Print 62 comment(s) - last by Vertigo2000.. on May 22 at 9:23 AM

Microsoft continues to refine its Surface concept

Microsoft is giving it another go when it comes to its Surface tablet family. The first generation Surface RT and Surface Pro were introduced in late 2012 and early 2013 respectively. Microsoft followed up with the second generation Surface 2 and Surface Pro 2 in September 2013.
The company is now hoping to boost its fortunes in the tablet market with the new Surface Pro 3. One of the big things that Microsoft is trying to stress with the Surface Pro 3 is that it is a device that can can “do it all.” Microsoft’s Panos Panay proclaimed that “96% of people who own an iPad also own a laptop.” With the Surface, all you need is one device.

Surface Pro 3 is a big step forward, as it now features a 12” display (3:2 screen ratio) compared to 10.2” (16:9) for Surface Pro 2. Screen resolution has been bumped from 1920x1080 to 2160x1440.


And it must be stated that amazingly, Microsoft was able to not only make the Surface Pro 3 lighter despite the increase in screen size (1.76 pounds compared to 2 pounds), but also made it thinner than the existing model.

The Surface Pro 3 is now 9.1mm thick instead of 11.7mm thick.

The Surface Pro also expands on what Microsoft calls “lapability.” Microsoft wants to make it easier to use the Surface Pro 3 as a laptop, and to do so the company has seriously upgraded the kickstand thanks to an innovative hinge.

The kickstand can now be used at any angle up to a 150 degree degrees (no more pre-configured indents).

When used in conjunction with the redesigned Type Cover, the Surface Pro 3 should be easier to use in your lap. The redesigned Type Cover magnetically seals itself to the bottom of the screen and can easily adapt to fit your preferred typing position.

Microsoft also has a new trick features with the Surface Pro 3’s stylus. With the device off, you can simply click the button on the top of the stylus to automatically turn the device on with it ready and waiting in the OneNote app. The notes you then take will be synced to the cloud instantaneously.

Microsoft says that the Surface Pro 3 is good for up to 9 hours of battery life, and includes front-facing speakers that are now 45 percent louder. In addition, the Surface Pro 3 now includes two 5MP cameras which are capable of shooting 1080p video.
Microsoft continues to include a full-size USB 3.0 port, microSD card reader, and a Mini DisplayPort.

The Surface Pro 3 Docking Station will set you back $199
The Surface Pro 3 will go on sale tomorrow, starting at $799 for the Core i3 version with 4GB of RAM and a 64GB SSD. Full pricing is as follows:
  • Intel Core i3, 4 GB RAM, 64GB - $799
  • Intel Core i5, 4 GB RAM, 128GB - $999
  • Intel Core i5, 8 GB RAM, 256GB - $1,299
  • Intel Core i7, 8 GB RAM, 256GB - $1,549
  • Intel Core i7, 8 GB RAM, 512GB - $1,949

Source: Microsoft

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Uhhh... hmmm...
By Vertigo2000 on 5/20/2014 12:48:45 PM , Rating: 3
Microsoft’s Panos Panay proclaimed that “96% of people who own an iPad also own a laptop.” With the Surface, all you need is one device.

For the price of an i7 Surface Pro 3, I can buy an $800 Intel laptop, a $500 iPad or Android tablet and still save $200+ while having access to better app stores.
I just don't mind having 2 devices I guess.

RE: Uhhh... hmmm...
By ATrigo on 5/20/2014 1:21:15 PM , Rating: 2
And yet, for the price of the i3 one you get an Intel laptop and at the same time a device that most likely leaps around an iPad or an Android tablet... hmmmm

RE: Uhhh... hmmm...
By stm1185 on 5/20/2014 1:58:21 PM , Rating: 5
Wait whose selling a 12inch > 1080p i7 laptop that weighs under 2lbs and costs $800?

RE: Uhhh... hmmm...
By artemicion on 5/20/2014 2:23:05 PM , Rating: 3
Well, on the other hand, if you're OK running with two devices, you don't need to pay the premium for a laptop that comes in a tablet-esque form factor.

Surfaces are pretty cool devices, but in my usage scenario I prefer paying the same amount for a cheap tablet for web browsing + i7 laptop that can game. In fact, I'd prefer the Surface 3 to come with 1080p rather than 1440p for gaming purposes, because the Haswell IGP won't be able to game @ 1440p.

