 as a tablet, in addition to your physical size, will best determine if it's too much weight. Personally speaking, I'm fine with the Surface Pro 3 as a tablet. I use it in this mode often on the couch and only for short to moderate durations, after which I toss it on the cushion until it's once again needed. For watching a movie, I'd never hold a device that came with a built in kickstand, and since the Surface Pro 3 has arguably the best one on the market, the same holds especially true for that usage scenario.

Surface Pro 3

The one caveat to using the Surface Pro 3 as a tablet may be for reading. If you plan on holding it over your head in bed, you'll probably run into some problems after a certain amount of time. Even the large Amazon Kindle DX with its 9.7-inch display is a half-pound lighter. While those aren't huge numbers, they do matter for long durations. I can't say I've spent hours at a time reading on the Surface Pro 3, because I still prefer physical books or my Kindle Paperwhite. But I do regularly read the Economist (which has a fantastic Windows 8 app, by the way), and for that purpose I appreciate the experience. Whether it is holding the Surface Pro 3 in portrait or landscape orientation, the 12-inch 2160 x 1440 display really pops.

I can't say the Surface Pro 3 is too big as a tablet for my needs. Indeed, when you toss on some high-end PC games, are wasting time on Wikipedia, or browsing the web, the larger display makes it a more gratifying experience. I'm doubtful everyone will agree with my preferences though, as I think this will be a divisive and controversial area. Some people will say it's no big deal, others a deal breaker. That's hardly a consensus-building opinion, which may be problematic for Surface Pro 3 sales. The thing to consider is that you're getting a PC experience in a tablet with a lot of computing power. That may be overkill for some, but it also has its advantages over non-PC tablets on the market.

Surface Pro 3

Bigger better display

As mentioned earlier, the Surface Pro 3 comes with a 12-inch 2160 x 1440 display. It also features a taller aspect ratio at 3:2.

Microsoft chose that aspect over the previously used 16:9 because they say it falls right in between 4:3 and 16:9, which are the two most common aspects in books and media. In other words, they're billing it as the best middle of the road solution. Movies aren't totally cropped, but books, magazine and especially OneNote feel more like real paper. Making the Surface Pro feel like a digital legal pad, particularly with the new N-trig pen, was a primary design goal.

I think Microsoft has achieved this objective. I greatly prefer the new 3:2 aspect over the past 16:9, which always felt a little too long and especially awkward in portrait mode. The Surface Pro 3 though makes switching between orientations much easier, and I find myself using portrait much more often. Mission accomplished. Whether it's taking notes or reading a digital magazine, the Surface Pro 3 seems more everyday instead of awkward.

Surface Pro 3 display

At 2160 x 1440 resolution and the resulting 216 ppi, versus the 264 ppi found in the iPad Air, the Surface Pro 3 still looks amazing. Of course, the iPad Air only has a 9.7-inch display, whereas the Surface Pro 3 packs 12-inches. Microsoft is also boasting that there is no air-gap between the LCD and the Corning Gorilla Glass 3 layer, unlike other tablets and laptops. They claim this result is less glare and less reflectivity since air gaps create more angles for light to bounce off of, causing a haloing and blurring of reflective light. Microsoft asserts that the Surface Pro 3's superior clarity over Apple's wares significantly reduces eye strain. It also has the added benefit of increasing accuracy with the N-trig pen to within 750 microns.

Surface Pro 3 display

What about real world experience? The step up in resolution, when combined with the new 3:2 aspect, is in my opinion, the sweet spot for Windows 8.1. I have two high resolution devices, including a Wide-Quad HD (2560x1440) Dell XPS 27 and the Dell XPS 15 with Quad HD+ (3200 x 1800). Needless to say, I'm familiar with high resolution devices in 2014. The downside to those computers is the scaling issue found on the Windows 8.1 desktop. Yes, it's getting better, but on a 15-inch display at 3200x 1800, it's a real eye-strainer in a select few applications.

The Surface Pro 3 though feels just right. Even on the desktop, things never get too small. On the Windows 8.1 Modern Start screen, icons and graphics are bold, clear and have excellent color rendition. While the 2160 x 1440 resolution of the Surface Pro 3 is significantly less than the Dell XPS 15, it works much better for real life applications.

If you want to push it, you can even snap up to 4 applications on the Surface Pro 3 at one time.

Overall I have no complaints about the display, but I do have a lot of praises. It's easily one of the standout features, and I'm doubtful anyone will find any weakness in the design choices made by Microsoft.

Surface Pro 3 pen

The pen

I'm almost hesitant to wade into the discussion of N-trig versus Wacom. I've quickly learned that these digital pens are the way of life for some people, and novice items for others. I'm afraid I'm the latter, with little use of the pen on the Surface Pro 3, so my approval or criticism of the N-trig comes from the perspective of an average consumer who may doodle or take a note on occasion.

I will say I like the overall design and build quality of the new N-trig pen over the previous Wacom one, which felt too light, thin and cheap. The Surface Pro's Wacom pen also had the gimmicky magnet connector, and I'm shocked after 18 months I haven't lost it yet. I will concede that the N-trig pen is a little awkward for storage, but considering it's thicker than the Surface Pro 3, I'm not sure what else Microsoft could do. I have also been fine with the loop connector as so far I have never misplaced the pen.

On a side note, if you're looking for more tricks for the storing the Surface Pen, read our related how-to article for more information.

The ability to click the N-trig pen, even when the Surface is off (and locked), to jump into a quick OneNote is shrewd. It makes me want to use OneNote due to how cool it is to enable and use. Even if the device is locked, you can take a note without entering in a passcode. But if you need to do more, you will have to enter your security password, should you have one enabled. Likewise with the ability to double-click the N-trig pen to "instantly capture and save screen grabs", it's just ingenious. In any app or browser, just double click the pen and you can 'clip' a piece of the screen, which is then saved to OneNote.

Surface Pro 3

Whether or not you use these features on a regular basis, I don't know, but it is 100% something other tablets and laptops just cannot do and for students, artists, note takers, architects, etc. I can see it as significant selling point.

Whether or not Wacom is better than N-trig, or how much more Microsoft can improve upon N-trig, we will have to wait and see. I'll confess that this area is beyond my pay grade as even my doodles are atrocious, meaning I have little in the way of making a proper judgment.

