Microsoft Surface Pro 3: Australian Review

Has Microsoft done it? Has it created a convertible that's not only brilliant, but can dethrone the MacBook Air as the king of portable productivity? We camped out in our labs for a week with the Surface Pro 3 to find out.

Gizmodo loves technology. Our product reviews are presented thanks to Dick Smith.

What Is It?

The Surface Pro 3 is the latest piece of first-party Windows hardware to come out of Microsoft's sleek Studio B.

It's a 12-inch tablet/convertible with a beautiful 2160x1440 screen, with an aspect ratio of 3:2 instead of the traditional 4:3 we've seen on previous Surface models.

Under the hood is a choice of Intel Fourth Generation Core processor, between the Core i3, Core i5 or Core i7 chipsets. You've also got a choice of storage and RAM variants with the Pro 3.

It starts at $979 in Australia for the 64GB Core i3 rig. The 128GB i5 is priced at $1209, while the 256GB i5 is priced at $1549. For the i7 versions, you’re looking at $1829 for the 256GB model and an wallet-thinning $2279 for the 512GB model.

We tested the mid-range model, packing a 1.9GHz quad-core Intel Core i5-4300U processor, 8GB of RAM and 256GB of storage. We also ran our Surface Pro 3 with 64GB of expandable storage courtesy of a microSD card that slides in neatly underneath the fancy new kickstand. The model we tested will run you $1549.

You're able to pick the Surface Pro 3 up from the Microsoft Online store, as well as at Harvey Norman and JB Hi-Fi from August 28.

What's Good?

First of all, the Surface Pro 3 is finally a device that looks a million bucks right out of the box. It takes design cues from the original Windows RT-powered Surface 2 with its slim figure and silver VaporMG design, but packs a surprising punch thanks to Intel Fourth-Generation Core processors, massive SSDs and more RAM than you can poke a bundled stylus at.

Last year, we thought this sort of thing unfathomable: the idea that you could have the processing power of a Surface Pro inside the body of a Surface RT tablet. But it's real, and awesome. (Side note: next year's Surface models had better be gorgeous what with Intel's new fanless chips and gorgeous reference units!)

The Surface Pro 3 has been so deliberately designed by the boffins in Redmond that it's gorgeous from just about any angle. I'm writing this review on a plane right now surrounded by businessmen with their MacBook Airs. Everyone wants to know what that pretty, thin silver thing is I'm typing on. It's almost guaranteed to turn heads.

Read This: Building The Microsoft Surface Pro 3

Much like the Surface and Surface 2 family, the Surface Pro 3 is meant to be two devices in one: an excellent tablet for all your consumption needs, and a practical workstation for all your productivity needs, all tied together by a funky kickstand on the back that could suit both functions. A go-anywhere, do-anything gadget if you will. The last two devices let themselves down, either due to size, impractical kickstands or derpy Windows RT. The Surface Pro 3 is the realisation of Microsoft's convertible dreams.

Specifications
  • Processors: Intel Core i3, Intel Core i5, Intel Core i7
  • Capacities: 64GB, 128GB, 256GB, 512GB
  • Screen: 12-inch, 2160x1440 resolution, 216ppi
  • Software: Windows 8.1 Professional
  • Warranty: 2 years
  • Accessories: OneNote Stylus (bundled), Surface Type Cover (optional extra)

It's thinner and more portable than ever, which makes it surprisingly comfortable to hold as a tablet despite its larger screen size, and makes it incredibly practical to slip into a satchel or backpack to take with you all day.

There's a new kickstand in town with the Surface Pro 3, and like many things on the new Surface, it's better than ever. The kickstand originally evolved out of the Surface as a way to make the Surface stand up straight when put down on a table. It then became a major selling point when Microsoft realised it could become a great productivity tablet, with Redmond adding a second kick angle to the stand on the second model. Naturally then, you'd think that the boffins would just install a third angle to the kickstand for the Surface Pro 3. Nope. It's infinitely adjustable, all the way down.

It has one fixed angle of kick, much like the original Surface, but a little pressure pushes it beyond the catch point and sees the Pro 3 recline luxuriously downwards. Like a sun lounger on a beautiful summer's day.

