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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)
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 PCMag.com), 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."
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.