Devices – November 2014

Microsoft have just released what they think is a gamechanger in the tablet/ laptop market. Can the Surface Pro 3 really kill off the laptop…find out below!

When it comes to tablets I have to admit I have rarely looked beyond Apple…until now. Microsoft has firmly positioned this device as the ‘laptop killer’ which is a big claim for any manufacturer to make. Microsoft has been working towards this ideal device for years now and has always come up just a little short…until now.

I used the Surface Pro 3 for over a week and it is the closest thing to a laptop, in tablet form, I have ever seen. From the keyboard to the stylus pen, it was exquisite to use and a piece of me died inside when I had to hand it back! I’m not surprised they wanted it back either, it’s not a cheap piece of kit at all. They come in at several different price ranges, starting at £639 (i3 processor and 64GB storage) moving to £1,649 (i7 processor and 512GB storage)….and if that wasn’t sickening enough it doesn’t even come with the keyboard, that will set you back about another £100!

Once you have picked your jaw off the floor over the price you will instantly fall in love with this device. Every inch of it feels like it has been made with quality materials which give it that premium feel in hand. Since the last Surface model Microsoft have expanded the screen size from 10.6 inches to 12 inches which jumps the pixel count up to 2160×1440 (216ppi) which makes the screen simply breathtaking. The kickstand and stylus pen have been given vast improvements over their predecessors also. I have never really taken to using a stylus pen and always thought it was a little gimmicky or for those with some sort of art interest but I have now seen the light. Even when I was doing simple web browsing the stylus pen made everything effortless, it became just a part of my right hand as it provided such precision when navigating screens or looking to click on anything specific. It was so accurate that between that and the great screen size I hardly ever spent any time zooming in and out of web pages trying to read or navigate them. It wasn’t until I started using this device that I realised I must have wasted a large part of my life exercising my thumb and forefinger on various webpages!

The device is carrying Windows 8.1 which should be no real surprise to anyone but if you are in the majority of the planet you may not have experienced the delights of the platform. It does take a bit of getting used to but once I signed in with my Hotmail account it all synced up in no time and I had my Email, OneDrive and all my other apps ready to go.

Aside from the price there are a few issues with battery life, at just under four hours of juice this is a major stumbling block to Microsoft’s claim that this a tablet that can replace your laptop. Other tablets on the market get over twice that amount of battery life in them for less than half the price!

Final Verdict

This truly is a magnificent piece of kit which is a cut above the rest in terms of versatility and functionality. For your everyday tablet user they are going to want to stick with more affordable options but there is a compelling argument for the business user. The beauty of using a native Microsoft device is that it also makes the most popular collection of business apps on the planet, namely Word, Excel and the rest of the gang. Some may argue that in this day and age this kind of thing is a non-issue which is sort of true, but it does take more time and effort to sort out. The bottom line is, if they sold them at £500 with a keyboard I would buy one tomorrow… and I would probably never switch my laptop on again.

 

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David Dungay

Editor - Comms Business Magazine