The infinite kickstand makes the new Surface infinitely more practical than its predecessors, and in this reviewer's opinion, also more practical than any other convertible on the market right now.

We've tried to fault the new kickstand on every possible front, but you can use it perfectly on your lap, lying down, on a desk, standing up, etc. Think of a position and you can use the Surface Pro 3 in it. Brilliant!

Pair that with the new, wider Type Cover (thanks to the wider screen) and you have a keyboard with better travel and a sturdier feel than ever. Another nifty thing about the new Type Cover is a magnetic strip at the top of the keyboard that allows you to snap it onto the Surface, meaning it sits at a slight angle for those who don't want to type on a flat surface all their lives. That's great when you're lying down with the Surface or using it on your lap.

The new Type Cover also includes a much better trackpad, too. Rather than just a flat surface that responds to tap, Microsoft has integrated a clickable surface much like the trackpad on the MacBook family. Two-finger scrolling needs work on the trackpad but it's way more usable as an everyday pointer device than any Type Cover before it.

The good news there for older Surface users is that the connector appears to be backwards-compatible with Surface Pro 2 and Surface 2 models, so you can get great new accessories for your older device. The only thing that isn't backwards-compatible with the older Surface models is the charger. Admittedly, Microsoft has made the charging port much smarter on the Pro 3, opting for an Apple-like Magsafe-style connection that snaps pleasantly into the device. It does mean you need to get a new charger if you're upgrading, but it's worth for the frustration you avoid in the long run.

Microsoft has reinvented its stylus for the Surface Pro 3, creating something specifically designed for OneNote users. Simply click the button at the top of the pen (which connects to your Surface via Bluetooth), and it opens a lockscreen, Metro-version of OneNote. Write or doodle to your heart's content, and when you're done, just click the pen again and OneNote saves your work to OneDrive. Microsoft also knows that you lost your stylus within days on the last Surface, so it's including Pen Loops with every Type Cover and built a groove into the top just so you can attach the pen via its built-in clip with a simple slide.

The Surface Pro 3 has ditched the Wacom digitiser, meaning there are fewer points of touch on the Surface Pro 3 compared to the Surface Pro 2. It doesn't seem to be an issue, however, from our drawing and writing tests, and the positive upside is that Microsoft has refined its palm rejection algorithms to make taking notes on the screen while resting your hand on it is much more practical.

That screen you're writing on has an insane 2160x1440 resolution, and colours pop beautifully. The white balance is just about spot on, but if we had to nitpick we'd say there were shades of blue in there that might get annoying for pixel peepers. Thankfully, having garden-variety Windows and not some RT wannabe means you can download any number of programs to help you tweak it to your heart's content.

Just on the software front, the Surface Pro 3 ships with Windows 8.1 Professional, which has come a long way since the initial Surface Pro. Back then, it was riddled with little UI problems and bugs that made using any device running the OS frustrating. Windows 8.1 on the Surface Pro 3, however, feels more grown-up and capable.

Microsoft Surface Pro 3: Performance

Graphics: 3D Mark Fire Strike: 527 3D Mark Fire Strike Extreme: 218 Gaming: Tomb Raider: 7.7fps (Normal) 11.4 (Low) Storage: CrystalDiskMark (Sequential Read): 453.8MBps CrystalDiskMark (Sequential Write): 260.1Mbps

Ultimately, Microsoft wants this thing to kill the MacBook Air, wedging it squarely in-between the 11-inch and 13-inch options, both in screen size and cost. The new Surface Pro has the MacBook Air beat on resolution, size (if you're talking about the 11-inch model, not the 13-inch), practicality (simply because it's both a tablet and a laptop) and weight. The Surface Pro 3 weighs an insane 800 grams compared to the smallest MacBook Air which weighs 1.3kg. It also wedges nicely in the pricing scale: the MacBook Air 11-inch (128GB model) costs $1099, ranging right up to the 13-inch (256GB) model which costs $1399. The 256GB Core i5 Surface Pro 3 we tested sits at $1549, but you can certainly get it cheaper than that if you scale down the SSD size and supplement it with a larger MicroSD card for yourself.

Whether it's better value than the MacBook Air is completely up to you and the spec you choose at the end of the day, we're just happy Microsoft isn't charging the Australia Tax on the new Surface Pro 3.

