Surface Pro 3

My initial thoughts on the Surface Pro 3

Yesterday was an important day for Microsoft. With the announcement of the Surface Pro 3, Redmond is continuing to show that they’re in this for the long-haul and perhaps more importantly, they’re actively improving upon their previous work. A Surface Mini was not revealed as expected, but it sounds like for good reason, including the possibility of it contradicting the “one device to rule them all” message.

Sitting in the same room with Microsoft CEO Satya Nadella, Stephen Elop and the who’s who in tech media, it was fascinating to watch Panos Panay – the corporate vice president for Surface Computing at Microsoft – take the stage and sell us on the idea of the Surface Pro 3. Soon after the now familiar promo ad for the device, the audience cheered and enthusiastically clapped. It was an odd thing because it felt genuine; people were seriously excited about this announcement.

Fast forward 24 hours and most of the ‘new tech high’ has worn off, and a few of us who have the Surface Pro 3 are digging deep into this new creation. Being sold on the idea is one thing, but using it and actually liking it is another. While it’s much too early for a review, here are some of my first thoughts on the Surface Pro 3 and Microsoft’s chances of success with it.

Panos Panay

It’s really well built

All of Microsoft’s Surfaces have so far felt very premium, and the Surface Pro 3 is no different. Machined parts, no wobble or creaks, the Surface Pro 3 feels the price it fetches. The Surface Pro 3 isn’t meant to compete with budget computers; it’s an all-in-one, high-end, high quality device that demonstrates the best of Microsoft. Here, I think it succeeds.

I love the color

My favorite device up until now has been the Surface 2 and Surface 2 with LTE. Part of the appeal was the metallic grey color, because I just find black boring. Making the Surface Pro 3 in that same color scheme makes the device stand out. It’s also less dreary.

It’s light and it’s heavy

The Surface Pro 3 weighs 1.7 pounds. That’s on the heavy side for a pure tablet (versus 1.44 pounds for iPad Retina; just 1.0 pound for iPad Air), but it’s not prohibitively heavy. By that I mean it still feels good to hold, partly due to it being so thin. Is it too much tablet? Maybe, but it’s not as silly as the Lenovo Yoga and flipping that to be a tablet. The Surface Pro 3 at least feels like a legit tablet on its own and dare I say, it feels more tablet-y than the Surface Pro 2 too.

But if you think of the Surface Pro 3 as a laptop, it’s very light (MacBook Air is 2.38 pounds by comparison at 11 inches; 2.96 pounds at 13 inches). When tossing it in my Ultrabook shoulder bag, I’m reminded just how light it is when compared to even standard Ultrabooks these days.

The new kickstand is great

Having a kickstand on a tablet was nice (Surface gen 1); having two positions was better (gen 2), but having an almost infinite amount of positions is the best. The kickstand has always been the cornerstone of the Surface series, and it’s one of the main reasons I’ll choose it over a Lumia 2520 any day.

It will be fascinating to see how long this new hinge lasts. I will say it’s very stiff, so stiff that you feel like you may break it off at first. Good problem to have, I suppose.

Panos Pen

The pen holder is awkward

As you could tell from Mark’s earlier article, the pen holder is a bit odd. Having said that, I’m not sure what else Microsoft  could do to resolve this issue. They can’t put the pen into the device (it’s already too thin and packed too tightly) and the pen is too unique to abandon. C’est la vie.

It’s fast

Running an Intel Core i5-4300 (1.9-2.5 GHz), it’s easily the fastest Surface I’ve used. I couldn’t imagine the Core i7, though I assume some of you need that much horsepower. For me, for now, I’ll take the extra bump in battery life. Seeing as how fast the Core i5 feels, I have high hopes for the cheaper Core i3, which is good for those of you on a budget.

Battery life seems legit

No, I haven’t performed any battery tests*, but from using it all day and having hordes of people ogle it all night, it still had 30% by midnight. It doesn’t feel like I need to monitor the battery on the Surface Pro 3, which is a good thing. We’ll see though how that holds up over the next few days.

*Microsoft rates the battery life at about 9 hours for web-browsing

Front-facing speakers are awesome

Nokia got the front-facing speakers rights on the Lumia 2520, so I’m glad to see Microsoft follow suit. Having stereo speakers produce sound aimed at your face is the only way to go. In fact, it feels downright silly to have speakers on the sides. Considering these are supposed to be 45% more powerful than the last version, they’re exciting. They won’t shake the room, but they will envelope you when using the Surface.

Surface Pro 3

2160 x 1440 resolution nails it

I have a few quad-HD devices (2550 x 1440) and while the resolution is remarkable, scaling on Windows desktop can be trying at times with some items just being tiny. The resolution on the Surface Pro 3 is ideal with everything scaling nicely; nothing feels too small so far.