Battery life is good, but not amazing

Considering what the Surface Pro 3 packs, including that impressive display, it should not be too surprising that it doesn't quite achieve the stellar results of its smaller kin the Surface Pro 2 when it comes to battery usage.

In using the Surface Pro 3 at 50% brightness, using Wi-Fi and doing my regular run of typing in Word, web browsing, email and Twitter, I had more than enough power to make it through the day. After about 3.5 hours of constant use, I was down to just over 50%. In other words, you should be able easily to go seven to eight hours on a single charge. Those numbers fall well short of a new MacBook Air, but for most professionals you should be just fine. Another way of putting that is from my usage over the last month, I was quite pleased and never fretted about leaving the charger behind.

Reportedly, the Core i7 and Core i3 versions will get the same rated nine-hours of battery life. While I doubt they will achieve nine hours, they should be analogous to the Core i5 option. We will need to perform more testing when those products become available, but if accurate, the Core i7 version has certainly become more attractive.

Combined with the new low-power 'Connected standby' standard from Microsoft, the Surface Pro 3 turns on and off instantly now, but it will automatically go into a deeper, low-power state after four hours of standby. When in this mode, users will have to hold down the power button for a few seconds to wake up the device.

I did experience multiple wake-up issues with the Surface Pro 3 during my testing, similar to what other reviewers had reported. Such instances include moments where the device would not wake up and other abnormalities when charging. On June 19th, Microsoft pushed out a new firmware update that was supposed to address this (and other) reported problems and so far, it does seem much better.

I'm still not liking the power on-off states though for Windows 8.1. I find it odd that sometimes I hit the power button and the device wakes, where other times I need to keep it down for a few seconds. Throw in the occasions where it just doesn't wake, and it becomes a weird guessing game of how enable my tablet.

I have an iPad Mini Retina, which I rarely use, and that's the impressive part: I can go a week or two without even turning it on, but when I do, it's always instant with no delays. Even more notable, after ten days, I still will have 75% battery left. I have yet to see a Surface do that, and it bothers me a bit (my Surface 2 will die after two days of standby). Yes, I understand an Intel Core i5 has different power requirements than what Apple uses, but that tablet-experience is what a lot of people will compare it to, and I think Microsoft can do better.

Surface Pro 3

Finally, I have already written about the new design for the AC power adapter. I'm a big fan. It is much easier to use, while still keeping the magnets to prevent accidents when tripping over cords.

Surface Pro 3 speaker

Odds and ends

The Surface Pro 3 has two front facing speakers that are positioned near the top of the device on each side. The placement of the speakers is achieved through little slits at the edge of the display, and it's a fantastic design. If you are keeping the Surface Pro 3 in landscape mode in your hands, you won't block the sound. Likewise, if you're holding in portrait. With the speakers on each side, you can experience real stereo sound and with them facing you, movies, games and music are much more immersive. Nokia did this with the Lumia 2520, and I'm excited to see Microsoft doing the equivalent with the Surface Pro 3. Microsoft also claims the speakers are 45% more powerful than the previous ones on the Surface Pro 2. All I know is I like what I hear.

Microsoft also shifted the Windows Start key to the right hand side of the Surface Pro 3 from the bottom on all other Surfaces. In order to provide the new keyboard position, which would have blocked the button, Microsoft had to move it. I'm okay with this change. When holding the device in landscape mode, I don't need to lift my hand off the device to use that key, and considering the Surface Pro 3 falls into the two-handed device category, that's an excellent feature.

Surface Pro 3 camera

The cameras are adequate on the Surface Pro 3. Both the rear and front-facing cameras are 1080P 5 MP shooters, and while they are certainly better than the previous iterations, they're not category defining. Although I will say when using the front camera for a Skype call with a good internet connection, the result is a significant advancement over the Surface Pro 2. The front-facing camera for video is something I want to use for calls.

Surface Pro 3 vent

Although an Intel Core i5 processor can produce a significant amount of heat, the Surface Pro 3 gets around this through a customized internal fan reportedly built by Microsoft over three years. Microsoft promises that the new fan will be quiet, you won't feel the air and its battery friendly.

Microsoft was not fibbing.

In order to get the fan to enable on the Surface Pro3, you need to fire up some graphic-intensive games. Only then can you hear the mild hissing sound from the fan and you can almost (almost!) feel a faint air-change from the sides of the device. Once the Surface Pro 3 turns off, the fan shuts immediately down too. When it comes to daily use for email, web browsing, Twitter, Word, etc. you'll never hear the fan at all.

Surface Pro 3 front camera

In terms of warmth, the Surface Pro 3 can get warm to the touch. Not hot, but warm, usually in the upper left corner (on the back). It's not uncomfortable, and I never once worried about it. All I can say is Microsoft has managed to keep the Core i5 processor cool, and it does feel fanless 90% of the time, although your mileage may vary. I'm real curious to see if the Core i7 performs any differently.

Finally, in terms of build quality I've always been impressed by the Surface team's work. The Surface Pro 3 falls into that category, perhaps even more so, as I haven't found any design flaws. The Surface Pro 3 feels every bit as premium as the price it commands.

Surface Pro 3 side

Pricing and availability

For this review, the Core i5 version with 8 GB of RAM and 256 GB of storage was used for testing. Starting on June 20th, both Core i5 versions listed below are available to purchase, with the Core i7 and i3 versions due at the end of August.

  • Intel Core i3 / 64 GB / 4GB of RAM / $799
  • Intel Core i5 / 128 GB / 4GB of RAM / $999
  • Intel Core i5 / 256 GB / 8GB of RAM / $1299
  • Intel Core i7 / 256 GB / 8GB of RAM / $1549
  • Intel Core i7 / 512 GB / 8GB of RAM / $1949

Microsoft Stores and Best Buy are the best locations to purchase a Surface Pro 3, including the $130 Type Covers. Best Buy has an exclusive on the dark blue Type Cover, while Microsoft Stores have an exclusive on the burgundy red.

Surface Pro 3 Win key

Surface Pro 3 – Laptop replacement?

