So I actually pre-ordered a Microsoft Surface Pro 3 and here’s why…

Here we go again

Here we go again

So most of you who read this blog know that recently I have become a huge critic and skeptic of the direction Microsoft chose to go in with Windows 8.x and the corresponding Windows Phone models.

I reviewed the Microsoft Surface and the Surface Pro 2 and was still left wanting a little.

8 months later, it seems that Microsoft have gotten the message from a bunch of consumers and they (much to their credit) have taken on the major challenge posed to them by consumers and bloggers alike.

Introducing Surface 3 – “Meet the tablet that can replace your laptop”

Surface Pro 3

Surface Pro 3

Once again, I am actually excited to check out this new innovative device from Microsoft.

When I looked back at the reviews I did of the old Surface Pro and Surface Pro 2, there were major issues that Microsoft appear to have fixed this time around.

Too heavy – this is lighter.

Screen too small – this screen is larger.

Uncomfortable in the lap – The hinge is more flexible now.

No docking station at time of release – They better have one next month.

Surface Pro docking station

Surface Pro docking station

The Bold Bet

Microsoft are betting on the fact that they can actually create a new class of device. Not a tablet or a laptop but a tablet that can replace your laptop.

It’s exciting to see Redmond take up such a MAJOR challenge and at least attempt to drive and define a class of device before Apple.

Will it work? I’m not sure but I am willing to try and see.

Pricing

While everything looks good, I really do have concerns about the aggressive pricing of the device.

  • The 512GB Intel i7 tablet is $1949.
  • The 256GB Intel i7 tablet is $1549.
  • The 256GB Intel i5 tablet is $1299.
  • The 128GB Intel i5 tablet is $999.
  • The 64GB Intel i3 tablet is $799.

Source – Microsoft Store

I think that the devices could be a lot cheaper but I will hold my fire on that for now.

In addition, they need to stop screwing around and throw in the keyboard for free. What kind of penny wise pound foolish campaign would make someone pay close to $2000 and not throw in the keyboard?

The back of the Surface Pro 3

The back of the Surface Pro 3

I’m buying a Surface Pro 3 for a few reasons.

First of all, I want to see if Microsoft are actually going to change the game and create a device that is a must have for consumers and businesses.

Then I want to see if Windows 8.1 is more tolerable on a hybrid device like this.

Next, I want to see if this will replace my Macbook Pro 15.4 inch retina laptop that I am typing on.

Also since I wasn’t in New York for the launch, I am really curious about the weight of the device.

I want to check out the pen/stylus and all the cool One Note integration that Panos was doing during the demo.

Finally, I want to review it here for you guys and give you my CANDID opinion about the state of the device.

Now a stylus and tablet can come together and add value?

Now a stylus and tablet can come together and add value?

Quick Aside – Panos Panay kicked ass during the launch presentation

I haven’t seen Microsoft really give food for thought like that in a while. He struck the right tone and spent the presentation being playful (w/Joanna Stern) but being very direct about the business challenge the company was trying to take on.

I’m not usually impressed with launch speeches but I thought he was fabulous.

OK I have rambled for long enough.

If you haven’t preordered yours yet, you can do so at the Microsoft Store.

I would love to hear back from you guys and girls about 4 things.

  • Do you plan to preorder the new Surface Pro 3?
  • Why or why not?
  • If yes, what model?
  • What do you think about the pricing?

As always, use the comments below and let us know.

I’ll be back in a month with a complete review.

Editor's choice 2014

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Comments

  • Scott Meeler

    I always wanted a surface but there were things holding me back but now I think I will do it.
    I am looking at the 128gb
    I am like you I believe the price is still a bit too High. I feel the very top end should be in the 1400 range.

    • Jason Deveau

      For that price they’d have to cut the specs and that gorgeous display resolution.

  • Mike Greenway

    Ego is something we must all strive to keep in it place.

  • mgp

    I always laugh at how Microsoft is held to a different standard. The original Ipad had huge flaws, I own an original kindle fire who is fast becoming a great paperweight, the original galaxy lacks a bunch o features (got one too). IOS is in its fourth cycle, as is android. Windows 8 is in its 1.1 cycle and obviously needs to grow.
    Everybody knows that the future is to have one device for home/office (pc-tablet) and one for mobile (phone-watch). I think Microsoft is going in the right direction as much as people don’t like to admit it. I bet apple is going to come out with a tablet/notebook hybrid in the near future and everybody is going to praise it as the new direction in computing, and so on.
    Don’t be so quick to judge, let things evolve!!

