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Microsoft

Laptops


Do you like your MacBook Air? How about your iPad? I ask because Microsoft is gunning for both of these devices with its new Surface Pro 3. Redmond’s idea is that you could replace both your MacBook Air (or other laptop) and your iPad (or other tablet) with this one thing.

But I’m having a hard time going along with the plan — even after using the Surface Pro 3 for the past two weeks.

If you’re scratching your head, wondering where this device fits in, let’s review some history. This Surface is the third generation in the line of Microsoft-made tablets. The original launched back in October of 2012 with a watered-down version of Windows 8 and a processor similar to that of other tablets. It was followed four months later by a heftier model, the Surface Pro, which ran full Windows 8 software using a mighty Intel processor, like comparable laptops.

This newest device, the Surface Pro 3, starts at $800. But like its predecessors, this Surface doesn’t ship with a keyboard, so you’ll have to shell out another $130 for its Type Cover keyboard. Grand total: $930.

The MacBook Air, which Microsoft insists on comparing to this Surface, starts at $900. It comes with a built-in keyboard that’s much sturdier than the magnetic clip-on accessory for the Surface Pro 3. While the cheapest MacBook Air’s display is 11.6 inches versus the 12-inch Surface display, it comes with 128 gigabytes of storage versus 64GB on the cheapest Surface Pro 3. It also has a faster processor (Intel Core i5 versus i3), and weighs slightly less (2.38 pounds versus 2.41 for the Surface with its keyboard).

Microsoft

“But wait!” you say. “The Surface works as a tablet, too.”

Yes. This Surface has a touchscreen; the MacBook Air does not. You can take full advantage of this handsome touchscreen by leaning it back on a newly added flexible kickstand, which cleverly adjusts the screen to various positions for comfort and visibility.

Propped up with its improved kickstand, the Surface Pro 3 is easier to use in laptop mode than its predecessors. Users can tap the Surface Desktop tile to shift over into the more traditional, tile-free look and feel of Windows, Recycle Bin and all. Here, you can run any of your Windows software programs, including Office. Battery life is estimated at nine hours, which seemed accurate in my usage.

But with its top-heavy build and comparably flimsy keyboard, it’s still not nearly as sturdy or comfortable to use for a long time as the MacBook Air.

The Surface Pro 3 comes with a pen that works as a fun, quick solution for taking notes. Even when the device is asleep, a click of the pen wakes it, and immediately opens its screen to a note-taking section for quick scribbles. Another click of the pen sends the note off to your Microsoft OneNote account. I did this often, and missed it when I switched back to using the iPad. I also used the pen to play Sudoku, writing directly in my onscreen puzzle, and watching as my handwriting was immediately converted to typed, onscreen digits.

Microsoft

But folding the keyboard over and using this thing as a tablet is not an enjoyable experience. Its honking 12-inch screen feels big and bulky, and with the keyboard, it weighs more than twice as much as the one-pound iPad Air. Take off its keyboard, and the Surface still weighs more, at 1.76 pounds.

Even worse: I kept tapping the Windows button on the screen’s frame by accident because, well, you’re supposed to hold a tablet by its frame.

While we’re discussing this thing as a tablet, let’s talk about its touch interface. I’ve historically cheered Microsoft for its unique approach to displaying apps in live tiles on both the phone and tablet. These are still great-looking, and the interface of the Surface Pro 3 continues to offer useful, intuitive features like opening more than one window on a screen in a side-by-side view, and repeatedly swiping from off the left side of the screen to shuffle through opened apps.

But some of these apps are still rough around the edges. OpenTable, which I use often for booking restaurant reservations, has maps that flicker just enough to annoy you. The Twitter app showed that I was logged in, but seemed to lose its connection to my account in several instances when I tried to refresh my feed.

Microsoft

A bigger problem was that my Surface Pro 3 continually lost its connection to the Internet. This didn’t happen in my home or in a hotel where I stayed for six days, but it happened numerous times in my office, where we use Wi-Fi to power seven computers and numerous mobile devices — none of which have trouble connecting and staying connected to Wi-Fi.

