Have you ever imagined how convenient it would be to use a laptop that doubles as a tablet? That’s exactly what Microsoft’s Surface Pro 3 brings to the table – a 2-in-1 that’s bundled with the features of both a laptop and a tablet.
Here’s a complete review to help you know more about this device, its specifications, and how it compares to other devices.
What is the Surface Pro 3?
The Surface Pro 3 is a 2-in-1 computer device made by Microsoft. It can function as both a laptop and a tablet, depending on which work mode you want to use. You can use this device to create the productive work space that you need while going about your day-to-day activities.
The Surface Pro 3 can be used both at home and in the office. It can process information and handle tasks just like other desktop computers. You'll get the chance to save more space in your office when using this device. You can also carry it anywhere you go and carry out your tasks without worrying about power outage issues, thanks to its impressive battery performance.
Key Specifications of the Surface Pro 3
With a thickness of 9.1mm, the Surface Pro 3 has a slimmer profile than previous Surface Pro models that had a thickness of 13mm.
The device also measures 11.5 inches in length and 7.9 inches in width unlike the previous models which were 10.8 inches long and 6.8 inches wide. The Pro 3 also boasts of a lighter weight (800 grams), which is less than its predecessor's weight (900 grams).
Microsoft made the Surface Pro 3 for those who wanted a laptop that can tilt between 22 degrees and 150 degrees angles. This feature allows you to tilt the laptop's screen back just like how you can tilt a draft table. The device also features a magnetic hinge that helps you attach and detach the keyboard from the screen.
The keyboard appears to have a raised angle, which makes typing feel more engaging and fun. The raised keyboard shows that Microsoft may be considering to include ergonomic designs in its future Surface Pro devices.
Intel partnered with Microsoft in making of the processors found in the Surface Pro devices. The Surface Pro 3 comes with an Intel Core i5 CPU. Intel also fitted it with a slim and less noisy fan that helps to cool down the device and prevent overheating. The device feels cool when you hold it on your hands.
3. Windows Logo Button
The Pro 3 features a new design ID in the form of a Windows logo button. It makes use of the Windows 8.1 OS. The capacitive touch button allows you to use the gadget in portrait mode, which has the screen of the gadget lying on its shorter side. This feature brings a smartphone-like experience to the Pro 3, which happens to be a tablet too.
The gadget also comes with a stylus, commonly known as the Surface Pro pen. The pen enables one to use various apps, draw and take notes.
The gadget also features 802.11ac Wi-Fi, a Gigabit Ethernet jack and Bluetooth connectivity. You can also buy a standalone Surface Ethernet Adaptor for as little as $40.
Pricing and Where to Buy
- Intel 4th Generation Core i5 Processor
- 12-Inch HD (2160 x 1440) Touchscreen Display
- 4 GB RAM; 128 GB Storage Capacity (97 GB Available)
Prices for the Microsoft Surface Pro 3 range from $579 to $749. The price also depends on the type of Pro 3 bought. The one with 64GB storage and 4GB RAM is cheaper than the one with 512GB storage and 8GB RAM. Make sure that you buy the device based on the tasks you want to accomplish with it.
You can buy the Microsoft Surface Pro 3 from Amazon and Walmart. Prices at Amazon range from $660 to $750. On the other hand, the device costs around $580 at Walmart.
How the Surface Pro 3 Squares Off Against MacBook Air and Dell Latitude 10
Surface Pro 3
Dell Latitude 10
Ease of Use
It isn't fair to say that the Microsoft Surface Pro 3 is the best tablet/laptop out there without comparing it with other devices. In addition to highlighting the specifications of the Pro 3, this review also offers similarities and differences between the Pro 3 and two other gadgets. These gadgets include the MacBook Air and Dell Latitude 10.
From the above specifications, it can be noted that the Pro 3 is an ideal laptop replacement. It features a thin body and makes use of the Windows 8.1 OS. Apple is also known for releasing laptops with very thin bodies. In this context, the MacBook Air is the main Apple product on discussion.
The device is sold in two different sizes, which include 13.3 inches and 11.6 inches. The 13.3-inch one weighs 2.96 pounds while the 11.6-inch one weighs 2.38 pounds.
The Pro 3 can be rated 4 out of 5 stars in terms of ease of use and 3.8 out of 5 stars in terms of build quality. It takes less time to assemble this device. It can be rated 4.5/5 star for its quick assembly time.
Microsoft offers 12-month warranty on its Surface Pro devices making the Pro 3 have a 4.5/5 star rating based on warranty. The two MacBook Air gadgets can be rated 4.5/5 for their 12-month warranty policies and 4.5/5 star for their fast assembly time. Both devices hold a 4/5 rating in terms of build quality and ease of use.
In terms of display, the 11-inch MacBook Air has a screen resolution of 1,366 x 768 pixels while the 13-inch MacBook air has a screen resolution of 1,440 x 900. The Microsoft Surface Pro 3 beats these two gadgets since it features a screen resolution of 2,160 x 1,440 pixels.
Both 11-inch and 13-inch MacBook Air have 4GB and 8GB RAM options just like the Pro 3. The MacBook Air devices have 128GB, 256GB and 512GB storage options while the Pro 3 has 64GB, 128GB, 256 GB and 512GB storage options.
The 11-inch MacBook Air has two USB 3.0 ports and a Thunderbolt port while the 13-inch MacBook Air has two USB 3.0 ports, a Thunderbolt port and a SDXC port. The Pro 3 comes with three USB 3.0 and two USB 2.0 ports, microSD card reader, audio port, keyboard port and Mini DisplayPort.