Microsoft has been caught charging us the Australia Tax before. For those out of the loop, the Australia Tax is when companies charge inexplicably more for a device, service, content or piece of software just because it’s distributing it in Australia and not in the US. Adobe, Apple and Microsoft were hauled in front of the Parliament last year for their antics.

The Surface Pro 3 starts at $US799. Seeing the $979 sticker price in Australia might immediately lead you to think that the Australia Tax is alive and well, but look harder.

US prices don’t include tax like Australian prices do. Add 10 per cent tax to compensate for the GST ($US79), shipping ($US85) and convert that all to Australian dollars, and you find that you’re actually getting cheaper in Australia, as the final price comes out at $1040* for an imported Surface Pro 3.

(*Admittedly, our estimates are a little on the high side, but even when calculated with $US50 shipping and a 9 per cent sales tax at an exchange rate of 0.93 AUD to 1 USD, it still works out at $994.)

What's Not So Good?

It's great that the Surface Pro 3 can handle Steam games. Honestly, having a tablet that you can throw open and play a bit of Day Z is awesome from my point of view, but the Surface Pro 3 is far from a gaming machine.

To play games like Tomb Raider, Day Z and even Counter Strike Source we had to turn everything down to Low settings before it would run without lag. It can certainly play the games, but don't expect to be blown away by the graphics it's capable of. As you can see by the graphics benchmarks above, the Pro 3 can only produce 11 frames per second on Tomb Raider on the default Low setting. Not stellar performance by anyone's measure.

Like the last two Surface tablet/convertibles, the Surface Pro 3 has kinks here and there. For example, the hinge sounded a little creaky at times when deployed on its first fixed angle; the Type Cover trackpad has gone from being kind of OK to kind of rubbish on the new model; the speakers (while louder than before) still leave a bit to be desired in the volume and quality department; the fan is weirdly noisy and the OneNote pen accessory drops its Bluetooth connection whenever it damn well feels like it. These aren't issues that would dissuade us from recommending or even buying the Surface Pro 3 for ourselves, but it's just something to keep in mind.

The Surface Pro 3 is also missing a couple of things that it probably should have: namely a second USB 3.0, and a bundled Office 365 subscription. Wouldn't it be nice if Microsoft sweetened the deal of its flagship tablet/convertible device with the flagship productivity software it's trying to flog customers? Even if it were bundled for just the first year, Microsoft would nab just about every customer that bought a Surface Pro 3 into its ecosystem. That's where the cream comes from.

The battery on the Surface Pro 3 is better than before, but still leaves a bit to be desired. As usual, it seems to be the Wi-Fi and Bluetooth modules sucking most of the power. The Surface Pro 2 shipped with an overzealous Wi-Fi module that sucked power so severely that we got four hours worth of life in our tests.

The Surface Pro 3 isn't that bad, lasting around 7 hours in our stress tests, but it's still amazing to see that a device designed to challenge the 13-inch MacBook Air still does less than half of its main rival's battery life.

Should You Buy It?

Microsoft Surface Pro 3
80

Price: $979-$2279

Like
  • Brilliant screen.
  • Great new design.
  • Infinite kickstand.
Don't Like
  • No bundled Office 365 Subscription.
  • Expensive when you get into the higher-end models.
  • Not great for portable gaming.

In short, the Surface Pro 3 is a convertible masterpiece. It brings quality first-party hardware with a premium feel. For the longest time, convertibles have just felt like experiments in design: hinges that flip, turn and pivot but don't feel 100 per cent right. The Surface Pro 3, however, feels smooth, well-engineered and practical.

It's something you'll definitely use as a tablet and as a laptop, simply because it excels at both. It's just the right size and weight to be a tablet, yet sturdy enough to replace your Ultrabook. And with accessories like the Surface Dock and OneNote pen, it's fit for so many different things.

We highly recommend the Surface Pro 3, provided you're going to be using it as an everyday Ultrabook-replacement meant for work and a bit of play. The only caveat we'd add onto our glowing recommendation is this: if you need something with grunt, whether it's for gaming or creative work, it's definitely worth investing your cash elsewhere. The top-end Core i7 Surface Pro 3 can get jolly expensive, and that cash may be better invested elsewhere.