A spokesman for Microsoft said this issue seemed related to when my Surface entered Standby mode while connected to our office router, which uses extra security. The company is working to resolve this problem before the Surface ships.

So, when will it ship? Two midrange models that cost $1,000 and $1,300 without keyboards will be available on June 20. If you want the low-end $800 model or the high-end $1,550 and $1,950 models, you’ll have to wait until late August. (None of these prices includes the cost of a keyboard.)

At its launch event, Microsoft continuously asked people to compare the MacBook Air to this Surface Pro 3. I’m sorry to say that I can’t recommend that comparison, nor can I recommend it as a replacement for your iPad or Android tablet.




67 comments
WSK
WSK

I am an avid apple user, after spending almost 15 years using PC from their inception and enduring every version of windows, then I discovered the Mac and never looked back. for 7 years now I have bought every apple product and loved them all. yet I have bought a surface 3. so the fact that I am a big fan of apple, could not hide the major benefits of surface 3 over IPAD or MacBook Air. For starter the new pen function on the surface 3 has improved so much that it is a pleasure to use. This alone is enough reason to surpass all apple products, the freedom of using a pen and paper in an electronic medium is the ultimate marriage between our freedom of expression and technology. The fact that I can use 2 split screens and basically run 2 computers at same time is most useful and cannot be found in apple. I use EMR (electronic medical record) at work, all of these type of software are windows based only, therefore being able to carry the device around and have patients sign or ink their consent forms right there and then is most useful. The large screen with high resolution cannot be matched by MacBook Air neither is the sound quality. in conclusion I believe the reviewer has not used a surface 3 or may have just seen one in a store, because there is no other explanation for the uninformed review.

Karlme
Karlme

I could not disagree with you more. First off, you compared the i5 Macbook Air versus the i3 based Surface Pro 3. From a price comparison you should have compared the i5 Macbook  plus an iPad versus the i5 Surface Pro 3 which is much cheaper than the Apple solution even with the MS keyboard which I agree is pretty pricey and I have not bough the MS keyboard as their are lots of alternate Bluetooth keyboard available. In the past, I found myself carrying both my iPad and my my Windows laptop so on the weight side the one product solution is lighter. I did not believe that MS had the right combination in the previous Surface models and I did not buy any of them. But I bought the Surface Pro 3 i5 128GB version and I could not be more pleased. Need a PC on the couch? The Surface Pro 3 is now my go to device over my iPad. I find the size not to be an issue especially when I cradled it and use the pen which I love. Need a laptop? It works perfectly as a replacement to my laptop. Need a desktop PC? Connect it to a large monitor with a keyboard and mouse and you have great performing machine. I never understood touch on a laptop but on the Surface Pro 3 it just works the way you expect it to. The one issue for Microsoft which you did not cover is the lack of Modern UI apps. Many of the iPad standards are just not on the Surface. Have I had to alter how I use the Surface Pro 3 versus my previous setups? Yes. But then I have been altering how I work with devices for over 25 years. Will it take off immediately? No question it will take a while especially compared to the iPad success. But my conclusion is that anyone looking to replace an older laptop should seriously consider the Surface Pro 3.

Captain_Eric
Captain_Eric

I am so disappointed in this review. It's shallow, uninsightful, probably even biased. The blunt and coarse comparison to two Apple devices doesn't help us with any nuance; we miss the potential, the innovation, the possibilities. This is my first time on Re/code after the end of All Things Digital in the Wall Street Journal. Is this an Apple fan club? Apple's a great company with fine products. We just need a good honest revie.

No doubt this device isn't for everyone, but I don't think this "reviewer" "gets it." I'm a math teacher. I can't wait to use the pen while walking around the classroom, while "inking " on problems, homework, presentations and projecting on the screen.

bear_man
bear_man

This is by far the most painful review I've ever seen. It's like listening to a review on a new brand of milk, by a reviewer who's lactose intolerant.