Microsoft is positioning the Surface Pro 3 as a tablet that replaces your laptop. I think that's an ambitious but tough sell, at least for some segments of the population. For tech enthusiasts, including myself, I can't say the Surface Pro 3 will supplant my Dell XPS 15 for work trips. The idea of dropping from four USB ports to one, giving up dedicated NVidia graphics and that large 15-inch display is just too much. In that regard, I can see a lot of people in the tech press disagreeing with Microsoft.

But that's not to say they're not onto something here. I have been happily taking the Surface Pro 3 whenever I leave the house. The Surface Pro 3, weighing less than two pounds, fits in my stylish Ultrabook shoulder bag with room to spare. Pack in the Arc Touch mouse and an AT&T LTE hotspot, and I now have everything I need to do my job when mobile.

Surface Pro 3 keyboard

The Surface Pro 3 has given me a newly found freedom by allowing me to take a full-fledged PC everywhere. There is no way I'm going to lug around at 15-inch computer or even 13-inch Ultrabook for simple day trips, run to the coffee shop or when visiting a friend. The Surface Pro 3 though easily goes everywhere. And because it's a full PC, I can run my required VPN for work and all my other x86 desktop apps that I may need, something my Surface 2 sadly could not. In an ideal world, the Dell XPS 15 would be everywhere, but in reality, I'll take the Surface Pro 3 when I can.

From that viewpoint, Microsoft has succeeded. I'm buying one, and I want to have the Surface Pro 3 for going out for the day, or even taking the night off on the couch. It truly does feel – and act – like a full PC but with a tablet-esque design.

But I'm not necessarily convinced that it's the one computer to replace everything for everyone. Or rather, how much use you get out of the Surface will depend heavily on your lifestyle and budget. For instance, if you have a beat up laptop and you want to get a tablet, the Surface Pro 3 could probably suit your needs. If, however, you already have a tablet and a decent laptop, then it's about justifying the extra cost for what is a luxury computer. I'm not sure that's a death knell for Microsoft. Apple's (at the time) expensive iPad was as a tool "nice to have but not necessary." Fast forward a few years and many people now own tablets, with laptop purchases dropping as a result.

Surface Pro 3 top

I can't say I'm confident that the Surface Pro 3 will sell like gangbusters. But that's due to the price, not the desire to own it. I think if given the chance, a lot of people would gladly jump to own and incorporate a Surface Pro 3 into their professional or leisure life. It's perhaps unfortunate that the cost is prohibitive for a lot of people, but premium hardware commands big bucks, and I don't feel that Microsoft is overcharging for what they deliver. What I do hope for though is that the careful attention to detail, the research into what users' want, the meticulous planning of features of the Surface Pro 3, will trickle down to other Microsoft products and their OEM partners.

The Surface Pro 3 is in many ways the idealized vision of 'Surface' as a brand from Microsoft. I want one and will get one. I'm just not sure the Surface Pro 3 will be able to escape its niche categorization, even if it deserves too.

Additional video and photo credit to Mark Guim who assisted with this review


Reader comments

Surface Pro 3 Review



Yes it is faster than my pro 2. Daniel you mentioned 7 to 8 goes battery. Is this with all the updates or preupdates? I'm curious...

Daniel: With the pen, does “cutting and pasting“ work as well with Word and PowerPoint as it does with OneNote?

Posted via the WPC App for Android!

Yes like it is with every tablet. You are missing the point here friends Mab can't afford one or doesn't want one. If you want an ultra portable device with stylus and touch screen you can get one no lighter than this device if you want a device that you do a lot of typing on you get a laptop with a good keyboard and perhaps sacrifice your touch, stylus and weight. The point of this device is portability and functionality the perfect device does not exist, however the best device that works for you does. I am getting one of these because it will allow me to ditch my notebook doing language class and allow me to not worry if all the power outlets are taken at starbucks. I can take a snap of my textbooks also and do my homework on one device as well.

If you're a student on the go and don't like lugging around a 4lbs laptop with books on your back this is a no brainer it reduces not only the weight of your computering device and gives you fully functioning productive OS, but it reduces the weight of your books as well.

The dock is not a "carry around" item. Just the opposite in fact.


I can see slipping the tablet out of the dock, floding the Type Cover and taking that with me, though with 3 other Win 8.1 tablets I may not need to do that. I am looking for this to be my laptop replacement, but my current laptop has never been off my desk as it is tied down with USB drives, networked printer, etc. With the dock, I'd be able to keep all that where it is but grab the tablet when I want to go.

IT DEPENDS ON YOUR USAGE. If you happen to play full games with heavy graphics, you know what to buy and this is not it. 

If you want to fly to the moon, you don't buy a boat. It's that easy. 

I believe that a lot of people will find this to be the perfect laptop replacement, because the majority of users hardly do anything else than look at facebook, mail and newspapers. 

"If you happen to play full games with heavy graphics, you know what to buy and this is not it."

A laptop isn't it either.  You buy a desktop.  A "gaming laptop" is still a tradeoff of function for portability.

This. You can build a powerful gaming desktop that will blow most laptops socks off for less than than the price of the cheapest Surface Pro 3. But it won't be a highly portable lightweight tablet/laptop hybrid.

Why would you want to play full games with heavy graphics on anything less than a 24" screen anyway?

Funny you say that. What about i3 processors and all those other super-thin touch display laptops with not so amazing gaming specs? Your type of laptops, along with mine, are needed for certain types of games. Depending on what type we play, we make a smart and educated choice. That is all.

It plays plenty of good games at 1080p, just not the latest and most graphics intense games.
Given its portability you are dreaming to get anything more

Unless it allows you to play full on games with heavy graphics, this is not a laptop replacement desktop replacement.

Fixed it for you.  If you are playing graphics intensive games on a laptop, you are generally doing it wrong.  Not only are you using an inferior product compared to a desktop, but at quite the price premium.

ultrabooks, many lower end laptops, and the macbook air can't play games with top graphics settings either.

i remember there was a time where i thought i'd get a "desktop replacement" laptop to do that. It is not made for that. maybe it's better these days, but laptops tend to get obsolete for gaming very fast if you're doing heavy graphics, and you are stuck cause it's almost impossible to upgrade it.


on top of that, you have to pay a big premium over a desktop that's easily many times more powerful for half the price.

