Microsoft is really pushing the “laptop replacement” concept with the new Surface Pro 3. The device should appeal to business users preferring to remain in a Windows environment while on their tablet, rather than using Apple’s iOS or Google’s Android. Of course, as we shall see, the Surface Pro 3 is much more than just a tablet.
The first quality to note about the Surface Pro 3 is that it is both thinner and lighter than the previous two editions. Microsoft have also increased the display to 12 inches, and improved the screen resolution to 2160 x 1440. Built into the thin body you’ll find a full-size USB 3.0 port, a microSD card reader and a Mini DisplayPort. The device features two 5-megapixel cameras (one for the front and one on the back) as well as stereo speakers with Dolby sound. Other hardware specs include SSD storage (from 64GB to 512GB), 802.11ac Wi-Fi and TPM 2.0 for enterprise security.
Microsoft are keen to develop the ‘laptop’ side of the product, with the clip-on keyboard (known as the Surface Pro Type) also receiving an upgrade. The Type Cover acts as a screen protector, full keyboard and touchpad interface. The new Type Cover is larger than its predecessors; although the older versions will still work, they won’t cover the entire screen when the flap is closed. It feels like the best add-on tablet keyboard you can buy, but still falls short of a decent laptop keyboard. Additionally, it is sold separately for £110, despite the fact that anyone buying a Surface Pro will want this as part of their package.
The Surface Pro 3 starts at £639 for the Intel Core i3/64GB SDD model. Buyers can also upgrade to either a Core i5 or Core i7 and select a larger SSD (up to 512GB).
While the new Surface Pro 3 is Microsoft’s best mobile device to date and has been embraced by members of summ.it and our clients alike, it’s arguably more successful as a tablet than as a fulltime replacement for your laptop, especially if you spend a lot of time editing documents where a larger screen is beneficial.
Although it’s unlikely to replace your primary desktop or laptop it is a great compliment, it’s a more versatile alternative to the iPad and will work very well for business users, particularly for those who travel or simply want an unobtrusive device that has the performance to match its sleek design.
For those who are wary of the Windows 8 and Windows 8.1 operating systems and the lack of a Start menu, the problem is easily resolved by the app Classic Shell from www.classicshell.net
Classic Shell is free, easily installed and restores the Start menu that Windows XP and Windows 7 users are familiar with, making working with Windows 8 and Windows 8.1 a much more user-friendly experience.