May
30
2014

The tablet nobody asked for – Microsoft Surface Pro 3

The tablet nobody asked for - Microsoft Surface 3

The tablet nobody asked for – Microsoft Surface 3

It’s been a bad few weeks, errr, years for Microsoft. They’ve missed the train on literally every major product category, their shares prices have peaked long ago and most importantly, nobody seems to like Windows anymore. Windows XP was a different era, a time when Microsoft reigned supreme. An era not yet engulfed under the warm glow coming from an Iphone’s display. Something changed, and apparently Microsoft didn’t get the memo.

I’m not a Microsoft hater and to be honest, I don’t have any reason to be. My first computer was a windows 95 setup built by my brother and was loved sincerely by everyone who came in contact. It’s hard to recount how much button mashing my pudgy little hands did while playing Rover. But the fact that I have to sit here and justify it is a direct result of years of negligence. To put it in real world schematics, the post Justin Beiber era has not been very kind to Microsoft. The transition from floppy disks to Flash hasn’t been the smoothest for the folks over at Redmond.

What is a Surface?

On the surface, Surface was supposed to be Microsoft’s answer to the Ipad (puns like these are how my race survives). Two iterations later, Microsoft is ready to challenge the Macbook Air. Now, Microsoft’s Tablet strategy is a little confusing to put things in a polite context. Microsoft launched two Surface models on June 18, 2012. The Surface RT was a direct contender for the Ipad’s throne while the Surface pro was aimed more towards the Ultrabook Market. This strategy was flawed from its foundation. The Surface RT, which was more or less a high end tablet with all the bells and whistles entailed, failed to dent the Ipad’s impact and was berated by most reviewers for providing a very limited Windows Experience (no support for Legacy Apps). So, if you picked up a surfact RT, thinking they you’d be better off doing powerpoint shenanigans on a touchscreen, well Microsoft had different plans. At virtually the same price as an Ipad, it was a battle Microsoft was poised to lose.

Surface pro, built on a Intel processor and legacy support was taken more kindly by the reviewers. But it came with its own drawbacks. The lack of a physical keyboard, lukewarm battery life and a hefty price tag meant it was a hard sell to the average consumer looking for a sub $600 notebook. Not even an year later and Microsoft took a much public $900 million inventory adjustment hit on the Surface RT.

Microsoft has the ability to take such financial hits, hits that could cripple an entire Island Nation. But for how long?

Two years later, we are witnessing the launch of Microsoft Surface Pro 3. It’s latest attempt to salvage something from the Tablet/Ultrabook market. From the outside, it seems like every surface pro before it, a tablet that’s desperately trying to be a Ultrabook and from the looks of the new surface, it seems like a fairly triumphant effort.

The new surface comes in the form of different variants. The basement model starts at $799 and comes with a intel i3 processor, 64 gb storage and 4 gigs of Ram. For a tablet, that might seem like overkill and for a laptop, it seems *meh*. The higher end models are where Microsoft truly flexes its muscles. The highest end model comes with a intel i7 processor, 200 gb storage and 8 gigs of ram. But it will set you back $1500. We’re talking Retina Macbook pro money here.

Also, one thing that bothers me the most is that Microsoft never mentions the price of it’s detachable keyboard with the Surface, which they should as they are marketing the Pro as a Laptop replacement. The Keyboard will set you back an extra $130 but it’s definitely worth it.

While using the pro, you’ll notice that it seems ridiculously large without it’s keyboard and seems a bit small when you snap it back on. It takes some time getting used to it.

That slight weirdness, the largeness in tablet mode, is completely worth it for the added real-estate in computer mode. Whenever I used a previous Surface Pro, regardless of the guts inside, it felt like a tablet with a kickstand and a keyboard attached.

Sporting a 12-inch, 2560 x 1440 screen with a 3:2 ratio, the Surface Pro 3 is bigger than just about any other tablet out there.

That body is not just slim but also beautiful. Light gray instead of dark black, the Pro 3 sets a standard for industrial design. This is a still a wonderful-looking machine from every corner.

But the Surface 3 is more than a thinner and bigger upgrade, the Surface Pro 3 also has some design updates that change its functionality in a big way, and for the better. The best of these is the new hinge.

What is important to remember is that the Surface Pro is nothing without a Type Cover and the Type Cover for the Pro 3 has its fair share of new tricks as well. The new keyboards come with a  magnetic bar across its top. This bar lets the whole cover fold up to mag-lock against the whole of the Pro’s lower bezel for stability. Other than that though, there aren’t many changes made to the cover.

As a computer, the Surface Pro 3 is great. Typing on it doesn’t make you want to kill a Unicorn by strangling it from the charger provided.

The battery life is decent and lasts for around 7 hours of heavy use. But compared to real laptops that can offer 10 or 15 hours with just a little added girth, 7 hours isn’t great. The keyboard is impressive for a plasticy compact thing, but nothing to knock you off your feet. Meanwhile the touchpad, while wildly improved from previous versions, is still far from good.

Should you get it?

No

Am I going to give a reasonable explanation?

Yes I am. At $ 799 + $ 130 for the cover, you get the base model. People, like you, me and Tiger (I call Tiger Shroff, Tiger now) won’t be spending near a $1000 on a tablet/laptop/female kryptonite that has a App ecosystem as wide as Tushar Kapoor’s acting skills. For almost the same price, you can grab an Ipad air on top of a well spec’d out laptop. Now I know the entire point of a surface is to replace both of them but the sacrifices it has to make for that, certainly outweigh the advantages it provides.

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