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  • dupawow - Monday, June 23, 2014 - link

    Great review! Can't wait till i get mine. Reply
  • drmyfore - Monday, June 23, 2014 - link

    WEIGHT:
    Surface Pro 3 / 800g (+295g TypeCover=1095g)
    Macbook Air 11 / 1.08kg
    Macbook Air 13 / 1.35kg

    RES:
    Surface Pro 3 / 2160*1440
    Macbook Air 11 / 1366*768
    Macbook Air 13 / 1440*900

    THICKNESS:
    Surface Pro 3 / 9.1mm (4.8mm TypeCover=13.9mm)
    Macbook Air 11 / 17mm
    Macbook Air 13 / 17mm

    BATTERY LIFE (OFFICAL):
    Surface Pro 3 / 9H
    Macbook Air 11 / 9H
    Macbook Air 13 / 12H

    Why not compare with Air 11?
    Reply
  • dylan522p - Monday, June 23, 2014 - link

    Because it is luster in terms of screen size and real estate. Reply
  • dylan522p - Monday, June 23, 2014 - link

    Bigger* Reply
  • MarcSP - Monday, June 23, 2014 - link

    Then, why compare it with the even bigger MBA13? :-] Reply
  • darwinosx - Tuesday, June 24, 2014 - link

    Bigger? By what? Oh, pretty much nothing. Reply
  • basroil - Tuesday, June 24, 2014 - link

    "Bigger? By what? Oh, pretty much nothing."

    I suggest you pull out a calculator and do the math, that 2" increase is a 40% increase in area!

    With 40% more area you get a hell of a lot more room to dissipate heat and that much larger battery (54W vs 38W). When comparing surface pro's 7.58 hour life to the 13" MBA the difference is only 22% despite a 29% decrease in battery size (both on windows, . Compared to the 11" MBA (about 8.5hours on OSX) the SP3 should be very competitive, and should last substantially longer in heavy use tasks.
    Reply
  • retrospooty - Tuesday, June 24, 2014 - link

    You are also comparing a laptop to a convertible. Not really in the same category. The SP3 kicks the MBA's ass IMO. Reply
  • Walkop - Wednesday, September 17, 2014 - link

    Edit: never , I see you meant now. Reply
  • Walkop - Wednesday, September 17, 2014 - link

    Stupid Chrome Beta and gesture keyboards… *never mind, *see what Reply
  • Walkop - Wednesday, September 17, 2014 - link

    No.

    The Surface Pro's aspect ratio gives it a bigger display area than both MacBook Air's.
    Reply
  • Sabresiberian - Monday, June 23, 2014 - link

    I don't understand why you need a comparison written as an article. You are certainly capable of doing it for yourself - and have. :) Reply
  • Tegeril - Monday, June 23, 2014 - link

    "TypeCover=1095g" when Macbook Air 11 is 108x grams but represented in kg suggests some sort of odd agenda, if you ask me. Reply
  • drmyfore - Tuesday, June 24, 2014 - link

    Surface Pro 3 / 7.6V 42.2Whr 5547mAh
    Macbook Air 11 / 7.6V 38.75Whr 5100mAh
    Macbook Air 13 / 7.6V 54.4Whr 7150mAh

    Obviously, in battery life test, the MBA 11 is more appropriate than MBA 13.
    Reply
  • name99 - Tuesday, June 24, 2014 - link

    I think the more interesting comparison is with iPad Air.
    Basically (depending on the details) it's 2 to 3x as fast, with 3x tending to kick in when hyper threading is useful. How long does that advantage last?

    The speed bump from A5 to Swift was about 2x, split between about 1.6x frequency improvement and 1.2x µarchitecture improvement. This accompanied a 45 to 32nm process change.
    Swift to Cyclone was about a 1.5x improvement, all in architecture and µarchitecture, with a minor process improvement (32nm to 28nm HK).

    A8 is expected to be a substantial process improvement (20nm, but still not FinFet). Personally I think this round the big changes will be in an Apple branded graphics cell and in the uncore, with minor changes in the core, but from process we should expect about a 1.5x boost, with obvious frequencies being 1.8 or 2GHz. So with the A8 round Apple does not hit Haswell, but gets a lot closer. Of course we then get Broadwell, but we expect Broadwell to be what, a 1.1x speedup or so?

    IF Apple decides this is the year to switch to three cores rather than 2 that gives us a further factor of 1.5x (for that fraction of benchmarks that are substantially parallel) and we get even closer.
    I'm on the fence about whether this makes sense yet, but Apple tends to design for products that stay relevant for 4yrs or so; and if they believe they're going to achieve substantially more parallelism over the next 4 yrs, it may make sense to do this now. They may also feel the marketing pressure is becoming problematic given the supposed China love of extra cores. They may also, this round, give us an A8X variant for iPads with three cores, keeping the phone A8 at two cores?

    One final point is that, as Apple has methodically reached into the standard bag of "how to improve your CPU" tricks, one trick they have not yet used is that of putting a very small PMC on die to control turbo-ing --- like all ARM they're still doing everything in SW.
    It seems obvious that at some point this will change, and the A8 may be the SoC where it changes. Ultimately such a change will allow Apple to get closer to Intel simply because it will be able to do the same sort of short high-speed thermally limited sprints that Intel can do. Of course it took Intel quite some time to get from the first generation of PMCs to today's sophisticated monsters that take into account things like thermal inertia, so one should expect that Apple's first attempt will not be nearly as aggressive as Intel --- though by the third attempt ...
    Reply
  • Narg - Wednesday, July 30, 2014 - link

    Why compare it to a Mac at all??? Most consumers won't bother with this, either they want Mac or they don't. It'd be better to compare it to say a Dell or Lenovo ultra/tablet/mix/something. Reply
  • coolhardware - Tuesday, June 24, 2014 - link

    Interesting how few devices have a 3:2 aspect ratio, I notice the Nook HD+ as one and of course the Surface Pro 3 as another:
    http://pixensity.com/list/tablet/
    I had the Nook HD+ and it is a very nice ratio IMHO (not too wide, not too tall).

    I more Android tablets would start going 3:2 or 4:3 as I find it to be very beneficial for productivity work.

    PS for movie viewing the ratio is not ideal, but in those cases I often just zoom in to fill the entire screen.
    Reply
  • mmrezaie - Monday, June 23, 2014 - link

    I tested it couple of times but I cannot get around the fact that this is still a beta, and they are asking too much for the price. I would rather go for thinkpad X or macbook air. Touch on Win8 is still a joke, and no homogeneity in software side. Reply
  • Da W - Monday, June 23, 2014 - link

    I use touch on the desktop all the time and it woks well. Reply
  • ablejo26 - Monday, June 23, 2014 - link

    You obviously don't know what you are doing on windows 8.1, I switched from mac air with the pro 2 and its way better. If you are not into learning new OS that's fine to stay with the old as it does the job but if want an experience that gives you a touch and type then do it you wont regret it. Reply
  • mmrezaie - Monday, June 23, 2014 - link

    Maybe you are right. I am from oss (linux/unix) world, and as far as I am thinking about it, it feels like two distinct os, and not one unified shell. Don't get me wrong, I like the idea very much, but in the end I returned it because I couldn't see it as developer friendly. I use my macbook air a lot since I am always getting remote shell from my servers. Reply
  • basroil - Tuesday, June 24, 2014 - link

    "far as I am thinking about it, it feels like two distinct os, and not one unified shell. "

    In that case you know linux is a schizoid, since bash is completely different to your desktop environment (despite being necessary and also allowing most software to run), and then each desktop environment is different (gnome, KDE, etc). Hell, it's even crazier because you can't actually expect your program to work out of the box on all systems even if they run the same base OS! (mostly because of desktop environment and default packages)

    In windows, you have powershell if you need it, and you never NEED to develop for WinRT and Windows.h concurrently.
    Reply
  • darwinosx - Tuesday, June 24, 2014 - link

    Oh so he's not doing Windows 8.1 the right way...got it.
    I'll take an Air over the compromised device any day.
    Reply
  • kyuu - Tuesday, June 24, 2014 - link

    Your Air is a compromised device, as all laptops are. Compromises are made in the name of portability. Calling the SP3 a "compromised" device as though it's some sort of derogatory term is silly. Engineering is all about compromise. Reply
  • Voldenuit - Monday, June 23, 2014 - link

    Yeah, $500 to jump to the 8GB/256GB config is pretty steep.

    $799 for the base model isn't bad, but you're getting severely compromised RAM and storage and a less capable CPU. As Anand says, the type cover needs to be included as standard at all price points, and the higher SKUs are just too expensive for me to stomach (YMMV).
    Reply
  • fokka - Monday, June 23, 2014 - link

    exactly this. the jump from 256gb to 512gb is $400, while a new 512gb msata evo costs 280 bucks. Reply
  • basroil - Tuesday, June 24, 2014 - link

    The 512gb one isn't necessarily an evo, like the 128gb one that sure as hell isn't (hynix unbranded). If they swapped it out for a 840pro or similar I bet you wouldn't be complaining (costs about 400 ) Reply
  • tential - Monday, June 23, 2014 - link

    I agree with you but this is MSRP launch day prices. Give this a month or two and you'll see much lower prices. I wouldn't be surprised if the model Anand tested for $1299 was $900-1000 In November. Reply
  • darwinosx - Tuesday, June 24, 2014 - link

    True since in a month or two it will be in the bargain bin because nobody buys it. Reply
  • at80eighty - Tuesday, June 24, 2014 - link

    that was hilarious usernameOSX Reply
  • basroil - Tuesday, June 24, 2014 - link

    SP2 never changed in price since it's release, despite idiots claiming it would. The only time the device will drop in price is when the SP4 comes out. Reply
  • MarcSP - Monday, June 23, 2014 - link

    Severely compromised, depending on your needs. I mean, for average office work, email, non-heavy programs it is more than adecuate. Surface 2 has half the RAM and a much inferior SoC, and I can work quite well with it.
    Sure, if you want to load 500MB raw images or things like that, it's not enough.
    My main laptop has GB RAM and a 2 generations old Corei, and I never feel underpowered (of course, I don't play new games on it). I use Audacity, Gimp, Office and dozens of programs totally fine. Never had a "low memory warning" or anything similar.

    The storage, somehow agree, but you can just get later a 128GB microSD. Not the same, but better than nothing and quite inexpensive. And the USB3 can help when at home with an external HDD/SSD.
    Reply
  • MarcSP - Monday, June 23, 2014 - link

    "My laptop has 4GB of RAM"
    "I never feel it underpowered"
    Damn no "edit" :-/
    Reply
  • mkozakewich - Monday, June 30, 2014 - link

    I don't agree with the bundling. Everyone says it requires the keyboard cover, and I agree, but the packaging is far simpler if buyers have the option of choosing their cover separately, and in whichever colour they want. Or they could save $130 if they really don't care and already have a bluetooth keyboard.

    The proper way to handle this is to include the keyboard price in any discussion of the Surface family's pricing. For one, the chart of prices in this very article should have started at $928 for the base model, and continued from there.

    Microsoft should really be talking about the price differently than it has, too. Like, show it for $928, then put some subtext about it being separate $799 and $129 purchases.

    For $928, the base model is still a fairly good value.
    Reply
  • cryptech - Monday, June 23, 2014 - link

    ^This. Any way I try to grock the Surface Pro it’s not appealing. Why would I wan’t an awkward ultraportable with terrible battery life or a heavy, hot and overpriced tablet with a fan? Reply
  • kyuu - Monday, June 23, 2014 - link

    What ultraportables have better battery life asides from the MacBook Air?

    Since when is something that weighs the same as an iPad 2 "heavy"? Why is something that has less heat issues than the iPad Air "hot"?

    What other tablets with equivalent internals are so much cheaper that the Surface is "overpriced"?

