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Surface Pro 3 isn’t a superb tablet (but that may be OK)

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Since last week, I’ve been using the Surface Pro 3 review unit Microsoft loaned me on a nearly full-time basis. I normally use a Chromebook(s goog) for my computing activities, both work and personal, so it has been a bit of an adjustment. So far, though, the Surface Pro 3 has worked quite well for me, at least as a laptop.

Microsoft Surface Pro 3

The device isn’t just a laptop, though — without the optional $129 Type Cover, it’s far more of a tablet. So after getting through my work days, I’ve put my current tablets aside — an iPad Air(s aapl) and Google Nexus 10 — and used the Surface Pro 3 as a slate.

For me, the Surface Pro 3 doesn’t work better than either of the tablets I normally use. It’s larger, heavier — about the same weight as the initial iPad — doesn’t have some of the tablet apps I use on other devices, can run hotter and doesn’t last as long on a single charge. Sounds like a “loser” of a tablet, right? Here’s the thing, though: I think that for people who don’t rely on their tablet as a primary device or simply want a device for occasional tablet use, it’s not bad.

What do you need your tablet to do?

Tablets are great for a lean-back content consumption experience, for example. The 2160 x 1440 Surface Pro 3 display paired with the fully adjustable kickstand make this slate, which is 9.1mm thin, a great tablet for watching video. Sure, some streaming video apps aren’t available for Windows 8.1. I haven’t found that a problem, though, because those streaming services work just fine in the browser. There are touch-friendly Windows apps for Netflix(s nflx) and Hulu. Not so for AmazonInstant Video — that’s when the web browser comes in handy so I don’t feel like I’m missing out.

Want to read a book? I’d never say the Surface Pro 3 is a better e-reader than a dedicated model — I love my Amazon(s amzn) Kindle Paperwhite — but it’s not a terrible experience either, provided you aren’t going to read for hours or if you don’t mind reading in landscape mode with the kickstand propping up the tablet (since it weighs 1.76 pounds).

Game on (for a little while, that is)

Gaming is a mixed bag. On the plus side, this is a full Windows PC, so you can run any of the thousands of PC games that are available. There’s also a number of touch-centric games that you’ll find on other tablet platforms, although the selection is a bit more limited.

I like “Real Racing 3,” for example, but it’s not available for the Surface Pro 3. Instead, I’ve been playing “Asphalt 8: Airborne” on Microsoft’s slate, which is a similar game and looks fantastic on this screen. But I can’t play nearly as long because the tablet is larger and heavier. Note: You hold the tablet and “steer” by tilting it left and right when driving.

Asphalt 8 Surface Pro 3

And playing this game caused the Surface Pro 3 to get noticeably hot in my right hand — so much so that the newly designed internal fan was louder than the game sounds. Still, for occasional game use, I’ve enjoyed using the tablet.

Good for the basics, as well as advanced note taking

There are plenty of other apps available for the Surface Pro 3 that I use regularly on my current tablets and they’re all useable with touch: Facebook(s fb), Twitter, Flipboard and Zillow (I’m house-hunting right now). Folks who use tablets with what I’d call top-tier or mainstream tablet apps will likely find what they need in the Windows Store. Microsoft also makes a few excellent tablet-type apps for the basics, such as News, Weather and Sports. And if you can’t find a particular app, that touchscreen modern or Metro browser comes in handy.

Surface Pro 3 comes with a digital pen that’s handy in tablet mode. Using OneNote, an app that’s been around for years and has only gotten better with time, I’ve been getting back into digital note taking.

OneNote Surface Pro 3

The pen can even wake the tablet and automatically open OneNote. The pen experience for writing is excellent; I’m not a digital artist so I won’t comment on using the pen for drawing purposes. Including the pen and its heavy OneNote integration is something that no tablet offers, save for a few Samsung models running Android. And those simply don’t compare to the sophistication that the Surface Pro 3 digital pen experience provides.