RE: Uhhh... hmmm...
By Labotomizer on 5/20/2014 3:00:53 PM , Rating: 2
You completely missed the point. What premium? Who else offers that level of hardware for a price that's less for a laptop and a tablet?

RE: Uhhh... hmmm...
By artemicion on 5/20/2014 6:40:41 PM , Rating: 2
The premium for having a laptop in an ultra portable form factor. The OP made the valid point that if you're usage scenario is covered by a cheap tablet for doing tablet things and a cheap 15.6" laptop for doing laptop things, Surface 3 doesn't present a good value in terms of consolidation.

Real world example:
I have a $200 Nexus 7 to couch web browse with and a $550 Haswell i7 Inspiron 15 that I game on. Cheaper than the Surface 3 and arguably superior to the Surface 3 in some respects (my laptop would be superior for gaming since it's only pushing 1080p and has a GeForce 750m). Yeah, the laptop isn't as portable but it doesn't have to be--not like I play Diablo 3 lying down on my couch.

RE: Uhhh... hmmm...
By retrospooty on 5/20/2014 6:48:49 PM , Rating: 5
Yes, but its not really made for a person that has a NExus 7 and does gaming on the laptop. It's made for someone that wants an all in one device they can travel with, but also use as a tablet when it suits them. It's good for what it is. It's just not for everyone.

RE: Uhhh... hmmm...
By atechfan on 5/20/2014 7:04:08 PM , Rating: 2
I want to play around with one a bit more to see if the nTrig digitizer is good. In my very brief hands-on, it seemed way better than any nTrig digitizer I've used before, but I didn't get a chance to try it with Photoshop or Manga Studio. The Wacom in the Pro 2 works well with those programs, and previously Photoshop had driver issues with nTrig. I hope MS and Adobe worked with nTrig to iron that out. That said, the switch allowed MS to make the device thinner, and got rid of the slight gap between the nib and where the ink appeared on screen that the Wacom equipped Surfaces had.

RE: Uhhh... hmmm...
By coburn_c on 5/21/2014 2:30:40 AM , Rating: 2
I've had an n-trig 1.0 and 2.5 revision hardware. The improvement was dramatic, the 1.0 had HORRIBLE support and was pretty clunky, the 2.5 was almost up to Wacom levels. I think they are on 4.0 now so I would be surprised if it wasn't honestly competitive with Wacom.

RE: Uhhh... hmmm...
By atechfan on 5/21/2014 4:51:39 AM , Rating: 2
That is what I have been hearing from people who have used it more extensively. A couple of my old MS contacts told me the decision to switch was pretty easy, as the nTrig was actually more precise. The biggest downside is the pen is active and needs batteries.

RE: Uhhh... hmmm...
By Vertigo2000 on 5/21/2014 11:38:06 AM , Rating: 1
I, like most people, already own 2 devices, so which one is this supposed to replace? If my laptop craps out, why would I buy one of these? The screen is too small to work on and it costs 2x as much as the laptop I own. If my tablet craps out, why would I buy one of these? It's 4x as much as my current tablet costs and the Windows 8 app store isn't as good. I guess if they both crap out then I'd look at one, but what are the odds of that happening? And I would assume the majority of people are in a similar situation, so who is this being marketed to?

Is it cool? Sure, but that's a bad reason to buy one. Would I turn one down if it was given to me as a gift? Hell no. But I certainly wouldn't buy one as a replacement for one of my other 2 devices... but that's just me.

I don't like the screen size for doing "real work". I don't like the aspect ratio. And I certainly don't like the price.

RE: Uhhh... hmmm...
By retrospooty on 5/21/2014 2:00:08 PM , Rating: 2
"I, like most people, already own 2 devices, so which one is this supposed to replace?"

It's really not made for you (or me either). It's made for someone that probably travels alot and/or for whatever reason they deem suitable, want one single device that serves both needs. A large tablet and a small laptop.

Filling a different need than you or I personally have doesn't make it a bad product. I know alot of execs that travel that would want this.

It's like auto purchases... If you drive far every day and want a compact car with good mileage, that doesn't mean an SUV is a bad product. It's just not one that suits your personal needs.

