The Microsoft Surface Pro 3 may be the next Windows tablet with the Typecover keyboard to replace your laptop. Here’s the Microsoft Surface Pro 3 review.
Consumers love the tablet experience. But need more than just a mobile operating system. Betting on the tech-savvy consumers and their thirst for high-octane laptop-tablet hybrids, big players such as Microsoft, have invested heavily in the form of Surface tablets. Improving on its previous shortcomings, the Microsoft Surface Pro 3 offers a 2-in-1 experience with a sharper 12-inch display, lap-friendly design and impressive hardware at a competitive price.
Design and Build
Giving credit where it is due, the first and foremost impressive feat by Microsoft is that the Surface Pro 3 is thin and lighter than its predecessors, considering that the screen size increased to 12 inches from 10.6 inches. Keeping the best elements as a constant, the Surface Pro 3 comes with the same gorgeous magnesium-alloy design and artfully curved edges with the small gap between the base and the screen for hot air ventilation.
Microsoft constantly innovates its hinge mechanism, and the Surface Pro 3 enables you to tilt the screen back to 150 degrees. The only notable overall design change from the Pro2 and Pro 3 is the changed position of the Windows button. Microsoft has moved the switch from the landscape angle to the portrait angle because most users prefer holding their tablets in portrait mode.
Keeping the number of ports to a minimum, the Surface Pro 3 has one USB 3.0 and one mini-DisplayPort, both on the right side of the tablet. While the Surface Pro 3 comes with the Surface Pen along with the package, you need to purchase the Type Cover separately to get the complete laptop experience. Weighing in at 1.76 lbs without its cover, the Surface Pro 3 is bulky than the iPad Air, but half a pound lighter than the 13-inch MacBook Air.
The Surface Pro 3 does more than offer a larger display than the Pro 2 and Pro 3; it kicks up the resolution as well. Higher than the standard 1920 x 1080 pixels of its predecessors, the Surface Pro 3 comes with 2160 x 1440 pixels. But in comparison with the iPad Air (9.7 inches, 2048 x 1536), XPS 11 (11.6 inches, 2560 x 1440) Galaxy Note Pro 12.2 (12.2 inches, 2560 x 1600), the Surface Pro 3 falls short. Nonetheless, Pro 3 brings live videos in 4K, offering a crisp and vibrant viewing experience with rich details. The screen brightness of the Pro 3 measures at 298 nits, which beats the Dell XPS 11 (232 nits) and MacBook Air (288 nits), but falls short when compared the iPad Air (353 nits) and Samsung Galaxy Note 12.2 (380 nits).While the Pro 3 has 97 per cent of Srgb gamut volume, the Delta E score of 9.9, which makes its display less accurate compared to the others.
Type Cover and Surface Pen
If you are planning to make the Surface Pro 3 your laptop replacement, Type Cover is a bare essential that you need to buy separately. The Type Cover keyboard comes in black, blue, red and purple, and has been updated from the previous versions to suit the Pro 3. The magnetic strip in the cover attaches to the entire base of the Pro 3 and connects to the lower bezel to create a secure connection with the tablet.
While the new attachment mechanism makes it sturdier for lap use, it does not beat the traditional clamshell casing of convertible laptops. The light backlit keyboard which doubles as a sturdy cover does have its merits and has been improved since the Pro 2, but does not offer the phenomenal typing experience, mainly when not laid out on a flat surface.
Microsoft has revamped the Surface Pen with a metallic finish, which makes it feel more premium than the Pro 2’s. The stylus is the pen of Microsoft. The surface Pen is not integrated, in the design of tablets, like the S Pen in Samsung. Moreover, the S Pen by Samsung offers far more features that the Surface Pen, and there is no way of knowing which apps support the Surface Pen. Nonetheless, the Surface Pen operates smoothly while writing notes, managing emails and doodling.
Under the Hood
Powered by the Intel Core 15-4300U processor, 4GB of RAM and 256GB SSD, the Surface Pro 3 can handle multiple operations, support graphics-hungry games and streaming content with ease. The Surface Pro 3 scores 5,665 on Geekbench 3, which is in line with the MacBook Air and Dell XPS 11. 128GB SSD offers a standard boot time of 17 seconds, and transfer rates of 145MB/Sec.
The crisp display and high resolution do make the Surface Pro a pleasure to look at, but the Intel HD Graphics GPU limits its gaming performance capabilities. For instance, playing World of Warcraft on ultra settings on the Surface Pro 3 offers a measly 13fps, which is similar to the XPS 11, but almost half of what the MacBook Air provides (28fps).
When the battery of the Surface Pro 3 is put to the test, it lasts 7 hours and 27 minutes with brightness at 150 nits, Wi-Fi and casual web surfing. The duration is about 15 minutes short of the average battery span in the ultra-portable laptop category. One noticeable factor was the heat produced by the Pro 3, where the upper right corner of the tablet reached 102 degrees during prolonged usage.
- Stylish and portable design
- High-resolution touch screen with vibrant colours.
- Robust performance with impressive hardware.
- Improved kickstand which offers better viewing angles.
- The Type Cover keyboard needs to be purchased separately.
- Runs slightly hot when used for an extended period.
- The battery life is below average.
The Final Verdict
When the Microsoft Surface Pro 3 announces, it took a jab at the MacBook 13-inch for being a bit heavy and less versatile compared to the Pro 3. While Microsoft scores full marks in terms of fantastic design, robust build quality and handy features, but falls short of being the laptop-killer that it has developed to be.
Not only does the Type Cover keyboard accessory comes with a considerably hefty price, but it also does not offer the enjoyable typing experience that clamshell laptop keyboards do. With all thing said, there is no doubt that the Microsoft Surface Pro 3 has a large market for consumers who need the best of both worlds.