3:2 is better than 16:9

I’ll explain why Microsoft went with 3:2 for screen dimension on the Surface Pro 3 in another article, but for now I’ll just say I prefer it, especially in portrait mode. My older Surfaces now look odd being so long in the horizontal plane. Sure, I get that 16:9 is good for movies, but 3:2 is much more natural for daily computing, and that’s what this device is for, as opposed to being a media-centric device.

The pen…works

Okay, I’ll catch flak for this but I’m just not a pen and paper user. My knowledge on Wacom versus N-trig lacks and my handwriting is just as terrible. Also, this Surface Pro 3 needs some more software before the new pen can be fully utilized.

But it is cool.

Clicking the pen button to launch OneNote – even when the device is locked – is a neat trick and very useful. The Surface team heavily researched what makes the perfect pen, including the ideal size, the ideal tip, the ideal weight balance and even how resistive the coating should be for your grip. Once you try it, you’ll see that this isn’t a gimmick.

It’s quiet and there’s no heat

Yes, the Surface Pro 3 does have a fan, despite some previous reports. In fact, it has a highly customized fan that Microsoft has allegedly been working on for three years. It’s neat technology but to the user, all you need to know is this: you’ll rarely (if ever) hear it, and you won’t feel it. I did manage only once so far to get it to crank lough enough to be audible. It sounded like steam hissing a bit, and it was very temporary.

You can make the Surface Pro 3 slightly warm (not searing) when pushing the CPU, but my Lumia 1520 can easily get hotter, for reference. If it weren’t for the radial vent, I would swear this was an RT device, to be honest.

The new trackpad is way better

The old trackpad was barely useable, but Microsoft has addressed that with the Surface Pro 3. It has 70% less friction; it’s larger, and it has a very firm and satisfying ‘click’ when you push it down. Fun fact: it’s evidently made from little glass beads to give just the right feel for your fingers.

New power connector for charging is also better

I wrote on this earlier. The power cord has been completely re-worked and is 87% (my calculation) less annoying than previous versions. See my previous report for more information.

Initial conclusion?

Up until now, I’ve been a Surface RT guy instead of Surface Pro. My reasons?

  • Lighter and thinner
  • Better battery
  • Better camera
  • Better color scheme

It was my ‘lay back and relax’ Windows device that I could snap a keyboard on if I wanted to do some “real” work. Not too real, mind you, for that I have a Dell XPS 15 with a Core i7 or my dual-27 inch desk setup. But if I needed to do some emails, web searching, Twitter responses, etc., my Surface 2 was my go-to device. The Surface Pro 1 and 2 though were too thick, too pricey, and their screens were too small for my liking. For that price and size I’d just use my Ultrabooks and be done with it.

With the Surface Pro 3, Microsoft has addressed nearly every concern of mine, even the cameras (which aren’t amazing, but are better than the Surface 2’s). The device feels like the best of the Surface 2 combined with the Pro’s hardware, but now with a bigger screen and some new innovation.

The only thing missing for my likes? Give me an LTE option.

The Surface Pro 3 is an impressive device. I’m not sure if it’s the device for everyone, or whether or not it will even sell well. But I can say it Microsoft is trying hard, and if anything, they have set the bar for quality and even innovation. So far at least, I feel good about grabbing this instead of my Surface 2, and I’m even more likely to leave a laptop behind. Let’s see how it all works in the coming days but yeah, I'm impressed.

Have a question about the Surface Pro 3? Ask away and I’ll try to answer! If you want more discussion, jump into our Surface Pro 3 forum.


Reader comments

My initial thoughts on the Surface Pro 3



cant wait to put my hands on this. was going for a surface 2 but now I'll save a bit more and buy this. College only starts in September so I've got some time to save some money :D

Yeah I am in the same position as you. But the problem is I live far away from Microsoft store :(

Yes, and they have an exclusive Blue Touch cover that only you could find at BestBuy(not at Microsoft Store)

And here, today i read in the newspaper, it had an article from new york times (i think ?), and guess what ? It said "..Microsoft, so far having failed to get any success in the mobile and tablet industry..". What the hell !!
No mention of OneNote, just wrote "note taking", no mention of specs, no mention of the fact that it runs full win8 (for non-geeks). How would MS get the attention if the media doesn't cover their best points ? Ads alone dont suffice.

Only if Apple brings out something new it's heralded as the second coming of Christ. I'm not even joking here. It's like Apple owns the NYT.

Not bashing iProducts here. Oke, maybe a little :P

I would've ordered mine today... but I want LTE, d*mnit... so I'm going to wait.  I know, I know... I could tether... or dongle... but I don't want to tether or dongle.  So I'm going to wait... and hope they release an LTE version for Christmas.  If they do, then I'll buy one on day one.

