Tuesday March 31, 2015 11:12 am
Microsoft Surface Pro 3 review
With the Surface Pro 3, Microsoft has switched up its strategy on its tablet PC, aiming to make it the best Windows laptop for the average consumer. This is the third attempt from the company at reinventing the laptop, bringing tablet parity into the product that runs on a full-on Intel Core i5 processor. It’s a large tablet. It’s a thin laptop. It’s a powerful 2-in-1. Is it the one for you, though?
IN THE BOX
- Microsoft Surface Pro 3
- Surface Pen
- AC Adapter
The model that I am testing is the Surface Pro 3 with an Intel Core i5 processor, 256GB SSD storage, and 4GB RAM. It’s a mid-tier models that allows me to get a general feel for the device and its features, costing $1,299. One thing that you can’t deny, the Surface Pro 3 feels like a premium product in the hand. It’s just 0.36-inches thin, making it thinner than the MacBook Air, and half the weight of Apple’s device at just 1.76 pounds. All of these svelte lines are despite the Surface Pro 3 being larger than the previous versions. It’s got a 12-inch, 2560x1440 display with a 3:2 aspect ratio.
The new kickstand is improved by using a resistance hinge, allowing you to select whatever angle you’d like, from zero to 150 degrees. Much more useful now.
SURFACE PRO 3 TYPE COVER
While Microsoft sells the Surface Pro 3 Type Cover separately, it’s pretty much a mandatory accessory, which means you should plan on spending the extra $129 that it costs if you want to get everything you can out of the Surface Pro 3. The new Type Cover has a magnetic strip across the top of it, which allows it to stick to the lower bezel of the Surface Pro 3. This provides a higher level of leverage and sturdiness that the previous incarnations have lacked, making it that much easier to use.
The Surface Pro 3 includes a stylus, known as the Surface Pen. It’s bigger than the ones that came with previous Surface models, and no longer mounts to the Surface itself, instead connected directly to the Type Cover for portability. Using the Pen, it is immediately apparent that inking is vastly improved. The Surface Pro 3 display is so think that it is almost like writing directly on the screen. One neat thing you can do with the pen is click down on the button, which will then launch Microsoft OneNote on the Surface Pro 3, even if the display is off.
USING THE SURFACE PRO 3
After spending even just a couple of minutes with the Surface Pro 3, it is apparent that this is a full-fledged PC. Everything about it is ideal for replacing a PC notebook (once you pick up the Type Cover, at least.) Windows 8.1 works great on it, and even the Windows 10 Technical Preview is snappy and efficient. This is really a great PC with some good tablet features added in, as the Surface Pro should have been all along.
That said, Microsoft now has the MacBook Air in its sights, rather than the iPad that it was wanting the Surface to take on in previous years. Now that it’s in the right race, if you are in the market for a Windows PC, then the Surface Pro 3 deserves serious consideration.
It took Microsoft a few tries, but the Surface Pro 3 finally lives up to the vision that Microsoft had for the PC tablet line from the start. It pairs perfectly with Windows 8.1, and will work even better when Windows 10 is released with all of its touch-enabled apps that also work great as standard Windows-mode programs. Granted, you can still buy cheaper Windows PCs that include a keyboard in their form factor, but they won’t be as lightweight or thin. That’s where you need to determine if the price of the Surface Pro 3 is right for you—after all, it’s the tablet that can replace your laptop, but only if it offers features that you need.
Intel makes new and exciting technologies possible such as the Surface Pro 3’s 2-in-1 technology.
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