10 Updates

I Just Spent A Week With A Surface Pro 3 -- What's Hot And What's Not

May 30 2014, 2:50pm CDT | by

By now, I’m sure most of you have heard about Microsoft’s latest flagship tablet / convertible device, the Surface Pro 3. The company announced it last week at an event in New York City that I was...

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8 weeks ago

I Just Spent A Week With A Surface Pro 3 -- What's Hot And What's Not

May 30 2014, 2:50pm CDT | by

By now, I’m sure most of you have heard about Microsoft’s latest flagship tablet / convertible device, the Surface Pro 3. The company announced it last week at an event in New York City that I was lucky enough to attend and I left with one in hand, along with a new Touch Cover as well.

I spent the last week or so working with the device daily, running benchmarks, evaluating battery life in real-world situations, playing with apps, and just using it as I would normally use my notebook. I’ve been a long-time proponent of Windows 8 (especially on touch-enabled devices) and own a Surface 2, so finding my way around the Surface Pro 3 was second nature right from the get-go. There was no learning curve whatsoever, so all of my time was used to evaluate the experience and not futzing around the interface. Keep that in mind if you’re reading someone else’s opinion on Windows-based mobile devices —if the writer doesn’t know their way around the OS, are they evaluating the device or just learning how to use Windows? Just something to consider when a rabid iPad advocate rips a mobile device running a Microsoft OS. But I digress.

The particular Surface Pro 3 model I have on hand falls right in the middle of Microsoft’s initial line-up. It features an Intel Core i5-4300U processor, 8GB of RAM, and a 256GB solid state drive—the expected retail price is $1299. There will be four other models as well, two more affordable options and two higher-priced offerings, with prices ranging from $799 all the way on up to $1949. The least expensive model is built around an Intel Core i3 processor and has 4GB of RAM and a 64GB SSD, while the top-of-the-line model is packing a powerful Core i7 CPU, 8GB of RAM, and a 512GB SSD.

If you’d like to take a look at a full detailed evaluation of the Surface Pro 3, my review (complete with hands-on video) is available right here . I won’t rehash all of the details again here, but want to summarize some of the pros and cons to the Surface Pro 3. Here’s what HOT about the Surface Pro 3:

  • Performance – With Intel Haswell-based processors, 1600MHz RAM, and speedy solid state drives, the Surface Pro 3 performs very well. It simply smokes any ARM-based mobile device and performs more like a high-end ultrabook.
  • The Form Factor – The Surface Pro 3 is the thinnest and lightest Core-based mobile device available (Dimensions: 7.93 in x 11.5 in x 0.36 in. Weight: 1.76 lbs). If you want many of the capabilities and the performance of a mid-range desktop system , which is also highly portable, no look further.
  • The New Kickstand – The new kickstand in the Surface Pro 3 can open to any angle between 22 and 100 degrees, thanks to its new friction hinges. It’s infinitely more useful than the two-position kickstand in the Surface 2.
  • Battery Life – Microsoft claims up to 9 hours of battery life while browsing the web. My sample lasted more than 10 hours with what I’d consider normal use during a regular work day (browsing, answering emails, editing Office documents, etc.).  As long as you’re not pounding on the thing constantly, all-day battery life is definitely possible.
  • Screen Quality – The 3:2 aspect, HiDPI 12” screen—with its native 2160×1440 resolution–is great in my opinion. Some folks may not like the additional height the 3:2 aspect ratio brings, but I think additional screen real estate and vertical resolution are welcome additions.
  • Sound Quality – The front-firing speakers on the Surface Pro 3 are better than any other tablet I’ve used. Their small size precludes them from producing much bass, but clarity, richness, and volume levels are excellent.
  • Pen Input – The Surface Pen works very well. Though I personally prefer to type notes and am not much of an artist, I can still appreciate the highly-precise, low-latency input of the Surface Pen.

I think there’s a lot to like about the Surface Pro 3, but it’s not all sunshine and roses. Here’s where Microsoft’s latest wunderkind misses the mark:

  • Type Cover – Microsoft claims the Surface Pro 3 is a ‘tablet that can replace your laptop’. For the most part that’s true, if you also purchase the companion Type Cover for an additional $130. The Type Cover itself is a decent piece of kit; it is comfortable to type on and the touchpad is vastly improved over the previous generation. But Microsoft should be throwing these thing in with the tablet. It is a must-buy accessory, so consider it a $130 tax on the Surface Pro 3.
  • Expensive – The Surface Pro 3 and its accessories are relatively expensive. Mind you, I DO NOT think the hardware is overpriced. In comparison to similarly equipped ultrabooks, with HiDPI, multi-touch displays and all solid state storage, the Surface Pro 3 itself is actually priced competitively. But for the setup I tested, you’ll still have to shell out close to $1500, which is a lot for a Core i5-powered device. The accessories are also somewhat pricey. $130 for the Type Cover is tough to justify when you can find high-end mechanical keyboards for under $100. And $200 for a docking station that’ll little more than a stand and glorified port extender / USB hub is pretty pricey.
  • Pixel Scaling – From a technological standpoint I absolutely love HiDPI / high-resolution displays. But many applications don’t render properly when Window is configured to scale elements to 150% (or higher), which is necessary to keep things readable on such a small screen. This problem has consistently been getting better, but there’s still lots of work to do.
  • Windows Store – The Windows Store is still way behind iOS and Android, though it’s not as big of a deal on the Surface Pro 3 because it can run the millions of native Windows apps currently available.