    • Ray C

      I have to agree with you. It’s such a double-standard. Even with Arm Surface, everyone is allowed to make a tablet that’s just a tablet but Microsoft. How is that? And to be honest the idea of Microsoft not listening to customers is laughable. It’s the 3rd generation of the device. iOS wasn’t exactly great in 1.0 and 2.0. It takes time for a product to evolve

    • Rumin8

      What makes me laugh with regard to the iPad is that, though it is a tablet, and is supposed to signal the death knell of non-tablet devices, everyone I know who has an iPad docks it to a stand and has a keyboard in front of it. There may be loads of apps in the iOS store but they are all tablet apps and don’t work well with a keyboard because there is no support for proper keyboard navigation whereas that has always been supported pretty well in Windows programs and apps. Of course the iPad does not run desktop programs, and if you want to do that, you have to shell out for a Mac, but then you lose the touch-screen and the ability to run iOS apps. This is a sad state of affairs that makes the Microsoft approach start to look pretty good.

  • Daniel Gray

    Not trying to bust your bubble here Mr. Amobi, but the bloggers had very little to do with the change. What effected the change were the Beta testers who have been advising MS about the needed changes since the last tablet the brought out (and need it be said again that the iPads almost ALL require you to purchase a keypad for them, so why are you not asking the same question to Apple?) Windows 9 is already in the works and the beta testers are already telling MS that they need to make this uniform so it will work on the tablets and the laptops and the desktops and the watches, and they are heading in that direction If they can accomplish this, Apple is toast.

    And MGP is dead on accurate. If Apple took as much of a beating as the macsnobs give to MS, apple would have been out of business long ago. But then again it is nothing more then sour grapes as even with all they have put out in the way of new tablets and phones and so on, they STILL ON THEIR BEST DAY cannot claim to have improved their market share which has been shrinking since the death of Jobs. And did you see where the Windows cell phone is right behind the Android cell? Mac is barely making the same page. yet all these macsnobs still attack the company that is beating the stuffing out of them. heck even the android tablet is stomping a mudhole in apples iPad

    Apple is dying, the sooner this sinks in and the macsnobs get on board with MS and help make the OS’s what the consumer wants, the easier this will be. But the continued attacking MS AFTER the fact has got to stop. I suggest that if anyone thinks they can do a better job, then stop talking and start showing

    • http://www.learnabouttheweb.com/ Onuora Amobi

      Apple is dying?

      I wish they knew that.

      :-)

      • Daniel Gray

        nice factious statement. they are and they know it. You CANT lose over half of your profits as well as have your stock lose half of its cost in less then 6 to 8 months and not know something is seriously wrong. In 2012 they lost over 39 BILLION, then they lost yet another 139 Billion in the same year. In 2013 they lost yet another 58 Billion. And again in late 2013 Apples stock dropped from $705.07a share down to $419 a share. I dont care who you are or how powerful, you cant keep doing this year after year and expect to survive. (Source? NYSE and Forbes) The iPhone 5 was a major fail as they didnt come close to selling what they expected to sell and are having major problems with the cables used for the phone “This cable is not certified and may not work with the phone” Apple Support Communities, but it is the same cable that was sent WITH the phone packed in the box! Again according to Forbes, “the sales of the iPhone 5c have been “disappointing” and that production has been slashed as a result. They even ask if the 5c should be regarded as a “failure”. Apple said to reducing production from 300,000 a day down to 150,000 Inside source admitted the drop in production to a Chinese technology site” October 2013. With all of this AND the iPhone S’s battery being defective as it drains way too fast according to Apple, which means they will have to replace ALL these batteries at their cost. And lets not forget the massive layoffs of Apple workers. they have cut their work force and stores by 1/3rd according to the US Department of labor. And you still can say that Apple is not dying the death of a thousand cuts?

        • http://www.learnabouttheweb.com/ Onuora Amobi

          I wish my company’s death looked like this…

          • http://www.learnabouttheweb.com/ Onuora Amobi

            I wish my company’s death looked a lot like this…

            http://windows8.s3.amazonaws.com/images/Apples%20death.png

          • Daniel Gray

            Right….and I guess that massive layoffs and losing stock price is a good thing? Oh and BTW, nice picture. Too bad it is from 3 years ago.

          • http://www.learnabouttheweb.com/ Onuora Amobi

            Type “Apple Stock” into Google and that’s what you get.

            Denying reality puts you firmly in troll territory.

          • Daniel Gray

            Not denying anything. I received my information from Forbes and the NY Stock Exchange. Two far better sources on Apples financial problems then google. And if using factual data make a person a troll in your opinion, then so be it.

  • Paul Muscarella

    I can buy a very good laptop for less and have more I think the surface pro is over priced If I am going to spend that much I will buy a Mac Pro.

    • mgp

      When you get the mac pro don’t forget the Ipad and the Ipad keyboard (sold separately), then tell me how much you spent.!

      • Yorker

        To be fair, I don’t think you need an iPad or iPad keyboard to get the mac pro and be happy with it. I think Paul’s point is that he’d rather spend less money on a laptop than more on a tablet. I agree with that premise, but this does look pretty awesome, so I get the price!