For the most part, however, we love the Surface Pro 3 and think you will too.


Comments

    Before i bin my desktop I will wait for Surface 4 or 5 that can at least handle cs:go with full settings. Perhaps they can provide an addon for gaming, an external gfx card that does the grunt when yer at the desk gaming?

      For it to be practical you'd need a Thunderbolt connection - and even then it's vastly inferior to having a proper GPU on the motherboard. Unless they came up with some custom external PCIe 16x solution, don't know if that's actually practical or not?

        Thunderbolt is dead, over priced and under specd USB is far better with the new spec coming out now.

          Yeah, No. Thunderbolt is just another option and options for consumers are good. OMG the new usb spec? Still ages away from production let alone wide spread use. Thunderbolt 2 is already pushing 20gbps, the new usb standard will be 10? Which is theoretical and doesn't include the over heads the USB requires.

          The beauty of thunderbolt is its ability to daisy chain with little overhead and performance costs. Am I saying it's the be all and end all of connectors and interfaces? No, but then again neither is USB/Firewire/eSATA/Infiniband/insert connection types here.

            Who cares what speeds Thunderbolt is pushing if there is nothing to connect to it? You have to live in the real world and Intel screwed the pooch by giving Apple an exclusive head-start on it. Now everyone thinks it's an Apple thing so nobody wants to make peripherals for it.

              The mistake Apple has made was bringing out Thunderbolt and not officially coming out and saying Firewire is obsolete. The port has been removed but accessories (albeit hap-hazard) exist to connect such devices to the Thunderbolt port.

              What is happening is manufacturers are most likely waiting for Apple to make up its freaking mind because the situation now is no different to consumer confidence in the BluRay vs HD-DVD format war.

              Last edited 28/08/14 9:39 am

              Funny, maybe I should send back my thunderbolt external graphics cage (with 3 x 780s in it), thunderbolt monitor and thunderbolt RAID box, as obviously there are no peripherals, so I mustn't be using these right now.

        if Apple were smart enough to move to a thunderbolt 2 connector on their iPhones and iPads then it would be pretty impressive with the performance

          Why? What would you be able to connect to it? nobody makes Thunderbolt peripherals and they are not likely to start this late in the game.

            Looks like my data is gone then. Because according to you the LaCiE external Thunderbolt drive I have does not exist because nobody is making peripherals.

      Unfortunately this might be the last Surface MS make? rumor has it anyway~!

      One thing they didnt do is a force update of the graphics drivers. Did this on my pro 2 and games run faster than in these tests. For some reason microsoft doesnt add the graphics updates to windows updates on the tablets.

    My opinion, and do not hate me for it, is that Windows Surface Pro 2, 3, ... etc., is a compromise.

    As a laptop, it does not have the quality of MacBook touchpad or keyboard. As a tablet, it is too heavy compared to other iOS and Android tables. With that said, if you do not want to carry two devices, it is the best there is, and can run Windows applications (as a laptop not as a tablet, because work applications are not that useable on a touch screen, for example, you need a mouse to do good work in Autocad).

      It is a compromise! Just like a laptop is a compromise from a desktop. But for some of us it's the perfect compromise. I replaced my MBP 13" with the original Surface Pro and haven't felt like I've missed anything yet. Also some situations where you need a mouse can be handled quite nicely (sometimes even better) with the pen & digitiser, including some AutoCAD work although that obviously depends what you're doing specifically. But you're right, everyone needs to buy what they need for them.

      iPad and Android tablets aren't in the same league as Windows Professional. Not hating, just pointing out that you shouldn't ever compare Android and iPad tablets to a Windows Pro tablet

      Everything is a compromise. Even a desktop is a compromise as it is not easily portable. You just have to look at your own needs and wants.

      I don't see how anyone could hate you for expressing a logical opinion. Even though Microsoft have made some significant improvements to the Surface specs and form factor, it's still a classic case of 'Jack of all trades, master of none'. It's just too back-heavy for a laptop, too chunky for a tablet, too slow for a primary desktop PC, and even with the new stand it's 'lapability' (Microsoft's word, not mine!) is still not as good as the appropriately-named laptop.