Woggy64
Woggy64

I guess your not the target for this, but I am.   Switched from carrying a notebook, an iPhone4S and an iPad2 in for a Surface Pro2 and a Lumia 920.   No longer tied to iTunes, so all my new music purchases go on a USB drive and stay in the car - where I used them.  Best thing I did, the Lumia is rock solid along with the S2 (have the 8GB/256GB drive model).   My only issue/complaint is no mobile broadband in the S2.  Would love to drop the mobile WiFi device :(   You listening MS?

zeda
zeda

 *facepalm*. Does she even know the product that she's reviewing? The surface pro 3 is clearly targeted towards those who want the functionality of both a tablet AND a laptop. As such there will be some compromises here and there. If you can afford a laptop and tablet and don't mind carrying both around then forget about the surface pro 3 but if you can't or do mind carrying both devices then the surface pro 3 could be considered as a replacement for both.

fantasma
fantasma

I would like to try this device. There are potential advantages to it: using real software, including work related apps that are unavailable for macs or tablets is a big thing. Manipulating CAD with a pen in a touchscreen also seems exciting.

poosanth
poosanth

Like many others commenting below, I too took the time to create an account just to comment on this 'review' (it wasn't nearly as painful as reading this review, so good on that front!). 


I don't think I need to add on further explanations as to why I think this article holds no value, that's been pretty much covered by users such as @Mergatroid69, @FznTundraMN, @Leeray, and many more.


However, I do think as visitors and consumers we need to do our part and give feedback. So here is mine:


Personally, I don't think I would have been so disappointed if I read this somewhere else, like on some 'tabloid' tech site, where I'd expect a 'review' of ths calibre. A 'review', in name only.  However, finding it here, which I took to be a more well grounded source of tech news and information, really surprised me.


Although being the author does by the very nature mean you will face the blunt of the blame, I do think some serious balls were dropped on the whole editing and review process which I'd imagine would take place here.


I'm not going to say I'll never come back, but it's definitely left an impression on me. 

StephenPAdams
StephenPAdams

 I think the writer fails to grasp the point of the Surface Pro 3 is to not require a person to have both a Macbook Air and an iPad. It's not necessarily for the person that JUST needs an Air or JUST needs an iPad. I don't she's made a compelling argument, either. The SP3 is cheaper than both devices together, more versatile, lighter, thinner, and more requires far less accessories. 


I'll be replacing my MBP and Surface RT with one.

Mike L
Mike L

Couldn't take any criticisms, huh? Just delete my comment, why don't you? 

FznTundraMN
FznTundraMN

I had to create an account once I heard this ridiculous, nonsensical review.

Ms. Boehret is making an argument that the Microsoft Surface Pro 3 is not a good substitute for a MacBook Air laptop and iPad tablet (together). She then goes on to compare these devices individually when discussing cost. FAIL. The Macbook Air starts at $899. The Surface Pro 3 starts at $930 (with keyboard). But wait! You forgot the cost of the iPad! An iPad Air starts at $499. That puts the iConsumer in the game at $1,398, a difference of $468. She does say at the end that she prefers the Macbook Air and the iPad over the Surface Pro 3. That's fine, but don't be misleading on investment cost.


Microsoft has created a hybrid machine that is a laptop and a tablet in one. There are some sacrifices (stability) and I understand what she is talking about - I own a Surface Pro 2. I am used to picking up a laptop by the keyboard and walking around with it. You can't do that with the Surface. But that's the trade-off - it's a lot nicer to watch a movie and surf the internet on a tablet (without a keyboard) than on a laptop. Presumably, that's why Ms. Boehret like to use the iPad Air - for entertainment.


On to the touch screen, a feature that was merely glossed over in the video review. How is this not a huge advantage? My wife bought a Sony Vaio laptop with a touch screen - the first touch screen in our family on a laptop. Using it is AMAZING. So fluid and intuitive. We have a gen I iPad, and the touchscreen makes it great. Until the Macbook Air gets a touchscreen (and a stylus) the Surface is better. Ignoring this feature seems odd to me.


