Thoughts on the Surface Pro 3
The Surface Pro 3 has been out and available for a long time. In fact, the Surface Pro 4 is now on the shelves and already replacing the Pro 3 for many in one of its two form factors. Even so, while scrolling back through my Google+ posts this week I rediscovered a post I'd written in December of 2014 and figured I'd fill it out and publish it as a full-blown article.
First launched in June 2014, the Surface Pro 3 is, as the name suggests, the 3rd iteration of the Surface Pro line touting a larger screen, better pen and a drastically improved kickstand over its predecessors. At launch it shipped with Windows 8.1 Pro and later became eligible for the Windows 10 upgrade. The Pro 3 came in a variety of configurations including (but not limited to) an i3 with 64GB storage, an i5 with 128GB and an i7 with 512GB. They all came with or without the additional Surface Keyboard - of which there were two types; touch and type - and Surface Pen. Mine was the middle-of-the-road i5 / 128GB with a Type Keyboard and Surface Pen.
So let me start by saying I've tinkered with a lot of devices; Macbooks, Ultrabooks, Windows tablets, iPads and Android tablets. Not as many as some popular tech reviewers naturally (as I either use them through work or pay out of my own limited budget) but more than your average geek. This website is a testament to that, as are my social media feeds.
I don't think I've ever liked a device quite as much as I do the Surface Pro 3.
This year I was almost set to ditch Windows completely due to it not being a requirement at home nor work. With my dislike of Windows 8 increasing whenever I used it, Windows 10 still being a while away and the launch of Office for Android (in beta at the time of writing) I was sure it was finally time. That was the plan, anyway... until I laid hands on the SP3.
Now I want nothing else.
Now don't get me wrong, I can recognise it isn't perfect - even to the point where there may be better options available in the Windows world - it's awkward on the lap (but manageable, providing you don't sit with your legs wide open as some tech reviewers have suggested they expect to be able to do), it loves to get mighty warm to the point it throttles the CPU and it sounds like a jet taking off throughout the day. Yet almost everything else about it feels spot on; it's light, flexible, well built, well spec'd, lovely to look at and provides the balance of consumption vs creation in a way no iPad or Android tablet has been able to for me.
Out and about it's a great travel companion. The screensize is substantially better than that of the previous iterations for getting things done and the adjustable kickstand with removable keyboard mean I can use it in places conventional laptops wouldn't fit (I'm looking at you, popular cheap airlines). Of course it doesn't live up to the battery life Microsoft touts and that's certainly a mark against it when comparing to its competition, but I've never been too far away from an outlet and it has therefore never bothered me.
At home/office I can dock it upright with the optional Surface Dock and hook it up to my 4 external monitors using a combination of DisplayLink and display port daisy-chaining. As soon as it's docked it's easy to forget it's a tablet. The experience is glorious.
I've never liked a piece of hardware as much as I do the Surface Pro 3. I can't wait to see what they do next.
Photos courtesy of Microsoft