I have to say Daniel gives some of the best, unbiased, in-depth reviews out there.  Definitely makes WPCentral worth coming to.  Thanks

Very nice review, Daniel... Even if it was very close to the last minute lol. It was probably one of the best though, if not the best.

Thanks! Figured everyone ran theirs weeks ago, yet most people will go buy today or at least consider ;)

Plus, I wanted to spend more than a few days with it to really get a good experience.

Can you write an article on how to finance this lovely beast for 0 interest? I'm an IT professional and I do not have the dough to drop on this right now...but want badd


The review was great. I am an apple user all around, but for work I need to relly heavily on outlook and a webapp that links to it, so I need a windows tablet for on the go, as I have a desktop at work. 

I bought a surface 2 (good discount, but old technology still in time to return didnt even open it) which tablet would you recommend over it, cant justify a 1000 dollar purchase on a device i will not use as much.

Any advice is appreciated it.

Hey Daniel, you've misspelled the very last word of your review article! Should be "to" instead of "too" right? No big deal, but it makes your concluding sentence a bit weird.

I still dont understand why this product is not released in India ?? Leave Surface 3.. even Surface 1 is nowhere seen in Indian market ?? 

My dad had ordered a Surface 1 long ago, he had to pay 40% extra of its original price added by import taxes and all (I still have the receipt) It worked well for around 7-8 months but later, problem appeared with power. And i had no place to repair... I really want MS to open stores here, have tweeted and Emailed them. No response yet (they only replied they've received my mail that's all)

Surface pro3 is really costly. Ppl wont buy here. They will go for pc or laptop with more configuration. Sp3 isn't meant for Indian market. As here we go for price sake mini can,make the difference not sp3. And ny reducing the price of sp3 which cannot be possible mostly Microsoft will not try to compete with their OEMs which are going very well in the market.

Surface 2 is available on eBay for 35000, I'm thinking about ordering surface pro 3, it's gonna cost around 120000 to me because of stupid import duty !!

No mate. Almost everybody o know (including me) has an iPad and that is a ridiculously over priced thing, and then I installed ios 8 which gave an activation error, so I am iPad less. But I still love the thing

iOS 8? What on earth are you doing installing beta software that is intended for developers only (if you were a developer you would know how to restore your device to a working iOS)?


See the price of any touch screen laptop of same specification it will cost more than surface pro devices except if you will not buy their type or touch cover, instead of buying touch or type cover you can buy any external Bluetooth keyboard and mouse.

Yeah, you are right. I am also amazed to see that they didn't even launched surface pro 1. I have seen the price for surface pro 1 (64 GB) that was ₹44000 that's really annoying now see surface pro 3 (i3, 64 GB) costing $799=₹50000. What the HELL!!! They don't have to open new Microsoft stores as they already have in the form of Nokia priority centres. Yes, you heard it right Nokia priority centres. They have acquired Nokia permanently so that they can use all Nokia property in India. Isn't it guys?

what a marvelous read and a fantastic review. There's not a single question left unanswered. Extremely useful, thanks Daniel!

Now could be the time to apply for that credit card...

Thanks. I thought a lot about what people were concerned with in comments, reviews, talking to people etc. and tried to incorporate it into my review. Glad you found it useful!

This is going to replace my laptop, not my iPad mini retina, which I don't like too much, but I need a small, light tablet. What worries me a bit is, if it is going to have heat problems with time, which has happened with all my tablets. What I'm looking forward to is the pen-Onenote combination. I use Onenote quite a lot. One note would be even better if it could be used like Pocket/Poki and not just Clip to Onenote.

Love the site and this is a thoughtful review but... Please, please proofread your stuff at least one more time before posting it. I found like 7 simple grammatical and spelling errors in this piece.
I hate being "that guy" but "writer" is half the job description of "tech writer" and for a grammar fascist/language geek, stuff like that is jarring and difficult to just skip over.
Not trying to troll or be an ass, I promise, but if you need a better proofreader I'd happily volunteer.

I completely agree. They do great work but ruin the reading experience with small errors that could be picked up by simply proof reading. I've said this on android central as well...

Posted via the WPC App for Android!

It is a fabulous review.


If I were to nit pick I would want to know how much space the 256GB SP3 leaves when first used. Well past that point, I know. Guess I'll find out myself when it arrives. :)

Its a really beautiful device. It is expensive. It does not replace a MacBook. Good for rich people. Not for 80% of laptop or tablet buyers.

I disagree with you there. I think this price point is good for young professionals and students who by high-end laptops

You get what you pay for. Lose 5 minutes a day for lag and that's nearly 122 hours over 4 years. Is your time worth $6.50 an hour?

With that said, I still think the Surface 3 is a bit overpriced. My i7,8GB, 256SSD Yoga was only $1200. Sure, less of a tablet and no digitizer, but that's what my Asus Note 8 is for. End of the day, cost works out close to the same.

Panos kinda screwed up his talk.  He should have focussed less on the MBA and shown a student and a doctor using this device in real life situations. How about a student jotting down a math formula - unique to this device.  Then searching Onenote later to find his notes. Also could have shown a person grabbing the device to head out for a meeting, replacing it in the dock, etc. MS has a lot to learn about marketing.  :-( 

You bought a device at more than 2x the average price point for a laptop. I'd say you're doing pretty well. Which is cool, and there's nothing you need to apologize for or justify. But the average selling price for a laptop is established by the wide market of buyers...

depends what you do with that macbook. when you compare the vost of the surface to a combination of a laptop and tablet, the price isn't that high. people keep comparing it to just laptops or just tablets. this device can easily perform the function of both and should be judged against a combination of laptops and tablets.

I'd say 90% of folks do not decide to buy BOTH a laptop and a tablet on the same day, so the argument that the one device is comparable to a regular laptop and android tablet is weakened. Folks tend to get one device and supplement it with another. That spreads the cost across more paychecks.
And in many families, two devices keeps two people busy and folks trade around the family which device they use.

so yes, the new surface is a beautiful lustworthy device. But it's expensive when you add on the pen ($50), the keyboard ($99), the dock ($199).