    You are right that it has a fan, though. Oh noes.
    Reply
  • kyuu - Monday, June 23, 2014 - link

    My bad, I was confusing the iPad 2's thickness and weight. So the SP3 does weight about a quarter pound more than the iPad 2. Whoop de doo. Considering that drastic difference in what it can do, it seems a small price to pay. Same goes for fan noise (which is only an issue during intensive workloads, you're not going to hear it while web browsing).

    If you must have a super-light and passively cooled tablet, that's cool. There are plenty of those around. Even ones that run full Windows. The Surface Pro line isn't about competing with oversized smartphones like the iPad.
    Reply
  • darwinosx - Tuesday, June 24, 2014 - link

    Exactly. It's a lousy laptop and an even worse tablet. Reply
  • ESC2000 - Saturday, July 05, 2014 - link

    Have you actually, you know, purchased the surface pro 3 and.... used it? I'm assuming so if you're making such bold claims. I own one and it's great... Amazing improvement over the first gen which I also own.

    And I have owned an mba before and it was fine but the surface is better overall imo.
    Reply
  • savaytse66 - Monday, June 23, 2014 - link

    Well, this is the device basket in which I'm throwing all of my eggs. My mobile devices are currently a 2006 Dell 17" laptop running Windows 7 and an HP Touchpad running CM10.1. I've been waiting to upgrade until the right "hybrid" device came along, and this is the one I'm banking on, albeit the i7/512 model.

    My usage is a little atypical. My work requires me to occasionally spend time on construction sites creating sketches and recording measurements. I am hoping this device will allow me to skip the full size (24" x 36" or larger) architectural prints and the paper sketch pad and simply carry everything on the SP3. After I finish on site, I am often going back to a hotel room for the night, or spending the next few hours in an airport/airplane. I make heavy use of AutoCAD, and being able to make tweaks in the field, or even the hotel, should be amazingly helpful. I don't expect to be at full productivity, but then again, even on a typical laptop, running AutoCAD on one small screen will never be as productive as running on 2 or 3 large desktop displays.

    In theory, the SP3 should be perfect for me. I do worry about the batter life though. I suspect that I might need to pick up an external battery pack for those times I'm on site without access to a wall outlet. Time will tell, I guess. I also think about general durability. I am generally not on fully active construction sites with lots of dirt and dust, but I will be in environments that are not office-like. So we'll see if there is some sort of rugged case or screen protection available for those scenarios.

    All in all, I am really looking forward to getting my SP3 in August. I just wish they would release it already since I could really use it mid-July. But I've waited this long, so what's another couple of weeks.

    Thanks for the nice review. This is the one I've been waiting for, and it didn't disappoint.
    Reply
  • Papa - Monday, June 23, 2014 - link

    I'd make sure you can run AutoCad on a HD4400 smoothly. Nothing worse than dragging etc and getting lag, especially in more 3D spaces. Reply
  • savaytse66 - Monday, June 23, 2014 - link

    Make no mistake, my production machine is, and always will be my desktop workstation. My mobile solution now for MINOR AutoCAD work is Remote Desktop or TeamViewer, oftentimes tethered to my cell phone, so if running it natively, even on integrated graphics, isn't more smooth than that, then I'm in trouble!

    Since I'm mostly in a 2D workspace, I'm pretty confident.
    Reply
  • Drumsticks - Monday, June 23, 2014 - link

    Additionally, I'm 99% sure they confirmed that the i7 model is a 4650U with HD5000 graphics, which maybe helps a bit. TDP limited sure, but hopefully you see something. Reply
  • Drumsticks - Monday, June 23, 2014 - link

    Edit: I has good charts skills 4 reading Reply
  • xerandin - Monday, June 23, 2014 - link

    It doesn't have to run well on an HD4400, because the model he chose is an HD5000. Reply
  • MonkeyPaw - Monday, June 23, 2014 - link

    Considering how quickly the Surface line charges, you could probably just spam charge it in your vehicle or find an outlet at lunch and get through your work day. Reply
  • Shaedo - Tuesday, July 22, 2014 - link

    Might be too late for you but you're describing the Q704 by Fujitsu which is equivalent specs to a Surface pro 3, came out a long time ago and most importantly is dust and water proof.
    http://www.shopfujitsu.com/store/mobileconfigurato...
    Reply
  • bernstein - Monday, June 23, 2014 - link

    great review! Endless thanks for the Pen Drawing Latency values & comparison!!!!!! Although i'd really like a comparison to samsungs galaxy note line. Reply
  • techcrazy - Monday, June 23, 2014 - link

    Finally, I've been waiting for this review. Anand, are you also going to review Xperia Z2? Reply
  • ljp882 - Monday, June 23, 2014 - link

    Nice review with no bias which I am looking for. Reply
  • V-600 - Monday, June 23, 2014 - link

    The battery life is the only niggle to me.

    Any thoughts on whether it will get a mid cycle update when Intel release broad well.
    Reply
  • BPM - Monday, June 23, 2014 - link

    I don't think so. I believe Microsoft wants to separate it's product cycle from Intel release schedule. Like Toshiba and it's Kirabook line of ultrabooks Reply
  • stanwood - Monday, June 23, 2014 - link

    I think you are on to something. Let's assume Intel is providing MS with cream-of-the-crop low power high performance parts. This is not something they can do in any substantial volume on day 1 of the Braswell release. They need time to work up the manufacturing yield curve and optimize the power-performance. Reply
  • DanNeely - Monday, June 23, 2014 - link

    With 3 releases in 16 months, I suspect you won't have to wait long for a Broadwell version even if MS isn't a launch day partner. Reply
  • jeffkibuule - Monday, June 23, 2014 - link

    My guess is we will see an update around the same time Windows 9 comes out which is rumored to be Spring 2015. Reply
  • Coup27 - Monday, June 23, 2014 - link

    Nice review as always Anand.

    It would be nice however to see some consistency with units of measure on AT. Page 1 of this review uses inches and page 2 uses millimetres.
    Reply
  • Laxaa - Monday, June 23, 2014 - link

    So, wait for Broadwell then?

    What will it bring to the table? Better GPU performance and lower power consemption?
    Reply
  • jeffkibuule - Monday, June 23, 2014 - link

    30% lower power consumption, 30-40% increase in GPU performance. Reply
  • Morawka - Tuesday, June 24, 2014 - link

    It will have either or, not both. It will either use 30% less power at the same performance (GPU included) or use the same power with a 30% increase in performance. You cant have both unless there is a new architecture, and broadwell is simply a haswell shrink.

    Sure they can take the power savings and add more GPU EU's but that's gonna negate the power savings.
    Reply
  • Laxaa - Tuesday, June 24, 2014 - link

    Skylake is after Broadwell, right? Maybe wait for that one?

    I am lookin into buying a new laptop next year, and as a graphic designer, the Surface Pro 3 looks appealing because of the pen. CPU performance seems fine for my needs, but I want lower power consumption and a better GPU(If I had to choose I'd take a better GPU) The size looks fine, and I'm not sure if I'd like it to be tinner. 9.1 mm is still pretty thin.
    Reply
  • mkozakewich - Monday, June 30, 2014 - link

    I've found that putting everything on low-power mode is still usable, but gives me an extra hour or two of battery life (on the original Surface Pro, even). Everything should be fluid enough for you with the latest one.
    Just make sure that issue with the edges of the screen is gone, with the move to NTrig.
    Reply
  • Krysto - Monday, June 23, 2014 - link

    Not the best laptop, not the best tablet. I think that pretty much sums up Surface in general. It's an all-compromise device. Reply
  • eddman - Monday, June 23, 2014 - link

    You lug your laptop AND tablet around while those who are tired of it or don't have the means to do so, take an SP3.

    Is it really that hard to see what and who a surface pro is meant for?
    Reply
  • name99 - Tuesday, June 24, 2014 - link

    This argument only works if you're frequently in the position of having to carry both.
    A far more common situation is, for example, you take your laptop to school/work and use it to do laptoppy things well, an you use your table at home to do tabletty things well.

    Sure if you are, for example, a journalist or traveling salesman you may be in the position of wanting to carry tablet and laptop functionality with you, and S Pro may make sense. But I think the journalist point of view (for obvious reasons) gets rather more attention on the internet than is warranted by the relevant fraction of people with these sorts of requirements.
    Reply
  • PaulC543 - Tuesday, June 24, 2014 - link

    No, the argument doesn't -only- work as you outlined, there's any number of reasons one might prefer a single device.

    I don't travel much, but when I do, I need a system capable of making revisions to work if need be. I have no need for the amount of text entry that would make a traditional laptop more attractive, so a tablet that could run my desktop programs was ideal. I can use it around the house for tabletty things, dock it and use it for real work, and take it when traveling to do both tabletty and work tasks.

    People really need to accept that there are other use scenarios than their own. It really seems to be a mental block for the people who don't get the value of the Surface. I'm not saying the audience who do get the Surface is huge, it's clearly not, but it seems to be big enough to support Microsoft's continued development of the device, and that's all that really matters.

    I don't comment on and criticize server products, because I have neither the knowledge, need or interest in the hardware that serves the market. I really wish people who don't have the knowledge, need or interest in the market the Surface serves would kindly refrain from criticizing since it's almost entirely baseless and/or misplaced.
    Reply
  • gken8 - Tuesday, July 01, 2014 - link

    let me shed light on this, the legal profession loves this tablet. Reply
  • ymcpa - Tuesday, June 24, 2014 - link

    There is also the position where you might carry only one device but frequently find that you wish you had another device with you. For example, you might be using a laptop for work but when you go on a break, you wish you had a tablet with you to do some browsing or to watch a video. Or you are on vacation with your tablet but you get a call from work asking for some info and you wish you had your laptop with you. Reply
  • anandbiatch - Monday, June 30, 2014 - link

    Don't forget that it can also replace your desktop.

    Why buy 3 devices when Surface 3 is perfect.
    Reply
  • mkozakewich - Monday, June 30, 2014 - link

    Or better yet, you're like me, and you saved on whatever a good tablet is worth by not having another tablet at all.
    It's always seemed a bit superfluous to me, like you just need a phone with a bigger screen sometimes. (Or in this case, a laptop that can fold up flat.)
    Reply
  • Gunbuster - Monday, June 23, 2014 - link

    Oh give it up and please point out a product that covers all the bases the SP3 does and is better. If you want a tablet get an ipad or a cheap $100 android. If you want a bad-ass laptop get a 6 pound alienware or a $3000 ultra-book. (Now lug around both of those) If you want a very portable convertible with pen input and detachable keyboard you get this. It is the best at what it was designed for. All compromise? Hardly. Reply
  • TEAMSWITCHER - Monday, June 23, 2014 - link

    Did you read the article? I don't think the SP3 "covers" any bases, it merely "touches" them.
    PC fan boys may have found their MacBook Pro and iPad Air killer, but in general, Windows consumers are not conditioned to the premium pricing. Without a lower cost version of the same thing, there will be no mass adoption, sparking the next great wave Windows applications. This is a niche product.
    Reply
  • Gunbuster - Monday, June 23, 2014 - link

    What exactly are you arguing? Is it "all compromises" or "expensive"? Reply
  • TEAMSWITCHER - Tuesday, June 24, 2014 - link

    It's not all compromises - but there are some. And yes it's as expensive as Apple gear. More so if you consider OS X updates are free. Will Windows 9 be free? I highly doubt that it will. Reply
  • PaulC543 - Tuesday, June 24, 2014 - link

    Of course there are come compromises, please show us a laptop or tablet which has none. There aren't any.

    As for it being as expensive as Apple gear, true, and it has every bit the material/build/design quality as Apple gear, has several superior specs - screen quality/resolution, pen, and it saves you from having to buy two devices if you want both laptop/desktop level performance AND a tablet form factor.