        This is rubbish, the Surface Pro 3 is 0.3 mm thinner than the iPad 4, and 140 g heavier than the Wi-Fi + 4G version. It's thinner than a lot of mobile phones even (Moto X, HTC One (M8), Lumia 930). It is only 50 g heavier than the Samsung Galaxy Note Pro 12.2 which is impressive for something with a Core i7. Not many people want a primary desktop anymore. The SP3 has the thinnest optical stack of anything with an active digitiser, which should mean it has a best note taking experience on any device (less parallax error), so I wouldn't call it the jack of all trades master of none either. If you need a gaming laptop then the Razer 14 is unbeat, but who really plays Minecraft on their lap.

          That's my point. Only in the 'desktop sitting' mode would I want to game, if I could connect the SP3 to something that handles the graphically intensive stuff that would be all I need.
          I then want to be able to take my SP3 to the couch for some browsing, or on train commute etc. The SP3 doesn't need to do intensive gfx from the couch, but does from the desk, if it's going to replace my desktop needs.

            what i have started doing recently is streaming via steam in home streaming to my surface pro 1.
            i sit on the couch with a xboxone controller and play my games in complete comfort.
            it really is pretty fantastic.

            i love my surface pro, i use it for everything that MS advertise it for.
            i hate browsing the net on my ipad as i find it significantly slower than on the surface.

            the only issue i have is it is pretty heavy and the battery is crap.
            this new one fixes both those issues for me but damn it is expensive for the one id want - i5 128GB

              Can't play cs:go with a xbox 360 controller tho. I'm not nit picking here, if I want a controller pad I PS3, Pc Gaming = Mouse and Keyboard and that doesn't suit couch environment.

                You can use a 360 gamepad in CS:GO, you just need to either enter a few console commands or swap controller.360.cfg with controller.cfg. The game has support for it, it's just not enabled in the menus.

                  I no doubt u can, I meant that a control pad is not the right controller for 1st person shooter, it needs to be mouse and keyboard to be played properly.

          Yeah, but the keyboard is crap. I'd rather carry a few hundred extra grams, get a real keyboard and better performance all round.

      No PC user cares about a trackpad, especially when there is a 12" touchscreen right in front of you. I can't believe they put a trackpad on Surface at all, it's an anachronism that should be binned at the first opportunity. And not everybody needs a good keyboard, either. It is certainly rates a big, fat zero on the list of things I look for when buying a new laptop. That said, all Macs have chiclet keyboards, which are definitely NOT good keyboards. Sadly, they have become pretty much de rigueur these days, which makes it hard to find anything with a really good keyboard. Oh, except for Surface, which still has proper keys.

      As for weight, heavier is not the same as too heavy. In fact, balance is what makes a tablet or laptop easy (or hard) to handle. I don't find my Surface 2 Pro any harder to use as a tablet than my Kindle. In fact, it's size makes it easier in many ways because you can always find things to rest it on, whereas I find I always have to hold the Kindle up, which gets tiring after a couple of hours.

        No PC user cares about a trackpad, especially when there is a 12" touchscreen right in front of you.

        I'm a PC user and I care. Purely because on the odd occasion where accuracy is needed it's be a bit hard to make sure I have that accuracy when my finger is in the way of my eyes.

        You are entitled to be a fanperson for the device and the OS but don't go crying foal when facts are presented against your passion.

      Sorry but your opinion is obviously not based on anything approaching fact or experience. The TypeCover is a much better keyboard than any laptop chiclet thing. It is probably the best keyboard I have used in a decade and I also use an Apple keyboard every day at work. The trackpad is irrelevant, not just because PC users have three button scroll-wheel mice but because the screen here is a touchscreen. I don't understand why they even bother with a trackpad, especially as they have the pen as a way better alternative.

      As for weight, heavier is not the same as too heavy. SPro 3 is lighter than the an iPad 2 with a Smart Cover, despite having a considerably larger screen and proper internals. In fact, the bag you would carry either around in almost certainly weighs more. Weight is far less important than balance and any Surface is easily light enough, and well enough balanced, that it is easy to hold for long periods.

        Sorry but your opinion is obviously not based on anything approaching fact or experience.

        No, that is a description of yourself. Your comments are mostly fanperson rants and when people make a reasonable counter claim you get on your psudo high horse and start ranting.

