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Microsoft Surface Pro 3

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With Surface Pro 2 is the first 12" tablet that blurs the line between tablet and Ultrabooks. It's clear that the company sees as the target market professionals who need full capabilities of laptop. And that differentiates it from Android  tablets. This way they avoided mistake of Google made by lumping everything together and mixing tablet with the smartphone.  Microsoft Surface Pro 3 Long Term Test Drive Report

The particular model I looked at fell right in the middle of Microsoft’s initial line-up. It was built around an Intel Core i5-4300U processor and had 8GB of RAM and a 256GB solid state drive. When it first arrived, this particular Surface Pro 3 model sold for $1299, but it is now available for roughly $1199 at various resellers.  There are four other models to choose from as well, two more affordable options and two higher-priced offerings, with prices ranging from $799 all the way on up to about $1920. The least expensive model is powered by an Intel Core i3 processor and has 4GB of RAM and a 64GB SSD, while the flagship model is outfitted with a powerful Core i7 CPU, 8GB of RAM, and a 512GB SSD.  The 3:2 aspect ratio, high-resolution/high-DPI screen, new fully-adjustable kickstand, and pen input were a few of the Surface Pro 3’s high-points, as was battery life and the sound quality (relatively speaking) of its built-in, front firing speakers.

The Surface Pro  3 is  a labor of love for Microsoft's engineers. Essentially they invented a new form factor for ultrabooks.  As for any real innovation the initial reception was hostile. Microsoft lost money of initial Surface and probably on Surface II too. Also OS needed several additional years of development to fully accommodate this new form factor.

Functionality-wise, strong competition is only 2 in 1 devices such as brilliantly designed Dell Inspiron 11 3000 Series 2-in-1 and more expensive and more capable Dell Inspiron 13 7000 Series 2-in-1 with built-in stylus.

Windows 8.1 is a usable tablet OS, far more functional then Android (which was originally designed for phones and it shows), no question about it. While Android move to tablets is a step up, Windows 8 move into tablet space is a step down. In other words they provide desktop class functionality at no additional charge.  So the main problem with Microsoft Surface Pro 3 is inherent limitations of the tablet form factor.

As Forbes reviewer noted (Microsoft Surface Pro 3 Long Term Test Drive Report):

For all intents and purposes, the Surface Pro 3—when paired to its companion Type Cover—offers an experience much like an Ultrabook in most circumstances. There are, however, a number of scenarios where a full-fledged notebook, even if it’s roughly the same size, will be the better choice.  I’ve found that the Surface Pro 3 is ideal for users that will likely fire the machine up when sitting at a desk or when in a conference room-type environment that has a table. The Surface Pro 3’s performance is plenty good for everyday computing and office applications, and the screen is top notch.  Using the Surface Pro 3 as a notepad with its stylus is also very useful.  In fact, over the course of the device’s life, Microsoft has issued a number of firmware, driver, and OS updates that have improved the overall responsiveness and usefulness of the Surface Pro 3.

But no matter how it will be accepted initially, just an existence of this devise asks some tough questions about long term viability of Android as a high end tablets OS (it does not change much the situation with 7" tablets with price range of $100-$300, where Android is firmly entrenched). It presents less threat of iPad as the latter is pure media consumption device and prosper mainly not due its functionality, but due to its "small luxury" status. As such, it has and always will have it own devoted audience and large  "prestigious device for dummies" following.  But Surface Pro did cut short any chances of iPad to penetrate enterprise market.

As on 2014 Black Friday Surface Pro 3 was available with  128 GB SSD for $900 ($100 discount). 