In 2004 i had to buy a laptop for over $2,000 to meet the required specs by my college. Its amazing to think that even with inflation, now a days we consider any computer near or above $1,000 to be "expensive". Pointless observation aside, i wouldn't say this is only for the rich. Heck i could easily buy this with one years worth of the money I've saved from switching from contract phone plan. And most non rich people are still suckered into those.

Don't get me wrong, I think the device is totally lusteorthy. But, it is too expensive for the main buying public. We can compare notes after 6 months. Which will have sold more units, identically priced Surface 3 (with required pen and keyboard) and a MacBook, which MSFT has misguidedly decided to make the attack vector for their marketing.

I agree 100%.  I mean a Macbook is a perfect SP3 replacement isn't it?  You get all that glorious Apple design, including upper limit on fixed memory, no touch, no stylus, non-detachable keyboard, tens of games, limited apps and lots less.  But it's got that big Apple logo so you can look cool and not too bright since nobody likes a smartarse.

Sorry. I have never owned any apple or android gear, and I love my Lumia 1020, and my first smartphone ran windows mobile 3.0. Im not trying to be a smart anything and calling people names in a conversation in a public conversation is weak.

Getting back to the more interesting point of this thread, the potential for success for the Surface 3... There are two times when Surface devices have historically sold in any kind of numbers. The first is when each model is released - this is the natural cycle for all new cool tech, and represents the knowledgeable, techie audience. They know what they are getting and like it. Price is less of a concern for them. The second time Surface devices sell is when their price is reduced by several hundred dollars at the time when the next newer Surface is released. Compare this type of sales cycle with the more steady and regular sales of macbooks, ipads and tabs. Check it out and ask the folks working at the Microsoft store will tell you. This is what I've heard at every MSFT store I've visited across the country. I do market research for a living. I know how to ask questions and not lead the witness. Om not a pricing analyst, but from what I gather, if the Surface devices could launch at the price they are later reduced to when the next generation become released, they would sell a lot better.

The surface 3 is a very beautiful device. It is in many ways ahead of the market. It is also a bit too expensive for the vast majority of buyers.

MSFT is stuck in a catch 22. If they drop the price to a better level for sales, and accept the unit loss of revenue, they risk alienating their laptop producing partners. So, they make a premium device and sit on the edge of the market.

what can change this? I think the next generation of Intel chips and some of the really this and cool devices we saw previewed last month will tip the scales. I hope so anyway.

Your explanation of how sales peak is a valid one but it is the same for all products. Mainstream consumers will always wait for a sale or drop in price before buying almost anything. What MS is doing is no different than any other company. MS is always aiming to make money. By cutting the price their profits are decreased. Mostly the initial premium price is to recoup some of the R&D costs of creating it. Something most people don't take into consideration when thinking of how much the device cost to be made. They think in terms of manufacturing but there is a lot more beyond that.

I guess the point in making here is the dip in sales between the launch "bump" and the price cut "bump" is very much greater for Surface devices, compared to other devices.

Great review Daniel. I'm wondering though you mentioned the display and how good it looks. From the pictures it really does look vibrant. I was wondering compared to the Surface 2 does the display look more vibrant or about the same? And is it easier to use in the sunlight than a Surface 2 because of the changes they made?

Also I'm waiting for that one guy...DCJBS or whatever to post about the keyboards even though it was clearly addressed in the article.

Display on the SP3 is not as bright as the SP3 due to higher resolution (more pixels) and the large display. I think it's clearer looking than the SP2, but then again the SP2's display was always really nice.

SP3 is okay outside. Glare is reduced, which helps, but there's no super brightness mode for the beach.

Ahh maybe we'll have to wait for the SP4 for a display of sunlight readability goodness.

Since they addressed practically all of the issues with the SP2, I think this could be an area to look at.

Now that nokia D&S is part of MS they can include the assertive screen tech they own (2520) as I am sure thats covered under the blanket patent deal.

Nice review by the way...

I think these will be like SUVs and good proportion will find them useful. I have the original PRO and at home its 80% tablet 20% PC, and on the move its almost the opposite. but thats my preference for the desktop at home. It does have the capacity to do it all for many (extra screen and keyboard.)


Nice review Dan.  Hows the readability in direct sunlight?

Let me know when I can send you my mailing address for when you select me for wining the Surface Pro 3 giveaway :D

Please Daniel uninstall google chrome app from your surface it's just ruining a perfect picture of the beautiful thing called the surface 3 pro ... pleazzzzzzzzzzzzzzz

Care to share that wallpaper? It looks marvelous! Good review, too. I look forward to seeing a smaller, more portable version of the tablet as I do not really need a laptop replacement.

Good review! I appreciate the fact that you spent considerable time with the device before giving us your thoughts.

I will wait for surface pro 4 for better outdoor use and battery life. My pro 2 is doing alright at mo. Only u can't use it outside

Surface products should be seen as fine merchandise with limited quantities sold to an exclusive club. Not sure when or if it will ever be adopted by the masses so I'm just calling it what it is for now...

I'm probably one of the few that wants a smaller SP3, like the size of the previous models. I prefer more tablet than laptop lol. Hope the arm version retains its size and they throw in pen. Really really digging that kick stand.

on earth, people use laptops on their laps for light use like web browsing, emails, watching videos. those are situations that are better served by a tablet. when there is any real work to do, most people will sit down at a desk or table because the ergonomics of typing on your lap are poor. Some people still do it and people who travel and have no choice but to do their work on their lap, like journalists. the surface will work well on your lap when used as a tablet or for light typing using the keyboard.

I don't know from what planet you are, but on my planet earth everyone is using laptops on desks, tables and a like. Only when you cannot find a desk, table or alike, you go suffer using a laptop  on a lap. Like Jagar, it has been a while since I have seen anybody using a laptop on their lap. recently a site had a poll about this question. I think it was Theverge. And it showed that over 90% does NOT use a laptop a their lap but on a desk/table or alike..

I wanna ask a question , does the surface pro 3 do the same as any laptop do , like I wanna download a game from the internet or something like that , can the surface pro 3 handle this ?