        People are entitled to be passionate about their preferences but that does not give you the right to have a go at others who make reasonable and objective comments.

        The chicklet keyboards on the Macs are good to type on, I average around 110 wpm, that is pretty much the same whether on a good chicklet keyboard or a standard desktop keyboard. On the Surface I am down to 60wpm, and my fingers fatigue much, much more quickly.
        The keyboard is crappy, if I don't need a keyboard, then I'd just use a tablet. I really want to like the Surface, it would meet my needs, but until it has a decent keybaord, it isn't going to cut it.

        Plus, no slot for a sim card on a mobile device, what were they thinking?

        Last edited 28/08/14 11:34 am

          You've addressed the main issues with this device. The keyboard is average, at best, and if it isn't flat on a surface it's like trying to type on bouncing castle. This device does not support a SIM?? No mobile broadband is a massive fail - why I didn't buy one, having to tether etc... what a joke - this could have been the most portable work anywhere device... its ended up a small touch screen laptop.

          Gamer's? what the heck is wrong with you's - look at the size of this device... and you don't like it because it can't play games... Alienware do gaming laptop's try carrying one of those around in your man purse, lol.

    sim slot???????

      Nope. That's one of the reasons I'm not going to get one. I don't want to pair it with my phone just to get the internet when out and about!

        We would buy a whole bunch of them for our guys at work if they put in sim slots
        Now we keep buying ipads and use citrix

          Microsoft has really been dragging their feet on the integrated mobile broadband front.

    Just FYI: the Dick Smith co-branding on an overwhelmingly glowing breakdown definitely gives this review an infomercial feel.

      The funny part is, Dick Smith doesn't stock the Surface line (or hasn't so far anyway).

    User replaceable / upgradable... RAM ?
    User replaceable / upgradable... SSD HDD ?
    User replaceable / upgradable... Battery ?

    When buying a PC, I happily buy a lower spec and upgrade. For a tablet, I'd be happy to have a model 3mm thicker [and 200g heavier] in exchange for longer battery life. Hell, that much thickness & weight can be added by an aftermarket protective case.

    Once again, Microsoft isn't asking what we want - it's telling us what we'll get. That's a risky philosophy - look to Vista, Windows 8.0, RT, Zune etc. for further [failed] examples.

      They did listen, a LOT of the complaints that I've heard about the original Surface Pro were to do with size and weight. The battery life has also improved over the SP2. To have a model in the range that is 3mm thicker and 200g heavier would be very difficult and expensive because it would mean a whole new chassis. They might release an updated power cover though?

      That's how Apple rolls and it seems to work for them

        Copying Apple is not innovation. Innovation is looking at Apple and saying "can we do this better?"
        In this case, I'm suggesting a user-removeable back. Once the unit is open, a user can replace (or upgrade) RAM, HDD, or battery. If you upgrade to a bigger, thicker battery, you will ned to replace the back plate at the same time, resulting in a thicker heavier machine.

        Like the add-on batteries you can get for iPhones etc. but built into the main unit.

        Of course, considering the massive mark-up on the higher end models, it will never happen. Innovation vs profit margins, innovation loses out again...

          Think about it - User upgradable systems are always larger than non-upgradable systems. Creating a modular design like suggest would be expensive.

      You might still want to do your own upgrades but the rest of us have been living in the 21st Century for 14 years now. When a good mobile workstation cost $5000 or more, it was definitely a clever option but all this stuff is so cheap now that it hasn't been worth the effort for ages. The last time I upgraded components on a PC was 2009, when I swapped the 500Gb HDD in my Dell M4400 for a hideously expensive 128Gb SSD.

        So because you haven't changed a component in the last five years, no-one else should want to change components? The price of RAM is a lot less than a new machine, and if RAM is your limiting factor then the ability to upgrade it makes a huge difference.
        Certainly for some components on laptops, interchangeability is impractical but I'm not convinced RAM really needs to be on that list in many cases (ultimately, it depends on internal space). When Apple is soldering RAM onto desktop machines, though, you can be pretty confident that isn't for space-saving.

    You forgot to add $150 for the keyboard... I don't understand how they can compare it to a conventional laptop when no keyboard is included out of the box?

