A Month With The Surface 3

When Microsoft launched the Surface 3 I was a little sceptical of the device. It was priced close to the iPad but without the huge range of apps; it was a low power Atom based device, but significantly more expensive than some other Atom devices.

As an iPad and MacBook Air owner you could say that I was slap bang in the middle of Microsoft's target market. As a Surface Pro owner my more natural upgrade path would seem to be the Surface Pro 3. The Surface 3 has proven capable enough to replace all three of those devices for me.

Its an easy device to live with. It's light and portable, has excellent battery life and great connectivity. The screen is a decent size, the keyboard is excellent and the trackpad is good enough for daily use. Performance turns out to be excellent, that Atom processor is the first quad-core 64-bit version of its line and turns out to be very capable.

What the Surface 3 does well is demonstrate how good Windows can be on good hardware. Which I guess is the whole reason for the existence of the Surface line.
Where the Surface 3 really wins is its versatility. Walking between offices here in Auckland its as easy to carry as an iPad. I use the Surface Pen and OneNote in meetings - an awful lot less intrusive than dropping a laptop onto the meeting table and a lot more capable than trying to capture notes on the iPad. When I'm at a desk it's as capable and functional as a laptop and, if I'm doing something that requires me to sit at a desk for any length of time, I can plug in one of the USB 3 docks that we have on every desk here and I'm running two external screens, a mouse and a keyboard.
Charging is easy enough too. The offices here are littered with iPhone 6 and Samsung S5 chargers (our corporate options for phones), either charger juices the Surface 3 whilst in use, albeit quite slowly. The combination of excellent battery life and being able to jack in anywhere means no battery anxieties for me.
At its third attempt Microsoft really has delivered with the Surface. It does the tablet experience as well as the iPad, it does the laptop experience as well as a laptop, and it turns out that flexibility is its biggest advantage over either.
I can't see me switching back to the old way of working...


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