My name is Luke Hopewell, and I'm a MacBook user. I've been a MacBook user since 2008, and have had two new models since then. But this week, I leave it all behind and road test the promise of the Microsoft Surface Pro 3. Is it really the tablet that can replace my laptop?
Microsoft is keen on people like me. MacBook users I mean. We're portable people who need reliable, thin yet comparatively powerful machines.
Microsoft has wedged the new Surface Pro squarely in-between the 11-inch and 13-inch MacBook 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.
And every time that Microsoft has mentioned the Surface Pro 3 publicly, they use the same breath to slam the MacBook Air with the logline that it's the tablet that can replace your laptop.
So that's the promise: the Surface Pro 3 is the tablet that can replace your laptop.
What are the hoops that it has to jump through?
The Surface Pro 3 has quite the job in front of it this week. Every day to run Gizmodo, I power up at about 6:30am, check emails, before walking to the office and reading the morning's news on my iPhone. I get to the office around 7:30am, and log onto an iMac to do the rest of the day's work. Thanks to iCloud, my morning's work is synchronised by the time I get to my desk. From there, it's solid working. Writing, emailing, picture editing, teleconferencing and so on.
Here's the daily test the Surface Pro 3 will have to handle. To be a convertible I can use at home before work, to be a tablet on the way to work for reading the morning news, and to be a convertible laptop once I get into the office. It has to have enough power to stand up to what feels like hundreds of Chrome windows being open at a time, Photoshop Creative Cloud, Microsoft Office suite and Spotify, naturally.
On top of all that, we'll also be mobile working this week, more than we would normally be if we were tethered to our desks. Today we're working from a Tesla Model S (omg); tomorrow we'll be putting a standing desk through its paces. We'll also be going nuts at Sydney's various cafes, where the Surface Pro 3 comes into its own as a mobile working device.
We think it's up to the challenge, and we'll tell you day by day how it performed.
My name is Luke Hopewell, and this week, I'm a switcher.