        • mgp

          But ultimately he would have to have both a notebook and a tablet, not so with the surface 3 that is both!

    • Rico Alexander

      You’re not going to get a laptop with these specs for a lot less and no a Mac Pro is not comparable for what you get with this.

  • Rico Alexander

    This is the device I’ve been waiting to sale my macbook for. They checked off just about everything I had an issue with and as far as price, you get what you pay for. Find me a comparable computer with those specs at that price.

  • Rumin8

    My main laptop went flaky recently so I bought a new one, an Asus with a Core-i5 CPU, 8 GB RAM, and 15.6-inch touch-screen. It is a marvellous machine, at a good price (GBP 600). So I am not in the market now for a new main laptop (ie the mother-ship on which I do most of my creative input). If I had been, sure, I would have considered the Surface Pro 3, but the negative factors for me would be cost, limited screen size, and awkwardness:

    Cost: There is a cost to miniaturisation, and I would not choose a machine with a display of only 12 inches just to incur that miniaturisation cost. But my primary use case would be as a laptop sitting on a desk permanently, and yours might not be.

    Screen size: I had thoroughly investigated many devices as a potential main laptop before I went with a 15.6-inch screen. I came to the conclusion that 14-inch was the minimum I could tolerate, and my eyesight is not getting any younger, so 12-inch is out for me. This laptop is not intended to move around, it sits on my desk in one spot permanently.

    Awkwardness: I have an Acer 10-inch tablet whose keyboard dock makes it into a clamshell laptop. Easily snapped shut. Robust. Protected. Sits on my quilt when I am in bed, props itself up via the dock at any angle so no wrist aches, does not depend on a flat surface, wins over Type or Touch keyboards any time, and the extra battery in the dock lets it run all day. By comparison, Pro 3 will be good as a laptop that sits mostly in one place on a desk, but as for its mobility, beyond 10 inches is awkward.

    Ok, so Surface Pro 3 does not meet my current needs, but I will not deny that it will suit some people well, and in different circumstances it might have suited me too. I can see how it would work out well in a business where a degree of mobility is important. If I had one, I would certainly want its dock unit. However the dock only allows it to operate at one angle, which is not good unless you attach a large monitor to it, although I suppose that is what the majority would want to do.

    Comparing Surface Pro 3 to iPad in a business setting, it is a no-brainer, as it will natively run any Windows software thrown at it, legacy or modern, and has a better screen size for such. Imagine the glee of IT support staff. In terms of support costs over time, any extra purchase price premium will pale into insignificance. Business users are likely to use it with a dock and maybe an external monitor, but home users may be less inclined to do that, and then its large size could become a problem.

    I think there will be a lot of disappointed people who were hoping for an 8-inch tablet, which is actually a very good size for a Windows 8.1 device, but I can understand Microsoft regarding the 12-inch device is more strategically important at this time.

    • WillyThePooh

      One thing about tablet is that you can zoom in and out a lot easier than a laptop. I am using a 10.6″ surface and don’t have problem viewing small print.

      • Rumin8

        I agree zooming on a tablet is good.
        Also I like the (Modern UI) IE ‘Read’ mode. I hope more web sites make themselves compatible with it.

    • Bart

      For you it doesn’t sound like you care, need or want the portability. The dock is not required for connecting to a monitor at home or the office. The dock is an added convenience. I like the new 12″ 3×2 layout much better than the 10.6″ on the previous models. I do want the portability and held out on the 1st 2 models and plan to get one of these. I will wait to see it in person to make a final determination on the size. Much larger may not be good for the tablet use.

      • Rumin8

        Yes, as I pointed out at the beginning of my post, I recently replaced a laptop, of necessity. This was at short notice, and I was not expecting that Microsoft would release a 12-inch tablet device. Clearly Microsoft are pitching it as a laptop more than as a portable device, ie with portability as a secondary feature. I came to the conclusion, from the 10-inch tablet that I own, that anything above 10 inches rapidly becomes unwieldy due to weight, power consumption, and sheer awkward bulk. That being so, a 12-inch device would, as far as I am concerned, pretty much stay in the same place, and therefore there was no reason not to go for something ‘full-size’ in laptop terms, ie the bog-standard 15.6 inches, at which size there is a vast and competitive range of models. Perhaps I sounded unduly negative about the Pro 3, which I had not intended to be, but I do notice that there are few devices of 12-inch size, and I wonder whether that is because they fall into a hole between tablets and laptops, or whether it is an unserved section of the market waiting to be exploited. I think Microsoft deserve some success, and though there will be detractors who will seek to compare it negatively to an iPad, I wonder if Microsoft are hoping that, in addition to providing an alternative to the iPad, it will also cut into the sales of the smaller Macs.

