Wi-Fi Performance

For networking, the Surface 3 features the same Marvell AVASTAR 802.11ac network adapter as its big brother. I have seen a lot of the firmware updates for Surface Pro 3 over the last year being network related, so hopefully they have all of the bugs out of it by now. During my time with the Surface 3, I did not have any issues with it. It is a standard 2x2:2 setup, and the top of the Surface 3 has a plastic section to act as a RF window.

WiFi Performance - TCP

The average speed during our TCP test was just about 350 Mbps, which is not too bad but well off of the Broadcom devices, which can see over 500 Mbps.

Speakers

The Surface 3 features to forward facing speakers hidden in the display bezel. It makes for a nice look, and having the speakers facing you helps a lot with stereo and should help with the overall sound quality too.

The Surface 3 is not especially loud, and the frequency response is about what you would expect for a small device with no room for proper speakers. There is almost no sound below 150 Hz, and around 15 kHz the sound drops away. Maximum volume I observed while playing music was 76 dB(A).

Camera

This tablet has two cameras, with the rear camera being an auto-focus 8 MP unit, and the front facing camera is actually a decent camera as well, with 2304 x 1536 resolution shots. The one quirk with the front facing camera though is that it really works best when the kickstand is in the first position, and because this is not a laptop with an adjustable hinge, you will always be limited to where it points.

The rear camera though is surprisingly good, even in low light. I am still not a fan of using a tablet to take pictures, but if you have to, this one will please you.

 It will work in a pinch, but I will stick to my smartphone when I can.

Battery Life Final Words
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  • ingwe - Monday, May 04, 2015 - link

    This definitely looks interesting. If they would lower the price a bit or use faster storage, I would almost certainly buy. Reply
  • hughlle - Monday, May 04, 2015 - link

    Agree. As a device it is very compelling especially at that price point (i paid £480 for a 64gb ipad air 2 which could do pretty much nothing), however i'd only want one for the full functionality, and once you've paid out for that, it becomes quite a big argument as to whether you just pay the little more and go for the i3 sp3. Reply
  • stefstef - Thursday, May 07, 2015 - link

    no need to be unhappy. used apple hardware goes like hell on ebay. you might surely get a good price for it. Reply
  • jim32 - Thursday, May 07, 2015 - link

    I plan selling my iPad Air and getting the Surface 3 when the LTE version comes out. I need to wipe the dust from the iPad first though. Reply
  • hughlle - Monday, May 18, 2015 - link

    Sold it a week later and took a 100 pound hit. 20% depreciation in a week is hardly good retention of value in my mind, Reply
  • houkoholic - Monday, May 18, 2015 - link

    It's relative - with Android kit you usually lose 40%, and in 6 months more than 70%. So 20% is actually very good. Reply
  • JRX16 - Wednesday, May 27, 2015 - link

    One week or 6 doesn't make much difference here. It would still be 20% which is excellent for anything used. What makes a difference is how close it is to the next release. It's not like a car with mileage, time of use doesn't make a big difference in price on these things. Condition does. Reply
  • jaydee - Monday, May 04, 2015 - link

    My sentiments exactly. I feel there's a very small number of people who "need" a tablet/laptop all-in-one and are willing to sacrifice the best of either world, for an average tablet/mediocre laptop. I might be generous calling it an average tablet, just because of the lack of apps compared to android and Apple. If you're not going to hit at an attractive price point, then I'm not sure of your expectations.

    With the $600 model, plus type cover and dock pushing $930 plus tax, why not an HP Spectre x360 8GB/256GB for $999? Is the portability, really worth giving up that much CPU/SSD speed, and RAM/SSD capacity, better keyboard and larger screen?
    Reply
  • deathwombat - Monday, May 04, 2015 - link

    Lack of apps? It runs Windows! It runs about 8 billion apps written between 1995 and 2015. There is no large library of apps for any tablet. Reply
  • smorebuds - Monday, May 04, 2015 - link

    Ikr. I just want to run my legacy Windows programs on a 10" screen using just my fingers. Can't do that on my sucky Samsung and Apple tablets. Who needs modern touch-friendly interfaces anyway... Reply

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