Five reasons to upgrade from a Microsoft Surface Pro to a Surface Pro 3

Five reasons to upgrade from a Microsoft Surface Pro to a Surface Pro 3

Summary: Microsoft announced their new Surface Pro 3 lineup yesterday and you can now pre-order one of the five available models. My Surface Pro is my primary computer, but it is now time to upgrade.

Five reasons I am upgrading from a Microsoft Surface Pro to a Surface Pro 3
(Image: Microsoft)

It took me a bit of effort to purchase an original Surface Pro in February 2013, but I have been using it daily since then as my primary home and commute computer. I skipped the Pro 2, but after reading all the ZDNet coverage I just finished placing my pre-order for an i5 128GB model.

Surface Pro 3: thinner, lighter, more flexible

While I still enjoy using my Surface Pro, there are definitely a few areas where it could be improved and it looks like Microsoft addressed all of them with the Surface Pro 3. It looks like I can get about half of what I paid for the Surface Pro back on ebay so I'll be putting my current device up for sale soon.

I have had quite a few people tell me I should just buy a MacBook Air, but as an engineer there are still many apps I need to run in Windows. Yes, I could install Windows on the Air, but I actually really enjoy the Windows 8 experience. I also find the Surface form factor to be perfect for commuting two hours a day on the train and flying around the country on a regular basis.

We all have different preferences and needs, but for me the Microsoft Surface Pro line is now just about perfect. Here are five reasons I decided to make the jump from the original Surface Pro to the Pro 3:

  1. Larger display: Since I use my Surface Pro as my primary home computer and stopped connecting it to an external display about eight months ago a larger display is going to be a huge benefit. I am certain my productivity will improve with the new 12 inch display and I look forward to seeing the higher resolution too.
  2. Lighter and thinner form factor: The weight and compact form factor of the Surface Pro weighed heavily into my decision to use the Surface Pro as my commute computer. I understand the Surface Pro 3 is now even thinner and lighter than my current Surface Pro.
  3. Longer battery life: While I can make it through a commute with my Surface Pro, the relatively short (about four hours of typical use) battery life is an issue on flights. The Surface Pro 3 has a reported nine hours of web browsing life so I should likely see at least double what I am experiencing now.
  4. Improved kickstand: My Surface Pro was being used for taking notes and working online at a conference these last couple of days and the single angle was definitely bothersome. It is a bit too steep for my seated position at a desk and I can't wait to be able to have full control over the angle of the display.
  5. Improved pen functionality: I don't use the included pen that much, but I think a lot of that has to do with the software experiences currently available. The new Surface Pen support looks great and I would love to get back to taking handwritten notes in meetings right on the Surface Pro 3.

There will be endless debates about the Microsoft Surface Pro strategy and whether or not anyone will buy the devices. I think the range of offerings is quite compelling and reasonably priced for what is provided in such an optimal form factor. I never had an issue with storage capacity or speed on my Surface Pro so that is why I went with the same i5 128GB option this time. I also want to start using it before August and the i5 models are the only ones shipping next month.

After I get some time with my new Surface Pro 3, I will share my experiences as a train commuter and engineer.

Related ZDNet Surface coverage:

Topics: Mobility, Microsoft, Tablets, Microsoft Surface

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  • Quick Question

    I am really considering this. I currently use the note 10.1 2014 and a sony vaio pro 13. I can't really replace my laptop with the note, but I think I could replace it with this new machine. I think the surface pro 3 is what I've been waiting for. I'm curious - How is the performance of the I5? Is it sufficient for photo and video editing?
    • i5 was sufficient on the original Surface Pro

      I'm not sure about i5 performance on the Surface Pro 3, but on the original Surface Pro I found video editing to be faster than the 2011 MacBook Pro I was using. The experience actually surprised me the first couple times I edited video and I had absolutely no issues with the original Pro. My MBP used to take forever processing the video, but not so on the Surface Pro.

      Press who went to the New York event have i5 eval units so I would look to them for current test results.
      palmsolo (aka Matthew Miller)
    • Maybe

      I am currently using the macbook air because i am using the "family" computer but have been waiting for this computer for long and i do video editing on it!
      No the I5 from my experience is not capable of awesome video editing but if you are talking about family videos and that sort of stuff it is. But if you are a hardcore video editor using VFX no!
      Get the I7!!!
      Sku11Boy Visual FX
    • Maybe

      For hardcore video edit no! Use i7
      For family video edit stuff yes
      Sku11Boy Visual FX
      • i7 power

        An i7 for a 15W device is significantly slower than an i3 of the same generation for a 50W device. Just using the i3/i5/i7 brand doesn't say much about the performance of the chip. The generation and the power ceiling are far more important.