        • Bart

          As far as weight it is a little more than the iPad so not really what I would call unwieldy for a tablet.
          iPad at 652g (1.44 lbs) iPad Air at 469g (1.03 lbs) the SP3 is 1.76 lbs or (798g) the SP2 2 lbs (907g).

  • aseries

    Microsoft may have noted the explosion of interest when the ASUS T-100 convertible Tablet/Laptop appeared October 2013. It is the #1 selling laptop on Amazon since it became available. ASUS hit the sweet price point at $400 and dropping. I have had one since November and it is just the mobile device I need. I will wait for the smoke and mirrors to clear before I commit to the Surface 3 but MS is heading in the right direction.

  • mash75

    I don’t plan to preorder now, even though I’m in Malaysia. It’s because I’m sure they are going to update to Broadwell and I just bougt a really cheap surface pro (and loving it). I will be buying the broadwell i5 128GB 4GB as per my current pro specs. For what I get, I’d say the price is worth it. And yes, the keyboard should come together.

  • WillyThePooh

    Not interested yet because of the price and the battery life of a tablet running Core i3/5/7.

    • Bart

      9 hr battery life is a long time. That is continuous run time not off and on running. If sitting at a desk most people would have power connected or easily handy.

      • WillyThePooh

        9 hours is what MS said and it is not being tested. I won’t 100% believe those figures just like I don’t believe 100% the mileage that car dealer gave me.

        • Bart

          I understand but I it is the official numbers from Microsoft not made up by me.

  • http://www.hole-in-1.nl Anton Jacobsen

    Do you plan to preorder the new Surface Pro 3?
    ==> No
    Why or why not?
    ==> 1 ==> Try before you buy. A computer like device needs to have a lifetime of about 3 – 5 years. A device that is with you so long needs carefull selection, including holding, playing arround, … And then again, what is the hurry?
    ==> 2 ==> To expensive compared with comparable devices, such as lightweight laptops
    ==> 3 ==> A lot of apps that are available for both android and ios are not yet available for Windows 8

    If yes, what model?
    ==> With the usage (activities today and expected growth in the next 3 – 5 years only the Intel7 / 512 Gb model is interesting. I prefer to overspec as history shows that with the availability of more processingpower applications become more processing demanding.

    What do you think about the pricing?
    ==> 1 ==> Extreme expensive. Even when I apply the exhange rate dollar/euro it is hardly competitive. Experience shows that you can normally add 20% to that for devices that Microsoft sells on both sides of the ocean.

    Will it be a success?
    ==> Most likely not. The competition is miles ahead and for a take over you need to convince people that the devices you put in the market place have added value. At this moment I am still happy with my Phone (Windows; 1 year old); Laptop (Win7; 6+ years old); tablet (iPad; 3 years old). Last year I evaluated the Surface 2 Pro for a couple of weeks. At the same time i upgraded my newer laptop to Windows 8.1 and bought an additional one with touchscreen. Both newer laptops are sold to family as the old one is still good enough for me, although I again consider upgrading it with an SSD & Windows 8.1.

    I would recommend Microsoft to first buy some marketshare to gain market use power. Drop the Surface 3 on the market for, lets say, € 400 (i5/ 512Gb) / € 500 (i7 / 512 Gb). They devices then are attractive as laptop replacement; better priced then competitor iPad; just a bit more expensive then the better Android tablets. After topping the years selling target, increase the price level a tiny bit and continue to do so (preferably in combination with added services, such as better batteries / more Onedrive storage / programmable search button (Bing still cannot find what I am looking for). This would bring MS in a position where the user population for Windows on portable devices is big enough to be attracctive for app developers.

  • David Farris

    “Next, I want to see if this will replace my Macbook Pro 15.4 inch retina laptop that I am typing on.” When you’re stuck on pretty, I seriously doubt your assessment is without bias.

  • Coatsey

    I have pre-ordered and have a mix of excitement and dread. Why, because Office is simply not touch centric and I’d like to use my tablet more than my desktop, that what MIcrosoft are being slow to sort. I’m in consumption and light email mode more than heavy duty. I’m currently writing this on an iPad, sat on the loo using the wonderful Apple onscreen keyboard. Apple have really done a brilliant job on making a page work weakly well with content and an onscreen keyboard. If the Surface Pro 3 achieves this then it will dominate my use, without the added keyboard, if not then iPad will and therefore so will iOS and Pages, Numbers and Keynote. I love tech, am no fan boy of either, more a whore to what works best but slowly and surely I’ve been moving away from Windows. So Surface Pro 3, a true touch centric office will stem the tied for me, stem I say not reverse. So I’ll let you know my thoughts after a few weeks use.

  • Coatsey

    Daniel Grey, I fear for your sanity, perhaps if you re-read your posts