The Pro 3 has a touchscreen and supports a stylus while the two MacBook Air devices don't provide support for a touchscreen or stylus. The Pro 3 has a price range of $799 - $1,949. On the other hand, the 11-inch MacBook Air has a price range of $899 - $1,649 while the 13-inch one ranges from $999 - $1,749 in price.
Dell Latitude 10
The Dell Latitude 10 measures 10.79 x 6.95 x 0.41 inches in dimensions while the Microsoft Surface Pro 3 measures 11.5 x 7.93 x 0.36 inches in dimensions.
The Latitude 10 weighs 658g (23.21oz) while the Pro 3 weighs 800g (28.16oz). Both devices are available in gray colors. The Pro 3 runs on Windows 8.1 (Pro) while the Latitude 10 runs on Windows 8 OS. The two gadgets support USB ports and have a tablet dock.
In terms of display, the Pro 3 has a larger screen size (12.0 inches) and a larger screen resolution (2,160 x 1,440) than the Latitude 10, which has a 10.1-inch screen and 1,366 x 768 pixels in screen resolution. Pixel densities on the devices are 266ppi and 155ppi respectively.
The screen technologies found on them are also LCD and IPS LCD respectively. Both devices come with a front-facing camera, camcorder, in-built Bluetooth, inbuilt Wi-Fi and Intel HD graphics.
The Dell Latitude 10 retails at around $649 while the Microsoft Surface Pro 3 retails at around $250. The Latitude 10 scores a 4/5 star rating for its simple design, ease of use and short assembly time. Just like the Pro 3, it also scores a 4.5/5 star rating due to its 12-month warranty.
Pros and Cons of the Surface Pro 3
The Microsoft Surface Pro 3 has its good sides and bad sides. It is important to note that as much as the device proves to be useful, it also falls short in certain areas. Read on to find out the pros and cons of the Pro 3.
The Surface Pro 3 comes with an Intel iCore 5 processor known for high processing speeds. The device also features speedy solid state drives and 1600MHz RAM. It performs better than ARM-based mobile devices. With a body weighing as low as 1.76 lbs, the Pro 3 is easy to carry around. When compared to mid-range desktop computers, the gadget is highly portable. Its light and thin body makes it ideal for use in any setting.
You can use the Pro 3 to surf the Internet for 9 hours straight when it's on a full charge. You can also use it for 10 hours when performing lightweight tasks without worrying that it may run out of power. This factor makes the device is ideal for use during power outages. When compared to other tablets that are sold in the market, the Pro 3 has a better sound and screen quality. It comes with front-firing speakers. It also has 2,160 x 1,440 screen resolution, HiDPI 12-inch screen and 3:2 screen aspect ratio.
The Surface Pro 3 has impressive design features but its price is a little bit high. It is important to note that the price is quite competitive when compared to other ultrabooks sold in the market these days. Its accessories, which include a docking station, USB hub, mechanical keyboard and Type Cover, are also expensive. It isn't an ideal option for people who want to spend less on buying 2-in-1 devices.
As far as screen technologies are concerned, the high-resolution displays featured on most devices today are impressive. On the Surface Pro 3, you need to adjust the Window to 150 percent or higher for you to read things clearer on the small screen of the device. However, you won't be able to use some applications properly when you configure the Window to this level. Microsoft needs to improve the pixel scaling of future Surface Pro devices for better user experiences. iOS and Android operating systems are making a killing in the market for handheld devices. Since Microsoft decided to join this market by releasing the Surface Pro devices, they need to up their game in terms of the applications they provide the users. When compared to Apple's App Store and Google's Play Store, the Windows Store doesn't have lots of exciting applications for the users.
4th generation Intel® Core™ i3, i5 or i7
64 GB or 128 GB storage with 4 GB RAM / 256 GB or 512 GB storage with 8 GB RAM
Wi-Fi 802.11 a/b/g/n/ac
Windows 8.1 Pro
12" ClearType Full HD Plus 2160 x 1440 Multi-touch Screen
Full-size USB 3.0
5.0 megapixel rear-facing camera
11.5” x 7.93” x 0.3”
1.8GHz dual-core Intel Core i5, Turbo Boost up to 2.9GHz, with 3MB shared L3 cache
128GB PCIe-based SSD
8GB of 1600MHz LPDDR3
802.11ac Wi-Fi wireless networking; IEEE 802.11a/b/g/n compatible
Bluetooth 4.0 wireless technology
13.3-inch (diagonal) LED-backlit glossy widescreen
Two USB 3 ports (up to 5 Gbps)
720p FaceTime HD camera
12.8 x 8.94 x 0.68"
1.8Ghz Intel Atom Dual Core Z2760
2GB DDR2 SDRAM at 800Mhz
802.11.n, 802.11.g, 802.11 A/B
10.1" IPS (1366 X 768) Wide View Angle LCD, Corning® Gorilla® Glass, Capacitive 5 Finger Touch
Full-size USB 2.0, Full-size SD memory card reader, docking connector, stereo headphone/ microphone combo jack
Integrated 720p HD front facing video webcam, 2MP camera and 8.0MP rear camera
11.0 x 7.0 x 1.0"
It’s fair to say that Microsoft succeeded in making a device that can replace a laptop and work as a tablet. The Surface Pro 3 boasts of a thin and light body, good sound and screen quality and a reliable processor.
If you're in need of a device that can help you manage your office work and home work at the same time, be sure to get the Pro 3. You'll also benefit from its long battery life, light weight, stylus and touchscreen. Be aware of the fact that the device is quite costly for people who are on a budget. Its Windows Store isn't as impressive as the Apple's App Store or Google's Play Store.
With that said, the Microsoft Surface Pro 3 scores a 4.1/5 star rating.