Tech specs: 

Windows 8.1 Pro

Casing: Magnesium • Color: Silver • Physical buttons: Volume, Power, Home

Dimensions: 11.50 x 7.93 x 0.36 in (292.10 x 201.42 x 9.14 mm)

Weight: 1.76 lbs (0.79 kg)

Hard drive size: Solid state drive (SSD) options: 64GB, 128GB, 256GB, or 512GB

Memory: 64GB or 128GB version with 4GB RAM; 256GB or 512GB version with 8GB RAM

Display: Screen: 12" ClearType Full HD Display • Resolution: 2160 x 1440 • Aspect Ratio: 3:2 • Touch: Multitouch input

Processor: 64GB/Intel i3 version: 4th generation Intel Core i3-4020Y 1.50 GHz with Intel HD Graphics 4200;  128GB and 256GB/Intel i5 version: 4th generation Intel Core i5-4300U 1.90 GHz (with Turbo Boost Technology up to 2.9GHz) with Intel HD Graphics 4400; 256GB and 512GB/Intel i7 version:
4th generation Intel Core i7-4650U 1.70 GHz (with Turbo Boost Technology up to 3.3 GHZ) with Intel HD Graphics 5000

TPM (Trusted Platform Module) chip for enterprise security

Wireless: 802.11ac/802.11a/b/g/n

Bluetooth: Bluetooth 4.0 Low Energy technology

Battery Life: Up to 9 hours of web browsing5

Cameras and Video: 5MP and 1080p HD front- and rear-facing cameras • Built-in front- and rear-facing microphones • Stereo speakers with Dolby Audio-enhanced sound

Audio: Stereo speakers with Dolby Audio-enhanced sound

Ports: Full-size USB 3.0 • microSD card reader • Headphone jack • Mini DisplayPort • Cover port • Charging port

Sensors: Ambient light sensor • Accelerometer • Gyroscope • Magnetometer

Warranty: 1-year limited hardware warranty6

Surface Pen: Dimensions: 135mm (length), 9.5mm (diameter) • Weight: 20 grams

Pre-installed Apps: Flipboard • Skype Wi-Fi • Skype • OneNote MX • Solitaire • Mahjong • Sudoku/Microsoft Number Puzzle • Fresh Paint

In the box: Surface Pro 3 • Surface Pen • 36-watt power supply • Quick Start Guide • Safety and warranty documents

Actually better better life is the key distinction of Surface Pro 3.

Functionality-wise it wipes the competition in several areas due to presence of Wacom digitizer and innovative way of integration of keyboard. It opens several new avenues on tablet usage:

The fact that such a thin tablet can delivers a laptop performance with desktop-class OS which make it tremendously attractive for power and enterprise users. For many of them $200-$300 premium does not matter.

The Surface Pro 3 tablet is a proof that Microsoft as a hardware developer can compete with Apple in this game. I would like to stress again, that the key attractions are Windows 8.1 (which is a real desktop OS),

The SP3 doesn't use a Wacom digitiser... it uses one from N-Trig.\

There is a cover that van serve as tactile keyboard. Connection is so strong that you can hang the tablet upside down.  A panel on the back helps to create an sturdy kickstand on hard surface only  so it is less suitable then laptop like Lenova Thinkpad in trains.

Speakers are OK and as good as in Samsung Galaxy Notes 10.1. Camera is weaker but OK for typical applications is OK. Only an idiot would use tablet to shoot high quality pictures anyway.

All-in-all Surface Pro 3 offers tremendous synergy with the PC on one side and with Windows phone on the other, creating a troika that is more compelling and more powerful that alternatives.

But the killer hardware feature is Wacom active digitizer with stylus, which (for power and enterprise users) makes it more practical then any current and future iPads.

Surface Pro 3 comes with Microsoft Office trial pre-loaded. Run Outlook, Word, SharePoint Designer, PowerPoint and more. Which make in instantly class above Android or iOS tablets. It runs all Windows 7 desktop applications and integrates with your existing enterprise management infrastructure. Additional touch oriented programs will be soon available in the Windows Store

At $899 it’s not cheap; and the OS takes up a huge chunk of 128GB storage space; keyboards are expensive extras. But again this is, essentially, an ultrabook in a new factor. For this price an ultrabook with a touch screen is a bargain.

Windows 8.1 is a strong selling point for power and enterprise users. iPad is simply way too closed and OS is way too primitive to compete on high end. And even the most devout fan of Android would have to concede that it has failed to repeat its smartphone success in the tablet arena and suffers from the same problems as iPad despite the fact that it is slightly more open. With the Surface Pro, Microsoft start squeezing the market for tablets from the high end, essentially depriving any chance to occupy niche for more powerful more versatile tablets that iPad.

