One month with the Surface Pro 3: Microsoft updates kept it in my hands

One month with the Surface Pro 3: Microsoft updates kept it in my hands

Summary: I just passed the 30-day return period and thanks to Microsoft's speedy updates and several other factors, the Surface Pro 3 is now serving as my primary home and road computer.

One month with the Surface Pro 3: Microsoft updates kept it in my hands
Image: ZDNet

Back in May I wrote several reasons to upgrade from a Surface Pro to a Surface Pro 3 and I just passed a month of ownership with my new Pro 3. I was ready to return it out of sheer frustration with Wi-Fi during the first two weeks, but thankfully Microsoft took quick action and everything is humming along nicely now.

The larger display, longer battery life, and updated keyboard were the main reasons I decided to move to the Surface Pro 3. The new display aspect ration (3:2) is great for getting work done and I no longer feel cramped when I use the Surface Pro 3. I actually use it as my main computer at home and on the road with no connection to an external monitor.

I used two chargers with my Surface Pro and would charge it up at home and then again at work after my one hour train commute and workday. With the Pro 3, I charge it up at home and then go the entire day without worrying about topping it off. Long battery life is also a bonus when traveling on airplanes that do not have plug-ins.

The keyboard is fantastic and I use it to write without any real compromise in my typing speed. I love that it has a backlight and a trackpad that is actually very usable. I do use an external mouse at home, but on the road and in the office I use the trackpad and stylus.

The ultra portability and fact that I can use the Surface Pro 3 as a tablet are the primary reasons I chose the Pro 3 instead of a MacBook Air. Many people told me to get a MacBook Air and even though that computer is also very thin and light, there is something compelling about the Surface Pro 3 form factor.

I have an iPad Mini, but since I have had the Surface Pro 3 the iPad Mini rarely leaves my shelf. It serves as a great Wi-Fi hotspot for Verizon service and is the only iOS device I have to test things out so I keep it in my collection. My Surface Pro 3 works very well as a tablet, thanks in large part to the stylus and OneNote integration.

While it seems there are many articles slamming Windows 8.1, I personally like this operating system. The Live Tiles work well on the Surface Pro 3 and I am a fan of the modern and fluid operating system. As an engineer, I need to use Windows and even though I could install Windows on a MacBook Air, having a dedicated Windows computer can't be beat.

The 30-day return period has now expired and the Surface Pro 3 made the cut. I use it daily and have absolutely no regrets regarding the purchase. The Best Buy dark blue keyboard looks fantastic and I am still amazed by the power of this computer in a form factor similar to an iPad.

Related ZDNet Surface coverage

Topics: Mobility, Microsoft, Tablets, Microsoft Surface

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  • "since I have had the Surface Pro 3 the iPad Mini rarely leaves my shelf"

    With that comment alone the article has lost credibility.


    "I need to use Windows and even though I could install Windows on a MacBook Air, having a dedicated Windows computer can't be beat."

    Yet more direct comparison between the MacBook Air and Surface Pro 3 just as Microsoft did so in their marketing campaign.
    • "amazed by the power of this computer in a form factor similar to iPad"

      Surface Pro 3 is super powerful and flexible. You would have to purchase and carry both a Mac and iPad to even come close. This has nothing to do with Marketing, the Surface Pro 3 product and supporting technology is great and done right!
      Sean Foley
      • I'm not sure that follows

        though that is the standard claim. The question is - does a person need a tablet at all?

        Less and less, I think the answer for me is "no." So no, after buying a computer, I don't need to buy anything else.

        Surface Pro 3 is a good product for those who might answer the question, "I'm not sure." Because you're right, then you don't have to decide. I think Microsoft found a good niche for their device here.
        • Excellent point

          However I fully support the PC+ Era concept where most people use both a full PC and mobile device. I find myself reaching for my tablet (surface rt or nexus 7) all the time when I am on the couch relaxing. When I am out and about I use my smartphone. The remaining time on computers is behind a desk with a beautiful monitor and PC. I need all of them.
          Sean Foley
          • @Sean

            I agree with you. I believe tablets are here to stay. I have a Nexus 7 and just recently bought a Lenovo Miix 2 8 and now I hardly use my laptop (a HP Touchsmart tm2 convertible). I used to use my WP8 but now with the bigger screen on the Miix I use it more. I do spend most of my day on my desktop when I am home but I frequently make house calls for computer repairs.
        • "does a person need a tablet at all?"