This is primarily a laptop, but the tablet functions are a nice bonus

I’ll have a final, full review of the Surface Pro 3 in the coming days. As a laptop, I’m impressed. As a tablet, less so but the idea behind this product is that it’s a two-in-one device: Instead of buying and carrying two devices, you can purchase just one. Any time you try to merge two distinctly different types of devices, you’re going to find compromises made. That’s clear when you use the Surface Pro 3 as a tablet. But tablet use for this ultrabook-class computer is almost a bonus, provided you want a limited tablet experience when compared to true tablets.

49 Responses to “Surface Pro 3 isn’t a superb tablet (but that may be OK)”

  1. so you spend more money on a essentially a laptop that has limited tablet use why not just upgrade your laptop and have all the touch abilities that the surface has and you can use all games you want for your computer and not have to buy this wanna be tablet and a laptop just get the laptop this device seems utterly useless. what good are the apps if you cant get what you want.

  2. Steve Jobs said it succinctly in the first iPad keynote what a tablet should be. Anything larger than the iPad Air is a bad tablet.

  3. diyzen

    + for people who actually read inspiring book and want to annotated their own thoughts and ideas the WORKING digitizer with a big enough screen (10″ just feels to crammed) on the SP3 is the ONLY/lightest/cheapest option on the market (plus all magnesium body)


    dell: venue pro – shitty digitizer (Amtel)

    hp: elitepad – see above , only atom

    lenovo: yoga – quality issues / helix – 3.Gen. CPU

    fujitsu: T904 / Q584 > $$$$

    motion computing: $$$$$

    better recognize it is UNIQUE •

  4. Captain Accuracy

    Kevin’s review is annoying because of its non-commitment to any stance.  

    “Surface Pro 3 isn’t a superb tablet…”

    (what is it superb at and why?)

    “I’d never argue that…”, 

    (what would you argue and why?)

    “…the Surface doesn’t “suck in every way” but…”

    (what is it fantastic at and why?)

    “I don’t disagree with anything you’ve said…”

    (what do you agree with and why?)

    Kevin, why not write your opinion strong and hard and clear?  How about clearly defining your terms?  For instance, “What a tablet is and what a tablet is not”.  It would be wonderful if these terms were clearly defined and substantiated.  This might help you make a strong case from which to compare other devices.

    Also, how about coming at from a “glass half full” attitude then defining your terms and backing it up?

    Sometimes the article’s tone reminds me of a whiny child who won’t say what they want or really mean, but at the same time resists what is in front of them,

    “I’m not saying peanut butter and jelly sandwiches aren’t my favorite, but I don’t want one now…”. 

    Also is there any way you can
    write without double negatives or any by not starting with negative statements  “I don’t disagree” or “I’m not saying…”  For instance “I believe this because…”

    We’d rather hear what is your favorite, what you do like, why you like and hear some examples about it.  Clear and strong informed and committed.

    In addition to the above, I also agree with Dr. T,

    “I would not call this article blatantly biased as some have, but simply uniformed, simplistic, and narrow.”

    To not be hypocritical, Kevin, I must follow my own advice.  

    Your article is good.  To make it better, it would be awesome if we heard what you were passionate about and why.  We’d love to hear it from a “glass half full” perspective, with all terms clearly defined and substantiated.  One can even be strong, clear and passionate about being non-committal.  What may help is defining your terms, infusing with your passion and substantiate it.  

    Glass half full, glass half full, glass half full, you can do it, you can do it, you can do it..

  5. avro105

    The Surface Pro 3 misses the mark as a Tablet and as an Ultrabook.

    The iPad is a great Tablet and a great Tablet for work. The Norwegian Prime Minister ran his country from an iPad. The artist David Hockney uses his iPad for his art. Musicians, photographers, writers, doctors, barristers and academics ‘create’ on iPads. Apple has shown us that people are finding many new ways of being ‘productive on an iPad’ and that can be true of other Tablets (with suitable Apps) too. I am afraid that far too many people approach productivity with the mindset that it all happens in the office. No doubt that is because many are office workers tied to MS Office for their work. Some even think that ‘real work’ is all about Excel spreadsheets. However, there is a whole big world of creation out there and Tablets are opening up many possibilities beyond the office and office furniture.