In addition to Office, it has applications that Windows users know for years such as Internet Explorer 11, Bing search engine (less snooping then Google), Xbox Music. etc.


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NEWS CONTENTS

Old News ;-)

[Nov 30, 2014] Forbes Revisits the Surface Pro 3, Which May Face LG Competition

[Nov 30, 2014] Slashdot
timothy
revisits Microsoft's Surface Pro 3 half a year after its U.S. debut, and finds the tablet-laptop hybrid has held up pretty well, but suffers some dings worth knowing about before jumping at holiday sale prices, pointing out a number of scenarios where a full-fledged notebook, even if it's roughly the same size, will be the better choice. I've found that the Surface Pro 3 is ideal for users that will likely fire the machine up when sitting at a desk or when in a conference room-type environment that has a table. The Surface Pro 3's performance is plenty good for everyday computing and office applications, and the screen is top notch. Using the Surface Pro 3 as a notepad with its stylus is also very useful. In fact, over the course of the device's life, Microsoft has issued a number of firmware, driver, and OS updates that have improved the overall responsiveness and usefulness of the Surface Pro 3. For those who want a laptop, though for actual laptop use, the Surface is an awkward fit. However, a thin, tablet-convertible, touchscreen laptop may appear soon from LG, as well.

gcnaddict (841664) writes: on Sunday November 30, 2014 @10:16AM (#48490775)

Re: Not a Tablet Score: 5 , Informative) October 25, 2014, via ComputerWorld [computerworld.com]:
After two years and nearly $2 billion in losses, Microsoft's Surface turned a profit in the September quarter, the company said Thursday.

October 31, 2014, via the Motley Fool [fool.com]:

The Surface Pro 3, released earlier this year, is selling far better than its predecessors, and for the first time Microsoft has recorded a positive gross profit for the Surface business.

It would do you well to source timely things, sir.

swb (14022) on Sunday November 30, 2014 @08:13AM (#48490339)

My main complaint about the Pro 2 (Score:4, Interesting)

Is that Windows display scaling is unsatisfactory. Either I can read the screen and the display is too small or the display is so high resolution and has enough real estate, but I can't read anything.

I'm not sure the larger screen of the 3 makes this any better. Maybe a little, but from the one I've seen it seems to suffer from a similar problem.

And the worst part is that display scaling seems broken in some way that causes it to scale external displays, making a laptop/desktop two display setup obnoxious.

"Competition" (Score:2)

The whole point for many people in getting the Surface Pro is its Wacom digitizer, which is where the majority of its additional cost is coming from. To compare that to the LG is just completely missing the point -- it's basically saying that capacitive pens are just as good as Wacom tech.

CountBrass (590228) on Sunday November 30, 2014 @08:34AM (#48490391)

sigh... (Score:5, Informative)

The SP3 doesn't use a Wacom digitiser... it uses one from N-Trig.

sbjornda (199447) <sbjornda@NOSPAm.hotmail.com> on Sunday November 30, 2014 @10:27AM (#48490815)

Re:who cares? (Score:5, Interesting)

I'm having trouble understanding what the point of this product is. What useful niche does it fill?

In a fully managed enterprise environment, using OneNote to take handwritten notes in meetings - including creating quick To-Dos to send to Outlook, using handwriting to mark up Excel, Word, or PowerPoint files stored on a collaboration server so everyone's changes are synchronized, then go back to your desk and dock it so you have a full keyboard, mouse, external monitors (I have two), auto-switch from corporate WiFi to corporate LAN without losing mapped drives. In the enterprise space its competition is likely a Lenovo Helix model, not a Miix. For home users, it's probably overkill, unless maybe you do a lot of docking-and-undocking at home, but that's likely a niche market.

But if your company, like mine, allows a certain degree of personal use of the corporate device and allows you to take it home evenings and weekends, it's a lot lighter to carry and more fun to use than a traditional laptop. It's my laptop at work and my tablet at home (and yes, I know how to encrypt and back up my personal data in case my job suddenly disappears, and I still have a home PC as a second unit).