RE: Uhhh... hmmm...
By Vertigo2000 on 5/22/2014 9:23:00 AM , Rating: 1
I understand what you're saying, "different strokes for different folks".

It just seems MS's demographic to purchase this thing is quite limited. It almost feels like it's doomed to fail... again.

I applaud their attempt though, it's a cool product... it just has limited sales potential.

RE: Uhhh... hmmm...
By AmbroseAthan on 5/20/2014 2:04:18 PM , Rating: 5
How is having access to the Android or Apple App stores better than being able to install something from the Windows PC universe? This is the Pro line so any Windows full application can be installed.

Personally, I could see this making large inroads on the enterprise market replacing laptops for people, especially with the dock. I would gladly take this over the Lenovo laptop I have for the flexibility and weight lost yet still be able to run the full versions of most of the programs I use day to day (Office Suite and some custom applications for my job).

RE: Uhhh... hmmm...
By corduroygt on 5/20/2014 3:04:05 PM , Rating: 1
Windows PC software isn't optimized for touch, Apple/Android software is.
It's not fun trying to click on the tiny X on a touchscreen to close your app.
Not to mention, for the price, you can get a decent Windows laptop + an iPad/Android tablet, so you get BOTH.

RE: Uhhh... hmmm...
By ritualm on 5/20/2014 6:13:40 PM , Rating: 2
No, the experience will be worse with what you're suggesting.

The Surface Pro line is not comparable to the ARM tablets you keep referring to, and is simply not in the same league altogether. Best way to describe it is "unconventional ultrabook" - which it is.

I have shunned all ARM tablets and am not considering buying them at all. They are all too underpowered and weak by the time I need to do serious work with them.

RE: Uhhh... hmmm...
By StevoLincolnite on 5/20/2014 7:14:09 PM , Rating: 2
Windows PC software isn't optimized for touch

Well. Yes and no.

It depends on the application, for instance on my convertible netbook/tablet with an Atom processor I can fire up a 20 year old game and it works with touch fantastically, to put that in perspective (I'm talking about Master of Orion here) it pre-dates most touch technologies well in excess of over a decade.

Web browsers on the PC side have been getting more touch friendly, Windows 8 was pretty much designed around that concept and so was it's built in applications, Office is also heading down that path.

The web in general is getting larger bolder buttons... Again for touch.

Thus "Optimized for touch" isn't really much of an issue, we are heading down that path regardless if we like it or not.

RE: Uhhh... hmmm...
By atechfan on 5/21/2014 4:54:35 AM , Rating: 2
All strategy games (turn based, that is, not RTS) are very touch friendly. Civilation 5 has been my go-to game on my Surface. I'll have to dig out Master of Orion and Master of Magic. Loved those games.

RE: Uhhh... hmmm...
By w8gaming on 5/20/2014 11:11:20 PM , Rating: 2
Actually if you have problem clicking the tiny X, you are not doing it right.

RE: Uhhh... hmmm...
By atechfan on 5/21/2014 4:55:37 AM , Rating: 2
I use the stylus when using non-touch based programs. Works much better than trying to get my fat fingers to work with them.

RE: Uhhh... hmmm...
By Labotomizer on 5/20/2014 3:06:52 PM , Rating: 3
I've been happy with my original Surface Pro for over a year now. The Pro 2 was nice but didn't seem to be worth upgrading to. This one on the other hand... Wow.

No idea how I'll convince my wife that I need it though.

RE: Uhhh... hmmm...
By kleinma on 5/20/2014 2:09:36 PM , Rating: 5
Please give me a link to a 10" 1080p laptop with an i7 and Samsung SSD and touchscreen that supports a digitizer pen for 800 bucks. Hell, find me one for 1500 bucks...

RE: Uhhh... hmmm...
By tamalero on 5/21/2014 5:26:44 PM , Rating: 2
If the Surface 3 as the same wacom like quality digitalizer.. Id say 999 or 1200 USD is more worth than buying a wacom cintiq alone.

"If you look at the last five years, if you look at what major innovations have occurred in computing technology, every single one of them came from AMD. Not a single innovation came from Intel." -- AMD CEO Hector Ruiz in 2007

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