    Full fat Windows is just totally wrong for a Tablet. For years many people have felt alienated by desktop operating systems. They’ve struggled with their archaic file systems and confusing windows management, their control schemes and their sheer complexity. Those frustrations are the last things people want on a Tablet. Extremely happy with an iPad for mobile computing. No need to lug around extra batteries, cables and all sorts of accessories. It is the way mobile computing should be.

    There are very good reasons why The Surface Pro line has failed to make in impact in the computing market. Not as good a Tablet as an iPad and not as good an Ultrabook as a MacBook Air (battery life, keyboard, case, trackpad).

    The Surface Pro 3 is an improvement on previous Surfaces, but it still remains a quirky in between device. I doubt there will be a Surface Pro 4 and others seem to think the same.

  6. markz

    I found myself terribly disagreeing with this article. I currently use a couple of tablets but they’re all Windows. I gave away my non-windows tablets.

    I just think your use-model is wrong. If your definition of tablet is an iPad then this column makes sense. My definition of a tablet is a hand-held computer with a touch-screen that you can carry around and consume content and work on. The iPad fails miserably at the ‘and work on’ part, at least for me.

    When using my previous Android tablet(s) I constantly found myself reading work email and trying to look at/edit powerpoint slides or vpn to the office or attach a network drive from my file server or… Sure I can find some Android (or iPad) apps to help with this stuff but the ease and familiarity and availability of full desktop software (not ‘apps’) and the exact same software I’m running on Windows, such as my password manager make the non-windows tablets non-useful.

  7. Please define what a tablet “is”, if the Surface is not a tablet. One could derive from this article that a tablet weighs a certain amount, has a screen size less than X, does not run ‘hotter’ than X, no pen stylus, touch interface only, limited to apps because of a low powered ARM processor, no support for legacy software, no connections to peripheral devices, and a host of other limitations. Because the Surface Pro suffers from none of these conditions, ergo, it is not a tablet?

    Of course devices are personal, and no one device fits all. For entertainment and pleasure, most tablets do a fine job. Move into a productivity realm, and tablets fall well short of the mark. So what is wrong with making a tablet that is far more powerful than the competition? Would one loathe an iPad with an active digitizer, support for legacy software, a markedly more efficient keyboard for text input, ability to attach a mouse or printer for finer detailed software applications, a powerful CPU that moves beyond low functioning apps? The Surface does not need to rely on apps, because it is a full computer; you can run what you want through a browser or as an installed application. We have learned to like apps because of low power in mobile devices. That is changing. Apps are essentially a browser to the internet to access simple programs with limited functionality as not to tax the processor.

    The Surface Pro 3 offers a way forward for compact and powerful computing devices. It’s still in it’s early stages, but watch for business users, schools, and students to demand from other manufacturers the functionality inherent to the Surface Pro 3. Tablets will move away from ARM processors in the not too distant future. The first generation of tablets will be laughable compared to the short term future of tablets on the visible horizon.

    Yikes, talk about sticking to your knitting. I guess by reading this, one might conclude everything that can be invented, has been invented. Innovation requires vision to meet the needs of people. Research on writing and productivity is abundant. The issue of a pen based stylus makes this device a home run. Writing is essential to productivity, whether creating, taking notes, annotating text, the use of visuals in communication. All of the other Surface features make it a grand slam. it’s about the features to support productivity, not how hot it runs, if there are apps,, or other red herring arguments that make little sense in the real world of use.

    This article could have mentioned a dozen things the Surface could do for would be users that existing tablets cannot, but made sure to keep it superficial. A terribly researched piece written obviously from a stream of consciousness rather from a well researched topic.

    I would not call this article blatantly biased as some have, but simply uniformed, simplistic, and narrow.