Until then, I'll tether my Surface RT when necessary.  *sigh*

If you have a Windows phone, tethering ain't really a big deal. It's pretty much all automatic from the point you force it to connect, which takes 5 whole screen touches.

And after 5 hours you have neither tablet or Phone because the battery is empty. also LTE only tarifs are available. The Data options on Mobile contracts are a joke anyways. feels like living back in 1995

yup. Tethering isn't an option. It is like back in the days when you had to buy a wi-fi card. remember that? this is 2014. LTE as a built in option shouldn't even be a matter for debate when you sell a device touted to replace both a tablet (which can have LTE) and a PC.

I will too buy a second surface 3 if they release it for LTE because I use the tablet to process credit cards in places where there is no wifi. currently I have to use my phone for this and as you say, it dies faster.

I've considered buying a second phone. can you imagine? ridiculous MSFT. just ridiculous.

You're going to use the internet straight for 5 hours? That's quite expensive.... How much data are you looking to use?

-- Bam --

Do people who are using Smartphones and Tablets seriously not going with a data tariff? Since 2 years I've 10gb data tariff in the Netherlands (35€, even incl. some free call minutes and free SMS) for my Lumia 1020 instead of a crapy default phone plan which usually only includes 200mb or 500mb.

Skype is my replacement for normal phone calls ('free' landline calls to DE coming from the Office 365 package I've running) and texting. Most people I know are reachable through WhatsApp, Facebook Chat or Viber etc. I really have no need anymore for a classic phone tariff, these so called smartphone tariffs are a joke for devices that heavily rely on data

All in all I pay around 45-50 €/month depending if I additionaly call mobile numbers and do some SMS texting. Previously I payed 50€ alone to have free cals within the same carrier network and landlines and crapy 500MB data volume and since I switched I really ask myself why it took me so long to switch.

As soon as MS offers the Surface Pro 3 with a SIM option and in something else than grey it will be a day one buy!

Anyone knows if is out there a LTE Intel chip capable? Even Samsung can't make they ARM Exynos chips work with LTE. As far as I know Intel doesn't have LTE Intel Core iX chips. Can Microsoft put a second LTE chip in the Surface maybe? Anyone?

Do you reviewers not mention which gpu is in this on purpose ?? Is it a 4400 a 5200 iris or what is it ???

He mentioned the CPU. All i5-4300's use an HD4400. An iris pro at meaningful performance is a 28W+ part, and double the COU thermal budget of what is currently in the device. It just wont work.

I would love one but... I can't stand grey on electronics. I know the fashion goes between grey and black every few years, especially with things like tv sets (sky boxes usually show you where the trend is at the moment), but I HATE grey! Tech looks sleek, timeless and sexy in black, buy grey looks old and dull straight away.

I completely agree. The grey is massive turn off for me. I've got an SP2 and everything else about this is exactly what I've been wanting with the larger, higher resolution screen and the ability to tilt it all the way back for comfortable pen use. Oh well, I can't really justify the spend on an upgrade so soon anyway. Hopefully they bring back the black next year.

Colours are good too, something to match my Red 920 or the coming 930s would be highly appreciated.

I hate gray too, but this isn't really gray, it has a rich metallic appearance rather than gray. Have you seen these in person? 

I have another question if you have time; I do not know what to search to find this, but you've probably provided how you have made your surface 2 set up. Any chance you can share that with me?

Because, I love my surface 2, but if you have a better, more comfortable set up, I would love to try it!

What I mean is, the specific ways you use it. Unless you have a YouTube video. I should start there

-- Bam --

What journalist isn't all about the i? Even the supposed tech news sites have a hard time finding someone who will do reviews without an Apple/Android only agenda.

I had just read that article and was coming here to discuss it. Something told me to read these comments. FOX news totally skews it towards the iPad. They even go as far as saying the say the Surface pen costs an extra $50, which isn't true.

They even go out of their way to pad the specs of the iPad by listing it's speakers under "Ports". Ugh. The tone of the article is completely negative towards the Surface.

Just FYI, it is not a FOX News written article. It's from Digital Trends. FOX News frequently prints tech articles form other sources (like BGR), all of which I hate an usually disagree with.

And it's a ridiculous comparison. It's like comparing a Mercedes (Surface Pro 3) to a Smart car (iPad Air). There's no comparison and theyre not directed to the same consumers. But, The SP3 blows away the iPad Air.

I went to the digital trends site and probably got banned. I was not very nice in the comments I left to others and especially not their hack psuedo journalist that wrote the story.