      But what if you already have one? Or maybe you already have a different favourite keyboard that you'd prefer to use? Or maybe you have no intention of doing enough typing to justify it at all. Why be forced to pay for something you don't need? And what about next year? I'm sure you'd be the first to complain if MS forced you to buy a new TypeCover for your next Surface when you are perfectly happy with the one you have. It seems to me that MS are just giving us all more choice.

    Concerns about gaming performance become moot when you factor in Steam streaming. That said I'll still wait for a 4 (even though I really want one now).

      The concerns aren't moot at all, game steaming requires a gaming PC AND a streaming machine.

    Also, you could get the kick ass Macbook Pro Retina 2.8 i5 with 512gb of flash storage for $100 more!

      Which weighs twice as much (literally) and doesn't have any advantages to justify it. So you'd be paying $100 extra to double your burden. If you want to get more exercise, just put a housebrick into your bag to simulate the weight of a MB Pro.

        Yeah, no advantages at all.
        Well, except, better keyboard, radically faster CPU performance, larger screen, higher resolution, thunderbolt, better battery life, better gaming performance, access to both Mac and Windows apps.
        As for weight and bulk, the Surface Pro3 keyboard adds 295g of weight and 4.8mm of depth, so it brings it to about the size and weight of a macbook air, even a fully optioned up MBPro only ends up weighing a few hundred grams more, hardly a housebrick difference....

        Last edited 28/08/14 11:47 am

      Add the cost of a surface keyboard and the Macbook is cheaper.

        But I already have a TypeCover so I wouldn't need to buy another one.

    Surface pros are pretty good guys. I found that iPad and Android tablets weren't that great at running stuff I needed to run.
    I've had a surface pro 2 for about 6 months and in summary...
    Good - super small/light laptop, can run a lot of Steam games (the walking dead, banner saga), LoL, can log into Citrix.
    Bad - battery life is around 5 hours.

    You say the warranty is 2 years, but Harvey Norman is saying its only 12 mths.

    Loved my SP2 so much that I've preordered this.

    Wasn't the aspect ratio of the original Surface 16:9 not 4:3, the iPad is 4:3.

      From memory, the Surface 3 is 3:2.

        You would be correct, but there is still an error in the 3rd paragraph of the article referring to the Surface 1, 2, Pro 1 & Pro 2 which were 16:9.

    wait no SIM slot? nah.. pass. damn wanted one badly.

    If it's powerful enough to run Revit 2015 as on a laptop or desktop, I'm sold!

    Last edited 22/08/14 10:15 pm

    Ultimately, Microsoft wants this thing to kill the MacBook Air, wedging it squarely in-between the 11-inch and 13-inch options, both in screen size and cost.

    If you're going to compare it to the Macbook Air, you need to include the cost of the Type Cover ($150). Lets be pragmatic here. They go together.

    Also your pricing is a little off. The Macbook air is actually available at a significant discount (10%-14%) whereas the Surface Pro 3 is still RRP. These discounts may increase as Broadwell approaches, which promises improved performance and longer battery life over Haswell.

    Right now, Dick Smith has the 11" 256GB MBA for $1169 and 13" 256GB for $1259.
    Surface Pro 3 256GB with Type Cover - $1698! (RRP). Ouch.

    Don't get me wrong. I love the Surface Pro line. I use an original Surface Pro 128GB. It cost me $540 during one of the runout sales. At that price it might threaten the MBA. But right now the Surface Pro 3 is priced way too high.

      Plus the 295g of weight and 4.8mm of depth that the typecover adds.

    As a business user,I tend to carry around a laptop and an iPad with stylus as I take copious amounts of handwritten notes. I have been waiting for an eternity for someone to finally make a super light and super portable hybrid. I have a keyboard,mouse and monitor at work for docking the laptop. In my case I am very excited to see Microsoft developing this type of hardware and I can see it being something a lot of business people wanting to use this great piece of hardware. Just can't wait to actually hold out in my hands before committing. Have actually also been waiting on any further info on an iPad pro ?? Real or just speculation ??

    They need to drop the touover and inclue the type cover as standard.

    Afer 6 months of uing an SP1, I think I want a laptop again.

    And if you're wonderng out my shitty typos and spelling, I'm typing on touch cover - there's about a 60% chnce of a keystroke actually registering.

