I recently had a chance to test out the Microsoft Surface 3. I love this device, though it does have one or two shortcomings. The Surface 3 is an excellent 10.8″ tablet/laptop replacement that was created by Microsoft to allow the Surface to compete in the iPad price point.
Screen/Form Factor: It’s good to see that other hardware manufacturers are beginning to realize the 16:9 aspect ratio kinda sucks for tablets. Microsoft Opted for a somewhat unique 3:2 aspect ratio for the Surface while still providing it a superb resolution for it’s size (1920×1280). This aspect ratio definitely keeps the tablet more functional when in portrait mode. I still might prefer the 4:3 ratio, but this is still a huge improvement over most tablets.
Stylus (extra): For anybody who has not used a Surface Stylus yet, they are fantastic, and this is no exception. When writing or note taking, the handwriting will look as good or better than writing on paper with no extra effort required. I’m a lefty, and the Surface works great for southpaws too! The palm rejection is good, but not great… occasionally I’ll bump something in OneNote, but getting back on track is easy enough. I prefer the Surface Stylus over many Wacom Styluses that are used in tablets, as it feels more like a normal pen, and has better pressure sensitivity than my Wacom Styluses.
Touch Keyboard (extra): This touch keyboard is fantastic. I like it better than just about any laptop keyboard I’ve used. Though it is small, the keys are normal sized, and provide a great amount of feedback. The backlight is a nice touch, and now a requirement for me in all of my keyboards. If you’re concerned about the small keyboard don’t be. It’s one of the best keyboards you will use. The only very small gripe is the touchpad. I don’t really like touchpads in general, but this one is smaller than most. It works great, just a bit small. However, the entire device is a touchscreen which means you don’t really have to use the touchpad much.
Windows 10: Windows 10 does not suck. I’ve grown pretty fond of the OS quickly, and while it has a few shortcomings, it beats the crap out of Windows 8.1, which is full of crap.
Computing Power: While the Surface 3 is not a slouch for a tablet, when a keyboard is attached it becomes a laptop, and it’s computing power comes into question. Don’t get me wrong, I’m a power user by any account. I ran a Linux VM, and consistently had 10 tabs open on the tablet. I even opened up Steam and streamed a few games from my gaming Rig. It performed mostly fine. However, occasionally Google Chrome Lagged lightly. This was fixed by using the Edge Browser, which is probably actually better than Chrome… It’s just… well… old habits die hard.
Price: The Surface 3 is awesome, but the charge for it like it is super awesome. The Cost of the tablet is $499 or $599 depending on if you want 2GB of RAM and a 64 gig SSD, or 4GB and 128 gig SSD (recommend the latter). While this is a bit on the spendy side, if you want to take full advantage of the device you need to sink another $49 on a stylus, and $129 on a keyboard cover. this means to take full advantage of the Surface you’re probably going to drop $700 plus when said and done. This is a bit steep for an Intel Atom based Computer.
The Microsoft Surface 3 (non-pro) is hands down the best 2-1 device that has been created to date. I prefer it over it’s big brother the Surface Pro 3, though it would be great to have an i3/i5 option. My concerns with that tablet is that it may feel dated faster than most hardware as it’s specs are certainly that of a low end laptop currently, and that for those specs your forking out enough cash to buy a pretty decent mid-range laptop. That being said, you can’t but a midrange laptop and an iPad for $700, you could maybe get a low-end laptop and iPad for that kind of money, but then wouldn’t you rather have just one device to tote around? If the answer is yes, you will absolutely not find a better 2-1 device that the Surface Pro 3, it’s 92% awesome.