There you have it. Some opinions on the Surface Pro 3 from someone that has actually used one for the last week or so. If you’re in the market for a new mobile device, I hope you find this information useful.

 
Update
10

6 weeks ago

RM47mil KWSG contributions still unclaimed

Jun 9 2014 7:54am CDT | Source: Business Times Malaysia

Cambodia's Famous Battambang Circus
KUALA LUMPUR: About RM47 million of contributions in the Teachers Provident Fund (KWSG) still remain unclaimed, the Dewan Rakyat was t ...
Source: Business Times Malaysia   Full article at: Business Times Malaysia
 

 
Update
9

6 weeks ago

Gold shop lost almost RM1mil

Jun 9 2014 3:50am CDT | Source: Business Times Malaysia

Melbourne Rising Media Launch
KANGAR: A gold shop owner lost almost RM1 million after after the safe on in his shop was broken into by ...
Source: Business Times Malaysia   Full article at: Business Times Malaysia
 

 
Update
8

6 weeks ago

Motion to debate MAS losses in Dewan Rakyat rejected

Jun 9 2014 3:39am CDT | Source: Business Times Malaysia

Federal Aviation Administration Bans All US Flights To Israel
KUALA LUMPUR: AN emergency motion to debate the losses incurred by Malaysia Airlines last year, amounting to RM1.2 billion was rejected by the De ...
Source: Business Times Malaysia   Full article at: Business Times Malaysia
 

 
Update
7

6 weeks ago

MH370 Tragedy: Hisham: RM27.6 mil spent on 1st phase of SAR

Jun 9 2014 2:11am CDT | Source: Business Times Malaysia

KUALA LUMPUR: Malaysia spent some RM27.6 million in its first phase of the search operations for missing Malaysia Airline flight MH370, said Acting Transport Minister, Datuk Seri Hishammuddin Hussei ...
Source: Business Times Malaysia   Full article at: Business Times Malaysia
 

 
Update
6

6 weeks ago

9.1m litres of diesel seized in a month

Jun 8 2014 1:11am CDT | Source: Business Times Malaysia

INDIA-CHINA-DIPLOMACY-TRADE
PUTRAJAYA: The Domestic Trade, Cooperatives, and Consumerism ministry has seized some 9.1 million litres of diesel and property worth RM58 million since mounting ‘Operasi Diesel Selatan’ in the southern sta ...
Source: Business Times Malaysia   Full article at: Business Times Malaysia
 

 
Update
5

7 weeks ago

Girl, 9, awarded RM2.78m compensation for medical negligence

Jun 6 2014 4:56am CDT | Source: Business Times Malaysia

Government Weekly Cabinet Meeting
KUALA LUMPUR: A nine-year-old girl who suffered brain damage during her birth at a government hospital was awarded over RM2.78 million ...
Source: Business Times Malaysia   Full article at: Business Times Malaysia
 

 
Update
4

7 weeks ago

Malaysia's total trade in April up 12pc

Jun 5 2014 11:52pm CDT | Source: Business Times Malaysia

KUALA LUMPUR: Malaysia's total trade in April 2014 rose by 12 per cent from a year ago to RM123.86 billion due to growing trading activities, International Trade and Industry Minister Datuk Seri Mustap ...
Source: Business Times Malaysia   Full article at: Business Times Malaysia
 

 
Update
3

7 weeks ago

Works Ministry to spend RM20m for upgrading works at 50 accident black spots

Jun 4 2014 11:35pm CDT | Source: Business Times Malaysia

Iskandar Johor Open - Previews
JOHOR BARU: The Works Ministry will implement upgrading works at 50 accident prone locations in the country that have been identified this year involv ...
Source: Business Times Malaysia   Full article at: Business Times Malaysia
 

 
Update
2

7 weeks ago

Najib launches loan scheme for Ramadan traders

Jun 4 2014 10:24pm CDT | Source: Business Times Malaysia

EurAsia Cup presented by DRB-HICOM - Day One
PUTRAJAYA: Prime Minister Datuk Seri Najib Razak today launches RM45 million Ramadan Bazaar S ...
Source: Business Times Malaysia   Full article at: Business Times Malaysia
 

 
Update
1

7 weeks ago

Residents bring up objection against Kidex to Suhakam

Jun 4 2014 4:49am CDT | Source: Business Times Malaysia

PETALING JAYA: A group of 20 Petaling Jaya residents held a meeting with the Human Rights Commission of Malaysia (Suhakam) over their objection against the proposed RM2.2 billion ...
Source: Business Times Malaysia   Full article at: Business Times Malaysia
 

 

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