In the comparison rundown on in the video, Ms. Boehret seems to sum up that the screen sizes (Surface is larger and has a touchscreen) and the weight (Surface is 0.48 ounces heavier) and the processor in the Macbook Air is faster (she is right, the i5 beats the i3) points to the Macbook being the clear winner. "So, there are some clear differences here," she says. One out of 3 ain't bad, right? If she is weighting the processor - then for $200 more, you can get the i5 in the Surface Pro 3 (a slightly better one - i5-4300U vs. i5-4260U in the Macbook) and you're still $268 below the Macbook/iPad investment.


For the record - when you boast that the Macbook Air is lighter (voice inflection makes this seem like a big deal) you should also point out that the difference is less than half an ounce. 5 pennies weighs about a half an ounce. Talk about a back breaker.


If you're an Apple fanboi - great, that's your opinion. There is nothing here that points to the Apple Macbook Air/iPad Air combo as the "clear winner". That's why it looks like her bias is coming through rather than the cold, hard facts.


Lastly, why does she insist on comparing the two different Apple products against the Surface? When I want to know how the new Ford Mustang compares to the new Chevy Camaro, I don't want to hear that the Camaro loses because if you also have a F-150 truck you can carry lumber, but the Camaro loses because it just can't do it. Doesn't make any sense to me, but somehow Ms. Boehret still has a job.


leeray
leeray

If this wasn't listed in the Review session, I'd be more forgiving. For Re/Code, led by Walt and Sara, I expect something that is of higher quality, especially if you call it a review. It's ok if it is an expression of opinion. (We all opinions, right?)


The Pro 3 is a new breed of device. Nothing is like that. We can argue or even judge if Microsoft has done a stupid thing (or clever thing) by forcing its comparison to two of the most successful products from one of the strongest competitors. But one cannot deny that the Pro 3 is different. So, as a common reader who does not have access to the machine at this early stage, I expect you to give us idea how this new breed of devices can be used and how these new use cases can make people happier or not.


For example, numerous manufacturer had attempts to make pen computing work. None has been successful so far. How is the this N-Trig pen working in real life? I mean, not just pick up the pen and write Re/Code on the screen and make a conclusion but to use it as it is designed: take note, character recognition, photo retouch, light casual graphic design, mark up of pdf documents etc.


Another example is the touch experience. Win 8 was hated by so many people because it basically is designed with a touch screen in mind and most of the early adopter do not have one. Now with this tablet form factor computer with such powerful cpu and other guts, what would the experience be? There is no added value telling us that the "flimsy" keyboard did not give you good typing experience. Everybody can see it. Nobody will compare it to a mechanical Cherry keyboard or even any normal laptop keyboard. We know that.


Be inspirational, please.

sbuk
sbuk

http://recode.net/2014/01/02/its-not-a-church-its-just-an-apple-store/

Looks like the linked article was targeting the wrong folks. To those complaining about bias; Microsoft's claim is that this device bests the MacBook Air. Isn't it better then to have it reviewed by a MBA user?

Being a user of both the Surface Pro 2 and MBA/iPad, and a multi-platform sys admin, this review is nailed on. My own take on the Surface Pro 2, for what it's worth, is that it is a fantastic device, but the keyboard cost is a pain point, the track pad isn't nearly good enough and that the iPad and MBA exist, both are better, IMHO, at what they do. It's a close run thing, granted, and YMMV, but really, te caterwauling is unwarranted. I'd like to take a Pro 3 for a spin still, but based on this review (and others) my views still seem to stand.

Trolling Device
Trolling Device

While reading this article I thought I were on "The Verge".





Sam Clift
Sam Clift

The reality is tablets in general are a gimmick and a waste of time.


Surfaces bridge that gap by actually being a decent laptop with the option of being a tablet if you want to look pretentious at your local cafe.


I agree with Former Apple User - he realized the error of his ways and went back to something productive. 

Former Apple user
Former Apple user

Gosh, if either of the two has over-governed, it's Apple.  Seriously - you could leave Windows programs anytime if you wanted to.  Try converting anything done in Apple to Microsoft Word and you'll run into a few problems.


