The Ultimate Surface Pro 3 Reviews Roundup

The Ultimate Surface Pro 3 Reviews Roundup

Summary: In the month since its launch, these 12 reviewers from top tech sites reviewed the Surface Pro 3. One called it "the best everything device ever made." Another called it "the greatest laptop-tablet hybrid you don't need." Here's your executive summary of an amazingly wide range of opinions.


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  • Gizmodo

    "Surface Pro 3 Review: The Greatest Laptop-Tablet Hybrid You Don't Need," Eric Limer, Gizmodo

    Extended periods of my time with the Pro 3 were maddening, not because the hardware is bad, but because Windows can't always hold up its end of the bargain. Scaling for separate screens, despite clearly being an option in the settings, never worked for me once. That meant that while using my dual-monitor setup, I was doomed to tiny text on the Pro 3's high resolution screen in order for my external display to look good, or huge windows on my display to make the Pro 3 look OK. This is a long-time problem with Windows 8 that updates have addressed, but that still seems to pop back up with certain devices. It's aggravating as hell and a borderline deal-breaker.

    On top of that I have two other, personal and specific Windows pet-peeves—the lack of a decent Campfire client, and a version of Google Chrome that refuses to upscale well—that make working on the Pro 3 (and any Windows device) stressful and unpleasant. They're present whenever I use a Windows laptop, yes, but on the Pro 3 they're somehow worse; they put me in a bad mood and serve to highlight all of the Pro 3's other weaknesses.

    After calling the Surface Pro 3 "a laptop replacement that just might work" in his first look, Gizmodo's Eric Limer turned thumbs-down for the final review, with a chatty, eccentric, and extremely personal write-up. The pictures of him testing the device in laptop mode are hilarious.

  • Mashable (road test)

    "Microsoft Surface Pro 3: The Real World Road Test," Lance Ulanoff, Mashable

    At the unveiling event, over and over again, Microsoft Surface lead Pano Panay sought to show how the Surface Pro 3 favorably compares to the MacBook Air. He even put it on a scale opposite the Apple ultraportable.

    Now, weeks after the launch and almost two weeks after I packed a bag with both the Surface Pro 3 and an Apple MacBook Air, I can tell you that the comparison is apt and, on balance, fair. Better yet, the Pro 3 survived the journey and, despite some annoying bugs and bad decisions, exceeded my expectations.


    Now, as I finally fly back home and write this post on the Surface Pro 3, and despite the aforementioned, but utterly solvable bugs, I am more convinced than ever that this is the ultimate hybrid device for Windows devotees. The interface is not always as smart, intuitive or nearly as cohesive as what you’ll find in a MacBook Air, but I suspect that if you already use that laptop, nothing short of the Cupertino company disappearing is going to make you switch anyway.

    In the real world, Microsoft’s Surface Pro 3 is an impressively capable laptop replacement. If Microsoft follows my suggestions the Surface Pro 4 could be unstoppable.

    Lance Ulanoff clearly gets the PC mindset (as one would expect from the former editor-in-chief of, and he prepped for his two-week road trip very smartly. The entire article is a great read and highly recommended. My favorite line? "It was entertaining to see how many people marveled that I was using Surface Pro 3. It was almost as if I was trying to type on a ferret. I had to explain that, yes, I was using it, and quite successfully thank you very much. Most of these doubters were, like me, MacBook Air users."

  • Mashable (review)

    "Microsoft Surface Pro 3 Is the Best Everything Device Ever Made," Pete Pachal, Mashable

    Over the past week, I've used the Surface Pro 3 during meetings, powering my workstation, kicking back on a couch, in the back seat of a taxi, standing in a subway, curling up in bed, and more. In every one of those situations, the Surface passed what I consider the key test: For most of the time (but not all), the physical device faded to the background and let me concentrate on the task at hand — whether it was updating an Excel document or finding a movie on Netflix.

    That isn't to say there weren't some issues. In cramped spaces, you'll sometimes miss the extra six inches or so of leg space that you need to give up for the kickstand. For downloading big files, you sometimes miss having an Ethernet port. And although it's fairly light for its size, the Surface Pro 3 isn't exactly the first device you'd grab for reading on a commute.