Should be fine. i can download games from Steam and play GW2 on my SP2 without a problem. My SP2 runs the best with games when I hook it up to my tv and have the screen off, it seems to dramatically cut down on heat.

I have a question Daniel l, I've read somewhere that you need to download n-trig drivers from it's website for pressure sensitivity to work, is it true?

If only some magical money fairy would dust some cash in my pockets so I could buy one, hell, id be happy with one of the lower end Surfaces!

Daniel, can you update the article with Cinebench ( test results. There's been quite alot of speculating if Surface 3Pro could be considered as a proper tool to replace laptop in higher-end 3d work environment. If the i5 has enough power in the engine room, I'm sure to invest in either this model or the i7.

I have a Macbook Air and an iPad air; I have thought of trading these both in towards a Surface Pro 3 (Microsoft Stores should give extra trade in credit towards a Surface for these!) . It's not that I dislike OSx, but rather that I just prefer to have one device that does it all. 

My biggest peeve is the extra cost of the keyboard. And yes, the author says its like buying a cover, but I am used to $20 covers for my tablets; not $130. I would love if this was bundled for a discount or something. It just adds to the cost and makes it a bit unappealing. 

For now, I am probably going to just stick with the Air/Air combo. But I do think Microsoft is on the right track with the Surface Pro 3. 

You could sell those two things and get more than what you would with a trade-in.

On top of that, there have been lots of ways to get discounts from the MS Store such as 5% off just by texting (forgot the number) their number, $25 just for a OneNote demo in the store, and most recently the trade-in of games (XB1, XB 360, PS3, PS4, Wii) for $10.

As for the cost of the keyboard, it is pricey. It's a functional cover, but you could always go on the cheap and get a cheap case + a bluetooth keyboard like you would with your iPad. Get the keyboard cover though - you'll be much happier in the long run.

Here's what you can do. Go to their store and buy one (or online). They'll give you 30 days to test drive it. If you don't like it, you can return it without any fees and no pressure/guilt. Chances are, you'll find that having two devices is clunky, and you'll wonder why everyone you know isn't using a Surface Pro.

I bought one today to try it out. So far, I'm far less impressed than I expected, and am honestly starting to wonder if a single device that does both slate and laptop is actually possible without to many compromises. Biggest disappointments so fast compared to my Dell XPS 12 are the keyboard, which compared to decent ultra book keyboards is really not good, and the high, non-standard resolution, which means when I RDP into any servers, I can't read anything even if I lower the resolution of the connection. I'll have to change their text size to make it work. Also, I do sometimes do some menial work tasks in front of the tv, and have my laptop on my lap. The keyboard of the SP3 feels particularly flimsy in that mode.

Great, in depth review. I'll probably give this a miss now. I like to be able to do heavy gaming so this isn't for me unfortunately. Plus, the keyboard isn't included? Wow. That is bad.

Great review, convinced me to upgrade from pro 1, that is if I can afford it. Expensive in uk based on exchange rates, hopefully I can get a friend to bring back from usa/aus. Love the new design and kickstand, don't do much gaming these days as way too busy so should fit in nicely.

If they have quality control for Surface 3 like they have for Surface Pro 2, then no one should buy it. I thought the high price is because of excelent quality. But my device is everything but quality device. And to make things worse, they don't deliver replacement devices to my country...

Unfortunately there are more than one problem. The most severe is with fans. I seems like they are out of balance so they scrape against something. Especially when I move device. And while they do that, sometimes battery can't charge it self.

I've always wondered where people go for a solid 8+ hours of use without access to power.  When I had my Surface Pro, I had never gone more than 4 hours of actual use without having access to charge it.

Even if you have access to power outlets, a longer battery life will save you the hassle of bringing the charger. I think that's the main advantage.

how did you ever get by when the battery life was 2-3 hours on most laptops. the battery life on laptops only started topping 8 hours last year. now it's a feal breaker? you must have a heck of a work schedule if you don't have an opportunity to charge after 8 hours.

Daniel - Excellent, well written review! Where did you get the sweet Polygonal Start Screen background?

Btw - I should also add that my preorder is out for delivery on UPS. I'm stoked!

I visited a friend at LA, and we sat next to a Surface Pro 3 billboard for lunch.  I mentioned that I've seen a number of those in town.  He took a look, and said, "no tablet will replace my laptop."  I paused a little bit, then asked, why?  His first reply was, since it doesn't have a keyboard.  I was like, well, it does, look again.  Then he said, it's too small.  I came back with, well 12" is a little bit small, but not prohibitive, which he didn't follow up.  His laptop is 13.3" btw.

I just want to show case how much work Microsoft needs to do in order to comminucate with the public.  I wonder whether it is a concept too much ahead of its time.

People used to say, "no laptop is going to replace my laptop." They also said "I need to build my own so I can choose all the components." These people are fewer and fewer.

I wonder how tough it is for WPcentral reviewers to write an unbiased review about a Windows-based product!

I am really impressed!

All it takes is honesty, and real time spent with a device. Some things that are obviously lacking in most "tech reviews" I come across.

Great review Daniel! I decided to wait for the i7 and frankly see if any kinks need to be worked out in the next two months. The OneNote click feature is fantastic for business users. There is no downside to this device if the form factor matches your needs. I don't sit up in bed on a laptop, so that would really be the only use where it is a 'lesser' device than required. Well done MSFT. Thanks again Daniel.

They talk about price being a problem closer to the end, but apple's laptops or tablets out price it easily. How is the price an issues. I think people are the problem. Fear of innovation and switching from something familiar (apple products). I have use MS products for years you will not see me switching to anything else mainly because I'm so used to the eco system and what it offers, apple doesn't offer anything that speaks to me as a designer. To put it simply fan boys will stay fan boys. MS is making a right move to lure laptop users over instead of competing with apple's paper weights (tablets).

The price issue is easy to fix: just create a bundle. It's just marketing. Pick out the Tablet and Keyboard you want and make the total price cheaper than you can buy individually.

I got the bundle. $299. Includes a year of Office 365, 2-yr Microsoft complete, sleeve and type cover. Netted out to $30 more than just the 2 year warranty and type cover, which I was going to buy anyhow. And got a bag of goodies.