Guys - businesses with legitimate needs use Microsoft Office,,,,,period.  I'm not talking about small businesses that can use any type of spreadsheet, etc.....I'm talking about the big boys.


I get it - casual computer users are the bulk of the market and that's why the oversimplified devices that can run aps do so well......they work for a good chunk of folks.  Apple should be commended for this.  However, I realized how I was being tied into Apple and really enjoyed my switch to Windows based computers.  I can do a lot more.  It's that simple.


I know the Surface isn't perfect - a perfect machine doesn't exist.  However, the Surface fills a niche that isn't there yet.  A good looking laptop/tablet all in one.  Try doing laptop work on your iPad mini - the perfect size for a tablet.  Try getting the juice out of any laptop that you can get with a comparably priced desktop - not an option.  It's all what you want and need.  I would like the diversity in using office documents in a tablet and the ability to run a full version of Photoshop and LightRoom on a tablet sized device.....not as my main device, but absolutely perfect for small travel.  If I'm away for a few weeks, yes, my laptop will go with me.  If I move, I'll take a desktop and 30 inch screen there.


Let's face it - none of these products really compete with each other.  If you are an Apple user, you'll probably stay there.  If you are a Windows user, you will probably stay there as well.  It takes a chunk of change to convert.  For someone who has used both, I'll take my Windows systems any day.

Brewer
Brewer

All MSFT has ever done is to tie people to windows, including all their work on so-called 'tablets', all their work polluting perfectly great standards so they only work in Windows, etc...    All they have ever done.   If they put 10% of that time into actually making a DECENT product, they would be MUCH BETTER OFF. 


At least they didn't just copy the iPad though.   I guess they are fine with copying Apple (obviously) but just couldn't bare to copy Google copying Apple.   Something like that. 


No way will a 'surface' ever compete with iPad and OS X with continuity.    As if the surface sales weren't bad enough already and you didn't already know this.  

Petra in the Middle
Petra in the Middle

 It won't fit everyone, but the reasons I'm purchasing an SP 3 are:

1) the tablet is fully a computer that runs all the important business applications, the Office Suite, MS Project, and anything else in the Windows world, not just ''apps,''

2) it can function not only as a tablet and laptop, but also with the docking station, as a desktop,

3) there is output support for 4k monitors and running dual screens.


jm2c
jm2c

I see a lot of reviews and opinions about how the Surface Pro 1/2/3 is not better than an iPad and not better than a laptop.  They stick to comparing the best features of 2 devices to a single device and don't consider the benefits of having "very good" in a single device.  Those are definitely fair opinions, but personally I like what the Surface Pro is doing.


I think it's a great device for people who carry around both a tablet and laptop, but don't want to.  It's not going to be better than the best tablet and best laptop, but it's going to be pretty good and lighter and cheaper if you were to buy both a tablet and laptop.


It's also great for people who want pen input on both their tablet and laptop, which is fairly rare in both tablets and laptops.


For those that do want a dedicated tablet and dedicated laptop and are fine carrying both around and switching between them as needed then the SP3 isn't a product for you.  


Microsoft does pitch the SP3 as something that can replace your laptop and because of that I do agree that having to purchase the keyboard cover is misleading.  Microsoft should really include the cover if they really want the SP3 to be considered as a laptop replacement.


adam222green
adam222green

I'm still curious to see the i7 version of the Surface Pro 3, but it is $2000 and that's just a bit too silly for such a limited device.  The Air is great for limited tasks in terms of its screen size, but it certainly has the performance for just about anything, plus it's available now and has a strong resale value whereas the Microsoft products are Q4 (at least three months) and have dismal resale value, so the cost to experiment is prohibitive.

I think both Apple and Microsoft send you back to either a Chrome device for that touch browser experience or a technology brand like Asus for a multitouch full Windows laptop with serious performance and larger display for real work and play.

ViewRoyal
ViewRoyal

An "apples to apple" comparison (pun unintended ;-)) would be the Surface Pro 3 with 128GB SSD and i5 processor, like the MacBook Air.