    But as everything devices go, the Surface Pro 3 scores very high. The point isn't to be the best at any singular task — it's to negate the need to carry, and even own, multiple devices that do pretty close to the same thing anyway. For the Surface, redundancy is the enemy.

    This is the official Mashable review, and the headline gives away the conclusion. Of all the Surface Pro 3 reviews in this collection, Pete Pachal's is the one that most clearly articulates the case for the device as a single piece of hardware that consolidates the functions of other devices.

Topic: Microsoft Surface

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  • Ahhhh, a roundup AND a Gallery ...

    :- (
  • Imagine

    the absurdity of saying a laptop is stable on your lap and this isn't? Why? Too light?
    • Dunno. I don't have any problems with the Surface on my lap.

      M Wagner
  • The nice thing about the Windows ecosystem

    is that if the lack of a clamshell keyboard really does bother you that much, there are plenty of other Windows 8 tablets that offer one, they just aren't built by Microsoft.
    Michael Kelly
  • Surface 4

    I hope the new i3 or i7 will be better. Or we need to wait for surface 4 next year.
    Solve the heat problems.
    Better keyboard but cheaper / include.
    Remove the products which below 64Gb. Windows and office take much of the space already.
    But the main problem is the price is too high.
    Utomo Prawiro
    • Depends upon to what you want to compare it.

      Compared to a MacBook Air, or an ultrabook, the price is not too high. Compared to a 5 pound, $350 Windows notebook with a 3 hour battery life, then yes - but that $350 notebook comes with a lot of trade-offs in weight, battery life, and mobility. You get what you pay for.
      M Wagner
  • silliest review .......

    Thanks for this review comparison piece - I've never heard of Katherine Boehret before so I don't know what her standing in the tech press alumni is but hers has to be the silliest review of all time - such a literal comparison approach in stupid!!!

    I'll certainly avoid her stuff in future
  • First impressions...

    ...are really, really good. I'm using the i5 Surface Pro 3 (8 GB RAM) and I've got to tell you it is an amazing piece of hardware. I'm running applications like Office, Novamind, Minitab 16. Heat - no significant issues. Power - More than capable. The keyboard is more than capable. I switch between a Vaio Z3 and the Surface Pro 3 effortlessly. The trackpad isn't as good as the Vaio but the thing is, once you start getting used to the stylus and touchscreen the trackpad really is moot. The only reason I would use the trackpad is because I've forgotten to use the screen or stylus. In other words, the weaknesses on this system get gobbled up by its strengths and then some. If you're capable of changing habits you'll do just fine. After all, touchscreen really is more efficient than a mouse or trackpad - so the return for that change is more than worthwhile.

    My favourite feature - the stylus. Taking notes in OneNote is really well done. I can draw process maps and take meeting notes so effortlessly. MSFT finally created an integrated writing solution. Anyone who facilitates meetings and scribes notes for later reference will love this. The weight is amazing. The screensize ratio really is worth it.

    I've used an iPad for a while before setting it down for its lack of functionality, and obviously, the Surface Pro 3 shows it a thing or twenty. Next to a powerful laptop it more than holds its own.

    I'll see how this handles over time. I've deliberately made a switch in parallel with my other laptop. I can't afford to go without a working computer from a business perspective. But I'm starting to think I could take this as a replacement system on the road. As more applications (that I use) come online designed for Metro the more relevant this tablet/laptop will become.
  • I did like the George Castanza break-up line (but I wonder how many ...

    ... of your readers know of George Castanza).

    If I didn't already own a Surface Pro 2, I'd already have a Surface Pro 3 on order! Why? Simple 50% more pixels, 38% more screen real estate!

    Frankly, not many Mac OS X fans are going to trade-in their MacBook Air (as evidenced by these reviews) but that is mostly because people don't like change.

    There is something about that Mac OS X paradigm that I don't get (despite years with MVS/JCL and DOS/Windows and with SunOS/Solaris/NeXTstep/AIX/Irix/Linux, only Mac OS X leaves me frustrated so it is easy for me to understand that happy MacBook Air owners are not likely to be impressed by the Surface Pro 3.

    That said, if you are NOT a happy MacBook Air/Pro owner, especially if you have any experience at all with Windows, you ought to give the Surface Pro 3 a look.

    Oddly, most of those I know who own a MacBook Air are running Windows 8.1 on it!
    M Wagner