Posted via Windows Phone Central App

Question: how does the SP3 mousepad fair against the ORIGINAL type cover mousepad? Because the original type cover 2 had a really good one.



Great review.

I think the SP3 pen, from what I've seen on videos, is better for drawing actually. The SP1 and SP2 pens were horrible for that, specially if you rely on details in your designs. The SP3 pen however stands the advantage of the display and the pen technology. Sure it has fewer pressure points but then again, the design programs all have that problem "solved" for you anyway. Sure it takes extra work, but you won't need the old gazzillion pressure points.


I've decided to give Microsoft one LAST chance with the SP3 (despite hating the silver colour...I much prefered the black versions). However, such a chance will only exist if I get one sent from the USA.


Price. The price is indeed going to drive away many potential buyers SPECIALLY in Europe. Why?

Well, I don't mind paying 999 DOLLARS (+cover) for the i5/128GB. That's roughly 740€ plus 96€ for the cover, so 834€ for us in Europe when converted. That's fair and in line with other offerings.

However I will NOT PAY the European prices where the i5/128GB costs 1019€ (US$1385) plus 135€ (US$183) for the cover. This is just borderline robbery.

However, I will NOT pay the prices Microsoft practices in Europe, meaning

Great review!
I think work needs to be done on the processors and software to help get Windows Machines to approach MacBook level battery life.
I am totally impressed with the engineering in this device, but the trackpad and the pen storage are the last two things I really hope they find a way to impress us in future designs.  For the pen, some sort of rounded knotch it can be snapped into along one of the sides.  Yes it would incease thickness at that point, but it also changes the dimensions when you tape it on.

I really like what they've done with the Surface Pro 3 but I'm not sure I'm willing to sell my original Surface Pro, type cover, power cover, and docking station to switch.  Tempting though.  I'll have to go fondle one at the local Best Buy to see if it persuades me.

Damn, this is the most complete and honest review. Everything I want and I would want to know.. Great job Dan!

If microsoft would add a third option for Surface Pro 3 as "Intel Core i7 / 128 GB / 4GB of RAM / $1099" i'm sure some people would love this also

Great review. Kind of wish this device came when when i started uni. No doubt i would have got it. I'll just look on in envy..

This is an excellent review - thanks!  My pre-order should be arriving today and reading this just reassured me that I made the right decision.

I don't understand why people like bigger track pads; they're incredibly awkward to use! You have to keep your hand elevated while you use them so your wrist isn't interfering, and in order to use them you need to move your whole wrist. They generally remove physical buttons on these craptastic failures and the basic operating of click n drag becomes incredibly arduous; and yet somehow people still like them! And the devices like Macs with the huge ones just look ugly, they generally are implemented at the cost of a good keyboard which gets scrunched up near the top (every year laptop keyboards get a tiny bit worse).
With a small track pad, you rest your wrist on the edge of your device and just simply move your index finger, increasing the sensitivity if need be. I can't move my index finger more than 1.5 inches horizontally, so anything larger than a square 1.5" box is just wasting space. Fine, make enough room for two finger scrolling (even though chiral is better), but three finger gestures are gimmicky at best. Operating the trackpad is something you only need finger movement for, and larger trackpads force awkward wrist and even elbow movement/orientation. How freakin inefficient is that!?

"I'm still not liking the power on-off states though for Windows 8.1. I find it odd that sometimes I hit the power button and the device wakes, where other times I need to keep it down for a few seconds. Throw in the occasions where it just doesn't wake, and it becomes a weird guessing game of how enable my tablet."

This drives me nuts! Micrsoft needs to specify what is the correct procedure to wake it up from its various power states, and they need to make it work!!

Great review,what i don't get is why Microsoft don't give you 200GB OneDrive space for 2 years and 1 Year Unlimited Skype calls for 1 Year Bundle along with the SP3,it's still being offered for the SP2 until this day.

In Best Buy now typing on the Surface 3.  It so light and just awesome.  I will be purchasing this device as soon as I can get my education discount.  I don't know if they are offering it right at this moment.  But that is my first thing to check when I get home.  And the keyboard is so easy to type on.  I don't know what all the fuss is all about.  Luv it!  This is certainly a winner for me!

I just picked up mine at the Microsoft store with students discount of 10%. All the udates are getting installed as I type...:-)

Yes, educational discount is allowed - I used it and just had my SP3 delivered about 30 minutes ago by UPS.  I'm going to go to Best Buy today to pick-up a dark-blue type cover (I like it better than the Microsoft exclusive red or the other colors)! dream tablet.
Though I like the first two Surface Pros, they only have 10 inch screen which I find too small for me for productivity use, especially for digital painting and programming. This one though is almost perfect! The OneNote pen click feature is genius and would be a very valuable feature for students. I also think they are on a right track that Microsoft market it to the laptop buyers and for people looking for a device for productivity, than for those looking for tablets (which is majority are looking for cheaper casual tablet for play), still have to do better at marketing.
I hope that the Type Cover price to little bit lower, not now but later. I also think about the pen, they could make an optional pen version with at least 1024-level pressure in the future. Since the concern isn't in the device itself, but on the pen (I might be wrongh though).

Anyways, awesome detailed review Daniel! :D

For me the Surface Pro 3 is super lusty!  I think I could live with it as my main machine.  I do wish they had designed a Transformer style keyboard dock to go along with the Type Cover keyboard.

That would be a nice option. Keyboard dock with built-in bigger battery than Power Cover, better keyboard and trackpad, additional USB 3.0 ports. The only compromise though is that it should be heavier than the Surface Pro 3.

Great review, though there's a small typo: " does have to question all the manpower going into re-creating something that laptops DUE without thought." Should be "do".

Also, when I used the type cover in-store, it shook under my fingers as I typed. Anyone else have that issue? Though most of my work is in visual design so it wouldn't be that problematic anyway.

Fixed! Thanks.

Re: typing, when at the new angle, I wouldn't say it shakes but it has a hollow feeling. I actually really like that as it softens typing, but I suppose others could be bothered by it.