    Will Windows 9 be free? Probably not, but even if it's the typical $100 upgrade, spread over a 3 year version cycle that's about $30 a year. And even if you never upgrade the OS, Microsoft will support it with updates for 10+ years - far longer than you're likely to be using the Surface.

    You're grasping at straws and your arguments are tired and desperate.
    Reply
  • TEAMSWITCHER - Tuesday, June 24, 2014 - link

    Oh come on. If Apple had created the Surface Pro 3 there would no end to the insults sprayed toward the Mac faithful for the cost (having to buy the keyboard separately)...the term "lapability" (or lack there of) ... the colors (pink? really?).
    I think its kind of fun to see the MS faithful strain themselves against a few well pointed concerns. Welcome to the premium device life...where you spend a lot of money for the little extras. Hopefully this will inspire some understanding for the Mac faithful...and vice versa.
    Reply
  • PaulC543 - Wednesday, June 25, 2014 - link

    "I think its kind of fun to see the MS faithful strain themselves against a few well pointed concerns"

    I'll totally agree that the prices of accessories is excessive. The keyboard covers should cost maybe $40/$60 each for touch/type, and even that would be pushing it. Most docks are in the $160-$200 range, so the Surface one isn't outrageous, but for that price, it should include a few extra ports.

    But let's be honest, the cost of accessories is not what the Surface is primarily criticized for. It's criticized for being a utterly failed laptop, which it's not. It's criticized for being an utterly failed tablet, which it's not. It's criticized for being good at absolutely nothing, and by and large, all these criticisms come from people who've never actually touched one.

    If Apple made the surface? You can't be serious. If Apple made the Surface, the tech-press would have fawned all over themselves to praise the hybrid form factor, defended the value of the device at any price, and declared the PC was clearly doomed in the face of Apple's demonstrated unending genius.
    Reply
  • mkozakewich - Monday, June 30, 2014 - link

    Actually, the tech press has shown themselves to be pretty obstinate in the face of dramatic technological upheaval. Look for some reviews of the original iPad, back when the idea of having 'a tablet' meant one of those really stupid inch-thick convertible HP notebooks with a trimmed-down version of Windows XP.

    Even the iPhone got lukewarm press, from what I remember. There were lots of complaints about the lack of 3G and the terrible reception from AT&T. There were also no applications for it.

    In the end, if tech journalists are bashing something that doesn't fit into a specific category, I'd watch that very carefully and make my own decisions, because it's likely something new and wonderful.
    Reply
  • ymcpa - Monday, June 23, 2014 - link

    A decent laptop is $500-$600. A decent 10" tablet is around $400. Those two devices will cost about the same as the surface. Each of those devices will perform a little better than the surface is certain tasks, but you have to carry both of those devices with you to get the same functionality as the surface. The MacBook air (don't know why you mentioned the MacBook pro which is much more expensive) has the better keyboard but can't really do any tasks that the surface can't. Same with the Ipad Air. It is lighter and has a longer battery life, but can't perform any task that the surface can't. However, you will need both those devices to perform the same task as a single surface. Reply
  • basroil - Tuesday, June 24, 2014 - link

    Where the hell can you find a decent laptop for $600? The cheapest ones on newegg are about $800! Reply
  • ymcpa - Tuesday, June 24, 2014 - link

    depends what your definition of decent is. The newegg list of most popular laptops has plenty of laptops in the $500's and $600's. They will probably meet the needs of many people. I used that price range because a person arguing that the surface is too expensive would most likely buy a budget laptop. Reply
  • basroil - Thursday, June 26, 2014 - link

    "I used that price range because a person arguing that the surface is too expensive would most likely buy a budget laptop. "

    That has to be a joke? Microsoft is selling a premium product and makes no effort to hide it. "People say it's too expensive and instead buy a budget laptop" is not a valid response, since a decent laptop WITH THE SAME SPECIFICATIONS (other than screen of course) generally runs you just as much. Pentium, Celeron, and AMD chips are NOT decent laptop components, they are budget garbage for people who don't understand the difference.
    Reply
  • joaoasousa - Tuesday, June 24, 2014 - link

    The Surface is competing in the top end with it's high build quality and thinness, you can't compare it to plastic 600$ laptops. You must put it against similar products like the Macbook Air, Zenbook, etc. Reply
  • mkozakewich - Monday, June 30, 2014 - link

    The Air has a better trackpad, but I wouldn't say it has a better keyboard. Different people like different things, and the Surface family has my favourite keyboard ever. I was using an HP Mini netbook in 2010 which was my previous favourite, and had a similar keyboard.

    Honestly, those big mechanical things just required too much horizontal and vertical travel and were annoying to use.

    You're welcome to like the keyboards you like, and maybe get one of those Cherry MX mechanical keyboards, or stick with the one on the Air, but that doesn't mean something is 'better', only that it's more suited to you.
    (Think of what one of those mechanical-switch people would say about the keyboard on the Macbook Air.)
    Reply
  • PaulC543 - Tuesday, June 24, 2014 - link

    Did *you* read the article, or did you just see a headline that mentioned the Surface and felt you had to criticize it?

    What bases does it cover? Let's see:

    Media consumption tablet, check.
    Light productivity work while mobile, check.
    Heavy productivity work while docked, check.
    Light to medium gaming, if that's your thing, check.
    Single device that can handle tablet and laptop tasks, check.

    In fact, this would probably be easier if you name a base the Surface *doesn't* cover, and make sure whatever you mention are tasks appropriate for notebooks/tablets. As far as I can tell, the only things you can bring up are:

    Heavy mobile text entry (but put it in a dock with a desktop keyboard and mouse and it's as good as any desktop/notebook)
    High-end gaming.
    Latest and "greatest" "apps".

    That's really about it.

    As for a lower cost option, you *are* aware that Dell, Lenovo, Acer and the like are building $200-$300 Intel Atom based full Windows 8 tablets, aren't you? There's your Windows tablet entry device. Niche product? Literally everyone who's seen my Surface Pro 2 has said it's the device they want as their "mass market" iPad has proven so useless that it just sits on a shelf.
    Reply
  • TEAMSWITCHER - Tuesday, June 24, 2014 - link

    I would dispute your "Heavy Productivity While Docked" claim. Merely docking the Surface doesn't automatically give it a quad core processor with discrete graphics. So what does that leave? A single device that could serve as a Tablet or Notebook suitable for media consumption, light productivity, and lite gaming...all for the not so low price of $1177+tax (with keyboard and Pen)

    If your needs are humble I can see the Surface Pro 3 working well, but there are devices costing hundreds less that could do the same. I know many people who's PC's are now e-waste - an iPad and iPhone are their only devices. But for an enthusiast or power user the Surface Pro 3 will always be a secondary device to a more capable computer.
    Reply
  • PaulC543 - Tuesday, June 24, 2014 - link

    "I would dispute your...."

    Is your dispute based on hands-on experience? Because mine is. I attach mine to my 30 inch monitor and desktop keyboard/mouse, and it easily handles 3D modeling and Photoshop work. Certainly not to the level of my workstations, but when they're tied up rendering, the Surface easily fills in.

    And this is why I said to make sure the tasks you mention are appropriate - of course it's not going to offer workstation-level performance, but no ultrabook class laptop will either.

    As for the price, this has been beaten to death. The Surface is entirely in-line with ultrabook-class laptops, offers key features they typically don't (touch screen, pen input, etc.) and is able to serve as a straight tablet. Add the price of a laptop AND a tablet, and you're going to spend more and have to carry at least several times the weight/bulk of the Surface.

    Everything you're written speaks quite loudly to the fact that you don't see the value in what the Surface offers and have never used one. Why, then, are you compelled to criticize a device which you clearly don't understand or would ever purchase?
    Reply
  • TEAMSWITCHER - Tuesday, June 24, 2014 - link

    I never said I didn't see value in it. I think it's a great device along the lines of other great machines like Apple's entire MacBook line and Lenovo's ThinkPad Carbon X1 Touch and Yoga 2.
    But your claims are just ridiculous... An iPad Air weighs only 1 pound..the iPad mini weighs much less. Adding a tablet to a notebook doesn't add "Several times the weight/bulk" it's not even 1-time the weight and bulk. Finally a two-in-one device isn't the same as having two devices. I can prop my iPad up next to my MacBook for a second screen. You can't do that trick with a Surface Pro 3, unless you carries another tablet with you.
    Reply
  • PaulC543 - Thursday, June 26, 2014 - link

    "But your claims are just ridiculous... An iPad Air weighs only 1 pound..the iPad mini weighs much less. Adding a tablet to a notebook doesn't add "Several times the weight/bulk" it's not even 1-time the weight and bulk"

    You misunderstood what I said. What I meant was that carrying a separate tablet and a separate laptop ends up costing more and the combined weight is several times what the Surface is.

    An iPad Mini (~$400 and .73lbs) plus a comparable laptop (roughly $1000 and 3.5 lbs) would equal the cost of a Surface Pro and type cover and weigh about 4.25 lbs to the Surface's 1.75lbs. That's several times in anyone's book. Swap the iPad Mini for an Air, and you're spending $400 more still and gaining another 1/4 lb. Throw in the weight of 2 changers, wires, cases, etc.

    And sure, there are advantages to having two separate devices, but there's also disadvantages (weight/bulk/integration/file transfers, etc.), so it's 6 to 1, 1/2 dozen the other. But that comes down to personal preference and isn't really what I take issue with - I take issue with the baseless complaints (not necessarily directed at you) that the Surface fails at everything. It doesn't, it's actually quite good at most things, and excels at others. In fact, the Surface has fewer absolute negatives than either laptops or tablets - laptops are too bulky in both design and weight for tablet tasks, and tablets are essential absolutely incapable of laptop-class capabilities. The Surface may require some modest compromises at the extremes of those two use scenarios, but it's still plenty capable at them and covers the entire range in between.
    Reply
  • mkozakewich - Monday, June 30, 2014 - link

    This isn't targeted towards the masses, really. Like this, I'd also find myself hard-pressed to recommend the Macbook Air to someone who just need a mass-appeal notebook. They can get what they want and save $400 by getting some kind of generic pseudo-ultrabook.

    Same for the iPad. There are specific cases where I might recommend it, but for most people I'd explore things like the Nexus 7 first.
    Reply
  • anandbiatch - Monday, June 30, 2014 - link

    Alienware

    lolwut?
    Reply
  • ymcpa - Monday, June 23, 2014 - link

    Are you saying that laptops and tablets aren't compromises? The laptop doesn't have the power of a desktop but add portability. The tablet doesn't have the power, screen size, or keyboard of a laptop but adds more portability and works well with content consumption and light gaming. The question is how much are you giving up in the compromise and what your needs are. As a laptop the surface gives up some comfort on your lap and the keyboard isn't as good because of the shallow keys. You get a lighter device that pretty much has the same processing power as most laptop(obviously excluding gaming laptops with dedicated graphics). As a tablet you are sacrificing weight and battery life but are getting a more power device that can convert to productivity when needed and access to desktop apps. There is an app gap for mobile apps, but that has been steadily improving and you do have access to a desktop browser that will give you access to the content of many apps which aren't yet available on win 8. The other tablets can't access these sites and need the apps to access content. Reply
  • PaulC543 - Tuesday, June 24, 2014 - link

    I love the insinuation that tablets and laptops themselves carry no compromises. The suggestion is patently absurd:

    Tablets - low performance, limited memory and storage, imprecise input, poor integration into a network, severely limited app capabilities, OS update support of maybe 3 years max.

    Laptops - large footprint, inefficient input (trackpads), and unless you spend a lot of money thick/bulky, heavy, no touch screen.

    *ALL* systems are compromised in one way or another, the Surface line just throws a net around a different set of attributed, and it's neither right or wrong for doing so. If the features it covers aren't important to you, then it's not the right device for you.