Awesome news. starting with the comparison not even trying to calculate pounds in grams and not listing all graphic options as well as storage options for the surface as well as CPUs .. wonder how they "compare" it then :O basically this comparision is full of shit

this is why MSFT needs to garget the journalist market (which this tablet kind of does). all these iditos basically see a non apple device and bash it, where as if it was the same thing with an apple logo, they'd orgasm in text form.

Just a heads-up--this is actually a story that is also displayed on Fox News' site.

Edit: oh, goodness... I'm a little late on this.

The Surface Pro 3 uses N-Trig technology and is NOT compatible with any Wacom stylus. The other two main differences between N-Trig and Wacom is that N-Trig only has 256 levels of pressure sensitivity while inking, Wacom has 1,024. N-Trig pens also require either AAA or AAAA batteries to function whereas Wacom pens don't need a battery.

This won't be good news for artists or Photoshop pro's who were hoping to purchase the SP3 and hoping for Wacom technology.

Dan, are you saying Microsoft failed to deliver? Since they meant for this product to replace our laptops.

that's like saying because it doesn't replace every laptop, it isn't a laptop replacement. realistically, you have to use common sense. Does it replace a 17 inch laptop? off course not. how can it?

I really think they need to sell this as being a super slick laptop, instead of a super expensive tablet... They've always had trouble defining their surface products, but this one finally makes sense as a real laptop, and occasional tablet, rather than the other way around. I'll be getting one, but can't see myself using it much without the keyboard attached.

I agree and so doesn't Microsoft. Watch the presentation yesterday, iPad was barely mentioned if at all. It was all MacBook Air/MacBook Pro. Let's see if the ad campaign follows suite, but my guess is it will due to the way it was announced.

That's good. I didn't watch the presentation, but a lot of the news coverage and pictures I saw treated it as a tablet and compared to the iPad. Of course, the press has its own vested interest in creating compelling storylines rather than describing reality, so what Microsoft does and what the press says can often be two different things... Unfortunately they shape perception. I really hope Microsoft pulls this off. :)
Would be nice if they have a package that includes keyboard for less than the two parts separately as well... For those of us who want a laptop. :)

Right. Exactly

The one thing I think most people don't get is that it's not supposed to be a better tablet than the iPad and a better laptop than a MacBook

It's supposed to be a better laptop than an iPad and a better tablet than a MacBook, and it absolutely excells at both

"It's supposed to be a better laptop than an iPad and a better tablet than a MacBook, and it absolutely excels at both"

Wow dude lol spot on man! that is exactly what every one needs to know before stating an opinion, especially journalist -_-

A macbook isnt trying to be a tablet, and an IPad isnt trying to be a macbook. The Surface 3 is trying to be both, but succeeding at neither

What do you mean "succeding at neither" if S3 is not even out yet! Its just a statement fir the sake of it or fear, right?

That's a perfect way of putting it. Try using a Macbook or an iPad to draw straight into Sketchbook Pro or Photoshop and when you're done log into your XenCenter to manage your VM's. Both experiences are done better on the Surface Pro 3.

@ BeneathTheSurface:  Your explanation was BRILLIANT.  "It's supposed to be a better laptop than an iPad and a better tablet than a MacBook."

I hope Microsoft heard that.

That's a cool way to express it.  Of course, NO tablet is of any use to me unless it CAN replace my current laptop in most ways.  That's one reasyon why the iPad and Android devices are useless consumption toys as far as I'm concerned.  I'm a musician, an IT administrator and budding netcaster, I rely a lot on my laptop, which goes with me literally everywhere.  It doesn't have LTE, but I also always have my Lumia 1020, so that's not really a concern for me.  The Surface Pro 3 seems to be pretty much ideal as a near-complete laptop replacement.  It will be able to run the legacy software to support my synthesizers, allow me to more conveniently manage my network admin tasks, and even handle some of the lighter aspects of my netcasting pre- or post-production.  This is the kind of performance I demand in a tablet, period.  Nothing else, not iPad nor Android toy, qualifies as a useful tablet to me.

lnteresting. For the past week I've been installing my home studio software (Sonar) on a Surface Pro 2 and am so far pleased with the results. Other than issues with a couple of very old legacy VST plugins (Arturia) everything works as advertised - and blindingly fast. I'll still keep my studio on my dual monitor desktop rig, but now at least I can edit while I'm on the road.

Very pleased. And there's no way I could get anywhere near this kind of power on an iPad or Android toy.

Yep, that's so annoying. FOX News even compared it to the iPad Air, put all the specs side by side and said the Air was 'the clear winner' because it was smaller. Sure that's FOX News for you, but they're not the only ones making stupid comparisons.

When they do the comparison for the surface mini to iPad mini 2, iPad mini 2 will win because it is the second one.

-- Bam --

His point was.  No matter what Microsoft came out with, it will always be Apple as the winner.  That is the reason Surface Mini was on hold, because both Elop and Satya decided to put it in the back burner until they find something more differentiate to compete with.