    Last edited 23/08/14 8:54 pm

      Get the type cover @kuraara, 100% better than the touch cover, actually usable for typing!

        I'm holding out for a price drop. Though I get the feeling that may not actually happen.

    Something I find interesting though, when I bought my first iPad, the original iPad, my Windows friends, all said I am dumb for paying for something that can't really replace my laptop. They all said they will only ever buy a tablet when it can do things their laptops can do. Fast-forward to 2014, we have the Surface Pro 3. It can do all that, and still they aren't buying it. I bought four iPads already over that period, and I will probably upgrade to a newer iPad next year again.

    So to me, it looks like the Windows crowd is making demands, Microsoft is listening, but the sales aren't stellar at all.

    Almost like this:
    “If I had asked people what they wanted, they would have said faster horses.” - Henry Ford
    (for the record, no strong evidence suggests that he did say this, could be just an urban legend)

      There are two very good reasons why they still aren't buying it. First, it isn't on sale here yet and, second, pre-orders for the high-spec, laptop-replacing models have sold-out. So even if "they" still aren't buying it, plenty of others are.

      I was certainly one of those decrying the iPad as a toy (which it is) but I swapped my laptop for a Surface Pro 2 last year and it has proven to be a brilliant laptop replacement - more power, more pixels, more storage and more battery life than any laptop I've owned, without so much as a single downside. Now, though, I've gone one better and bought a Lenovo ThinkPad 8 which is easily good enough to be a viable laptop replacement for 90% of PC users out there. I can do reasonably complex 3D work in 3DS Max, both Photoshop and After Effects run quite well and it even has enough grunt to power my realtime music software studio through a professional USB audio interface (Focusrite Scarlet 2i2) with extremely low latency (2ms). Seriously, if it had another USB port my band could perform live with it and nothing else. I also intend to record our next album on it, just because I can.

        So what you are saying is, the tide is turning, in future the sales figures we will see that people are actually buying the new Windows based Tablets, or that is how I understand your comment. It will start going mainstream or has already started going mainstream. Good to know, I just couldn't see it in the figures up to now, but given the Surface 2 and 3 sales figures will only start featuring from now forward.

        Last edited 26/08/14 6:49 pm

    Ultimately, Microsoft wants this thing to kill the MacBook Air, wedging it squarely in-between the 11-inch and 13-inch options, both in screen size and cost. The new Surface Pro has the MacBook Air beat on resolution, size (if you’re talking about the 11-inch model, not the 13-inch)

    I don't understand this. Unless i've missed something, the Macbook Air 13 and 11 inch both have screen resolutions less than the Surface 3 (11 = 1366 x 768, 13 = 1440 x 900). Also, the surface 3 with 256gb SSD costs $1549. A macbook air 13" with 256Gb SSD only costs $1399. (apple dropped the prices this year)

    Also how does the 3:2 aspect ratio handle watching movies, youtube, etc? Is there black bars at the top and bottom or does it use the full screen?

    Don't get me wrong - great review.

    Last edited 25/08/14 3:02 pm

      You have definitely missed something. The part you quoted says the Surface pro has the Air beaten in resolution, and you say... the Surface Pro has the Air beaten in resolution :)

      The resolution is more comparable to the retina MBPs (which are around the same size, when you include the keyboard).

      Whether there are black bars will entirely depend on the aspect ratio of what you are watching. Most movies these days are either 1.85:1 or 2.35:1 (21:9). Most TV is 1.78:1 (16:9). So no screen size is going to avoid black bars.

    After using the Dell Venue 8 Pro for the past 6 months which comes with a full windows 8.1 OS on a 8 inch tablet I honestly think tablets will eventually replace laptops and desktops but not yet.

    First off im also a gamer PC ps4 PS3 360 One etc and you can only play games on these tablets via steam streaming at this point. Or playing games with low requirements like south park the stick of truth.

    But what these tablets are great for is work my dell came with office 13 which allows me to save documents to the cloud so i can draw up qoutes and save them to access wherever i go.

    So can it play WOW and diablo 3. That's about the only games I want from it (possibly an indie or two but I really don't have the time to play many games these days, especially if I can play those two on it). Will it handle them well enough mr reviewer or anybody with one ATM.

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