  8. dougerz

    Personally, I am very excited about this tablet. I am really interested in how well it is going to do in the marketplace and especially for business travelers on the go. Though one could argue that this is a 2-in-1 ultrabook, I think it is much more than that. Besides, there are 5 versions of the device as well that will make this a very good device to accommodate a number of different users. Plus, with the use of cloud storage and MicroSD cards, there will be ample storage for most users.

    Can they come soon enough? :)

  9. Going by the headline, I could say that the iPad, Nexus, PlayBook and TouchPad weren’t superb tablets either, all of which I have looked at, and two out of those four are now expensive door stops.

    Here is what concerns me – the author has injected bias by ending his review with “compared to true tablets”. What is the author’s definition of a “true tablet”? If that answer is based on a competing product, then we have a problem.

    I remember my review of the original Surface RT when I first got my hands on it. The device had a level of features and capability that no slate before it exhibited. This not only made the device highly unique, but it could do things that none of it’s competitors could:

    One big point that ALL tech reviewers cheerfully neglect to mention is that the Surface range of tablets are the only tablets that have NATIVE FOUR-WAY keyboard/mouse/pen/touch input. That’s a very big deal if you want to define a “true tablet”.

  10. BNMe2014

    I’ve had the Surface Pro 2 for 6 months now and find that it brings great balance to some otherwise lacking moments. It can’t replace my macbook pro 15″ completely, but when I need to work thru some large excel files on the fly, it’s just the ticket and much lighter in my shoulder bag. better at movies for the downtime, sounds great if it’s just playing in the background softly to minimize the silence without headphones. My only regret is I didn’t get the 8G ram version, opted for the 4/128 and have found that the lack of ram at times slows it down for processing large photo files in .raw

    All that said, upgrading for the sake of a new device would not be a choice, but getting a deal on one with 8G of ram would be useful enough for me to consider. Personally I’ll always have a foot in both worlds of Mac and Windows, but am very pleased with the Surface Pro 2 device and anxious to see how the 12″ version feels in the hand. The 2 works fine for me as my ipad 2 is in a lifeproof case, now too long in the tooth to be of as much work value, and ends up being about the same size as my surface pro 2 in its’ keyboard case…

  11. Hundoman Protector

    Kevin hypocritically criticizes and misses Hundoman’s good and simple point.  Hundoman is criticized for, “drawing irrational conclusions” yet, Kevin does the same to him.

    Let’s examine further.

    Hundoman said,

    “Not a single mention in this whole article that a lot of people or businesses buy tablets to get actual work done and with the secondary purpose of maybe to play games, watch videos, or read books.”

    Kevin’s response,

    “And I *really* don’t understand your last point: no mention of secondary tablet purposes? My entire premise is that this is a solid tablet for just those purposes. That’s probably a better example of bias: not reading the article and drawing irrational conclusions because you disagree with what you *think* was said.”

     What does Hundoman mean by “secondary purposes” here?  Any purpose the device may be used for after users meet their primary goal of productivity.  Examples of these may consist of “…playing games, watching videos, or reading books.”

    Kevin not only misses Hundoman’s good and simple point, but misquotes and criticizes him for the same thing he was doing, “drawing irrational conclusions.” This behavior is hypocritical and may embarrass the article’s author. 

  12. Goodday

    This is the best, biggest, most powerful, lightest and thinnest tablet for in its size.

    Tablet with the most powerful processor compared to any other OS tablet. They will take years to reach this power.
    Best Touch screen Browser.
    No other tablet can play the power hungry games not the candy crush games.
    USB 3.0.
    Display port.

    Classic computing: No competition for this premium built quality and price even Macs.

  13. Ewizard2

    @Ron – The demo’s demonstrates the keyboard folds up flush to the bottom of the tablet so I think it is going to work on a airline tray table.

  14. Ron Burgin

    The total package with keyboard and kickstand open looks hopelessly long in its footprint. Could you possibly use it on an airline tray table? Looks like desktop or table use only.