    Personally, tablets (iPad/Android) are utterly useless to me, while I don't have sufficient need for optimum typing performance to justify the bulk of a clam shell design. So for my needs, the compromises the Surface makes in laptop and tablet modes are minimal, and a small price to pay for the huge area it covers between those two form factors.

    In the Surface Pro, I've found very few compromises, and the ones that it does make aren't ones I find particularly limiting.
    Reply
  • mkozakewich - Monday, June 30, 2014 - link

    All laptops but one aren't the best laptop. All tablets but one aren't the best tablet. By definition.

    Usability weirdness aside (which is entirely different for every person, positive or negative), the PC internals of the Surface Pro are very competitive. You don't get the absolute max battery life, if that's the one thing that defines value to you, but there are levels for pretty much everything else to make it what you need at a cost similar to other laptops of that power.

    Meanwhile, it also makes a pretty good tablet. It's not really supposed to be competing with the iPad; it's really for the people like me who like the idea of a tablet but don't need one and don't want to spend the extra $500 on an iPad.
    Reply
  • skiboysteve - Monday, June 23, 2014 - link

    Great review! If I had the budget I would buy one. Seems like MS iterated quickly so they could nail it. Wonder what they will try next.

    For the prolonged performance thermal concerns... I wonder if the office / productivity benchmarks actually mimic the timing of what a user would actually do? Do they just benchmark a ton of office tasks back-to-back-to-back that a user wouldn't normally do that fast? In that case I doubt a user would run into it. Games on the other hand... would be a problem. I wonder if a similar technology like nVIDIA's frame rate limiter would be great here.
    Reply
  • mkozakewich - Monday, June 30, 2014 - link

    For a long time now, Intel's boosting meant that their cores would work a lot better with proper cooling. The same holds true today: If you docked the Surface Pro 3 with a dock that thermally mates with the backside (Ooooh my) and uses additional, bigger fans to provide better cooling, you'd get far better performance. I think AnandTech actually had articles a couple years ago where they talked about those possibilities.

    At the moment, I don't think Microsoft's dock has any fans, so it just adds dead weight to the back of the device, which I assume would just cause even worse thermals. Let's hope they add in additional active cooling (or at least good passive cooling, with some kind of fin structure) to their docks in the future. Then they'd at least be worth that price.
    Reply
  • djw39 - Monday, June 23, 2014 - link

    Anand: still seeing distorted aspect ratio on the pictures in this site's articles, only when viewing in portrait mode on Android (chrome) (Optimus G). When I rotate to landscape the pictures look right. Reply
  • drmyfore - Monday, June 23, 2014 - link

    WEIGHT:
    Surface Pro 3 / 800g (+295g TypeCover=1095g)
    Macbook Air 11 / 1.08kg
    Macbook Air 13 / 1.35kg

    RES:
    Surface Pro 3 / 2160*1440
    Macbook Air 11 / 1366*768
    Macbook Air 13 / 1440*900

    THICKNESS:
    Surface Pro 3 / 9.1mm (4.8mm TypeCover=13.9mm)
    Macbook Air 11 / 17mm
    Macbook Air 13 / 17mm

    BATTERY LIFE (OFFICAL):
    Surface Pro 3 / 9H
    Macbook Air 11 / 9H
    Macbook Air 13 / 12H

    Why not compare with Air 11?
    Reply
  • nerd1 - Monday, June 23, 2014 - link

    I won't touch anything with that terrible resolution TN screen, even with a stick. Reply
  • TEAMSWITCHER - Monday, June 23, 2014 - link

    I have one...and I love it!!

    I use a desktop as my daily workhorse (OS X and Windows) but always need a laptop for traveling or when I want to get out of the office for a while. I don't need much power to edit source code so I went for extreme portability: I surprise people when I pull it out of the case I'm holding - they mistake it for an iPad.
    Yes, the screen is small but workable with full screen apps. The color is good - I never even realized it was a TN screen. The 16 x 9 aspect ratio is nice for Air Playing content to my Apple TV. When not traveling it doubles as my living room computer.
    I'm really looking forward to the next iteration of the MacBook Air. A 12" retina screen in the same 2+ lb portable clamshell design with better battery life would be a nice upgrade.
    Reply
  • GC2:CS - Monday, June 23, 2014 - link

    Nice comparison but well the MacBook Air still stacks up incredibly well in first three categories if we asume that it's the design from late 2010... That's like ancient history ! And still a tablet PC has problems in leapfrogging that in "Weight" and "Thickness". Now let's go back into 2014 and imagine how thin and light can Air go with today technology ? It will be dangerously close to a surfice without type cover ! Yeah it just can't even compare to such laptop. Reply
  • ymcpa - Monday, June 23, 2014 - link

    Will that Air have a touchscreen? It will probably get the higher res display finally. The heaviest component is the battery and that really hasn't changed much over the years. They might make it thinner, but with the higher res display, the battery will probably stay the same and the weight of the Air will also probably be the same. Reply
  • basroil - Tuesday, June 24, 2014 - link

    OSX doesn't natively support touch screens at all, and their native input pipeline is incapable of differentiating a touch command from a click command. Reply
  • cjs150 - Monday, June 23, 2014 - link

    NO SD/MicroSD card slot no sale. $200 more for moving from 64Gb SSD to 128Gb. They are having a laugh.

    It astounds me that yet again we see a tablet that assumes that everyone can always access everything via WiFi in the cloud. I assume the designers never leave an urban environment and assume that anyone living in sticks is a complete irrelevance
    Reply
  • phantomstache - Monday, June 23, 2014 - link

    It does have a MicroSD card reader Reply
  • phantomstache - Monday, June 23, 2014 - link

    It does have a MicroSD card reader Reply
  • UpSpin - Monday, June 23, 2014 - link

    That's an odd upgrade.

    They switched from Wacom to N-Trig to reduce the costs. I don't think there's any other reason.
    Wacom requires an inductive coil 'behind' the screen to work, in front of the screen the capactive touchscreen. N-Trig requires the capactive touchscreen in front of the screen, which gets also used for the pen. So the reduction of parallax would have been able with Wacom, too, because both need the same stuff in front of the display.

    The pen lag is most probably a Windows issue. The reason the lag is less in Photoshop is mostly due to the fact that Photoshop uses some proprietary driver to communicate with the pen. At least that's on my Wacom based Tablet PC the case. Once in Photohop the typical Windows specific pen flicks and pen specific events don't work any longer.

    The display size on the Surface Pro 3 looks to be much better for a Windows based tablet. It's also great to see they reduced the thickness. But it's an absolute no-go, that they increased the fan noise and fan on-time. Ideally a tablet PC should be dead-silent, thus passively cooled. What MS did on the SP3 is a no-go. Again, the only reason I see is to reduce production costs. You need only one fan instead of 2, only one heat-pipe instead of two, only one heatsink instead of two. Because of the worse thermal design, as can be nicely seen on your thermal images how poor the heat gets spread across the 'surface', they thermally throttle and ramp up the fan. That's a joke.

    So I like some changes, but the majority of changes, to reduce cost, made this device worse for my taste. If they continue in this reduction, reducing production costs whatever it takes, the next revision will be total garbage.
    Reply
  • ymcpa - Monday, June 23, 2014 - link

    The review mentioned why they went with N-trig. Wacom requires a thicker display. N-trig allowed them to reduce the thickness so it became more comparable to tablets. As this review and the one from penny arcade mentioned, there really wasn't any lose in functionality from the switch to N-trig. Reply
  • mkozakewich - Monday, June 30, 2014 - link

    Not as much to do with cost. They were trying for thinness. I doubt they'll thin it more next time, because its current size is actually very nice. They don't need to reach iPad levels, they just needed to get to an acceptable tablet size.

    For an "ideal tablet PC", you'd probably be doing a lot less, and not spending all your time rendering at 99% CPU usage. I'd set the power configuration to use as little power as possible, and that would probably give good thermal performance. For instance, I'm running my Surface Pro (original) at full brightness and also charging it, but the fan hasn't come on because I'm in power-saving mode.
    Reply
  • nos024 - Monday, June 23, 2014 - link

    I don't mind not having an SD card slot as long as it has USB ports for a Windows based system. There's tons of USB flash drives that are dirt cheap as well as USB adapters for SD cards. I do mind if my phone or tablet (android-based) device doesn't have it.

    Also, I'd like to have a replaceable battery or so-called "end-user" replaceable battery. If the battery malfunctions, the system is basically toasted. I hate to have a battery to likes to overheat and not charge up properly just right outside the warranty period - like my tablet.
    Reply
  • ymcpa - Monday, June 23, 2014 - link

    This has both a microsd and a USB port. You just won't get a user replaceable battery in premium products. the products that have one use a flimsy plastic cover. All devices that are thin and light weight and use premium materials also can't be opened easily. Although, the surface is near impossible to open. The ipad can be opened with some skill. Reply
  • mkozakewich - Monday, June 30, 2014 - link

    This isn't a budget laptop/tablet, and it uses a premium battery. It should last a few years before you notice any wear, if you treat it right. They do have a battery-replacement program, too. Reply
  • savaytse66 - Monday, June 23, 2014 - link

    I'm pretty sure this does have a MicroSD slot that supports up to 128GB... Reply
  • mkozakewich - Monday, June 30, 2014 - link

    If it's SDXC, it should support up to 2 TB. Reply
  • cparker09 - Monday, June 23, 2014 - link

    The $200 price increase from 64 to 128 GB SSD is also accompanied by a move from i3 to i5. Seems like a decent price step up, considering they also need to differentiate units. Reply
  • Tigran - Monday, June 23, 2014 - link

    ***In prolonged workloads you'll see a bit of a gap, and even a slight regression vs. Surface Pro 2 due to the thermal design targets for the new chassis***

    Isn't it due to higher screen resolution (1,440 x 2,160 vs 1,080 x 1,920)? I wonder how two identical GPUs (HD 4400) performed nearly equally while Pro 3 screen resolution is x1.5 higher than Pro 2.
    Reply
  • randomhkkid - Monday, June 23, 2014 - link

    The resolutions are both set to 1080p. Reply
  • Tigran - Monday, June 23, 2014 - link

    Thanks. Reply
  • Klimax - Monday, June 23, 2014 - link

    According to Reddit AMA Microsoft will release tool for changing pressure curve.

    As for touch on desktop, no problems. (Used original Surface Pro and desktop was quite usable)

    Anyway, good and interesting review.
    Reply
  • joaoasousa - Monday, June 23, 2014 - link

    Anand: "I don't know how big the professional productivity tablet market is, but it's a space that Microsoft seems to have almost exclusive reign over with its Surface line."

    I would love if my company started issuing these. I'm a consultant and mobility is a must. I keep going to meeting, have to take a lot of notes, but also need a computer that runs full excel and tools like Visual Studio and Eclipse. This would be much better then our current "tank" laptops that are hardly mobile worthy.
    Reply
  • brnpttmn - Monday, June 23, 2014 - link

    I have pretty much the same type of work environment, and live in OneNote, Outlook, Word, Excel, and some data analysis tools. I just found out a couple weeks ago that I'm one of a couple people in the office in line to test out SP3s. After playing with one at Best Buy for about an hour yesterday, I'm confident that it will be great. In fact, I liked it so much that I pre-ordered the i3 (which is now an 8/1 delivery date) with the student discount for home/school use. I figure I'll just swap the type cover I get with my work model. Reply
  • extide - Monday, June 23, 2014 - link

    Ouch, I think the i3 is a bad buy. No Turbo means only about 50% of the maximum CPU performance, that's pretty significant. Reply
  • basroil - Tuesday, June 24, 2014 - link

    Also means much lower power use at maximum, so you might see the heavy workloads numbers shoot up to above 6 hours! Reply
  • mkozakewich - Monday, June 30, 2014 - link

    Either way, really. I've got my i5 running at 800 MHz, usually, except when I'm gaming and really need to drive it hard. An i3 would usually be low, with no possibility of upping it when needed. Reply
  • zodiacsoulmate - Monday, June 23, 2014 - link

    80% less pressure sensitive, 30% better CPU, 25% less latency.... not very impressive... Reply
  • joaoasousa - Monday, June 23, 2014 - link

    Forgot the reduced thickness, weight, improved display quality.... Reply
  • Drumsticks - Monday, June 23, 2014 - link

    Let alone the fact that he's completely ignoring Anand's "the pen is better" in favor of a single spec that he noted that he couldn't notice.

    Anand may not be an artist, but I imagine he has a better eye than the average user, at least.
    Reply
  • UpSpin - Monday, June 23, 2014 - link

    You mean the pen which is heavier, requires two batteries, is not interchangable with more comfortable models and less accurate than the Wacom version?
    You mean the reduced thickness in favor of a thermally throttling CPU and more frequent and more penetrant fan noise?
    Yes the larger display is indeed better, sadly they forgot to upgrade the used GPU.

    The SP3 has some advantages over SP2, but sadly they added made a lot of compromises to do so, too many for my taste.
    Reply
  • Drumsticks - Monday, June 23, 2014 - link

    Heavier isn't a bad thing. The SP pen is light in my opinion, I've yet to see somebody say the pen was uncomfortable. Again, on the pen, from above:

    "Overall I have to say the new pen is an improvement. You get a much thinner display, an unnoticeable impact to pressure sensitivity, improved latency and the experiential improvements are substantial (one click wake/OneNote launch is useful)."

    I'm not saying this as an artist. But as a user, note taking (which is my primary thing as a college student) seems to be improved.

    Upgrade the GPU to what? They weren't going to get dedicated graphics in here, and the i7 model uses an HD5000. The throttling is meh, as Anand again mentioned.

    I'm not saying it's perfect. I want this with Broadwell, badly. But it's a big improvement. It's not like it's going to be lacking for performance for what it's needed for. I don't expect mobile gaming out of this device, and that's the only time it really saw throttling.
    Reply
  • ymcpa - Monday, June 23, 2014 - link

    Most reviews praised the pen for being heavier and more comfortable to hold than the original pen. Gabe from penny arcade never mentioned that the N-Trig was less accurate. I will take an artist opinion over yours. I have read several reviews where it was stated that the Wacom digitizer in the pro 2 wasn't very accurate near the edges. Reply
  • mkozakewich - Monday, June 30, 2014 - link

    As someone who's suffering with the edges of my Pro, I'd like to hear about how the NTrig handles around the edges. As it's a different technology and doesn't rely on something behind the screen, I don't think there'll be any problems. Reply
  • Imaginer - Tuesday, June 24, 2014 - link

    As an artist, and someone who regularly uses OneNote for notes on a previous Surface Pro 2, and after using a Surface Pro 3...

    With Wacom pens, they are hefty like a light pencil, and handle as such. The N-Trig pen of the Surface Pro 3, feels like a quality solid inking pen in weight.

    The time measured lag, is for long, prolonged strokes of quick length, instead of short and slow velocity movements. Most of the time, in writing, one isn't writing in big letters. The only time this MAY come up, is one doing quick, very long lines of strokes. Most of the time in drawing, such strokes are not too often and few in between in sketching and painting.

    My only gripe, is that with the default Pro 2's pen, is that the eraser end is pressure sensitive as well, and can be flipped to erase. The Pro 3's pen, uses a second button on the side for erasing, which isn't as comfortable for me, and an adjustment of such. Here is hoping a second more "pencil" like pen that has a pressure eraser end is released. (along with lack of Wacom's radial like menu).

    In the forums, I made an image showing handwriting aspects of pen comparisons - something that I felt would be a nice touch in the pen mentions - as it is not hard to pull a comparison between the two.
    Reply
  • ymcpa - Monday, June 23, 2014 - link

    This was explained by Microsoft. A human can't possibly replicate 1028 points of pressure. They can't even replicate the 256 points that the N-trig has. It's really about the pressure curve that they use. Microsoft said they will have an update that will allow users to alter the pressure curve to fit their usage. Reply
  • basroil - Tuesday, June 24, 2014 - link

    No, Microsoft explained that even though Wacom's pen supports 1024bit, the actual useful resolution is much smaller because of how the pressure curve is set up (it's linear rather than semi-exponential like the n-trig) Reply
  • basroil - Tuesday, June 24, 2014 - link

    1024 levels (10bit), not 1024bit (which would be a ridiculous number) Reply
  • ymcpa - Tuesday, June 24, 2014 - link

    They talked about the pressure curve but the blog also mentioned that the human hand can't reproduce 1024 different levels of pressure. That is why it won't matter if the N-trig digitizer has less levels of pressure. Reply
  • theuglyman0war - Wednesday, June 25, 2014 - link

    Even if an artist can not replicate 1024 levels of pressure in a single stroke ( wonder how u prove as much as humans are scary amazing beings at times ) An artist can easily need as much "threshold" in many stokes... Working very light where details build up in whispers. In which case 256 levels unutilized is complete hogwash. Reply
  • mkozakewich - Monday, June 30, 2014 - link

    It's not even about what the artist touches on themselves, and more about the range. I'd like my pen to to be able to step from size 1 to size 255 in 1-step increments, in which case the sensitivity levels would work fine and I'd still have a pen with a massive brush. (Honestly, I'd probably not use 255 levels. More like 64.) Reply
  • KaarlisK - Monday, June 23, 2014 - link

    My one niggle is a lack of build-to-order options.
    An i3 is enough for me, and a 128GB may be enough for me, but I want 8GB RAM.
    Reply
  • joaoasousa - Monday, June 23, 2014 - link

    Yep, there's a missing 128 GB / 8 GB combination that would be a sweetspot for a lot of people. I hope MS listens to the feedback and opens up more combinations. Reply
  • DanNeely - Monday, June 23, 2014 - link

    No need to open more combinations; just replace the current 4/128 model with an 8/128. Nothing other than a bottom tier windows computer should only have 4gb of ram any longer. Reply
  • tacitust - Tuesday, June 24, 2014 - link

    4GB of RAM is nowhere near the same problem for most users when it's paired with an SSD (instead of an HDD).

    I have an old laptop with 3GB of memory. It was painful to use, because the swap file was so slow and I had to wait several seconds when switching between apps. I was considering upgrading to 4GB and perhaps even 8GB until I dropped in an SSD. Now there is no need, it's already so much faster.

    For power users or gamers using memory hungry applications perhaps 8GB would be a good idea, but for the vast majority of users who use a typical mobile workload, paying for the extra 4GB is very likely a waste of money.
    Reply
  • andrewaggb - Tuesday, June 24, 2014 - link

    Personally I'd rather have 4gb of ram and a 256gb ssd than 8gb of ram and a 128gb ssd.

    or both... if it didn't drive the price up to $1350 without a cover...
    Reply
  • joaoasousa - Tuesday, June 24, 2014 - link

    The analysis I saw on the web say that with SSD the 8 GB are only required for gaming (which you can't do anyway) and running VMs. The price jump from 4 GB/128 to 8 / 256 is too much, I'll probably go for the 4/128 one. Reply
  • ccd1 - Monday, June 23, 2014 - link

    My biggest reservations at this point is the future. Skylake is likely to be here in 12-15 months. Also, MS has shown a willingness to continually innovate in this space. I anticipate another leap in sophistication for the Pro at that time. Reply
  • skiboysteve - Monday, June 23, 2014 - link

    We have said that every iteration. This one looks significant, so if you're in the market... It's a good time to buy Reply
  • ccd1 - Monday, June 23, 2014 - link

    But if I wait for Skylake, it might be 18-24 months before it is a dinosaur instead of 12! lol! Reply
  • stanwood - Monday, June 23, 2014 - link

    This used to be how people felt about Apple products. Big win for MS that they were not scared to put out a pretty good Surface Pro and then iterate quickly. Reply
  • name99 - Tuesday, June 24, 2014 - link

    "This used to be how people felt about Apple products."
    You mean back in the 90s when they were extremely unpopular?
    MS appears to sell about a million SP's per quarter; Apple about 25 million per quarter. (Both rough numbers, but correct order of magnitude.)

    Sure, I'm making a cheap shot, but the fact is that all this reviewer and internet love is not translating into substantial sales. There is no obvious reason to believe that SPro 3 significantly changes this dynamic --- basically it appeals to the same people who would have bought the first tow versions without adding a compelling improvement to bring new buyers into the fold.
    Reply
  • kyuu - Wednesday, June 25, 2014 - link

    As far as sales numbers go, I won't argue that the Surface line has been a huge commercial success. *However*, what has to be kept in mind is that the Surface line is simply one option in a crowded market of Windows-based laptops and tablets. On the other hand, all of Apple's products are the *only* option for those in Apple-land. Comparing the sales of *any* Windows OEM to Apple's sales is a flawed comparison. Reply
  • andrewaggb - Tuesday, June 24, 2014 - link

    in 12-15 months there will likely be a surface pro 4 or 5. Reply
  • mtalinm - Monday, June 23, 2014 - link

    By far the best of the dozens of reviews I've read (laptopmag was also good). Most are biased. Recode was a complete joke. Reply
  • scbundy - Monday, June 23, 2014 - link

    I read the recode one. It was pretty horrible. Business Insider, which is essentially an Apple blog, posted a really awful one too. The review's major complaint was that when she was in a coffee shop, with the SP3 on her lap, that when she crossed her legs, it flipped shut cause it's top heavy. And her macbook air never did that..... Reply
  • ymcpa - Monday, June 23, 2014 - link

    At a coffee shop, I pretty sure she used the table and not her lap. I have never seen anyone use a laptop with their legs crossed. Have you? Also, if she lowered the kickstand, the surface wouldn't have flipped even with her legs crossed. Reply
  • Tigran - Monday, June 23, 2014 - link

    No Onscreen GPU test? Pro 3 screen resolution is 1.5 times higher than in Pro 2 (1,440 x 2,160 vs 1,080 x 1,920) - how to score the actual GPU performance on the device? Reply
  • jameskatt - Monday, June 23, 2014 - link

    Quote: Yet in a device like Surface Pro 3 where you're forced to rely on touch more thanks to a cramped trackpad, I'm often in a situation where I'm interacting with the Windows desktop using the touchscreen - a situation that rarely ends well.

    This says it all.
    Reply
  • BPB - Monday, June 23, 2014 - link

    When that situation arises on my 8" Windows tablet I use the pen. And for non-lap times I use a wireless mouse. In fact a use a wireless mouse for actual notebook use as well. I'd take the SP3 over anything if I could simply afford it. But any nice/high end notebook is going to be costly. Reply
  • mkozakewich - Monday, June 30, 2014 - link

    I've actually gotten really good at pressing where I want with my fingers. I've used the assistive tools to show that white circle where I pressed, so I could learn where I pressed in relation to how my finger felt.

    The only problem is when I touch where I want, but Microsoft decides I probably meant to touch somewhere close by. If I could turn off that auto-adjustment feature, I'd have no problems.
    Reply
  • kyuu - Monday, June 23, 2014 - link

    I have little trouble using the Windows desktop on my 8" tablet with my finger. I doubt it's somehow worse on a 12" screen. Also, you have the pen if you need more accuracy than your finger. Reply
  • matthew5025 - Monday, June 23, 2014 - link

    One of the criteria for certification of connected standby on windows is that the machine cannot have ports that are capable of dma, so thunderbolt and FireWire among others will never be included. Reply
  • oolzie - Monday, June 23, 2014 - link

    Fantastic device! I had both the SP and SP2 and loved them, but neither was quite perfect. The SP3 is, for my use, the perfect device. Reply
  • lilmoe - Monday, June 23, 2014 - link

    Thanks for the review. Do you mind doing another display analysis after a standard calibration? Would be nice to know how accurate the screen can get compared to the Pro 2. Reply
  • Tigran - Monday, June 23, 2014 - link

    Which MacBook Air was used? There are two options in Early 2014 model: 1.4 GHz Intel Core i5-4260U and 1.7 GHz Intel Core i7-4650U. Reply
  • Razzy76 - Monday, June 23, 2014 - link

    What is the spec on the MacBook Air? Reply
  • az06093 - Monday, June 23, 2014 - link

    The problem with the new N-Trig digitizer probably has to do with drivers; photoshop and many other programs don't fully support non-wacom digitizers. Reply
  • Imaginer - Tuesday, June 24, 2014 - link

    N-Trig has Wintab drivers.

    It enables other Wacom/Wintab programs to work well with them. So unlike the initial Surface Pro 1's release, the Surface Pro 3 comes off the gate working fine in Wintab.

    See right side of this link.

    http://n-trig.com/Content.aspx?Page=support_home
    Reply
  • theuglyman0war - Tuesday, June 24, 2014 - link

    news to me thanks...
    off to search viddys of artists using as much with success.
    hopefully
    Reply
  • gxy1028 - Monday, June 23, 2014 - link

    Great review! It’s impressive that MS can make out something in THICKNESS to an iPad 2 that covers an i7 CPU. You can’t say it’s expensive, but valuable. However, the lack of money is still a big problem for me, a Chinese student. What about a Surface with Tegra K1? It’s enough for me, and I can afford it. Reply
  • ymcpa - Monday, June 23, 2014 - link

    Tegra is ARM and that means you will be using windows RT and won't be able to run desktop apps. You can get a Surface or Surface 2 which cost a lot less than the Pro 3. Reply
  • lmcd - Tuesday, June 24, 2014 - link

    A K1 would be a lot less compromises... Reply
  • ymcpa - Tuesday, June 24, 2014 - link

    A K1 is an ARM processor. Therefore, no x86 apps. The device would just be a pure tablet. How is that less compromises? Reply
  • lmcd - Sunday, June 29, 2014 - link

    Less compromises than the other options he suggested, duh. K1 vs T4 is rather silly to even wonder about. Reply
  • edwpang - Monday, June 23, 2014 - link

    What about disk space usage? Does it use WIMBoot? Reply
  • chizow - Monday, June 23, 2014 - link

    This is the first Pro I've considered buying. Hope they validate them at work so I don't have to go out-of-pocket, but I'll pick one up either way. Definitely agree the Type Cover should come standard though! Especially since they'll probably release a battery cover shortly after. Reply
  • nerd1 - Monday, June 23, 2014 - link

    Wait, we have waited ONE DAMN MONTH and get only 8 page review? For one of the most anticipated devices for year? Is anandtech short on manpower?

    I always enjoyed anandtech review over anything, but now I'd rather surf user forums for through analysis...
    Reply
  • XabanakFanatik - Monday, June 23, 2014 - link

    I feel the same way. It looks like they didn't actually listen to any of the comments they requested for review ideas. Where are the comprehensive benchmarks? Why did they only benchmark Dota 2? Why did they not provide a thorough thermal profiling of the device showing average and maximum temperatures under tested loads? Why couldn't they include a simple crystaldiskmark run of the ssd?
    I mean, I can run Intel XTU with prime95 and get a graph that gives me a solid thermal profiling in about 5 minutes, showing temperature to clock speed to TDP or thermal throttling.

    You've disappointed me, Anand.
    Reply
  • mkozakewich - Monday, June 30, 2014 - link

    And they only compared battery life and power to the iPad and Macbooks, for most of it, rather than other competitors like the Yoga Pro.
    Actually, I don't think they've even mentioned other convertible PCs, they're just trying to prove it's a valid ultrabook first.
    Reply
  • jeffkibuule - Monday, June 23, 2014 - link

    Battery life tests take a LONG time, during which you cannot use the device. Reply
  • Antronman - Monday, June 23, 2014 - link

    The i7's the Surface Pro 3 will come out with have HD5000. Reply
  • andrewaggb - Monday, June 23, 2014 - link

    wonder how much it'll matter if it's throttling heavily. Might make a huge difference if the eu's are all active, just clocked low. guess we'll have to see. Reply
  • mkozakewich - Monday, June 30, 2014 - link

    Plus you can use an external cooling system to get more power out of it. I'm wondering if they'll add cooling to their docks at some point. Reply
  • Aqua1ung - Monday, June 23, 2014 - link

    Can you install Ubuntu/Linux on this? Reply
  • nerd1 - Monday, June 23, 2014 - link

    If you don't mind having ZERO touchscreen and HiDPI support. I am just using VM for now. Reply
  • anonymous_user - Monday, June 23, 2014 - link

    So the touchscreen doesn't work at all with Linux? Even just to click things (no swiping)? Reply
  • nerd1 - Monday, June 23, 2014 - link

    So far the type cover doesn't seem to be recognized - you may still plug in USB keyboard and mouse, and run ubunutu at native resolution (Surprisingly, the native resolution looks good to me!) Reply
  • prashy21 - Monday, June 23, 2014 - link

    Gr8 job Anand, right on the money, I just picked up the Surface pro 3 couple of days ago and I feel it is Microsoft software which is holding it back. Reply
  • smartypnt4 - Monday, June 23, 2014 - link

    Any chance of seeing the battery life numbers re-run on the i3 version when it becomes available? I'd be really interested in how a Y-series SKU changes the battery life and maybe even the thermals of the device. I doubt it'll have a huge effect, but still, the analysis would be good to see. Reply
  • pjcamp - Monday, June 23, 2014 - link

    That's an awful lot of engineering to get around the fact that a kickstand is just a bad idea. It works on a table and is compromised everywhere else. Which probably means all the original design work occurred in conference rooms and no one noticed. Now they're trying to fix the oversight.

    This does indeed seem better than previous implementations but the Transformer-type solution, with a rigid keyboard rigidly attached (and space battery) still makes more sense to me.
    Reply
  • kyuu - Monday, June 23, 2014 - link

    Problem with the rigid keyboard attachment ala the Transformer is that it only works when you have the keyboard attached. If you want to use it just as a tablet, you suddenly have no way to prop the device. It also adds much more weight and bulk.

    It does seem like it'd be a good idea to offer something like that as an optional attachment, especially since they insist on continuing to package and sell the type cover as an add-on.
    Reply
  • ymcpa - Monday, June 23, 2014 - link

    The only way the transformer solution works is if you have a battery in the keyboard dock that is heavy enough to support the tablet. Now you have a very heavy device, although with much longer battery life. Maybe they can introduce this as an accessory to replace the battery cover for people like you that don't care about weight. Reply
  • waverlybrian - Friday, June 27, 2014 - link

    I don't think it's such a bad idea. Most people have some sort of kick-stand option for their iPad, which are not as good as this one. However, I do understand that you're coming from the laptop perspective. In that case I agree that MS should have partnered with a 3rd party like Logitech to come out with the heavier rigid keyboard attachment. That would have made the laptop replacement aspect of the SP3 truly complete (and given them a better reason to not include the Type Cover with the PC). With a small battery and a few ports in the base, this would really address all of the complaints from reviews that this doesn't measure up to the MBA. Reply
  • hughlle - Friday, June 27, 2014 - link

    Yet for tablet use, the kickstand is absolutely fantastic. To hell with flimsy and unstable 2 position case stands for tablets. I'll take a kick stand any day of the week. Reply
  • mkozakewich - Monday, June 30, 2014 - link

    I use the Surface (original) on both legs or one leg, and have never generally had problems with it.
    There's the rare time where I'm laying down with my knees up, and will have the tablet against my knees held up by the keyboard in my lap pressing against my stomach, and in that case I could use a bit more firmness in the link between Surface and cover, but that has nothing to do with the kickstand.
    Reply
  • Megabusta - Monday, June 23, 2014 - link

    First time poster, long time lurker. Lovely review as always. I wish I could wait for the broadwell refresh but my gigantor ASUS G73JH's GPU just bit the dust from overheating constantly and I'll be picking one of these next payday. The student discount doesn't hurt either. I don't need a portable gaming machine anymore and the design of the laptop looked a little goofy when brought into work. Going from that 8.5 lb behemoth to this 2 lb thing is going to be a big change but a welcome one for my back and shoulders. Reply
  • iceman-sven - Monday, June 23, 2014 - link

    Nice review Anand.

    The Surface is pretty near, what I want. But for a workable config is to expensive for me. Or I want more for that money.
    By the end of the year, we will see the first 4k tablets. So 2160 x 1440 is a little bit low for the future. I get this is mostly a Intel fault, for a bad road-map. The first good chip is properly Skylake-U.
    Other missed opportunities: PCIe SSD & Thunderbolt

    My next tablet is a 12-13" 4k Nvidia Tegra K1 ARMv8 or iPad Pro.
    Reply
  • jeffkibuule - Monday, June 23, 2014 - link

    You need to be careful wishing for 4K everything, because while you're eyes might not notice the screen resolution increase, your CPU, GPU and screen backlight are going to take a sizable hit to your battery life. Reply
  • iceman-sven - Monday, June 23, 2014 - link

    I do not care, it is for more than 80% home use. So power is near by. Reply
  • joaoasousa - Tuesday, June 24, 2014 - link

    I mostly use my tablet at home and I still cherish the fact that I don't have to keep it plugged..... Reply
  • mkozakewich - Monday, June 30, 2014 - link

    In that case, you should probably just connect it to a 4K monitor. Reply
  • jjstreic - Tuesday, June 24, 2014 - link

    PCIe = Direct Memory Access = Disk encryption security hole (look for firewire exploits). The lack of PCIe is a _good_ thing for security. Also, my reading indicates PCIe is an optional component of Thunderbolt, not mandatory. Reply
  • iceman-sven - Tuesday, June 24, 2014 - link

    ???
    One has nothing to do with the other. From http://www.nvmexpress.org:
    The NVM Express specification, developed cooperatively by more than 80 companies from across the industry, was released on March 1, 2011, by the NVMHCI Work Group (commonly referred to as the NVM Express Work Group). The NVM Express 1.0 specification defines an optimized register interface, command set and feature set for PCI Express® (PCIe®) Solid-State Drives (SSDs). The NVM Express 1.1 specification was released on October 11, 2012 adding additional Enterprise and Client capabilities. The goal is to deliver the full performance capabilities of current and next generation non-volatile memory, supporting at least a 10 year life of the interface, while standardizing the PCIe SSD interface to enable broad ecosystem support.

    The significant advances in performance enabled by non-volatile memory-based storage technology, as embodied in PCIe-based SSDs, has demanded the surrounding platform infrastructure evolve to keep pace, to realize the full potential of these devices. A primary goal of NVM Express is to provide a scalable interface that unlocks the potential of PCIe-based SSDs now and at least a decade into the future. The interface efficiently supports multi-core architectures, ensuring thread(s) may run on each core with their own SSD queue and interrupt without any locks required. For Enterprise class solutions, there is support for end-to-end data protection, security and encryption capabilities, as well as robust error reporting and management capabilities.

    There is nothing hindering encryption on a PCIe SSD. And Thunderpolt without PCIe is pure DisplayPort. It makes no sense. And I am sure, DMA is optional and can be blocked per device.
    Reply
  • humsinger - Monday, June 23, 2014 - link

    This just might be the best review I have ever read. I am usually just a google-what-i-am-looking-for-and-read-the-first-couple-results kind of guy. But after reading this masterpiece I will be on the lookout for anandtech in the future! Thanks for the hard work and keep it coming. Reply
  • nos024 - Monday, June 23, 2014 - link

    Not including the keyboard is a deal breaker for me. I'd probably get a Yoga 2 pro over this. Reply
  • nerd1 - Monday, June 23, 2014 - link

    Yoga 2 pro is almost the same price, 2X heavier and has 16:9 screen... Reply
  • Carmien - Monday, June 23, 2014 - link

    My first impressions - of actually using a Surface Pro 3 - after a few days are really, REALLY good. I'm using the i5 Surface Pro 3 (8 GB RAM) and I've got to tell you it is an amazing piece of hardware. My other laptop is a fully loaded Vaio Z3 that cost twice as much two years ago.

    As for software, I'm running applications like Office, Novamind, Minitab 16. The design is great. I have no significant issues with heat. I've been enjoying extended Netflix sessions. First, the tablet has gotten "warm" but there are no heat issues. I even went so far as to place it on my bare legs after several hours and there was no discomfort. As an aside, this is the first mobile device where I didn't feel the need to use external speakers. And whatever they're doing with the Dolby codex is working. For two speakers I was very nicely surprised by the sound field for such a small device. It's far from a high end sound system, but it is heads above anything compatible.

    As for processing power this is more than capable. I have also been running a workflow designer (browser based), as well as Office apps, and this takes anything I've thrown at it. Reports of wake up issues on sleep or rebooting don't seem to be present for me. MSFT did promise a fix that appears to have made it into release systems. The wake up speed on sleep is instant. Boot up and shut down speeds are much faster than my already capable Z3 (256GB SSD and 8GB RAM with an older i7 CPU).

    The keyboard is more than capable. I switch between a Vaio Z3 and the Surface Pro 3 effortlessly. The trackpad isn't as good as the Vaio but the thing is, once you start getting used to the stylus and touchscreen the trackpad really is moot. The only reason I would use the trackpad is because I've forgotten to use the screen or stylus. In other words, the weaknesses on this system get gobbled up by its strengths and then some. If you're capable of changing habits you'll do just fine. After all, touchscreen really is more efficient than a mouse or trackpad - so the return for that change is more than worthwhile.

    My favourite feature - the stylus. Taking notes in OneNote is really well done. I can draw process maps and take meeting notes so effortlessly. MSFT finally created an integrated writing solution - and yes, they added a Pen Addin for Office apps as well. Anyone who facilitates meetings and scribes notes for later reference will love this. The weight is amazing - even with the type cover I can carry this around with me comfortably. As a side note, the screensize ratio really is worth it - which reminds me of how good my Netflix viewing experience was last night.

    I've used an iPad in the past for a while before setting it down for its lack of functionality, and obviously, the Surface Pro 3 shows it a thing or twenty. Next to a powerful laptop it more than holds its own. The iPad was fun as a tablet, but the Surface Pro 3 is both fun AND functional - It is FUNctional. I do agree with comments about how close MSFT has gotten to getting the hybrid approach right.

    I'll see how this handles over time. I've deliberately made a switch in parallel with my other laptop. I can't afford to go without a working computer from a business perspective. But I'm starting to think I could take this as a replacement system on the road. As more applications (that I use) come online designed for Metro the more relevant this tablet/laptop will become.

    All in all, this is the most fun I have ever had with a new mobile device. I can see why those locked into the Apple ecosystem will hesitate. But if you are on the fence, or a Windows user, you will really enjoy this. And yes, the cool factor is immense. Who would have imagined that MSFT would design a device that looks just as cool as an iThingy...
    Reply
  • Razzy76 - Tuesday, June 24, 2014 - link

    I thought the trackpad is very good on SP3, make sure your setting is right. I had to tick Enhance pointer precision and the pointer speed in middle to make the trackpad very responsive. Reply
  • Wolfpup - Monday, June 23, 2014 - link

    It might be nice if the i3 model was fanless. The 12" screen (+ real windows) Seems awesome for reading graphic novels and magazines, BUT I'm not sure how I'd feel about a fan going off while I'm reading...

    Very, very interesting tablet though that I'm toying with getting...
    Reply
  • kyuu - Monday, June 23, 2014 - link

    The fan will be either off or inaudible during light workloads like reading, especially with the i3 that is a lower TDP than the i5 model in this review. I wouldn't let the worry of fan noise get in the way. Reply
  • fella1 - Monday, June 23, 2014 - link

    I use mine to read comics and graphic novels and the fan does not come on when for this activity. The screen really is the perfect size for it to. Reply
  • Tikcus9666 - Monday, June 23, 2014 - link

    A regression in performance from SP2 to SP3 in intensive workloads, has made me wait on ordering the i7 version until this is reviewed

    If the thermal limit is reached more quickly than the SP2, it may be a better buy (SP2) for me than an i7 pro 3 if under intensive workloads the i7 in the Pro 3 performs worse than the previous i5 in the SP2
    Reply
  • Hrel - Monday, June 23, 2014 - link

    "given the substantial reduction in device thickness (and thus improvement in usability)"

    wat? Thinner doesn't make it easier to use... in any way shape or form. It's purely aesthetic.
    Reply
  • ymcpa - Monday, June 23, 2014 - link

    There is a reduction in thickness and a reduction in weight. Plus the even weight distribution makes the device easier to hold. Go to a store and try it out. Reply
  • drunken - Monday, June 23, 2014 - link

    agree - it's not perfect as a tablet but the thinness makes it easier to use Reply
  • ben.avellone - Monday, June 23, 2014 - link

    Great review! Glad to see the display size has increased, my SP2 feels a little cramped at times - such as when writing notes. Too bad gaming performance had to take such a hit in this iteration, but such are the realities of engineering design tradeoffs :/ Reply
  • MarkieGcolor - Monday, June 23, 2014 - link

    What a stupid piece of junk this thing is Reply
  • Gunbuster - Monday, June 23, 2014 - link

    How insightful, tell us more. Reply
  • Razzy76 - Monday, June 23, 2014 - link

    I'd rather have this piece of junk than the piece of sh*t iPad and MacBook Air/Pro. Reply
  • OneOfTheseDays - Monday, June 23, 2014 - link

    I own the SP2 but skimped on this generation. I'm waiting for Broadwell, when they can really make this design sing with great battery life and less heat.

    Further, Windows9 is going to be a massive improvement in usability for hybrid devices.
    Reply
  • Morawka - Monday, June 23, 2014 - link

    Wow SP3's Sata SSD is hanging Neck and Neck with the MBA's PCIe Based SSD. just crazy Reply
  • carljoseph - Monday, June 23, 2014 - link

    Pretty good review. If anyone wants to get their hands on a Surface Pro 3, some folks I work for are giving a couple away in a competition. https://msgooroo.com/surfacecomp Reply
  • khanov - Monday, June 23, 2014 - link

    Surface Pro 3 costs as much as a well specced laptop. Any decent laptop has a user replaceable battery, and many people that own laptops have replaced the battery at some point, as they generally only last a few years at best.

    I can't see myself spending all that money on Surface Pro 3 then throwing the whole device out just because the battery has failed a few years later. In this price bracket, Redmond need to address this issue.
    Reply
  • nerd1 - Monday, June 23, 2014 - link

    Eh... none of apple laptops have user replaceable battery nowadays. Reply
  • drunken - Monday, June 23, 2014 - link

    I got my SP3 on Friday, so far I love it. For my use case the SP3 is perfect - productivity/development work at home and the office (visual studio, sql server, office). I'll be getting 2 docking stations when they come out for a full desktop-like setup.

    If I'm out and about and need to do some fixes or minor work, then the portability and capabilities of the SP3 is perfect. It's not great to use on a lap but I could definitely make do for short periods of time.

    I installed a start menu which makes it function basically like Windows Pro 7. My "real work" is done in desktop mode - no need to open any apps in Metro mode.

    So far I have only used at as a tablet for consumption/games in bed or on the couch. The Netflix app is great. It is a bit heavy for a tablet but I'm willing to have that slight trade-off for the 2 in 1 package. I'm really trying to use it as two different devices.
    Reply
  • beyondabraxas - Monday, June 23, 2014 - link

    What about the glued in components/built in obsolescence/ impossibility to repair?

    I have a story for ya'll....

    I dropped my SP1, barely 15 inches onto thick and fluffy carpet, thing is, it landed on the kickstand, and the kickstand tore off, when it did tear off -- thanks to the over gluing inside, the tabs of the kickstand peeled off some other black foil like stuff, which I'm assuming was battery related since after that I'd notice kinds of 'powder' and 'sweat' which would burn with my hands - I called M$ - since it was still under warranty, However, they wouldn't fix it for me since it was considered my fault for dropping it, which I'm totally fine with, losing a kick stand, no problem, my fault for that -- whats not my fault is the kickstand being so flimsy and attached to glue inside that it would peel stuff off, thats a product problem. The kickstand can be very easy to break off, if you do, you can be boned like I was. Anyways, I had to pay $300 (in goodfaith) for a refurb exchange two months ago, in this time, they're 'supposed to be' inspecting my device to verify my claims, thats the best they could do apparently - So far, I've heard nada - And this Refurb has been a shit experience all over again, since I'm assuming the battery in the refurb wasn't replaced, and has been giving me all kinds of hassle. Its been weaker than my old surface, I've spent hours trouble shooting with support on the phone, trying to solve the 'Plugged in - Not Charging' message I'm constantly faced with - The techs determined I should send it back in for another Refurb. I say fuck that - The amount of time and headache sunk into this thing is not worth it - Once mine dies, it dies - And I'm done with Surface thanks to their shoddy construction i.e. use of glue/built in obsoletion. I'd rather get a competitors product that allows me to atleast change the battery on my $1000+ device.

    I really was one of the initial proponents of this device - My friend, an animation director was an early adopter and promoter, he was supposed to do commercials with them for it, not sure what happened to that - So he turned me onto this thing, I was all about it, its (was) the perfect device for an animator/artist. Now, this whole experience with battery related stuff has left such a bad taste that I'm done with this product line. Microsoft has had a history with shoddy electronics. Like my old Xbox360(s) RODing repeatedly. Screw supporting local american brands if thats the kind of build quality one can expect.

    iFixit rightfully gave the Surfaces a repairability score of 1/10. Its non existant. All batteries die eventually - IQ or not. I gotta deal with my soon to be $1300 paperweight.

    Sorry for rant - I've been a subscriber and follower of this sub for too long, contributer in its early days - now I just hate hearing about surface stuff considering my shitty experiences.

    I know my post is about the SP1 - you can bet the SP3 is no different. They're annual products with no chance of repairability.
    Reply
  • Gigaplex - Monday, June 23, 2014 - link

    "While the Surface Pro 2 was never quite all that comfortable to use as a laptop, Surface Pro 3's display makes it substantially more laptop-like."

    Except that the old 16:9 aspect ratio matches most laptops. I've never seen a 3:2 aspect ratio laptop.
    Reply
  • nerd1 - Monday, June 23, 2014 - link

    16:9 is only good for watching videos, and for productivity task vertical space matters most. Due to the 3:2 aspect ratio, SP3 is easily on par with 13.3" laptops (It has slightly taller screen than 16:10 apple laptops BTW) Reply
  • seapeople - Monday, June 23, 2014 - link

    Everything in the review was good, but it seems a bit clipped. For example, based on the specs, one of the big upgrades for the Surface Pro 3 was the camera. Considering that the camera is an important aspect of a tablet it would be nice to have it included in the review.

    Next, I know you hinted that recover from standby is long, but what about boot times, or hibernate?

    What about real life multitasking? Can I watch a you tube video on half the screen and work on excel on the other half, or does this stretch the thermal limits? Sometimes it's hard to tell what running Pcmark42x means in real life.

    Again, I think the review was good, but it didn't really go above and beyond, so to say.
    Reply
  • MarcSP - Tuesday, June 24, 2014 - link

    Totally agree on the camera. Why do not compare it to the rear camera of the MBA13? Oh, wait! :P
    Seriously, it would be good to have a few paragraphs about the cameras, as well as about the new speakers.
    Reply
  • Imaginer - Thursday, June 26, 2014 - link

    One thing that was not mentioned in the article BUT was mentioned in the FIRST Surface Pro review by Anandtech, was how the rear camera was tilted to match the kickstand so that when on the kickstand, the camera faces directly at the opposing person, if two people sat across from another on a table.

    This camera position was maintained for the first kickstand angle with the Surface Pro 2.

    BUT with the Surface Pro 3, the rear camera is dead on facing if you hold the device perpendicular with the table. On the kickstand, the camera will actually be pointing downward, even on the highest kickstand angle in the variable mode - which would leave the device not in a typical tilted angle for same laptop usage, being at a perpendicular level...

    Some minor nitpick here.
    Reply
  • jackseth - Monday, June 23, 2014 - link

    Hi All, I purchased a Surface Pro 3 on Friday. Returned it today. Sorry to say. I was eager to purchase and looked forward to an awesome hybrid. It does not fit well on an airline seat tray. It is cumbersome to open. The cover-keyboard is prone to stains and dirt. It is thin and does not come close to a laptop keyboard. Overall once up and running it feels fine, as the article says over and over a compromise. I will keep my Dell 8,1 laptop and carry my droid tablet. What a bummer. Reply
  • nerd1 - Tuesday, June 24, 2014 - link

    I have no idea what you are comparing SP3 to... compared to other ultrabooks SP3 fares very well, and I have used many of them myself. And I'd rather use it as a tablet during flight. Reply
  • MarcSP - Tuesday, June 24, 2014 - link

    You used it 2 full days!! You really tried hard to get to uderstand the new form factor and explore its advantages, as well as its disadvantages... :-]
    I thought this impatience was just a "disease" of most tech reviewers, haha. At least they have the "excuse" of being the first to publish the article.

    Well, maybe it was just not what you need. Different people different needs, but could you not try it a little longer? Was it sooo painful to use??:-/
    Reply
  • vision33r - Tuesday, June 24, 2014 - link

    I've had the Surface Pro 2 for a full 2 months. While the SP3 does address many of my gripes, it has not won me back. The $129 you pay for a keyboard cover could buy you a Chromebook refurb.

    The keyboard and touchpad still feels too compromised and the lack of real estate on the touchpad is very difficult to adjust to coming from a macbook air that has a huge touchpad.

    If the SP3 cost only $499 and $799 for the i7, I think most folks like me wouldn't have that much problem but at $1500+ for i7 that barely can best my $599 15" Notebook with a $89 240GB SSD it's hard to justify.
    Reply
  • Imaginer - Tuesday, June 24, 2014 - link

    Touchpad? The touchscreen plus pen makes sliding and dragging a cursor a moot point as another commenter mentioned.

    The trackpad/touchpad for me, in the Surface Pro 2 I used, remains to be a contingency device, some websites insist on mouse over menus that aren't handled well with a finger touch on the screen. Pen in hand though, hover cursoring is just as possible which makes the touchpad moot too.

    Which goes to say, is there any $500 device with the same specifications and digitizer pen (Wacom/N-Trig otherwise) as configured? How about an i7?
    Reply
  • bkydcmpr - Tuesday, June 24, 2014 - link

    so you are not sp3 targeted customer. Reply
  • bkydcmpr - Tuesday, June 24, 2014 - link

    I'm waiting for my i7 pre-order. played with it at microsoft store and love it. I know I'm going to keep it in spite of the throttling issue. for me that's one major issue for sp3 to be perfect, but still better than any other option out there. Reply
  • kgh00007 - Monday, June 23, 2014 - link

    Maybe I missed it, but what is tent mode? Reply
  • MarcSP - Tuesday, June 24, 2014 - link

    I think he means open the kick stand at the maximum aperture (150º?), so when putting the tablet on the table it is like an drawing desk. Reply
  • MarcSP - Tuesday, June 24, 2014 - link

    http://images.anandtech.com/reviews/tablets/micros... Reply
  • kedesh83 - Tuesday, June 24, 2014 - link

    I picked mine up last Friday and I am loving it. I took it to class and used OneNote to write all my notes for the day. It worked really well. I was also able to install sketchbook pro 6 and sketchup and do some quick design work. I have the 8GB/256GB model. I was coming from an Asus T300-LA which was too cumbersome, and an iPad 3 which was too limited. Reply
  • vision33r - Tuesday, June 24, 2014 - link

    That's a pricey notebook you have there. My $2 yellow notepad is jealous but still works well. Reply
  • bkydcmpr - Tuesday, June 24, 2014 - link

    do you know what "sketchbook pro 6" he was talking about is? Reply
  • Razzy76 - Wednesday, June 25, 2014 - link

    But your yellow notepad can't turn into a laptop like Surface Pro 3 can ;) Yes Surface Pro 3 works just as good as a laptop.. I have one. No one can tell me it's not a laptop. And it's great as a tablet as well. I really love the Surface Pro 3. /advertising Reply
  • ruthan - Tuesday, June 24, 2014 - link

    It looks that it is still without 3G version, i need to be mobile.. so im not interested in. Reply
  • bkydcmpr - Tuesday, June 24, 2014 - link

    I think microsoft didn't do that because macbook air doesn't have 3g or lte either. I wish microsoft could have done better but they are so scared to move ahead of apple too much. Reply
  • ymcpa - Tuesday, June 24, 2014 - link

    Or more likely they found that the vast majority of tablets and laptops sold don't have built in mobile broadband. Most people don't want to pay monthly for another data connection. Plus they would have to make another SKU that will require the wireless carriers to sell. We already see that salespeople at the carriers stores don't push devices that are not android or Apple. I personally find that tethering to my phone works well and is free. Reply
  • joaoasousa - Tuesday, June 24, 2014 - link

    Bluetooth tethering?..... I would never pay for another subscription when I can use my phone's 4G. Reply
  • skiboysteve - Tuesday, June 24, 2014 - link

    Get a USB 3g / 4g / lte stick and you are good Reply
  • Shadowmaster625 - Tuesday, June 24, 2014 - link

    Here's an idea. Dont spend millions trying to push this product through the "hollywood backchannel", and then try to pay for all that spending by charging $300 for $22 worth of NAND and $34 worth of RAM and calling it an upgrade. Only a fool agrees to be raped like that. So the only way you can judge the value of this product is by the base model. And the base model is extremely underpowered for $800. But dont worry, after it flops it will be on sale for $500 and at that price it is not bad. Reply
  • damianrobertjones - Tuesday, June 24, 2014 - link

    I hope you posted your words in every apple product review page ever Reply
  • ymcpa - Tuesday, June 24, 2014 - link

    Now please show me the laptop with an ssd and hi-res display that sells for $500. History shows that Microsoft isn't discounting these tablets. When a new one comes out, they discount the previous one by $100 and stop making it. Within a few months they are not on sale anymore. Microsoft made a mistake with the original surface and made too many of them. They didn't make that mistake with the second version and won't make it with this latest one. Reply
  • kyuu - Wednesday, June 25, 2014 - link

    I'm sorry, but even going from the base 64GB to the 128GB model, we're talking about a 64GB SSD. Please show me where you can get a 64GB SSD for $22, or where the difference between an SSD's 64GB and 128GB models is $22. We're talking about full-blown SSDs here, not cheap eMMC NAND that you find in Apple and Android tablets.

    Yes, you are paying a bit of a premium, but *nobody* sells upgraded internals at cost. It's certainly way less gouging than Apple, who charges $100 *just* for 32GB of cheap eMMC NAND. If you're paying $300 more for an upgraded SP3, you're not only getting a bigger SSD and more RAM, but also an upgraded processor.
    Reply
  • maliaobama - Tuesday, June 24, 2014 - link

    Really bummed about the lack of a touch cover. What no one really understands about the touch cover is that it's a paradigm shift. It required a learning curve, but the lack of keys and the lack of a need to depress them makes it extremely ergonomic. I wrote my last novel on the Surface Touch keyboard and I have terrible RSI and the Touch keyboard has eliminated that. It's incredible. Microsoft needed to tout both this benefit and the notion that the learning curve was worth it. I've owned a Pro 1 and a Pro 2. A Pro 3 is a non-buy for me without the Touch cover. Reply
  • beggerking@yahoo.com - Tuesday, June 24, 2014 - link

    excellent review, this is the best ultrabook tablet out there, bar none, will be getting one to replace my SP1.

    the only con is: still can't charge via Micro usb...
    Reply
  • kyuu - Wednesday, June 25, 2014 - link

    MicroUSB simply doesn't provide enough current to charge the battery fast enough. You'd be talking 6+ hours to get to 90% charge at the very least, instead of getting to 100% in about 2.5 hours. It's a necessary trade-off. Reply
  • Chakkra - Tuesday, June 24, 2014 - link

    Do Surface Pro 3 come with MS Office ? Reply
  • joaoasousa - Tuesday, June 24, 2014 - link

    No. Reply
  • basroil - Thursday, June 26, 2014 - link

    Yes, in Japan (where the price is $200 more after tax is included) Reply
  • theuglyman0war - Tuesday, June 24, 2014 - link

    N-trig? so will it work with photoshop zbrush and Maya on day one? Got tired of waiting a long time ago. I guess I will have to sell my soul for the price of a wacom tablet in the end. I miss the 90's when half of all the gear seemed to be tailored for artists. Now that all the lemmings r on android... shouldn't this stuff be made fer professionals again? Reply
  • kyuu - Wednesday, June 25, 2014 - link

    Yes, the SP3's N-Trig will work day one with zbrush and Maya. Reply
  • basroil - Thursday, June 26, 2014 - link

    already has wintab drivers...And photoshop is dumping wintab for the proper pen input handler in CC Reply
  • theNiZer - Wednesday, June 25, 2014 - link

    Great review Anand, but why not compare Surface Pro 3 to the Macbook air 11? seems more even and relevant.
    Anyway, MS is making good progress with the surface line in short time. Finally good MS news
    Reply
  • Razzy76 - Thursday, June 26, 2014 - link

    Well I am assuming the 13 inch 2014 MacBook Air is the i7 version... I expected better review than this. =\ Reply
  • priyamehra - Friday, June 27, 2014 - link

    Its a really nice review, i will definitely buy this gadget.
    http://www.yaconmolasses-reviews.com/
    Reply
  • anandbiatch - Monday, June 30, 2014 - link

    "Lapability"?

    What a joke. Who the heck uses his laptop in his lap?
    Reply
  • bkydcmpr - Monday, June 30, 2014 - link

    sp3 i7 256gb for $719? this site is a joke. Reply
  • ewpelleg - Wednesday, July 09, 2014 - link

    WHO WOULD PUSH SO HARD WITH THE PEN!??! I have a SP3 and I would never dream of pushing that hard for fear of breaking the TIP. That was a ridiculous demonstration and is a disservice to any reader put off of the SP3 for fear the screen warps under pressure. Reply
  • vision33r - Saturday, July 12, 2014 - link

    Problem with Surface Pro is that it's a very compromised device.

    -Not a good e-reader, terrible battery life and UI is too difficult to be an easy to use e-reader
    - Not a good laptop, it maybe small but many apps do not scale with the hires and the keyboard and kickstand does not support properly on your lap nor tricky surfaces. Keyboard is still too cramped
    - As a tablet, i really fight with Metro UI a lot and switching back and forth with Desktop is just over complicated compared to an iPad.
    - As an IT device it really can't cut it, the performance aren't there enough to run VMs or do some scripting easily.
    Reply
  • chizow - Monday, July 14, 2014 - link

    Picked one up mainly for the wife's upcoming semester. But great device, thoroughly impressed and it fixed many of the original problems I had with the original (thickness, battery life, screen size). I ended up buckling on price but I think overall you get more RAM/storage than when it launched 16 months ago. I still think MS needs to include the Type Pad for free and introduce a cheaper version to really win the tablet market, but this is definitely the MacBook killer and laptop replacement for me. Reply

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