The MacBook Air is $899

The Surface Pro 3 is $1,029 ($999 + $130)


That makes a comparably equipped Surface Pro 3 $230 more expensive!!!


Regarding the touch screen on the Surface Pro 3, you get the same multi-touch capabilities with the large, glass trackpad on the MacBook Air... and you don't end up with "Gorilla-Arms" or finger-grease smeared display!


Regarding being able to run full Windows applications on the Surface Pro, the MacBook Pro also can run full Windows applications, as well as full OS X applications... something that the Surface Pro 3 (or any Windows PC) CAN'T do!


Also notice in the video that the person using the Surface Pro on his lap has his knees up in an uncomfortable position, so that the tops of his legs are level, not at an angle. This is because (unlike any normal laptop) if you have your lap at a normal downward angle, the Surface Pro 3 will be unstable and may fall over.


The MacBook Air is thinner overall, lighter, more useable, and $230 less expensive. These are plain facts that are undeniable.



bc3tech
bc3tech

I especially liked the "continually lost its connection to the Internet" followed closely by "never happened in my home or hotel".

bobsulli
bobsulli

It would make sense for the OS to learn a user's frame edge tap frequencies so that the Windows button does not trigger so easily. If the user frequently cancels from the Windows button it's likely that incidental (not accidental) touch is the culprit. Is that something Microsoft has considered in their design and user testing?

WP7Mango
WP7Mango

Don't worry, there are plenty of reviews which disagree with you and DO agree with Microsoft that it can be a great replacement for the iPad / MBA combo.

bojennett
bojennett

There are no cars that get 80MPG, can be driven off road, seat 12, go 0 to 60 in 3 seconds, and are a convertible.


You have to make tradeoffs.  By making the screen bigger to be a better laptop, it is too big and heavy a tablet.  By making the keyboard a flimsy removable widget, it makes it a chincy laptop.


The market has spoken.  You can keep trying to smash these things together, and use as your justification that we used to have separate phones and cameras and now they are one device, but you will continue to fail.  Camera and phone merger makes sense because you have limited pocket-space.  This doesn't make sense because once you aren't putting things in a pocket, but instead a bag, you have much more space to work with, and thus are less likely to make tradeoffs just to reduce the number of devices.


Some people will buy this device.  Then again, I've seen Pontiac Aztec's on the road, and I have no idea why anybody would have bought that piece of junk.

DrewAPicture
DrewAPicture

Funny how you guys accuse Katie of a biased review, then write 5 sentences about how Microsoft is better than Apple.

I think Katie raised some very valid concerns, especially with Microsoft wanting the comparison with the MBA. I too was excited with the announcement of the SP3, especially because Microsoft is finally treating it like a laptop that can also be a tablet, instead of the other way around.


Unfortunately, it seems like Microsoft still has a a bit of progress to make when  it comes to form factor. Most people are not going to interact with a tablet while it's sitting upright on a table, and if basic functionality is interrupted by holding the tablet, you've got bigger problems to contend with.

BrianZoh
BrianZoh

I have a few problems here: This reviewer wants to compare the 3 to a laptop  and then to an Air but fails to account for the fact that the cost of entry to compete against the 3 requires the purchase of both a laptop and a tablet, carrying around both a laptop and a tablet weighs what, costs what? That seems to be an inconvenient truth that few reviewers ever really want to address.


My next issue is that people who write reviews are, by nature, not like the rest of us. I might use my laptop or a 3 actually ON my lap occasionally, but certainly not often and never for long periods of time. I do not know of anyone at work who does so. I do not know of anyone in my personal life who does so. The majority of the time the device is sitting on something, or I am holding it. The usability of a tablet on my lap is a nicety, and by all accounts the 3 is very usable on the lap.


And really ... the complaint that one continually hit the windows button on the bezel borders on ridiculous. That's like my favorite complaint heard at the physicians office "it really hurts when I put my finger in my eye".



Some say that the Surface devices are Microsoft answering questions that no one is asking. I say that these reviewers are only posing questions they know the product will answer in ways that reaffirm that their way of living with technology is best.