  15. Ewizard2

    Thanks Kevin for the initial review. I have a surface pro 2 and I plan to buy the surface pro 3. I am looking for a office PC replace and the 12″ screen is exactly what I am looking for. I do agree with your comments that everyone needs to make their own decisions. I go into work with my surface pro 2 with the power cover and I never have to charge my device when I am in the office. When I come home I dock my Surface with a USB hub and now I have 3 monitors with all of my voice over IP / video equipment that allows me work as if I am using a full laptop / desktop. I am sure the windows apps will improve but for now I want a slim laptop that will allow me to be more mobile with the full windows applications that will allow me to maximize my productivity when working with Office / Adobe desktop applications.

    • Ewizard2

      Addition Comments: I own several versions of the IPADs and I used to own a kindle. I agree with some of the other postings availability of applications. I think apple on top for now. After owning the apple IPad’s I quickly realized that I wanted the apps but I really wanted full functionality of a windows computer but in a tablet form. I use the IPAD for entertainment purposes such as facebook, reading and I even mounted the IPAD in my car for music and navigation which works great. When I want to be productive I use office, adobe, IE / Firefox and some other applications that are best used on the windows operating system.

    • Miller

      Question: You can extend your desktop to two other monitors when docked? The Surface has those drivers? That is great!

      Kevin: In your final report would you give your impressions on what would be a good hard drive size? Thank you.

  16. Toffer

    I don’t have this but I do have a dell venue 8 pro. Same operating system just a smaller setup.

    I have an iPad and Android phone and there are differences. I did however buy the dell to replace my iPad. I’m a light user and I rally like my iPads browser experience. It seems like the browser(bing) is not very tough friendly so my iPad gets grabbed for those sessions.

    Can you recommend anyone recommend a better browser app for metro? This question applies to this article as I will be upgrading to the slate in the near future because of its dual capabiltiy(metro/desktop).


  17. Nuno Moz

    If the only great tablets are the ones that fit in the pocket or purse, this is not a great tablet. That is something preempting all reviews.

    The question no reviewer is asking is why one would want a bigger tablet then an iPad Air?

    I’ve seen many articles describing how to be productive with an iPad Air. They all involve a keyboard. What happens with lapability and weight then? I’ve seen articles giving 5 stars to apps supporting pen input in the iPad Air.

    What I’m missing I the reviews is a in depth description of how the systems behaves in Portrait mod. Compare with a sheet of standard paper and so on. If does not work very, very well in that mode, that is something that would put me off buy the system.

    That and the keyboard not being included in the price.

    The emphasis reviewer put on the ability for the system to work on the lap understandable given the profession these people have. I have the sense they spend a great amount of time in venues, cafés and hotel rooms with their systems in the lap.

    So most reviews are fully biased towards their use case.

    But that is not what most people do. Yet that is what most people read in most reviews.

    When I’m at home I use my laptops mostly in the couch or in the balcany. Never had a problem with my SP2 for that use case. When I go to classes or meetings most of the time I have a table I can use to take notes with a pen and paper, so I guess provided SP3 works very very well in Portrait mode it might be very good for that.

    When I get to the office I usually dock my laptop on a stand and use a better keyboard. Even with my MacBook Pro.

    My feeling is for casual reading on the train, bus or coffee shop the form factor is not that good. The question then, is what defines a good tablet?

  18. Steve Jobs

    It is a Microsoft Product and therefore expect:
    1. Network issues – Crashes
    2. Becomes sluggish over time….and will need a fresh install
    3. Virus and hacks from everyone –
    5. Stupid Windows Office is becoming black and white boxes…UGLY –
    6. And of course very little APPS.
    We are on Android now….and we are not looking back –

  19. Reblogged this on Carpet Bomberz Inc. and commented:
    There’s a difference between a tablet and a pen tablet. MS really committed to the pen tablet back in 2002 with Win XP Tablet Edition. That’s when OneNote hit the market and it’s been a pen friendly app from the get go. I challenge all competitors to achieve the level of function MS has achieved with the Surface Pro with a pen stylus. If you want or demand to use a pen with your tablet, go Surface Pro. If you want to just sit back and tap/swipe/read get just a tablet, not a pen tablet.