Yeah, I know. Super obvious, LOL :). Though I don't think that's the reason they put it aside. I think it's more that they're hoping for OEM's to start dropping devices with free Windows installed in the 7-8" category, probably in the same range as Android devices ($99-199) and don't want to disrupt that.

And really, there's no need for an 8" Surface anyway. Tons of 8" full Win8 devices already exist and, if you look for sales and refurbs, can be had for under $200 anyway. Why get in the way of those OEM's? I wouldn't. Let them have that space, the profit's in selling apps and gaining market share :)

Actually I think there is a reason for a Surface Mini to exist with great inking and great reading experience. It would be an ideal note taking size. Consume books, if MS could get Amazon to create a decent Kindle app and Audible app. And if it came with touch designed Office for three main programs could be useful for light productivity also. There has to be some play also for the Barnes and Nobles stuff that they paid 300 million dollars for. 


Surely they could handle that via some sort of voucher. I really think to do battle with laptops/ultrabooks they need to bundle a keyboard. Never mind im still getting one.

Well, color options is one thing, but in the past they also had both the Type Cover and the Touch Cover (which was a no-show at this event-- perhaps it wasn't performing well, either market-wise or experience-wise). Now that there is just one type of cover (ugh. pun.), it makes a little less sense that the cover isn't included in the price. Since they are marketing it as a laptop replacement, it is a hard case to make that the cover is optional.

Daniel, nice report. My feeling is that the modern ui will be combined with RT/ WP 8.1. This tablet makes that conclusion now seem more evident, when i see the 3 in portrait mode it would almost mimic what a phones homescreen would look like, IMO. Think of it, every app thats on the phone works in the modern ui. Do you think my suspicions have merit?

Would love to see a wordflow keyboard on tablets as well as maybe making the keys smaller and maybe seethrough...

Yes, they are definitely heading that way. I think they have even said so.

I honestly thought WordFlow was in W8.1 already (I don't have a touch screen on my PC at home). I LOVE it on the phone, and hope they can bring it to W8.1 too!

As I type this on my 2520 i get so irritated that hitting the spacebar sometimes hits the windows key and the keyboard is too big, in fact too large on all W8 devices. I think a cool keyboard would be see through and smaller. IMO. Ill look forward to the article Daniel.

Why doesn't Microsoft make a really slim laptop? With all the research done on surface 3, they can easily outdo the MacBook Air and show apple it's place in hardware innovation. Shouldn't spook hardware OEMs due to high price. I have my own serious doubts of this will sell gangbusters. The laptop would have been totally different and a huge market

I would by a Macbook Air type laptop from Microsoft with the same kind of great tech as is in the surface pro 3. For me the new surface pro isnt a tablet, it's a laptop replacement - so give it a proper keyboard already and a rigid hinge so I can use it everywhere, rather than hardly anywhere at all

If the Surface Pro is going to be primarily used as a laptop (and we all know it will), then why don't they just give us a REAL keyboard... that is detachable?  Meaning, in addtion to the Type Covers... maybe offer a slim (but heavier) Magnesium keyboard (with an extra battery in it) for those who prefer that?

I think that would go a long way in convincing the fence-sitters to take the plunge.  The new Surface may be lappable... but it's still not as lappable as a LAPtop.

Totally agree. I wonder if they aren't trying to avoid stepping on OEM toes by presenting it as a tablet instead of a laptop. Have read a bit about some of their 'partners' getting pissed that they're competing in the device game and building more Chromebooks, in part, to illustrate that.

The impression I got was unless you really need to use a pen this device doesn't make a lot of sense. It's too expensive, it's too big for most tablet users. For laptop users you have options with much better keyboards and less fiddly designs. I really don't like the boring gray color either. The bright colorful covers look terrible mismatched with the boring gray box color. I think it looked a lot more sleek in black and black made the color keyboards pop.

I don't use a laptop on my lap ever so the obsession with lap ability is completely lost on me. I love the two in one concept, but for my money you cannot beat the transformer designs that HP, Dell, Lenovo, Asus and Acer are using.

I think I'll buy the i3 if it can run for app coding. Maybe if I do well at work ill get an i5. But def not an i7. I rarely use my.laptop and dell venue 8 pro as it is to spend that kind lok

Also.why can't I click wpcentral links in notification center. Always says no network connection even when I'm.on WiFi.

I'm in your same boat. If it can handle visual studio well enough, I'm seriously considering the i3 option. I think once I pair it with an SD card I can live with the 64GB ssd. Daniel can you tell us how much space is left after the OS? I remember with 8.1 update 1 they give OEMs an option for a smaller OS footprint in order to free up more space on 32GB devices.