Yash96
Yash96

@Former Apple user You put it very nicely. This is literally the best comment I have seen on this page so far.

poosanth
poosanth

@Brewer Ah world. Why must you tax as so much with these troll tolls. 

NitzMan
NitzMan

@Brewer Microsoft ties people into Windows? What exactly do you mean by that and how are they achieving this? At home, I have a MacBook Pro, Mac Mini, iPad, iPhone and it's all networked with an AirPort Extreme. At work I use Windows 8.1. So as someone who has experience with both operating systems daily, I don't understand what you're talking about.


Microsoft's software is excellent. While they may not always have the polish of Apple's implementation, they've created functionality that's unparalleled.


The Surface Pro is an amazing device and I'll be willing to trade in both my MacBook and iPad for something that I can dock and use as a desktop with an external monitor, full keyboard and mouse and then pick up and use as a tablet.

ViewRoyal
ViewRoyal

@adam222green Comparison:


12" Surface Pro 3, with 256GB SSD, 8GB RAM, Intel i7 processor, and keyboard costs $1,679.


13" MacBook Air, with 256GB SSD, 8GB RAM, and Intel i7 processor $1,449.


That is $230 less than the Surface Pro 3.

BrandonLive
BrandonLive

@ViewRoyal  That's not a fair comparison though. You've upped the specs on the SP3 to match the MBA, but not considered the other specs where the SP3 is ahead.


For example, the i5 in the SP3 is much faster than the one in the MBA. It's significantly thinner and lighter (especially versus the 13" MBA, which is closer in screen size).


More importantly, the SP3 has a *WAY* higher resolution, higher quality screen. Not to mention touch.


That's all just treating it as a laptop. When you consider the value of the tablet functionality, kickstand, pen, etc, the Surface Pro 3 offers a very compelling value proposition.

sw121290
sw121290

@ViewRoyal The Surface Pro 3 is actually thinner and lighter than the MacBook Air. So yes - your statement is deniable.

To be honest, I don't understand why people make a big deal about the lap thing. Granted the Surface Pro is harder to use on the top - but really, at least personally I don't find myself using laptops on my lap anyways. The only time I find myself wanting to use a laptop without a table is when I'm bored and waiting outside. I tend to want to watch a video or play some games. The tablet form is more advantageous for these activities when outside.

My brother owns a MacBook Air. He loves the trackpad and I can give you that it is comparable to touchscreen capabilities. However, I personally hate trackpads. In college, I always brought a mouse with me, and whenever I'm forced to used a trackpad, I hate it. The touchscreen design is okay to me (I still prefer the mouse). This is only because of the flick capability when scrolling and the larger surface to work on. Point and clicking is also more preferable to me than using the trackpad (I really don't like it. But all this is purely personal preference.

Overall for me, I find the Surface more useable. Being able to use it as a tablet is worth the premium. Not to mention that the pen feature on the Surface is actually very impressive and significantly adds value. I have the generation 1 and love the pen + OneNote, and I heard SP3's pen feature has significantly improved.

The keyboard is bit weak, but I personally have a bluetooth keyboard that I feel is better than any other keyboards I have ever used. Since the SP has bluetooth capabilities, it works out perfectly.

jnemesh
jnemesh

@ViewRoyal A macbook air and an ipad mini would be a much better purchase.

BrandonLive
BrandonLive

@bojennett  Saying "the market has spoken" is incredibly naïve. That's like saying the iPhone was a stupid idea because previous attempts to converge PDAs/Phones/MP3 players had not been met with an abundance of success.


Comparing a marvel of engineering and design versus the Pontica Aztec should get you banned from the internet.

BrandonLive
BrandonLive

@DrewAPicture  Oddly the review didn't really touch on any of those points. Yes the Pro is larger than an iPad Air. Of course it is. But it's nearly the same weight as the original iPad, and thinner. All while being immensely more capable than the iPad Air.