    • jimmyselix

      honestly, if you want a productivity based tablet and cheaper, go w/the HP 11t-h100 x2. Around $500 on sale starting and the N3520 in it works pretty well.. i can run my XP Prof VM on it for when i need to code my car and the keyboard dock is nice for when i need to run real full blown Windows apps like office 2013, acrobat, vpn, etc. I’ve had about a dozen various iPads and Android tablets and yet now only own my HP.

      we may get a Surface Pro 3 to test in the office for the next line of staff laptops for our company; Win8 is the biggest hurdle and getting used to it.

  20. Windows Tablets

    Until developers embrace Windows 8 the way they have iOS and Android, Windows 8 Tablets will be a niche product for geeks like me.

  21. Dr Al

    I have the Surface pro 2 128g model and I wouldn’t see myself upgrading to the Pro 3. I bought it because I wanted full windows in a smaller form factor than my Lenovo laptop. Since getting it I’m starting to like Windows 8.1 (wasn’t sure at first) but with time it’s more natural. The pro 2 is slightly larger than I wanted so any larger just puts it too close to laptop size (I currently have a Lenovo T440s). To me the Surface pro line is a laptop in a smaller form factor that can work as a tablet. I’m not sure if I would call it a replacement for a tablet but if you own a Pro you really wouldn’t need to own a tablet too.

    Microsoft has put themselves dangerously close in size to my laptop. Like most everyone says, you need the keypad to get the most out of the Pro. Once you add that in you’ve increased the thickness and added slightly more weight. Once the Pro 3 gets into stores I’m going to put my t440 next to it so I can see first hand the physical differences. Price wise I think MS is going to struggle as they are right in the full feature laptop range.

  22. cbskibum

    Any specifics regarding battery life? Microsoft claiming 9 hours seems stretches credibility IMHO. I run an I5 Samsung Slate and get maybe 1.5 hours. Intel processors running windows get hot and use tons of amps for a cooling fan. So what is the breakthrough with the Surface 3 to increase battery life so significantly?

    • Battery life is going to vary based on use of course. For what I do, which is mostly browser based activities and some apps for social networking, gaming, content playback and such, I’m seeing between 7.5 and 8.5 hours of usage on a charge. I think 9 hours might be possible for particular light computing activities with brightness levels under 50 percent.

  23. Silversee

    Hi Kevin. I think your opinion is valid, but I also think that (like almost everyone else) you have fallen into the trap of considering Surface only within the context of known paradigms: is it a tablet or is it a laptop? Almost all criticisms of Surface seem to stem from considering each of these cases in isolation, and cherry picking areas where the experience falls short of the best “pure” device experiences.

    In truth, Surface is a hybrid device with multiple modes of use: tablet, laptop, and desktop (with dock). It should be evaluated at least in part as to how well it succeeds at blending these roles into a single device with minimal compromise. In this context, the Surface Pro 3 is easily the best designed, best built multi-mode computing device, and by a VERY wide margin.

    • Silversee

      I guess I should amend this to say that I recognize that you are, in fact, advancing this very argument in your post. It’s the headline that probably makes your post seem so negative upon first impression. I’d argue that it’s a pretty great tablet *for productivity* use cases, which is certainly what Microsoft is trying to hit.

    • I don’t disagree with anything you’ve said.

      This look at Surface Pro 3 was *only* as a tablet, not in its entirety. I’ve already noted in my brief first impressions that it appears to be a pretty solid laptop ( and that I wasn’t sure about it as a tablet.

      That’s what this post is for: to discuss it as a tablet. At the end of this post, I said I’d have a full review and in that one I’ll look at the device as a whole. Hopefully that helps explain the approach to date. Thanks!

  24. gencom

    Knowing both Windows and Unix (Mac OS), I am surprised why would anybody, except enterprise users, want a Windows machine. Just the necessity to run virus scans continuously kills performance and is a major headache. Not talking about integration, lack of system backup, etc.