It's the most satisfying and seamless personal computing experience I've ever had, and I've been in the business since the 1980's. This feels like the computer I've been waiting for all my life.

Dishwasha (125561) on Sunday November 30, 2014 @01:57PM (#48492037)

love my surface (Score:3)

I've had the i7 512 Surface Pro 3 for several months now and I absolutely love it. I was worried about the hinge but it's lapability has no issues IMHO. The only problem I have is it simply doesn't work if I'm lying down in bed.

It's doubtful the LG will contend. I think the biggest threat is the Lenovo Yoga 3 Pro but at close to a pound heavier and inability to detach the keyboard increasing the thickness in tablet mode, I'll stick with my Surface Pro 3 thank you very much.

[Nov 30, 2014] Surface Pro 3 - 128GB / Intel i5 $899

Microsoft Store

Thrasher114

A lure laptop/Desktop/iPad replacement

I am an eighth grad mathematics teacher and I spend a lot of time on a PC developing, presenting, and assessing curriculum. I have a desktop PC at home, an iPad, a Macbook Air, and a laptop issued by my school. Over the years I have mastered the art of keeping all of these devices in sync so that I can stay productive both in my classroom and at home. Of course using OneDrive has helped to keep my documents backed up and consistent across all of my devices, however it has been a chore to keep the same software on all of the devices. I know all of these devices seem like overkill, but I really needed all of them. (a quick overview) My home desktop was my go to machine for creating tests and presentations for lessons. It was also the work horse for times when I had a lot of data to manage such as grades or progress monitoring. I had my school laptop for presenting materials, since it was hooked up to my interactive display. I had my Macbook Air for on the go work. For example, professional development days when I needed longer battery life, which it would still sometimes need a little charge toward the end of the day. It was also lighter to pack back and forth from home to work. The iPad was the device that filled the gaps in between. I would use it to do any quick checks for e-mail or respond to student posts on Schoology (a course management site).

I have been keeping my eye on the Surface Pro tablets since they released. I worried about whether they could keep up for a full day of work without having to charge up. I also worried about it being light enough to carry around all day in my classroom as I teach. My iPad was light and I could do this, but it just didn't have the software I needed (active inspire – software for my interactive display). Then I read about the Surface Pro 3. I researched a lot about it, and despite the nitpicking of bloggers out there I thought I would take the gamble and see how it pans out for me – someone using it for a real day to day job, not watching Netflix for 7 hours straight as an endurance test.

This week I have been attending a workshop where I have used my Surface Pro 3 all day. I have been thoroughly impressed with the performance of my Surface. The battery life is amazing. Reviewers do unrealistic tests like running Netflix for hours and hours. I hope no one is watching Netflix that long! I used my Surface all day, taking notes, looking at websites, and annotating over PDF files. When I got home there was still battery to go. I put it on charge each night and it was ready in the morning. It really is an all-day charge.

I love the Surface pen with quick access to OneNote. I have always thought using a laptop or iPad to take notes was a hassle because of the startup process. Paper and pencil was so much easier, but the Surface Pro 3 is just as fast. Just a click and the Surface is ready to go. I love it.

I have the 256GB model and it has ample space for my apps and files. I suppose the 128GB model would suffice, but I wanted 8GB of RAM. Speaking of RAM, my Surface can breeze through running many different applications at once. – it should with 8GB. And I am talking about real applications like Word, Active Inspire, Outlook, and the like.

Because my Surface Pro 3 is so capable, I have taken down my desktop PC and hooked up my Surface Pro 3 to a monitor and Bluetooth keyboard/mouse. It doesn't seem to sweat any task I used to do on my desktop. This includes screen casting for lessons, video editing, creating flipcharts, and composing PowerPoints. So my Desktop is out of the picture.

My Surface pro is light weight enough and has the battery endurance to replace my Macbook Air so it is out of the picture. It is also light enough for me to hold up while I sit on the couch, or in bed, so my iPad can be replaced too.

