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Surface Pro 3 - Initial Impressions

Posted 2014-08-09 04:57:47 GMT

I acquired a Surface Pro 3 today from Microsoft. I have a number of things that I need to do with it, including integration with some Metro apps that a business partner offers, testing our own applications, and building some touch-friendly Windows apps for $work. While I don’t think this will be replacing my iPad anytime soon, I was reasonably impressed. For those who are interested, I’ll share my thoughts and initial impressions.

Disclaimer: I have used this for all of about 3 hours throughout the day. This is by no means exhaustive.

I am very impressed by the hardware. The Surface Pro 3, hardware-wise, is a suitable laptop replacement. It has an Intel Core I7 processor, 8 GB of RAM, and 500 GB of hard drive - more than enough for most applications. The display is beautiful. It offers a larger screen than an iPad as well. All this comes at a price though. While not heavy by any stretch of the imagination, it is considerably heavier than my iPad Air and has a much larger form factor.

Windows 8.1 is very frustrating. Classic applications bounce back to a traditional Windows desktop, while the newer WinRT apps run on the new Windows 8 desktop. While there are some amazing looking WinRT apps, the desktop with the tiles I find extremely awkward. It took a while to figure out how to group and organize everything to my liking. While it has more desktop configuration flexibility than the iPad, it is really non-intuitive. But I did finally manage to cobble the Start screen in something I could tolerate.

The Start menu in the classic desktop is still broken. Instead of giving you the traditional Start menu, it throws you back on the Metro desktop. The constant changing of desktops makes me seasick after while. Thankfully products like Start8 and Classic Shell can give you a traditional Start menu back.

The onscreen keyboard is amazing. I think I like it better than Apple’s.

Microsoft has poised the Surface Pro to be an iPad competitor. I really see it more as an iPad Air competitor. But in Microsoft’s endless chasing of Apple’s tail, I think they missed the marketing mark yet again. While it won’t be replacing any of my Apple devices, if I had to use another Windows laptop daily, I’d use a Surface Pro.

Stardock has some amazing add-ons for Windows 8. If you are a full time Win8 user, check them out!

Tags: technology win8 surface crome-plated