    • Teagan Lewis

      There are a lot of people who prefer to use Windows as a gaming platform. I’m excited for the possibilities of Linux as a gaming platform in the future (Android or Steam OS), but currently PC gaming means Windows.

  25. Vlad Grigore

    Kevin, it sounds like you were trying your hardest to find a way to say that the Surface doesn’t suck in every way, but you just couldn’t figure out how to do it.

  26. hundoman

    “limited tablet experience when compared to true tablets.”

    Gigaom’s bias to all things Apple and Google is an absolute shame.

    This Surface 3 like all full Windows tablets allows you to run real Windows desktop applications not just some flimsy app based environment that both Google and Apple utilize. If you already own a bunch of computer software why should you have to re-buy everything just to use them on a tablet?

    Not a single mention in this whole article that a lot of people or businesses buy tablets to get actual work done and with the secondary purpose of maybe to play games, watch videos, or read books.

    • Hmmm…. describing some of the limitations and benefits isn’t what I’d call bias. It’s an observation. Folks need to make their own decisions when it comes to buying a device and that’s based on their needs; everyone’s are different.

      You’re absolutely right that you can run real Windows desktop applications. But these aren’t tablet optimized so I don’t see that as a benefit when looking at the tablet aspect of Surface Pro 3.

      And I *really* don’t understand your last point: no mention of secondary tablet purposes? My entire premise is that this is a solid tablet for just those purposes. That’s probably a better example of bias: not reading the article and drawing irrational conclusions because you disagree with what you *think* was said.

    • Hundoman- Dude right on, stick your old software disks into that $800+ surface 3. If this tablet was designed and made for primarily business people they wouldn’t need to advertise or make a store front for the masses. However, this tablet is designed for the average consumer, and its way over priced for its current application. This is why many people have switched to Google and Apple, because their versions of “Word, Excel, and Powerpoint” are free, and come with cloud support to all devices. No 365 yearly subscription needed from Microsoft.

    • maisonpulaski

      “limited tablet experience when compared to true tablets.”

      I think you may have missed something. It’s not limited in the sense of PC software. But it is a compromised *tablet* experience.

      Would you want to use a 17″ tablet? Of course not. That’d be ridiculous. Well 12″ is right at that questionable threshold.

      Can that 12″ screen be used as a tablet. Yes. So could a 17″ screen. But are either of those sizes optimal for the tablet experience?

      I really like the Surface Pro 3 and am considering it. But I agree that it compromises some key areas of both form factors. You get the keyboard but loose the rock solid stability of the traditional keyboard. You get the tablet but loose a little of the mobility in the weight and screen size. Yeah it’s lighter than the 13″ MBA. But the MBA isn’t a tablet.

      I think I see the authors perspective.

    • Nicholas Paredes

      Way back in the early days of mobile, I was playing with my Fujitsu slate tablet with a CDMA card. I loved my slate for the same reason I now love my iPad. A continuous internet connection and a usable interface, albeit with a pen only. I would peck out my emails and surf on the couch or at the beach. I would try to get educational publishers to stop printing books for teachers.

      A decade later, and many fewer educational publishers, I am thinking about a Surface 3 to complement my Macbook Air and iPad. I need a full version of Excel with stat software for school. I don’t need the best interface in the world, but it needs to work. Maybe it even needs to work more than an iPad does.

      I agree with the assessment here, and do not find it balanced against the Surface. Microsoft has plenty of challenges ahead given the current product mix, aging OS infrastructure, and the competition. It also has plenty of advantages. As a Mac user, I need Windows as much as everybody else does until the software really changes. And, it will. It’s too bad that fanboys on both sides can’t see the forest for the trees.

    • Isaac Rodriguez

      I was thinking the same thing. People actually want to get things done, not just for entertainment purposes. That is why i got rid of my TabPRO 8.4 and am going to get this, for the purpose of productivity.