Good review, no, a very good review....though your discription of colors is interesting.  While all the type cover colors by MS are vibrant, almost like white fluffy clouds against an azure sky, plumb is somewhat leaden by comparison.  LOL!  Truth in advertising:  I have a Pro 2 (256, 8), had a Pro 1, and have a Pro 3 (i7, 256, 8) on pre-order.  Cannot wait - and each has been or will be my laptop, desktop and tablet.  Does that make it an "omnitop" or an "on-top" or just topless?


No he is using my weather app Ambient Weather! Thanks for using it Daniel! I was pumped to see it on your surface pro 3. I've been getting some new images and art for the app and will be doing an update soon.

I'm really tempted to get the pro 3 this weekend. I'll be going by the store to check it out myself ASAP :)


It's"12-inch display," not "12 inch display."

Anyway, I don't get the obsession with trackpads. Who uses trackpads on a touch-enabled device? Use a mouse or touch the screen. I don't even use trackpads on non-touch devices. They always suck: slow and cumbersome, even on the "almighty" MacBook.

Amazing review as always WPCentral good job! I REALLY want to buy the SP3 but already have a i5 128gb Yoga Pro 2  and totally satisfied with it. Already paid to put for full Office 2013 on it for school so it doesnt make sense for me to replace for this device since I can't transfer the license. The SP3 is so light though its really nice as a tablet compared to my Yoga Pro 2 but whatever I guess I should have waited lol it's too late now  :(

Just picked mine up. The firmware update takes forever. I hope it's not installing over and over again. Keeps rebooting and saying please wait while we install a system update. Hmm.
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Edit just finished. Whew!

Nice balanced review Daniel.

I think you can safely say that the surface can replace your laptop. I'm already eperiencing this with my surface pro 1st gen, so the third version can only confirm that experience. The surface has even replaced my quad core desktop computer from 2004! I don't even use a mouse or trackpad anymore. Everything on the surface can be done with touch, pen and the keyboard cover. I've even turned off my trackpad using an metro app in the windows store.

I would be careful about the silent fan promise. With the experience of my first gen surface pro, after a few months, up to a year, the fan does get louder over time, especially in a quiet room, I expect the same in the 3rd gen. A fan will always be fan, it will make noise, even if they say you can't hear it or is very silent (which theý aren't in time; it remains a tradeoff in the longterm).

I'm still convinced that when it comes to the tablet aspect of the surface pro, the stylus is the main selling feature and if marketed right can even be more to the liking than all the other tablet windows 8 tablets currently on the market. The thing that is clear is to me is that microsoft is clearly showing a further evolution of the surface towards the much anticipated courier device. I think with the surface pro series, microsoft is showing we're getting very close, and the sign that the stylus is getting more functionality and becoming part of the surfacepro experience, to me, is showing that spirit in the grand scheme of things. It saddens me therefor that microsoft still holds itself back that the surface pro can still be so much more than what is currently being presented. Don't get me wrong, the surface pro 3 is a mouthwatering device when it comes to the hardware of things, but I still stand that the software could be much much much much more! I've told you in my previous comments on a previous surface pro 3 review of yours, what my arguments and references are.

That convinces me still that the finished desgin was nog ready for marketing. Frankly, although almost convinced to dump my frist gen for the 3rd gen, it will still not be good enough for me for now to even consider switching from my first (or second gen if I owned one) gen surface pro to the 3. The surface pro 3 to me is still an alfa device, which makes me look even more forward to the next gen (4th gen) device. There certainly is more room for a better one. Up till that point I'm still highly satisfied with my first gen device.

I am still wondering how Lenovo was able to sell an i7, with 256 gb ssd, for 1200 when all other competitors are 300 to 400 dollars more. with the same specs.

Unless and until a tablet can rival a laptop in terms of content creation, HD capacity and RAM, it can't replace mine.

I thought this review was very helpful, very balanced. I have been wanting a tablet for a while, but I also want the computing power. I'm not a business person, I'm not a tech enthusiast or specialist, or have some other special needs for a tablet/computer. I just want it.   I like the way this review didn't point readers in one direction or another, it just gave the facts and the possible experiences one might have in using the device. Other reviews seem to focus so much on "you don't really need this if you're just doing this or that."  We don't need most of the things we buy.  Sometimes you want what you want, and you pay what it costs and that's it.  Well that's the category I'm in. I also like the last statement that mentioned that the price might deter how many buy the device but not necessarily how many people want it. Good point.

Anyway, excuse the tangent, great review.

"We don't need most of the things we buy. Sometimes you want what you want, and you pay what it costs and that's it."

Well said and I agree! I think if I gave anyone a Surface Pro 3, they'd find a use for in their daily life. That's much different than how some reviews spun it. Cost is a concern, but for some people, it's not an issue.

Glad you liked the review, thanks!

I absolutely love my SP2 with one exception... they released the SP3 way too son! But with everything I see in the '3' I'm sure I'd love that device as well. I won't buy one (unless something miraculous happens), but it's a great device.


As far as the "tech writers", well quite simply f*ck 'em. Here's why.

Look at the Surface for what it is, not for what you feel it's supposed to replace. Microsoft never called it the "hybrid", nor the "laptop" that can replace your laptop. They call it a tablet. Yet the tech world refuses to fall in line and do the same.


Because it doesn't fit the apple mold/profile of what a tablet has (or doesn't have in their case) so there is no way the Surface can be called a "tablet". And THAT is what is and what has been wrong with tech for years now. ipad's don't have the ability that the Surface has, so that means the Surface is the wrong choice? Again, MS called it the tablet that can replace a laptop, and by all intents and purposes that is in fact very true. But in every "review" I see it's being called a laptop. It's not a laptop...

I can't believe people can be that blind, ignorant and myopic. Again, it's a tablet... not a hybrid. No need to makeup a new category of devices because it doesn't fall in line with what apple calls their products.


It's long over due for people to stop looking toward apple as the end-all, be-all or the measuring stick of tech. They have long been surpassed in so many ways (assuming they were ever really at the forefront), but the benefits of the devices that outshine their offerings are always pushed to the back because of bullshit blind brand loyalty.



/pointless Surface rant.

Daniel, I saw you were using GPS sensor in the video, was it a bluetooth gps sensor? I really hope I can use the sensor in my Lumia 1020. I know it's doable with iPhone and Android with some GPS sharing apps, but didn't find anything like that on Windows Phone.