Is it better for everyone? Of course not. And if you really want a competitor with iPad Air-like form factor you'll have to look at the Surface 2 or whatever successor to that comes down the road. But if you're willing to trade off a little bit of weight for a vast array of capabilities, performance, and a larger screen - then this is the device for you.

sw121290
sw121290

@DrewAPicture As a 12'inch, you probably want to hold it vertically for reading anyways. It seems more nature and preferable. Plus the extra vertical length for your articles is more advantageous. 

If you are watching videos or playing games, you probably want to put it down on a surface anyways, which means you won't be holding it by the edges.

Brewer
Brewer

@BrianZoh I'd say more than a few problems actually, with the way technology is going.   

Schlep
Schlep

@ViewRoyal @adam222green yet still has a 1440x900 screen vs. the SP3 at 2160x1440. Also there is still no pen or touch input on the top of the line MacBook Air.


A better comparison at that price point is the SP3 at $1679 vs. the 13" MacBook Pro at $1799.

Brewer
Brewer

@sw121290 @ViewRoyal So you are saying that cheap plastic is actually lighter than aircraft aluminum.   Interesting...

ViewRoyal
ViewRoyal

@sw121290 @ViewRoyal "The Surface Pro 3 is actually thinner and lighter than the MacBook Air. So yes - your statement is deniable"


Only your response is "deniable".


The Surface Pro with keyboard (necessary to use as a laptop) weighs 2.41 pounds.


The MacBook Air weighs 2.38 pounds... yes it is lighter than the Surface Pro 3 with keyboard!


The Surface Pro 3 with keyboard is over 0.5" thick, end to end.


The MacBook Air is a wedge shape going from 0.11- 0.68 inches thick, with an average thickness of 0.39 inches.


Yes, the MacBook Air is thinner over all than the Surface Pro 3 with keyboard!


Brewer
Brewer

@Schlep @ViewRoyal @adam222green LOL, as if one could not use a ridiculous PEN input on an iPad, you mean?   You can you know.  Mac Book Air retina is coming.    For the copycats, they think it's a bonus to have more than 'retina' resolution, but it's actually not.   



ViewRoyal
ViewRoyal

@Brewer @sw121290 @ViewRoyal

As it turns out, aircraft aluminum is lighter than plastic in this case...


Surface Pro 3 with keyboard for laptop use = 2.41 pounds

MacBook Air = 2.38 pounds

BrandonLive
BrandonLive

@ViewRoyal @sw121290  That's actually different from Microsoft's specs, which put it at 2.39 lbs with the keyboard. Either way, for all intents and purposes it is exactly the same as the 11" MBA. Except that its screen is closer in size to the 13" MBA, which is about 3 lbs.


Your claim about thinness is just being silly. The MBA is clearly thicker (*especially* when comparing the more comparably equipped 13" model).

BrandonLive
BrandonLive

@Brewer @Schlep @ViewRoyal @adam222green  You absolutely can NOT use a pen on an iPad as it lacks an active digitizer. You can use a crappy capacitive stylus, with no OS or app support at all. That is FAR from the same thing.


Oh, and Apple didn't invent high DPI. They gave it a silly brand. And they still don't offer anything remotely close to it on the MacBook Air (it's not even "HD" - one of the reasons the MBA is a terrible value).

Schlep
Schlep

@Brewer @Schlep @ViewRoyal @adam222green If you count the iPad, then the cost goes up to $1948 for the MBA+iPad combo, or $2298 for the MBP+iPad combo. Plus whatever you pay for the stylus.


And there's a huge difference between the pen input on the Surface Pro and a capacative stylus on an iPad.

ViewRoyal
ViewRoyal

@Schlep @Brewer @ViewRoyal @adam222green

There are high-quality pressure-sensitive styluses that work on the iPad. They are made by companies like Wacom, Adonit, Ten1Design, etc.


Some have interchangeable brush tips for artists who want to paint naturally.


But most iPad users will never want or need a stylus of any sort. There is a limited market for this on the iPad, since most people accomplish what they want to do just using their fingers.


That is why styluses are an option, but not included with the iPad.