Off the top of my head, not too sure, but on my 256 GB device there's 232 GB available and after installing a lot of my apps, I'm down to 208 GB.

64GB has >36GB available disk space  • 128GB has >96GB available disk space  • 256GB has >211GB available disk space  • 512GB has >450GB available disk space. Taken right from Microsoft Store Specs for Surface Pro 3,

I think that the i5 option would be useful for us that need more on the go (virtualization would be it for me), but the i7 would only be for someone doing things like image or animation rendering on the go. I would totally be afraid for the battery life.

Trust me, I have the Pro 128 GB with Visual Studio 2013, SQL management tools, and some other 3rd party tools as well for a dev machine. I also have windows store apps installed, no media files and I have ~14 GB free. You'll want the 128 at the minimum.

For me a media consumption device would have to be a little smaller. Sure, a bigger screen means more content, but there comes a point where you feel like you're drowning in screen space and it's just too much for simply playing Halo 

Heck, I watch movies on my iPod Touch 5th gen and after a few minutes you develope tunnel vision and even the tiny...what is it, 3.5 inch screen? big enough to watch on

I love using my mom's Kindle Fire for just kicking back because it's so small and cozy

I would personally think that that's what the canvas kickstand more would be used for our angle slightly higher than the complete 150 degree angle

I wonder if MSFT will update the 10.6 inch with current specs of the SP3. Or if 12 inches is the new standard for the SP.

I think your enthusiasm with this product is a bit muted.  It is a game changer and the first innivative product that we have seen since the Macbook air.  Its ok to be excited about a microsoft product.

I don't disagree, but I've noticed no matter how awesome something is from Microsoft, it's perceived a lot less than the general consumers. Also, this is still a tough sell/up hill battle for them.

Having said that, yeah, so far I'm really enjoying it (despite a few software bugs due to non-finalized drivers).

So, as an oddity for Microsoft, when speaking with less tech-oriented friends about the Surface Pro, they genuinely seem to perceive it as a premium product; almost on par with how they view Apple products. The major sticking point has always been the price. Hard for people to stomach $800 for a tablet, period; especially when it isn't the 'top of the line'. As for RT or 2, as I'm sure you well know, the OS is so far down the shitter or public perception that no one even considers it (regardless of recent improvements).

'No one' refers to no one person. Though I would have thought it obvious, I was using the expression there to indicate the likely perception of the RT operating system as held by a typical member of the buying public. Lest we forget that the typical member of the buying public, if sales numbers are any indication, probably hasn't had any personal experience with the RT OS. Instead, they are probably only aware that it was almost universally panned when it first came out, and would avoid it for that reason. When I say 'it' was universally panned, I am in effect referring to both OS and Surface RT itself. The combination of the two were so poorly received, by and large, that it tainted the perception of the OS from thereon forward. I hope that was pedantic enough for you.

You might take care to notice that neither here, nor in my original comment, did I pass judgement on either product. I was referring only to how it is perceived by the general buying public. I am sure that those who own them like them quite a bit. I, too, like the Surface 2; but alas, I was never talking about those people or the actual quality of the product. It was all a matter of perception.

I can vouch for this, because I have direct, personal experience with being totally submerged in the thought process of "RT sucks, is not an option, don't bother looking". I convinced a friend to get a full windows 8.1 touchy laptop, and I think it's wonderful.  But every time I start poking around for windows tablets reviews online, I see "RT sucks" on every review site for every RT tablet. Kinda a downer when I'm looking to buy a windows tablet on a tight budget, and most review sites are all like "$800 or it ain't worth a second glance!"

much of what you speak of unfortunately comes from a really biased press. They do it to android gear too where even when it is heads over heals better than anything apple ships, these journalist are on a quest to convert everybody to apple, even more so now as apple went from niche to major player in one market. Even more so when even after android decimated their dominance, the ipad still quite dominant and this is a front assault apple canot counter for OSX loses to windows with consumers all the time.

so your review was pretty much what I consider most consumers would say were they not pre-position to hate it from the apple press core. I can already see the WSJ and NYT articles open up with "why surface 3 fails to beat the ipad and mba". You know they will.

The original Asus Transformer is in my opinion the most innovative computer to come along in the past decade and where are the accolades? Every PC manufacturer has copied Asus. The US tech media are Apple obsessed, seeing the audience was a disgrace and shame on Microsoft for not putting people like Daniel, Ed Bott, Mary Jo who actually use Windows in the front row.

I think MS did the right thing buy putting the guys with MacBooks in the front row. Totally made the point Panos was trying to make.

thanks for the review, do u think the i7 version is good enough to run multiple heavy programs in the same time?

and by the way, the design is just amazing!!!