I have read about WiDi (Wireless Display) technology and I am looking to replace my school issued laptop with a WiDi receiver and connect up my Surface Pro. As of right now I am replacing four devices with one and I am not making any compromises. . That amazes me.

If you are looking at the Surface Pro and the Surface 2 you should really assess what you want to do with your PC. I have a few Surface RT tablets in my classroom for my students to use, and I am pleased with their performance. I would recommend those devices if you are light weight user that needs to just browse the web, e-mail and compose anything from Office software. This will also save you some money, On the other hand if you are like me and are looking for desktop performance in the form of a tablet, then this is what you need. I highly recommend this device, especially for anyone in education.

[Dec 29, 2012] Exact release date for the Surface Pro Better-tablet.com

Today, many sources said that Surface Pro will be sold on 29 Jan, 2012.

[Dec 24, 2012] Microsoft Surface with Windows 8 Pro - Tablets -

November 29, 2012 | CNET Reviews

If the Surface RT tablet represents a direct assault by Microsoft on the "computer-light" tablets like Apple's iPad and its various Android-based competitors, the forthcoming Surface Pro seems like a more significant attempt to reinvent laptop computing. Its design is very close to that of the Surface RT tablet -- 10.6-inch touch-screen display, magnet-connected keyboard cover -- but the Surface Pro also ships with a full-fledged, third-generation Intel Core i5 processor, not the less powerful (and less power hungry) ARM process found on the Surface RT.

corneliusone

Dec 8, 2012

I see a sense in Microsoft keeping the Surface within its stores so that its OEMs can enjoy the open market chain. Also, as some commenters said, it's possible Microsoft is gauging sales. I see the propensity for sales data among some columnists but for a major product launch and shift in consumer perception, it will be foolhardy on MSFT's part to make it all about sales. I am almost 100% convinced they have set time aside for major market evaluation, sort of a hybrid-test-marketing on you and me. I'm sure also the Pro is coming on the heels of the RT because the RT is doing relatively well. Android or iOS fanboys may dump dung on Microsoft in CNET pages but I wonder if that's going to make Ballmer change cause, especially if the check marks are going according to plan. Goodluck everybody.

[Dec 15, 2012] How Microsoft's Surface tablet is better than my iPad in some key ways

It essentially wipes the floor with iPad. Especially in Pro version, iPad is simply an underpowered toy.
TabTimes

The Surface is better than the iPad at some things, says industry analyst Patrick Moorhead.

Long time iPad user and computer industry analyst Patrick Moorhead has been using Microsoft's new Surface RT tablet for a week and says there are definitely some areas he finds it more useful for than Apple's best-selling device.

For example, email.

"The email client is fast enough, is threaded, pulls in avatars from other services that personalizes the experience and easily handles attachments in a way that I am familiar with Windows," says Moorhead, writing in TechPinions.

"Emails are very quick with Surface's keyboard, too. It's not perfect as I want a unified inbox, in-message web links, and shortcuts like 'add to calendar',"but he expects improvements as this is only version 1.0.

Writing, research and blogging

"On my iPad, my blog workflow today moves from iPad Evernote to WordPress on the iPad and then final edit on a PC. If you have ever worked with iOS WordPress and photos, you understand why.

"With Surface, I start with Word then publish inside the app to WordPress. One app, one device; what could be simpler?

"And it is so, so much easier with the Type Cover with a trackpad to pound out a 1,000 word piece of work. For research papers, there is no substitute for Word."

Live Tiles

Moorhead says iPad fans may dis Windows 8's Live Tiles and Android panes, but he thinks Microsoft is ahead of the curve with the tile concept and that Apple will eventually implement the concept itself.

"Without eve display I can see emails, calendar, and weather, stocks, Tweets, breaking news, updated podcasts and about 100 other pieces of information, "says Moorhead. "I think other consumers will prefer it too, after some time, as icons are so 1980's."

iPad has some real competition

Moorhead concludes by noting the iPad finally has real competition. He'll still use his iPad because it's better at some things and "holistically, has it more together than the Surface."

"Surface is far from perfect, has its flaws, but also delivers a much better experience than expected," says Moorhead, "and selectively delivers a preferred experience in certain usage models."



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