          Need - Almost certainly no. Especially if they have a smartphone and notebook.
          But, as Mr Foley says, they are nice to haves when on the sofa.
          • Needs?

            It always cracks me up when people try to argue what other people "need." It's so easy to reduce to the absurd, such as: do we really "need" computers at all? Smartphones? Cell phones? Electricity? Any of the trappings of modern life? Really, all we _need_ is oxygen, fuel for our bodies, water, and protection from the elements/predators/pathogens. Everything else is a "want."
          • Needs on Modern Times

            While it's true we only need oxygen, fuel for our bodies, water and protection from the elements/predators/pathogens; in this modern world we live in we need more to survive. To get the fuel and water for you body you need a job. No longer can we live from what we can hunt, catch, drink, cover our bodies and have a place to live. Very few people can do that and the way the government, private property, outlaws, etc. you will not live no more than a week.

            To have all that in this modern world we need a great job and those tools you call wants. Here in the US people needs computers, maybe not in Afghanistan (and they still used computers to find a way to attach the US) but this modern world needs a computer, laptop, tablets, phone, etc.
        • I use both

          I use my Surface Pro 3 as both a laptop and a tablet. It is by far the most versatile device I've ever owned, though not the most powerful. But I need versatility and portability more than I need raw computing power.
      • Well for over $2,000

        It better do more than an iPad being it cost 4 times more. If you must run windows, Lenovo makes a better product, for half as much.
        I hate trolls also
        • It is being compared to an Air not iPad which is also close to the same

          price when configured similarly. Lighter than an Air and with high performance and equivalent battery life.

          However unlike the Air it can also function as a tablet.
        • Utter

        • "Over $2,000"?

          You _can_ spend "over $2,000" on a Surface Pro 3 if you really try. Then again, you can spend just a few hundred more than an iPad if you really try including the Type Cover). So, this is something of a straw man.
        • of less than $800

          I have to disagree with you on your comments. IPad cost from $499 to $799 (not counting the Mini). Surface 3 starts at $799, same as IPad Wi-Fi only and 128GB. The Cellular with 128GB is $929 and still cannot compete with the basic Surface 3 128GB that retails for $999 + $130 for the keyboard on performance and what can do.
      • Heavy.

        My issue with the surface is its still a bit heavy to just hold with one hand like you would a paperback book or magazine. This is where it fails as a tablet, and is stuck in the netbook realm, and even there its only as good as the add on keyboard you choose to buy.
    • Why??

      How did this article lose credibility???

      It is an obvious comparison to compare this to the MacBook Air. You are just upset because it was a positive article for a Microsoft product. Poor guy.
      • Price comparison is way off.

        Wen the MacBook Air cost nearly half as much. Try doing a comparison based on similarly priced Hardware. That would be a 15" MacBook Pro w/ Retnia Display, for $1,999. Computer that to Microsoft's $2,079.99 Surface 3 Pro, and the Surface loses badly.
        I hate trolls also
        • Never mind comparing by use case

          The Surface Pro 3 is a tablet that replaces your laptop (allegedly). Therefore, you're supposed to look at the price of a Surface Pro 3 and type cover vs the cost of a MacBook Air and an iPad. In this way, the Surface Pro 3 isn't that bad a purchase, and that's before you even look at the less expensive models, such as Core i3 model. That particular model is likely to handle most people's non-gaming work loads and only costs $800+$130 type cover. That's $30 more than the cheapest MacBook Air, and you still won't have a tablet.
          When you compare similarly specced models, you'll find a $230-$430 difference in favor of the the MacBook Air; That still doesn't factor in the iPad you'll have to get in order to make the comparison valid, in terms of function.

          tl;dr If the MacBook Air is obviously a better choice than the Surface Pro 3 in your comparison, then you're missing something
        • The Air is close to the same price when configured the same

          If you pick the same memory, same processor and same disk space it is very close to the same price but the SP3 is much lighter than the Air and also functions as a tablet.

          Because it has stylus it can also function as digitizer allowing some users to take notes quickly.

          Also the SP3 does not lose badly to the MacBook pro. It has great performance but is much lighter and with better battery life. Cooler too.
        • Nice

          You can get an i5, 128gb MBA for less than 600$? Sign me up!

          As for the high end Surface Pro 3, you can't rightly compare it to a low end MBA.
          Michael Alan Goff