That's still vague, but yes, most people say Core i7 will handle things like video editing with no issue. From my experience, that is mostly accurate. Microsoft did demonstrate some architectural programs being used on the i7 version, so that is their audience.

The i5 in my SP2 as been enough to run visual studio, a local instance of a MySQL server, and everything else I've had to do. The only thing the SP2 can't do well enough is games (PC games like Bioshock Infinite I mean; Angry Birds runs fine).

The only productivity thing it's not quite fast enough for is making adobe stylus input as smooth and lag-free as it is in OneNote. An i7 would help with that I imagine. I can still use illustrator (because stupid OneNote doesn't have a simple calligraphy nib option), but it's a tad slow.

My wallet can't hold that much money. 900 bucks for a tablet is way too much anyways I have my desktop for heavy use and my Lumia 2520 for light use.

Right. See if you see it as "just a tablet" then yes, the price is high. Think of it as a laptop that can be a tablet and you'll see no, it's priced reasonably (especially for the high quality). But that's the messaging that Microsoft needs to get right.

They seemed to state it pretty clearly at the presentation but still people don't seem to get the intention of this device.

They should have bundled it with the keyboard if they want to sell it like an ultra book cause maybe you and I know what its capable of but the majority of people are gonna look at it as a very expensive tablet and mostly the customer reps at Microsoft store don't know what there selling and at best buy they'll have other options around so I think they should have bundled it with the keyboard at least that's what I think.

This is my thought too...maybe say bundle the keyboard with it for the first thirty days, or bundle the black one and sell the colored ones for $99.

Well that's the problem right there. If you want a tablet, this is not the one. If you want a laptop that can be a tablet, this one is bang on. A tablet is doesn't provide you half the stuff Surface is capable of.

It look amazing but I cannot understand why they don't put an LTE module.... I've bought the Lumia 2520 and I'm happy with it but with PRO3+LTE I can remove my laptop and my tablet to with a lighter and more efficient product

I think for a few reasons including too many SKUs, which model gets it, and the fact that LTE tablet/computers are not exactly the hottest selling items, especially when you have portable hotspots and phone tethering. Then you also have that whole "carrier" thing, where they all want exclusives, etc.

Would a Surface Pro 3 sell enough on AT&T to warrant a deal? Would AT&T even want it? I'm not sure.

Daniel,  do you think getting and USING the Surface Pro 3 the way someone would use a Surface 2 is a waste?  I like everything (mostly at least) about the Surface 2 but held off wishing/wanting a bigger screen.  I don't really need a laptop replacement but moreso a fun media toy to have for streaming, watching youtube, surfing, facebook, etc...If I got the Surface Pro 3, it would really be mainly used as a bigger screen'ed Surface 2.

Not a waste at all. You're getting the same (maybe better) battery life, much higher performance, the ability to install .exe apps (including other browsers), a larger, higher resolution screen and...well, everything is just better.

The only issue: can you afford it? If so, then you'll be quite happy with it.

Do you think Microsoft will release SP3 specs in a 10.6 inch body? Or is this the end of the 10.6 inch SP?

AT&T, nor any other provider, would want to carry a full Windows 8 tablet because they are not in the business of laptop support. They have already shown to carry Nokia's tablet because being ARM it removes the risk and support due to it being locked down for legacy applications as well as not currently susceptible to virus'. Microsoft needs to release the mini with LTE, modern Office and no desktop, that would be a perfect provider supplied device.

Last I checked, BestBuy sells all kinds of cell phones and is quite adept at computer support.

also, ARM chips have the hardware for LTE while intel does not. it would require an addon. realistically I think that is the reason. MSFT already clearly stated that LTE is an option with surface 2 but that is only because the chip has it anyway so why not. If intel wants to be a serious tablet player on android, it has to support LTE in the SOC so windows guys like me, will collect the windfall profits.

Half the articles I've read already complain about the number of SKU's (showing how stuck they are on the tablet comparison). Adding an LTE option to each model would double that. Maybe what MS should have done was just offer a more traditional laptop customization option, but my guess is that would produce too many possibly configurations and drive up their costs.

if you've paid attention to apple, who has LTE and many sku's the LTE sku tends to be higher end. so no, it would not double it. Quite simply you can just have LTE on the 8GB models and if yo don't want it, well don't use it. That's how it works with android tablets that have it.

Right, but what laptop equals it in performance/features and still weighs 1.7 lbs? You're paying for their engineering, the silent fan, the low heat, the front facing speakers, the new kickstand...that's the difference.

A laptop also doesn't have the walcom digitizer. And the keyboard is always attached...

-- Bam --

Do people show up at the car dealership and berate them for making cars that are not in their price range? Or for making pickups when they want a coupe?

