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.
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:
- 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.
- 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.
- 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.
- 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.
- 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: