• What
    is this?
    You've landed on mobile news on AnandTech. It features a collection of all of our independent mobile content and is sponsored by Intel.


Back to Article

  • maatriks - Wednesday, July 23, 2014 - link

    What about battery runtime, how does i3 affect that? Reply
  • maatriks - Wednesday, July 23, 2014 - link

    nvm, saw you are working on that.

    To be honest, I was expecting worse from the i3. It seems it is not THAT bad in real life.
  • MonkeyPaw - Wednesday, July 23, 2014 - link

    Consider that Windows 8.1 chugs along just fine on a Tegra 4, I can only imagine that an i3 is plenty good. An i3 isn't fast by notebook standards, but it certainly is for a tablet.

    What would be really cool is if they throw a Baytrail in Surface 3 and sell it at $500. I do wonder if the non-Pro Surface 3 will adopt this form factor and be fanless.
  • Wolfpup - Thursday, July 24, 2014 - link

    Yeah, I've been thinking that...second gen Atom (or an AMD part, but I'm sure that won't happen) and take out the fan, and you've got something that's a no-compromises tablet that can still run...everything. Reply
  • Impulses - Thursday, July 24, 2014 - link

    I'd be all over something like that if it kept the same exact form factor and high res display of the Surface Pro 3 (even the odd aspect ratio works well for a hybrid IMO). Unfortunately MS still things RT has a future and other OEM can't get out of their own way, most Bay Trail designs I've seen aim way lower... The $800 config here is an ok compromise but I'd probably just spend the extra $200 for a more usable mobile setup (like not having to dig out a USB thumbdrive just to dump 16GB oh photos out of a camera for one thing). Reply
  • SleepyFE - Thursday, July 24, 2014 - link

    You can't really compare windows running on Tegra 4 and Core i3. Windows RT doesn't use all the API's and with less to run you don't use as much power so all is smooth on both CPUs. Reply
  • kyuu - Friday, July 25, 2014 - link

    That's nonsense. Baytrail is roughly comparable to Tegra 4, and full Windows 8.1 runs fluidly on it. It's not going to suffice for really heavy duty tasks, of course, but basic OS operation and general consumer tasks are not an issue. Reply
  • ImSpartacus - Wednesday, July 23, 2014 - link

    Yeah, it's a shame that the most important metric takes the longest to measure.

    I still appreciate the bite-sized preview as it starts to fill some of the important gaps like SSD performance among other things.
  • bobjones32 - Wednesday, July 23, 2014 - link

    What I'm most curious about battery life is in what browser they use for browser run-down tests. As a ton of reports have shown over the last couple of weeks, Chrome absolutely destroys battery life compared to IE and Firefox.


    And it's not just the system clock tick rate, but also sheer ram and resource usage in general.
  • Anand Lal Shimpi - Wednesday, July 23, 2014 - link

    We use IE11 on Windows 8, Safari on OS X Reply
  • Alexvrb - Wednesday, July 23, 2014 - link

    This is why I read Anandtech reviews.

    Meanwhile Google is just now looking into fixing a battery-rape "bug" after it became heavily publicized - like they didn't know.
  • basroil - Thursday, July 24, 2014 - link

    Well, thanks to Google's "bug", I was able to fix a bug in a serial port data acquisition program (data returned only every 30ms rather than the 3-4ms I expected) after I looked up the documentation on microsoft's site. It's all there in pretty damn clear language, and even states exactly why coalescing in W8.1 saves 25% battery use for light tasks. Reply
  • crispbp04 - Friday, July 25, 2014 - link

    Why would they fix it before it was widely known? It made windows based machines look bad, and helps their business. Reply
  • jhoff80 - Wednesday, July 23, 2014 - link

    With that small amount of usable space, I'd imagine WIMboot wasn't used for the Windows install on this, was it? Reply
  • edwpang - Thursday, July 24, 2014 - link

    I have the same question. I once went to bestbuy and tried to find out, but the infomation about WIM needs administrator access. Reply
  • nutshell42 - Wednesday, July 23, 2014 - link

    Allegedly, one of the firmware updates for the Surface Pro 3 increased battery life. Will you run the test in parallel on the i5 and the i3 to check whether there are any changes for the i5? Reply
  • Alexey291 - Wednesday, July 23, 2014 - link

    Aaaaand it won't sell at Ultrabook prices.

    Just like the previous generations haven't.

    Because lets face it, its not an ultrabook. Its a not quite a tablet.

    I mean I understand why it is priced as it is. Its perfectly justifiable. It just won't sell.
  • hughlle - Wednesday, July 23, 2014 - link

    Define sell. I'm certainly on the waiting list for release day in a moinths time.

    You can't really compare a device like this to a tablet, or an ultrabook. It really is a different category. People who want a tablet, should buy a tablet, people who want an ultrabook, well they should probably buy an ultrabook. This is not perfect at either, but is a brilliant compromise to having both. It would be best to compare it only to other convertibles. Not the macbook air. I think that ms were pretty stupid to try and market it against the air as they did.
  • Alexey291 - Wednesday, July 23, 2014 - link

    Well thing is saying "you can't compare it to xyz" doesn't really work. Because people will compare it to both ultrabooks (its worse than those) and tablets (worse than those too). It makes an acceptable compromise between the two. Sure, but for 1.5k (cos u know dock + kb are sorta must haves and aren't free...) usd most (I'd wager) would like something better than a bad tablet + bad ultrabook combo. Its not a far stretch to go for an MBA+Ipad air at that price range already...

    And yeah MS marketing is once again just a /sigh. I never have a clue what the hell they are thinking. Its not like they make bad products. But the marketing is so odd...
  • chizow - Wednesday, July 23, 2014 - link

    Its the best tablet on the market (especially with the Stylus), the trade-off is its also larger/heavier. And while its not as powerful or typing friendly as an Ultrabook, it is also significantly thinner and lighter with a better battery life.

    So yes it is a hybrid, but it gives you more of what you need in some areas while bridging the gap to less portable devices like Ultrabooks. Why bother with both a MBA+Ipad Air when you have a single device that is more capable than both of them combined?
  • Alexey291 - Thursday, July 24, 2014 - link

    I'm really confused how it is the best tablet on the market. Seeing how comparing it tablets shows that its worse in every way.

    Its too big, its too expensive, its running windows (sorry but windows is a desktop o/s which requires kb + mouse with or without metro ui and an effing antivirus, and a network security package and a malware scanner just for a warm up. All of that running in a background, all of that eating battery), its actively cooled (moving parts in a tablet ftw oh and noise...)

    But sure the hardware specs are nice. At 2x the cost of a tablet.

    So nope its not the best tablet on the market by a wide wide margin.
  • Alexey291 - Thursday, July 24, 2014 - link

    Hell for the price of a dock and keyboard for this thing you could actually buy an inexpensive android tablet (like nexus 7 - or if they ever release it nexus 8) Reply
  • Speedfriend - Thursday, July 24, 2014 - link

    Hell for the price of a smart case and bluetooth keyboard for an iPad Air you can almost buy a Nexus 7 too. And with its case and keyboard, the iPad air will still be a pretty useless toy Reply
  • chizow - Thursday, July 24, 2014 - link

    And you can throw the old (or new) one on the pile of ever-growing useless Android tablets that it would replace. Why buy 2, 3, 4 of the same marginally faster device with the same limited usage set every year when you can just pay 2-3x more up front and have a device with actual staying power? Honestly the only saving grace for Android devices is that Best Buy offers $50 credit every year to try and get you to upgrade, because at some point we need to ask ourselves, do we as a society really need a Netflix streaming device in every person and every room in the house? :D Reply
  • Speedfriend - Thursday, July 24, 2014 - link

    But sure the hardware specs are nice. At 2x the cost of a tablet.

    The i3 version is $100 more than a 64gb iPad Air but offers 2x the processing and gpu power of an iPad.
  • name99 - Thursday, July 24, 2014 - link

    "The i3 version is $100 more than a 64gb iPad Air but offers 2x the processing and gpu power of an iPad."

    That's an, uhh, optimistic view of the situation.

    I can't speak to the GPU side of the issue, but it is a commonplace that the IPC of an i3 and Cyclone are about the same. You see this, for example, in the SunSpider benchmark where the ratio of the Surface (i3) to iPad Air closely matches their frequency ratio (1.5GHz to 1.4GHz).

    The other web benchmarks look better on the i3 because they are aggressively multithreaded, so can use hyperthreading. This is a legitimate win for i3 --- IF you plan to be running code that is likewise aggressively multithreaded. But if the code you plan to run, like most code, is a single main thread with a few helper threads that don't have much to do --- the usual sort of "we can make some use of dual core and no use of anything more" code --- then this doesn't buy you much.

    There's still no substitute for single-threaded performance, and this guy's single-threaded performance is only slightly better than an iPad Air. If you want much better than that, you really need one of the models that can turbo up aggressively.
  • mkozakewich - Thursday, July 24, 2014 - link

    "...worse in every way."
    No, the charts above show that it has better performance in every single test, and usually over 2x the graphics power. I'll bet it has far greater game support, as well.

    An iPad is $100 or $200 less, so other arguments need to fit into that context. The Surface Pro has a stylus, a kickstand, a lesser screen, a bigger screen, more RAM, full USB 3.0 support, a sort of thunderbolt, displayport, and microSD-swapping abilities.

    The only real thing you can say about this is that different people have different needs. I needed the Surface Pro, and it works wonderfully for me. Other people prefer an iPad. I've got a friend who'll have nothing but a desktop computer, and he'll lug it in the car with him when he travels.
  • sherlockwing - Thursday, July 24, 2014 - link

    Surface Pro is also almost 1lb heavier and much larger/thicker than an Ipad, and for replacing an Ipad that a big no no. Reply
  • chizow - Thursday, July 24, 2014 - link

    No, its better in every way than any Android/iOS tablet when it comes to performance, functionality, and input (via Stylus).

    Windows 8.1 with Modern UI is every bit a tablet interface as iOS/Android, if anything, that was Microsoft's mistake to try and push that on the desktop market. Yes it has AV and network security, but it also handles it with ease because its a much more powerful device, and these features also make it a lot more flexible for the enterprise market.

    Yes, it costs more than a tablet, but that's because its capable of a lot more too.
  • sherlockwing - Thursday, July 24, 2014 - link

    Because there will be people that need a laptop & a tablet without compromises, and for that purpose a Surface to too big and heavy for a tablet and unlappable for a laptop. Reply
  • chizow - Thursday, July 24, 2014 - link

    Uh, using a tablet automatically necessitates making compromises in the context of a laptop, and using a laptop necessitates similar compromises in the context of a tablet. The surface maintains the functionality of both while presenting very minor compromises that do not preclude the device from being used in either scenario. Also, the Surface is lappable, the only thing you can't do is carry it around by its base like you might with an actual laptop. Reply
  • basroil - Thursday, July 24, 2014 - link

    They've sold out of the first shipment to Japan, most stores are on backorder shipping in about 2 weeks already (and it's been a week since it launched) Reply
  • Alexey291 - Thursday, July 24, 2014 - link

    that just means they shipped very few to begin with surely? Reply
  • chizow - Thursday, July 24, 2014 - link

    And you'd be wrong (again). SP3 already outpacing sales of all previous Pro models, meaning they are shipping and selling more than previous Surface Pros.

    ""While it's still early, sales are outpacing earlier versions of Surface Pro," Microsoft Chief Financial Officer Amy Hood said during Microsoft's fourth quarter earnings conference call, referring to the Surface Pro 3."

    That trend will only track upwards with new SKUs, particularly this lower priced entry-level model.
  • name99 - Thursday, July 24, 2014 - link

    "SP3 already outpacing sales of all previous Pro models, meaning they are shipping and selling more than previous Surface Pros."

    That's not saying much. Previous Surfaces sold at about 5% of iPad numbers. Personally I expect this to hit maybe 10%, which MS supporters may consider a great triumph, but it's not enough to change the status quo in any way.
  • chizow - Thursday, July 24, 2014 - link

    It says quite a bit and directly refutes any claims they just don't have a lot to sell, when they have actually sold more than any previous SPro in the same amount of time.

    As for iPad, just saw this today, its marketshare continues to fall, down to 27% from something like 60% just a few years ago? No surprise really, what can an iPad Air do that my iPad 2 can't?

    The novelty has worn off these devices and people are starting to realize they want something more than a toy device running a toy OS. MS probably won't care if SP sales are 10% of iPad, they get to share the load with all of their OEM partners selling Win8 devices at the expense of Android/Apple.
  • name99 - Thursday, July 24, 2014 - link

    You're obviously more interested in scoring points than in understanding the underlying situation.
    Good luck with that attitude.
  • chizow - Thursday, July 24, 2014 - link

    No, I'm more interested in setting the record straight when someone makes a factually incorrect statement or assumption:

    One person says: "Hey it sold out in Market A"
    Another person says: "Its because they haven't shipped many to begin with"
    I provide evidence that it is actually outstripping all of its predecessors in sales.

    I don't think anyone mentioned anything about iPad until you brought it into the equation, maybe you're the one who's solely interested in scoring points?
  • kyuu - Friday, July 25, 2014 - link

    Who cares what percentage of iPad numbers it sold? A product does not have to be an iPad or iPhone to be worthwhile or to be a success. It also certainly doesn't have anything to do with your assertion that it's only sold out because they produced it in very small numbers. Reply
  • Alexey291 - Monday, July 28, 2014 - link

    considering that two previous generations accrued a major loss and DIDN'T sell at all - I suppose a breakeven would be a great success in this case I agree.

    Though I doubt that would happen.

    More likely it WILL outsell the meh S2P and most certainly the woeful S1P and will bring a minor loss to the company in the process (not that anyone cares - its not like there's a single physical device that MS sells that brings them profit), that will be called a success and next year there will be a new "amazing S4P" which will be 100mhz faster and 100 bux more expensive.

    And yes I am pretty certain that the numbers produced (and thus inventory kept) this time round are going to be MUCH smaller than before. I mean only an IDIOT would get burnt on the same fire 3 times in a row. And they kicked their main idiot out so I doubt they would make the same mistake again.
  • Trixanity - Wednesday, July 23, 2014 - link

    Will you look at the i7 model as well? Reply
  • Bultreys - Wednesday, July 23, 2014 - link

    Yes, I'm most keen to see a performance/heat breakdown of the i7 before I pull the trigger on any of these SP3 models. Reply
  • lorribot - Wednesday, July 23, 2014 - link

    Retail price difference between a 256GB and 128GB SSD mSATA drive is around $60. $GB ram to 8GB ram is $20, total $80. Microsoft seem to think it is $300.
    It seems that MS have drifted in to Apple land with thier pricing and quite frankly either their purchasing department are looking a bit inept or they have succumbed to the marketing men.

    But it is to Anadtech's eternal shame for not calling out this huge rip off in pricing.
  • kyuu - Wednesday, July 23, 2014 - link

    Excuse me, but please point me to the outfit that builds tablets and sells component upgrades at-cost? I'll wait.

    Yes, obviously there is a mark-up. That's how the business model works on these things (and it's not just Microsoft or just Apple): margins are slimmer on the lower-specced models, and the margin grows on the higher-specced models.

    Compared to Apple, Microsoft's markup is quite reasonable, really. To go from an iPad Air with 16GB of NAND to the 128GB model, it costs $300. That's $2.68/GB. To go from 128GB to 256GB with the Surface Pro 3, you also pay $300 more. That's $2.34/GB. And that's for an actual honest-to-god SSD, whereas in the iPad we're talking about much, much cheaper eMMC NAND. *And* you get the extra 4GB of RAM on top with the Surface.

    Would it be swell if it was cheaper? Of course. If you don't see the value proposition, then don't pay. There's nothing for Anand to call out here.
  • chizow - Wednesday, July 23, 2014 - link

    Yep I really like the options MS put out there with their SP3 line. It's never a price bump just for storage until you get to the i7 models I believe. You get a faster CPU and more storage going from $800 to $1000, and more RAM and more storage going from $1000 to $1300. Definitely hits a lot more target users that way. Reply
  • Impulses - Thursday, July 24, 2014 - link

    I actually thought that made more sense than the usual breakdown for these things, and the $800 price point is bound to tempt away some buyers that were looking at $600 budget laptops... Reply
  • name99 - Thursday, July 24, 2014 - link

    You do understand that the point of this variable pricing is to be able to charge richer customers more? That extra money, in turn supports the R&D that allows poorer customers to get their devices cheaper.

    This is not some massive moral matter, unless you happen to believe that the world as a whole, and MS (or Apple) in particular, ought to privilege wealthier buyers at the expense of poorer buyers.
  • skiboysteve - Wednesday, July 23, 2014 - link

    Rule of thumb at my company is 4x price for 1x cogs (cost of goods sold). This pays for engineering time, manufacturing expenses, storage, shipping, etc.

    Every time someone posts the nonsense about selling goods at cost i wonder what they do for a living
  • Cygni - Wednesday, July 23, 2014 - link

    At that price, I would still rather have a Macbook Air and bootcamp if i wanted Windows...

    Surface still seems to be an answer to a question the market wasn't asking in the first place.
  • Drumsticks - Wednesday, July 23, 2014 - link

    The surface line consists of 2, at most 4 SKUs. The Mac line consists of at most 9 SKUs, almost all of which have vastly higher pricetags. Revenue on the Surface line (again, which ranges from $500 to $1500, now $2000) was 500 million, while the Mac line put out 4.5B.

    The surface line might not be selling well, but given that + the significantly higher price of almost every unit in the mac lineup, it's certainly not doing so poorly that the market isn't asking a question of it.
  • BGQ-qbf-tqf-n6n - Wednesday, July 23, 2014 - link

    Where are you getting Mac revenue numbers from? Not seeing those in Apple's release... Reply
  • Drumsticks - Thursday, July 24, 2014 - link

    Sorry, 5.5B. I wasn't trying to prove that the Surface is selling as well as Macs or anything, simply that with more or less 4x as few SKUs, and taking into account significantly less revenue per device, the Surfaces don't do too poorly. That's not to say they're wildly successful, but there's a market for them. Reply
  • kyuu - Wednesday, July 23, 2014 - link

    Speak for yourself. I'd take the SP3 over the Air any day.

    "Answer to a question the market wasn't asking"? What the hell does that even mean? That you don't like it, basically. There are people who like the Surface Pro, and there are people who buy it. A product doesn't have to sell like an iPhone or iPad to be worthwhile.
  • chizow - Wednesday, July 23, 2014 - link

    Agreed lol, the Air is still a nice device until you actually try to do anything remotely intensive on it, at which point it shuts down and chokes on itself. Reply
  • sherlockwing - Thursday, July 24, 2014 - link

    So will the Surface Pro(as both uses the same CPU silicon), actually it will choke worse because it got a smaller fan and a lesser IGP compared to Air. Reply
  • chizow - Thursday, July 24, 2014 - link

    Nah, the Surface Pro 3 as shown in the teardowns has a much better cooling solution, dual heatpipes, larger fan, shorter distance to the radiator. MBA has limited space to work with because of the wedge shaped body, but anyone who has used a MBA knows it is prone to locking up and choking on itself once its tasked with anything mildly intensive. Haven't had any problems like that with my SP3 yet. Reply
  • OrphanageExplosion - Friday, July 25, 2014 - link

    So how come my 2012 MacBook Air runs at max turbo with no throttling in both Windows and OSX? "Mildly intensive" - I can edit and encode video in Adobe Premiere and the performance is pretty much interchangeable with the Retina MacBook Pro 13. I've even encoded multi-hour events at 720p at 60Hz in ProRes - again, max turbo for the entire duration.

    Indeed, Anand's benchmarks confirm a negligible difference between the MBA and the rMBP13. Surface clearly does throttle however.
  • chizow - Friday, July 25, 2014 - link

    Maybe you got the last golden sample touched by Jobs himself? Doesn't change the fact overheating was a pervasive issue with MBA.

    Also, not sure what you are going on about referring to Anand's benchmarks somehow proving MBA doesn't throttle. If you are referencing the 2013 MBA Review, you do realize the CPU archs are different between the two? June 24th rMBP is a 2.5G IVB chip, while the 2013 MBA is the first Haswell design. As such, it hugely benefits in CPU tasks due to arch changes and new instructions to close the gap.

    And...same review, it does throttle. Despite 2.5x EUs as its predecessor, gaming performance is nearly identical.

  • Dug - Monday, July 28, 2014 - link

    Actually it's not. Every laptop will overheat. All laptops will loose thermal capabilities over time.
    Don't think your SP3 is any different.
    So your little google search can be done for any laptop and the same results will be found over time.
    As far as parallels, the problem is in the configuration, not the hardware. Parallels is less stressful on the hardware than bootcamp. I'd be curious if the air is locking up due to overheating, bad code, or incorrect configuration. I have yet to see an air lock up due to heat problems. Older macbook pro's have and that was due to the nvidia chip along with poor thermal paste. We have never run into this problem. Of course we configure our laptops instead of letting users do it.

    Of all laptops we've deployed, the Macbook air is the ONLY laptop that hasn't failed.
  • name99 - Thursday, July 24, 2014 - link

    "Air is still a nice device until you actually try to do anything remotely intensive on it, at which point it shuts down and chokes on itself."

    This may have been true of the first two generations of MBA. It's a ridiculous claim to make of anything since the Sandy Bridge generation.
    I have an SB MBA (now retired to desk duty) on which I run massive video manipulation/filtering plus transcoding jobs that run for a few hours pegging both CPUs hyperthreaded to 100% and hitting the SSD hard; and it has never "shuts down and choked on itself", or even slowed down due to any sort of thermal overload.
  • chizow - Thursday, July 24, 2014 - link

    Happens all the time still actually, its funny how many colleagues I have that demand a MBA from IT just to run Parallels + Win7, then complain about how it chokes and locks up on them during presentations.

  • davegraham - Wednesday, July 23, 2014 - link

    One thing that is always missing from reviews about this stuff is perhaps an ongoing usability study. For example, I recently picked up the top i5 model of the SP3 and am using it for business. Fly to site, presentation work, etc. I beat the thing up, using it on the plane with WiFi, and even use the pen with onenote. it's proven itself to be reliable enough for me that I now leave my "work" laptop at home and only travel with this. it truly is a business ultrabook and regardless of the misguided comparisons to the Air, i get questions on it all the time from Mac users.... well done, MS....well, freaking, done. Reply
  • Bobs_Your_Uncle - Wednesday, July 23, 2014 - link

    Your comment is interesting & quite positive, & I wish you well in the matter of reliability over the longer term. I have no doubts about the excellence of engineering & craftsmanship that went into both the design & construction of the SP3 (& the entire SP line). As the public & tech community strive for ever-thinner, ever-lighter devices, however, we will confront a rather expensive point of trade-off between Super Model specs & long term durability.

    Personally, I object rather strongly to the "disposable" mentality that seems to be underlying more & more product. Miniaturization is a decidedly good industrial direction with respect to the prudent conservation of resources employed to build a thing. If, however, a 50% reduction in component mass results in a 50% or greater reduction in product life-span, the result is a net wasting of resources to some extent. (This is an admitted over-simplification of a cost-benefit analysis, but you get it).

    If nothing else, the same industrial entities who insist on gluing & soldering stuff together should accept responsibility for implementation of feasible, highly adopted recycling programs. In the meantime, it will be interesting to learn where that line of diminishing returns is going to be drawn.
  • MadMan007 - Wednesday, July 23, 2014 - link

    $200 for the faster CPU and more importantly the larger SSD seems like a no-brainer to me. I guess MS knows enough to not offer the i3 with a larger SSD and cannibalize sales of the next model. Reply
  • EvanAdams - Wednesday, July 23, 2014 - link

    I heard on the home server show podcast that the surface has a massive speed drop when not plugged in. Is this true? Reply
  • Death666Angel - Wednesday, July 23, 2014 - link

    I'd be interested in that as well, but my guess would be that it is simply a matter of energy profiles. I haven't seen many laptops that gate performance heavily in the battery state unless they offer quad cores and high end graphics cards. Limiting performance on these ULV CPU only platforms would result in worse battery life most likely (race to sleep) and the thermals aren't an issue because they would be plugged in as well.

    I'd personally love an SP3, but I don't have the money to spend and my Samsung XE700T1C still works fine... :D
  • davegraham - Thursday, July 24, 2014 - link

    speed drop compared to what? listen, I use it unplugged all the time. I have ZERO issues with perceived slowdowns, etc. I use it for business and it just works. Reply
  • mkozakewich - Thursday, July 24, 2014 - link

    Sure. You don't want to drain the battery, do you?
    I get the feeling that most people don't ever touch their power profiles. I made two: a power saver where everything is as tight as I could get it (and low-ish power even when plugged in), and a high performance mode where everything is maxed out.
    When I'm running on battery, my processor is usually running at about 700 MHz.

    When you're doing absolutely nothing, race-to-sleep can actually save battery life. If you're playing a game or something, though, you'll be using 100% no matter what, so setting it lower really helps with battery life.

    AnandTech has been mentioning in their phone reviews how we're seeing that larger dynamic range, where they get tons more performance and last longer when doing nothing, but don't last as long when running the benchmarks. I'm surprised we don't have similar power profiles on Android, besides that simplistic "Power Saver" option.
  • EvanAdams - Thursday, July 24, 2014 - link

    "When I'm running on battery, my processor is usually running at about 700 MHz."

    Yes that is exactly what they said. And they said it makes it unpleasant to use at those speeds. I don't know, they are perhaps overly sensitive (heck I'm still on a C2D Vista Machine) but when I heard that, I immediately came to my home of tech truth, AnandTech. Would like to know.

    When it comes to power profiles I think it is unreasonable to expect users to adjust this. The on battery benchmark should be whatever it is stock setup at.
  • extide - Thursday, July 24, 2014 - link

    Changing power profiles is like 2 clicks. Not un-reasonable to expect people to at least switch between balanced and low-power. The clock speed on ANY laptop on battery is going to be limited if you are in low power mode, this is NOT unique to the SP line. Reply
  • Death666Angel - Saturday, July 26, 2014 - link

    I can even slow down my desktop with the right energy profiles. Having that as a negative is laughable for any tech related news outlet. Reply
  • jhoff80 - Thursday, July 24, 2014 - link

    I haven't heard the podcast; are you sure they're talking about CPU/GPU speed? That sounds a lot like the initial Wifi issues that have since been patched. Initially people were seeing like 600Mbps vs 80Mbps plugged in vs battery. Reply
  • EvanAdams - Thursday, July 24, 2014 - link

    No I am sure it is the: "When I'm running on battery, my processor is usually running at about 700 MHz." Reply
  • extide - Thursday, July 24, 2014 - link

    Did you read the rest of his post? He said he set his power profile specifically to lower the cpu on battery. Don't put quotes out of context to try to prove a non-existent point! Reply
  • chizow - Wednesday, July 23, 2014 - link

    The $800 price point is definitely interesting as it is aimed at both the high-end iPad and the low-end MacBook Air and everything inbetween (mid-range Ultrabooks).

    I recently caved in and picked up the i5/128GB SP3 and its really an amazing device. MS addressed pretty much all my major gripes over SP1/2 (thickness, weight, battery life, screen size) and they even came down on price a little bit. 4-5 major improvements at the same price point was enough for me to bite.

    I think this model is really going after the cross-over/hybrid crowd though, with some discounts it is really an affordable option that isn't too far off a high-end tablet that does much less. Best Buy is running 10% back in rewards until September, and Staples recently had a 15% off discount on tech products including SP3 and accessories. MS also has a running 10% discount for students and teachers that includes SP3 and accessories, so there's the opportunity to pick one up for even less.

    Now, what I really want to see is Atom-based SoCs replacing the ARM-based SoCs in their entry level Surface non_Pro line. Start packing that Surface build quality, accessory options, and active stylus with a full version of x86 Windows 8.1 at a sub-$500 price point and Android/iOS devices don't stand a chance.
  • Death666Angel - Wednesday, July 23, 2014 - link

    "Start packing that Surface build quality, accessory options, and active stylus with a full version of x86 Windows 8.1 at a sub-$500 price point and Android/iOS devices don't stand a chance."
    That would be great. Though I wouldn't mind a nice AMD SoC (Temash/Kabini) either.
  • skiboysteve - Thursday, July 24, 2014 - link

    AMD is very unlikely as they have publicly stated they have no plans to support InstantGo (connected stand by) Reply
  • mkozakewich - Thursday, July 24, 2014 - link

    AMD has never been good on power usage, from everything I've ever read. I'm not sure they'd be good in ultraportables without sacrificing even more performance. Reply
  • chizow - Thursday, July 24, 2014 - link

    Yeah I think AMD finally caught on to this market as they were demo'ing a prototype tablet at CES, but if you look at how long it took Intel to get design wins after their initial prototypes from tradeshows, it may take some time for AMD to gain any traction. I would've actually preferred to see some AMD SoC design wins in the NUC/uSFF space but those took too long as well and I ended up settling for an i3 Haswell NUC. Reply
  • MadMan007 - Wednesday, July 23, 2014 - link

    The only thing it's missing to 'take over' the high-end crossover market is a clamshell-style keyboard. Although some people have made the Surface work as a true laptop, a clamshell-style hinge would be awesome. Reply
  • chizow - Thursday, July 24, 2014 - link

    Yeah there are some clamshell options like the Asus T100 and Asus T300 (this is very close to what you are asking I think).


    Having owned the T100 myself, it does work well but the MAJOR downside is that you generally get all of the weight and bulk of a laptop back as the keyboard dock is necessarily heavy to keep the device balanced in laptop mode. Many would argue however that the device then truly becomes a laptop replacement at that point. Plus the keyboard also tends to pack some cool features, like additional battery, extra connectivity and extra 2.5" storage.
  • nv76r - Thursday, July 24, 2014 - link

    Um, there are. They aren't "surface" products but such implementations already exist.
    There are new Atom based quad core tablets w/ a full blown windows 8.1 os at the $200 range already. My favorite in the $200 range being:
    ASUS VivoTab Note M80TA-B1-BK 8" Tablet with Integrated Professional Wacom Stylus.

    Obviously add in a hundred if you additional upgrades/features that fit your needs w/ other brands. Add this with a portable bluetooth m/k and "surface" like adjustable hardcover and you have yourself a classy portable PC on the budget.
  • chizow - Thursday, July 24, 2014 - link

    I'm aware of the Atom-based devices, and while stylus devices like the VivoTab and Venue Pro offer some functionality of the Surface, they obviously don't offer the rest (attachable keyboard/typepad, integrated kickstand etc.). I have the Asus T100 also, and while its a really solid device, we ended up getting a SP3 due to some of the limitations and lack of integrated active stylus.

    None of them have the build quality you see on the Surface line of products though.
  • nonoverclock - Thursday, July 24, 2014 - link

    Dell sells two attachable keyboards (with kickstand) for the Dell Venue 11 Pro. One with a battery and one without. I happen to have the one w/o the battery and its miserable but it exists. Reply
  • Impulses - Thursday, July 24, 2014 - link

    Android would still have the very low end locked up, there's no way any convertible x86 system would hit Nexus 7-like price points anytime soon. I agree that the days of $500+ tablets running mobile OS SHOULD be numbered, MS still has to get out of it's own way and finish off RT tho. Reply
  • Impulses - Thursday, July 24, 2014 - link

    Granted some OEM have gotten very close, like ASUS, but the person buying a $200 (or LESS) tablet is better of with the higher res display, simpler OS, etc. At least IMO, I think that kinda cheap tablet is actually quite complimentary to a high end Surface or ultrabook, not everyone is a road warrior who wants to have as few devices as possible. Reply
  • Alexey291 - Monday, July 28, 2014 - link

    Honestly I'll pass on buying a windows based tablet whatever its price.

    The thought of having to deal with all the shitware (and thus having to run a firewall + av + malware scanner all the time) on a fricking tablet fills me with some of the best emotions known to man.
  • TheOtherBubka - Friday, July 25, 2014 - link

    I agree about bringing the price down to bring in more sales. The major draws are now what you list plus the handwriting/active stylus - which is great for educators who use 'skeleton' powerpoint slides and annotate/draw/write on top of them.

    So how do you get it down to $599? Simple... replace the i3 with an AMD Beema/Mullins

    Cinebench scores : 0.54 (Mullins) vs. 0.68 Core i3 (single threaded); 1.54 Mullins vs 1.68 i3; so at worst, 20% difference between them. This is comparing it to a pure tablet chip. A <$100 (complete guess based upon previous chips and their rumored prices) vs ~$280. It's also a 4.5 W TDP (9 W Temash??) vs. a 6 W SDP (11.5 W TDP) chip. I think most would be satisfied from this entry level. Only problem is space engineering as Intel already has the IVM and AMD needs to have more motherboard space. Also, so many of the other PCMark scores are highly dependent on the SSD drive speed...so I take those with a grain of salt.

    But yeah.. at $600, sign me up. At $900 (with education discount) and over $1k with a keyboard that isn't great, it's a very tough sell.
  • Baron Fel - Thursday, July 24, 2014 - link

    Ive been needing a laptop for awhile now, and the SP3 is fitting into that role nicely. Also nice to have a tablet for browsing etc.

    There were some issues though. I picked up mine about a week after release. A few days after that, an update bricked the touchscreen. Returned that and things were great...until I noticed the screen was pretty yellowish and worse, had a noticeable yellow band about a cm thick running down the left side. One of those things you cant unsee.

    So I got another replacement and all is well now. Googling for color issues revealed huge threads of people with defective iPad Airs with ugly, obvious color shifts across the screen. Like one side of the keyboard is clearly tinted blue and the other side is yellow. These companies either are not aware of these substandard displays, or are just banking on consumers not noticing/caring. I think its the latter.
  • mkozakewich - Thursday, July 24, 2014 - link

    I think the charger is burning the screen on my Surface Pro (original). There's a yellowed mark. That whole side of my screen is slightly yellowed, and now I'm wondering if that's a separate issue with the screen itself. Reply
  • Jaguar36 - Thursday, July 24, 2014 - link

    All the synthetic benchmarks show significantly higher perfomance for the i5, but the one real test (the DOTA 2 benchmark) shows higher performance for the i3. This seems like a big disconnect, which is going to be more applicable to other games? Can you run some other real life benchmarks? Reply
  • nevertell - Thursday, July 24, 2014 - link

    It is because the i3 does not have turbo, so it doesn't scale up when the thermal headroom allows it to, so the iGPU can operate at a higher frequency before throttling down. The second run would display both of them running Dota at the same fps. Reply
  • Shadowmaster625 - Thursday, July 24, 2014 - link

    No discussion at all about the cooling system for the Y model. Specifically, is this version fanless? And if not, WHY NOT? The word "fan" appears only once in this article. Reply
  • Baron Fel - Thursday, July 24, 2014 - link

    Taking out the fan would only cause 10x worse throttling. Why would you want that.

    SP3 fan is mostly unnoticeable except in games.
  • cgalyon - Thursday, July 24, 2014 - link

    I would like to see how the temperature measures with sustained usage on the i3 and i5 models (also in comparison with the Pro 2). I used the Pro 2 for a while, but found it regularly got very warm with sustained intense usage (meaning Civ V in tablet mode) and began to throttle and produce errors (such as the screen failing to respond correctly to touch, stuttering, and crashing). Reply
  • Baron Fel - Thursday, July 24, 2014 - link

    You can see i5 temps in the previous SP3 review. SP2 (chassis) gets about 3C hotter, meaning the CPU is running hotter also. Reply
  • Hellfish4000 - Thursday, July 24, 2014 - link

    Will be watching closely to see if the i7 version throttles as hard as the i5, they cannot market it as a portable gaming machine if the flagship throttles below the i3. Reply
  • darwinosx - Thursday, July 24, 2014 - link

    The big question is will anyone buy it...answer is no they won't
    Microsofts statements of the last few days indicate they have given up on mobile anything.
  • CaedenV - Friday, July 25, 2014 - link

    So maybe someone can enlighten me as to the attractiveness about the tablet form factor in what is billed to be a productivity machine. Don't get me wrong, I appreciate how difficult it must have been to make, and it certainly looks and feels like a premium device, but I still don't get the usage model.
    About the only time this is better than a convertible laptop is if you are literally going to go out and about using it like a notepad... but guess what! For those of us in our early 30s, we have not had to handwrite anything other than our illegible signature since we were in elementary school. I have not hand written anything of substance in probably close to 20 years and can type much MUCH faster than I can write. And now we are expected to start using silly things like pens? Things like notepads are somehow now viewed as relevant? My local Staples does not even carry traditional notepads anymore!
    I guess the Surface is great if you just have docking stations at home and work and are trying to pair down to a single device (plus smartphone)... but for me it is still too much of a compromise. For portable use my phone is still best because it fits in my pocket and I don't have to think about it. For gaming and 'real' productivity work then the Surface is still lacking and cannot yet replace my desktop. As a tablet (which is a form factor I just don't get in the first place) it is still too large and heavy (granted it is a huge improvement over the Pro2). As a laptop it still has very little 'lapability', and god help you if you try and use it on the couch laying on your side where there is no nice flat surface for it to stand on.
    Maybe in another generation or two it will make sense? I don't know. I looked at the i5 version because I need a laptop for school (and have managed without a laptop for some 5 years now) and it certainly wasn't for me. At the end of the day I found a good deal on a Dell XPS 12 and have been enjoying that. It is a bit heavy if you ever have to actually hold it up and support it's weight for any real amount of time, but as a laptop it works great, and for media consumption on the couch you have a bunch of different ways to make it work for you. And it has a real keyboard which is awesome. Maybe if they came out with a real keyboard dock that the tablet could click into similar to the HP x2 or ASUS T100/300 products then I would be interested and could see it working, but as a tablet with a floppy-hinged keyboard/cover it just does not work for me.
  • mtalinm - Tuesday, August 05, 2014 - link

    no one ever sends you documents to read? or you prefer to read in landscape mode instead of portrait? you never ever need to mark up documents by hand, or sign a form, and send it to someone? really?

    buy one and you'll soon become addicted to "flipping" it back and forth from portrait to landscape mode for consumption vs. production.
  • TheSlamma - Friday, July 25, 2014 - link

    Did they put a good wireless card in this time or go with the lowest bidder again. Reply
  • waverlybrian - Saturday, July 26, 2014 - link

    Please Please review the Core i7 model!!! I need computation power, but it's soo expensive and if it's severely thermally limited then I wonder if it's really much of an improvement computationally. (Also I wonder what it does to the battery life.) Reply
  • fteoath64 - Sunday, July 27, 2014 - link

    It is so like Intel to CRIPPLE this Core i3 to the extend that it performs so poorly. At least they ought to up the clock speed to 1.8Ghz and a turbo to 2.4Ghz or there abouts just to gain more performance to the i5, at this low clock, it could easily be eclipsed by an AMD mobile chip by a significant margin.... Reply
  • beggerking@yahoo.com - Monday, July 28, 2014 - link

    biased. really should be compared to a Macbook air 11, not the 13" version. Reply
  • jb82 - Monday, July 28, 2014 - link

    Just preordered the i3 version. Couldn't wait for your battery life report!

    I'm hoping the lower tdp will mean lower temperatures, less fan and longer battery life. The extra speed isn't necessary for me.
  • smithrd3512 - Thursday, July 31, 2014 - link

    Well can say one thing. You can get a laptop for less than the Surface costs. Reply
  • ryrynz - Saturday, August 02, 2014 - link

    You should submit this DOTA test information to MS, the i5 should never be that much slower than the i3. There would surely be a workaround.. Reply
  • spicedham - Sunday, August 03, 2014 - link

    Just got an i3 SP3 and tried sun spider with IE. I'm getting around 220ms. Did you use Chrome to test the speeds? Also noticed battery life with the 4020y is a little better than the 4300u processor. Reply
  • mtalinm - Tuesday, August 05, 2014 - link

    so the i3 compares favorably to the i5. my guess is that's why MSFT sampled you one.

    and I'll bet that the i5 compares favorably to the i7, and that's why MSFT didn't sample you an i7.

    if they did, you'd show that the i7 is a waste of money except for those who really need the half-terabyte disk. and then they would sell fewer.
  • Narg - Tuesday, August 05, 2014 - link

    Please get an i7 version and mix it in these test. Reply
  • MrMindlink - Thursday, August 07, 2014 - link

    How about a SP3 i7 update? Please;-) Reply
  • vlad0 - Tuesday, August 19, 2014 - link

    So, do we expect the new Core-M (broadwell) to be as fast as the current Core i3 or faster ? Because, either way ... it will pretty amazing considering the TDP savings! Reply
  • patosandpotatos - Wednesday, September 10, 2014 - link

    will an i3 be able to run Microsoft office? Reply

Log in

Don't have an account? Sign up now