        For "hardcore video edit" use a desktop. Even a 4th generation i3 will be several times faster than any ultrabook, while the difference between i3 and i7 in the same ultrabook won't be any higher than +50% for the i7.
    • Surface Pro 2 experience

      With 4 gig of RAM, the i5 and a 128 gig SSD, the surface pro 2 absolutely sizzles. I see no reason why the same without true for a surface pro 3. Between the chip and the SSD, the throughput is phenomenal.
      Luke Skywalker
  • I'm looking

    forward to the reviews on this. I like my ipad 3, but when upgrade time comes around I will check out the surface.
  • This or a Macbook Air ?

    The Macbook Air 256GB as it is around $300 cheaper than the 256gb Surface Pro 3. MS need to cut the price to compete. My $ would go to Apple due to the price advantage, which is unusual having Apple as a cheaper option. If they were the same price then it's a tough call.
    Alan Smithie
    • Huh?

      MacBook Air 13" - i5 -256gb/8gb ram - $1299 (1440 x 900 screen), 2.96 lbs.
      Surface Pro 3 12" -i5 - 256gb/8gb ram -$1299 (2160 x 1440 screen + touch/digitizer), 1.76 lbs.

      12" Surface Pro actually has ~22% more screen real-estate than the 13" MacBook Air because of the 3:2 aspect ratio.

      Seems like a no brainer, Surface Pro 3 for the win.
      • 12'' > 13''

        Got catch on the 12 '' Surface screen being larger than then 13'' MBA one.
        • Edit

          I'd really really appreciate if zdnet would finally get around to introduce an edit button, or at least a delete button. What the previous post was supposed to say:

          Good catch on the 12'' Surface screen being larger than the 13'' MBA one.
          • They used to have an edit button.

            They took a step backwards and removed it. ZDNets forum software is the worst forum software I have ever used. Hands down.
  • an i7, 8GB, 256GB tablet...?

    OMG I think I just soiled myself to quote Jeremy Clarkson. Now if it would only get here sooner than August. Oh, but I can wait for those specs. The SP3 is an unmatched sexy piece of kit.
  • Worth it to upgrade from Surface Pro 2?

    My eyes get tired sometimes with a 10 inch screen. The 12 inch might make it easier on me.
    • Perhaps

      You need glasses
  • Matt, I think you're the target consumer

    A current Surface owner may very well like what he sees with the new Surface Pro 3, but I don't think the product will pull more users into the Surface tent.

    I guess we'll see how the sales go.
  • Tablet or PC?

    Someone says Surface Pro is a tablet, the response is 'why not a Galaxy Note?'

    Someone says Surface Pro is a laptop, the response is 'why not a MacBook?'

    The Surface is in an awkward place as far as marketing itself goes - and unlike Apple, Microsoft doesn't have the 'cool factor' to carry the product to success.

    I hope it does well; it is well-made. And merit should be at least as important as cool factor.
    luke mayson
    • Cool Factor

      Microsoft, as a company, doesn't have the "cool factor" of Apple. If they keep producing products like the Surface Pro 3, though, that will change.
    • Point

      "Someone says Surface Pro is a tablet, the response is 'why not a Galaxy Note?'
      Someone says Surface Pro is a laptop, the response is 'why not a MacBook?'"

      And in response there are some simple good answers to these 2 questions.

      Why not a MacBook? You can also use the Surface to make handwritten notes, draw, and use it as a tablet. It's more convenient on the Sofa, and in tablet form is very useful to make last minute changes while walking (as a business user I do that and it feels a lot less ridiculous to work on a tablet while walking than to work on a laptop while walking). Also, the MacBook Pro is over twice as heavy, and the MacBook Air is thicker, heavier and offers a bargain bin screen.

      Why not a Galaxy Note? Apps. Screen size. Full sized Keyboard.
  • No thank you!

    I would upgrade if Microsoft added a PS/2 port and a floppy drive, but for now, I am going to keep using my Compaq Armada 7750MT!
    Pollo Pazzo