I really want one for work. I can't justify it for a personal device with an XPS 27 at home. It could replace many work computers since we have PC's at our desks and one for every machine in our lab (about 14). If I could just pick this up and plug in anywhere, that would be neato.
Also, my last comment was deleted. Lame.

I think I am in the minority here but I prefer the 16:9 screen ratio.


One of the main things that has me thinking if I should go from my SP2 to an SP3 is I am not sure I want a bigger device (and I am not a fan of the Windows button placement).

The Win button placement makes sense if you're right handed and holding it with two fact, it's way easier now since you just use your thumb. Also, with the new keyboard, it would have blocked it.

However if I remember rightly don't the covers have a start button on them? Therefore this one being blocked would become a non issue if I'm thinking right? Your other points I've got no argument against though.

And it's become Daniel vs Daniel, let's see how many folks get confused.

That's exactly how i feel with the Surface 2, i use it daily, but not for everything .... The Pro series where to thick, i didn't like that. And now that it is as thin as the Surface 2 and has the same looks on the back i really want to buy this Pro 3! I travel a lot so it will be exciting to take an x86 tablet with me ... I think the i5 with 128GB SSD will do it for me, and if not, the i3 with 64SSD + 64GB Micro SDXC will do fine i suppose.

Haven't tried it completely, but a little preview: Surface has no air-gap between the bonded glass and LCD (unlike the iPad), so the glare and visual acuity is much higher. It also can get quite bright.

You guys need to help me out. Idk if I should buy the i5 128GB or i3 64GB. There's a $200 difference and I want to see if its worth it. Simply use it to browse the web, homework, and some gaming (barely getting into it). What do you guys think?

It won't, two different technologies. SP1 and 2 use Wacom and SP3 uses N-Trig which are two different ways of working.

Daniel, is it possible to get an artist review it and let us know if N-Trig works better than Wacom? Would be nice to hear an unbiased opinion.

Hey Daniel, thank you for the Q&A! Can you please tell me if the pen has a battery (afaik, wacom makes the only battery less, pressure sensitive pens and just want to be sure)?

Glad to get you intial thoughts. 

Do you know when the dock, and that dark blue type cover I saw next to the purple and cyan are due to be available?

How is it in your lap with the new keyboard? Is it stil bouncey/unstable or at least better? Also on size are you able to post some pictures next to, on top of, underneith, a surface pro 1/2 I know its 12" and a little less bezel just trying to judge the size a little better. Hopefully it still works well on an airplane.

Just saw on Twitter the dark blue is Best Buy only. So I guess Ill be ordering a cover from them.


Dock is "in the coming months".

It does work very well in the lap. Using that new keyboard mode with the magnets shaves about an inch off, making it much more manageable and sturdier. In short, it's great in the lap.

I appreciate this article and look forward to seeing Surface Pro 3 for myself. From what I have read Microsoft really got everything right this time. I like bigger screens (I have a Nokia 1520) and I know I would prefer the 3:2 aspect ratio because it is better for books, comics and magazines. My concern is I don't need a laptop and will Surface Pro 3 be too heavy as a tablet... that and the fact the model I would want would cost over $1400 with the Type Cover.

BTW, today I was using my Surface 2 while having lunch at a local burger joint and two different people asked me how I liked the Surface and one guy said he was planning to buy a Surface Pro 3.

Everyone is different, but my gut answer to "...will Surface Pro 3 be too heavy as a tablet?" would be 'no' from my usage in the last 24 hours. Maybe that'll change, but that's my initial reaction.

This is when I wish I was rich and not a student.  Or was a rich student. So I could buy one of these. Well, I have to keep using my EP121 until it breaks, then I'll have a reason to buy one.  Wish Microsoft Store would offer some sort of monthly payment option.

Good to hear some positives about the use so far, I'm sure minor negatives will creep up, but I cannot find any real flaws in this device this time. Also the presentation, haven't felt that magical feeling since Steve Jobs talked about the iPhone 3G. The screen seems just big enough for work, but not overly huge to become akward when using as a tablet, decent battery life (Microsoft also put at the bottom 9 hours of video playback as a footnote on their product page), and that kickstand. However, I think I'll still be holding off for now. My SP1 did replace my laptop, tablet and desktop (which was already replaced by my laptop). That kickstand is definitive for the Surface (went from a Lenovo Thinkpad Tablet 2 to this for a slightly larger screen and kickstand). Once they get 10+ hours of productive battery life, throw in a GPS module (HERE Maps is available so it seems pretti viable as a large SatNAV), and maybe some Nokia Pureview tech in it (I snicker at iPad users using it as a camera, but having that OneNote functionality a camera is important in some cases), then I'll consider the price.

Why can't they just sell it unlocked? I have a shared plan, and if I could just slap my own sim card in it, that would be ace.