Electronics

Microsoft Surface Pro 3 Review

Tablets are excellent sources of entertainment, games and other media while laptops and desktops create those entertainment sources. Historically you have needed one device to play and one device to create. There is a large population that lugs around the tablet and laptop simultaneously. Packing a netbook and tablet can consume a large amount of space and be uncomfortable while traveling. Luckily, there is an excellent solution: the Microsoft Surface Pro 3.It combines the power of a laptop with the creativity and mobility of a tablet, the ultimate all-in-one device.

Although the same was said for the Surface Pro and Surface Pro 2 tablets, they cannot fully translate the power and experience of Windows 8.1. Similarly, you do not receive the same experience with a laptop. The Microsoft Surface Pro 3 delivers the full multimedia experience with the ability to create. If many consumers purchase the Surface Pro 3, there will be many laptops for sale.

Changes from the Previous Versions

The new Surface Pro 3 is much thinner than its predecessors and features a larger and much higher resolution screen. Although the performance and internal specifications rival the Pro 2, it maintains the same speed as a premium laptop. Also, this version features new tweaks to the hinge, keyboard and overall design to function more as a laptop when needed. Although there is still a bit of a leap to categorize this as a laptop replacement, it could be used as a primary PC.

In addition to featuring the thinnest Intel Core i-series in existence, the design does not feel as thin as some competitors. However, it also feels much more upscale than previous versions. The two previous version of the Surface Pro utilized 10.6-inch screens and were 13mm thick with dimensions around 10.8-inches x 6.8-inches. This new version features a 12-inch screen with a 9.1mm thickness and footprint of 11.5-inches by 7.9-inches. Additionally, the Surface Pro 3 weighs 800 grams versus 900 grams from its predecessors.

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Design

Although this device is not completely fanless, you must listen closely to hear any noise. The new internal componentry of the system, which was designed in conjunction with Intel, runs the system on a low-voltage Core I process with a thin and quiet fan without the whirring sound or hot exhaust blowing on your hands. Another major upgrade to the design is the addition of the kickstand which is adjustable from 22 degrees to 150 degrees. The screen is of better-than-HD quality with a 2,160 x 1,440-pixel resolution and a clear, bright IPS panel. The off-axis viewing angles are fantastic and follow the growing popularity of better-than-HD displays.

Screen Modes and Pens

Another major addition to the design is the change of location of the touch button Windows logo, which navigates you back to the Windows 8 home screen when pressed, from the bottom longer edge to the shorter edge. The reasons for this change are the keyboard covers the area where the original button was located and it improves the experience when using portrait mode. This relates to Microsoft’s sales pitch of using the Surface Pro for educational means such as note-taking, sketching and drawing. The Bluetooth pen is heavier metallic accessory. The pen works directly with the OneNote app which can be easily accessed by clocking the top of the pen once.

Keyboard

The most unfortunate aspect of the Microsoft Surface Pro 3 device is that the best accessory does not come in the box. The type cover acts as a screen protector, full keyboard and touchpad interface. Although this $129 keyboard is expensive, you do not receive the entire experience without it. At the same time, this is the best add-on tablet keyboard on the market. To have a more natural typing angle, the secondary hinge aligns with the top edge and can be folded and held against the body via a magnet. The integrated touchpad is improved in this version because it is constructed of ceramic fabric.

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Performance

Integrated into the body of the device is a microSD card reader, USB 3.0 port, Mini DisplayPort, 5-megapixel camera that supports 1080p HD front-and-rear-facing pictures and videos. The speakers were built by Dolby and are audio-enhanced for sound improvement. Additional hardware specifications include SSD storage that ranges from 64GB’s to 512 GB’s; 4GB’s or 8 GB’s or RAM, 802.11ac Wi-Fi and TPM 2.0 enterprise security. To improve performance and the experience, you can purchase a $20 docking station that features a Mini DisplayPort that supports up to 3,840 x 2,600 resolutions as well as five USB ports and a Gigabit Ethernet Jack.

When using the fourth generation Intel Core i5 CU with 8GB’s of RAM and 256 GB SSD storage, the performance rivaled other premium laptops with similar specifications. The performance of applications was comparable to the 13-inch Apple MacBook Air as well as the Lenovo Yoga 2 laptop. When performing multiple tasks in Windows 8 such as Photoshop and Web surfing, the Surface Pro proved to be powerful enough to switch between without any lag.

From a battery life standpoint, the Surface Pro 3 bested the majority of the competition. In a video playback battery drain test, the Surface Pro 3 ran for seven hours and 28 minutes which is extremely impressive. The majority of other tablets cannot operate on the battery drain test for that lengthy amount of time.

Pricing

At the moment, the Intel Core i5 versions cost $999 for a 128 GB device and $1,299 for a 256GB variant. The Core i3 with 64GB’s of storage runs at $799 while the Core i7 versions cost $1,549 for 256GB’s of storage and $1,949 for 512 GB’s of storage. While the pricing may seem high, you are essentially purchasing an integrated laptop and tablet in a single device.

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Although this tablet is the same basic concept as all other tablets, there are several highlights. First, the integrated Intel Core i-series offers phenomenal power and performance for such a small and thin device. Second, the keyboard is extremely useful, ergonomic and functional. Third, the kickstand is a welcomed feature that allows you to view the display at almost any angel. Fourth, it truly delivers on combining a tablet and laptop into one functional machine. Although this is not a device to start a website with your laptops for sale but it is almost at that point.

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