Can a Surface Pro 3 (or any Windows 8 tablet) replace your laptop?

Moderated by Jason Hiner | May 26, 2014 -- 07:00 GMT (00:00 PDT)

Summary: Microsoft introduced its third generation Surface Pro as "the tablet that can replace your laptop." Really?

Ed Bott

Ed Bott




Eileen Brown

Eileen Brown

Best Argument: Yes


Audience Favored: Yes (72%)

Closing Statements

They're not making PCs like they used to

Ed Bott

The Surface Pro 3 is the clearest expression yet of Microsoft's vision for what a modern, highly mobile computing device should look like. It has plenty of company in hybrid devices like the Lenovo Yoga 2 Pro, which can also shift from tablet to laptop with minimal effort.

My opponent says, "Users that are tired of lugging around both a laptop and a tablet could consider the Surface Pro 3 as their new primary device." I agree. She says it "works at home, too." I agree. She says it's heavier than a MacBook Air. Sorry, that's wrong. Amazingly, even with the Type Cover the Surface Pro 3 is lighter than the underpowered 11-inch MacBook Air. It's more than one pound lighter than the 13-inch MacBook Air.

Her main objection is that "the market is not yet ready for this convergence." Sure, corporate bean-counters won't pay for truckloads of premium devices like these. But you can easily replace your laptop with it and keep working at full speed. In our BYOD world, this ultralight device (or one of its competitors) is a very good fit in the office or on the road.

Consumer behaviour will drag the enterprise to more widespread adoption

Eileen Brown

I’ve had a Surface RT and Pro device since Microsoft first announced its availability. I’ve used tablet computers and pens in an enterprise environment since Microsoft first brought out the Windows XP Tablet PC Edition. Tablets and pens are not new -- but have yet to see widespread use in the enterprise.

I use my Surface at home from time to time, occasionally when I’m in the office, and often when I travel. But I also take my Sony Vaio with me and I’ll often work using my laptop instead of my Surface.

Look around you at an airport: iPads abound. But look closely and you will find that people are using iPads to read articles and browse social sites – not to type. People in coffee shops are not using tablets to write their bestsellers. They use traditional laptops with keyboards – with a touch device in their bag next to them.

When consumers predominantly use tablets as their primary device, then this trend will pull through to the enterprise. But until then I think that the office based knowledge workers will have to stick with what they have.

Unequivocally, yes

Jason Hiner

The thing you have to admire about the Surface is that it's not a copy-cat product. Microsoft set out to be definitive, which is always a bold and risky thing to do. I believe that Ed is right that this product is Microsoft's vision of the future of the laptop, much more than the future of the tablet. But, Eileen has hit the nail on the head that the enterprise is unlikely to get on board with the Surface as the official device it hands out to employees.
The Surface faces an uphill battle to truly become a definitive product. But, the question for this debate was whether it can effectively replace a laptop, and the answer is unequivocally "yes." Of course, just because it can, doesn't mean it will. But it is capable, as Ed forcefully explained.


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  • For Work Purposes

    I think a Pro 3, or even a Pro 2 could replace my work laptop. I do not think it can replace my personal laptop. The big difference is that I play games on my personal laptop (an Alienware).
    Reply 121 Votes I'm for Yes
    • Already Has

      I had an original Surface Pro. It easily replaced my lap top. In fact the pen worked so well with OneNote it also replaced my 3 pound paper portfolio. The screen however was a little bit to small. I went next for a hybrid, 15" Sony Flip. It is a little bit to large. A 12" or 13" should be about right. I would never ever get a regular laptop again.
      Reply 98 Votes I'm Undecided
    • Absolutely Not!

      The Surface line (all versions), represents an abysmal value for the consumer.

      You're paying twice the going rate of a decent laptop, in order to be hamstrung by:

      * An awkward device
      * An kludgy and unnecessary kickstand
      * Limited RAM
      * Cooling fans on a wannabe tablet
      * The worst OS in history
      * Limited Storage (why is the 64-gig still around, when Windows takes up half of that?)
      * Paying extra for a hot pink keyboard that won't even last a couple months
      * Microsoft's hideous record with Surface firmware updates
      * Microsoft's hideous record making hardware (RROD anyone?... how about an XBox One?)
      * Hell... Microsoft's hideous record making software!

      MS needs to leave the hardware business to the professionals. Their niche is making crappy software.
      Reply 138 Votes I'm Undecided
      • LOL

        Did Steve Ballmer molest you as a child?
        Reply 151 Votes I'm Undecided
        • Actually, I think he is Steve Basllmer's love child

          or something like that..... :)
          Reply 82 Votes I'm Undecided
        • Ballmer's Play Boy?

          "Did Steve Ballmer molest you as a child?"


          Your reply is simply PRICELESS.
          Alfred Soyemi
          Reply 39 Votes I'm Undecided
      • If you don't care abuut weight and battery life ...

        ... then YES you can make price the issue. But, if you want to own both a PC and a tablet, you are paying the same total price for two devices instead of just one.
        M Wagner
        Reply 111 Votes I'm Undecided
        • @M Wagner

          Therein lies the rub, the Surface is a half-a$$ tablet, and an overpriced, wannabe laptop!

          In essence, the Surface represents the very worst of both worlds.

          For $2000 I could get a gaming laptop and a very nice tablet, or an ultrabook and a high end tablet, or a decent bargain laptop running Windows 7 (a much better OS), a cheap tablet, and pocket the other 1200 bucks... end of story.
          Reply 106 Votes I'm Undecided
          • Yet, with the Surface 3, you get a replacement for all the devices

            you mentioned, and you only have to carry the one device (Surface 3) around, while it would be very awkward and cumbersome and a pain in the neck, to carry all of those other devices you mentioned.

            Plus, you'd be getting the best OS every written for any device, that being Windows 8/8.1, no matter how biased you are against Windows 8 or anything from Microsoft.
            Reply 105 Votes I'm Undecided
          • Let's Not Get In A Conversation About Just How Bad Windows 8.x Is...

            Suffice it to say that the software counterfeit capital of the world, China, won't even touch it... that should tell you something right there!

            As far as the Surface replacing your laptop and tablet, dream on!

            Win 8 is just Windows NT with a gerryrigged, clumsy touch interface, that doesn't support ANY software written for touch, unless you want to try using touch with Windows programs written 10 to 15 years ago.

            Only small parts of Office support touch to this very day!

            So using Surface as a tablet is like putting skateboard wheels on a surfboard... good luck with that.

            As far as Surface replacing a laptop, I can't stop laughing long enough to respond to that.

            :0 )
            Reply 113 Votes I'm Undecided