Are there problems with it? Yes.
Do I absolutely love it? I love my kids and my dogs… but I suppose I do like it as much as I have ever liked a laptop or tablet… and I have had quite a few of them over the years!
What are the problems? There is really only one that you should be aware of if you are thinking of going out to buy one. It’s the patches and the battery.
How, you may ask, do patches and batteries wind their way into a single problem? Simple… as you probably know, everything in computers is managed by software drivers… and that includes the battery to some extent. When you buy the device (or any device) you are prompted to apply patches, and at this point a couple of them for the Surface Pro 3 are firmware updates. You apply the first one, and then you have a problem…
…Windows tells you there is no battery detected. Worse, if you unplug the device it shuts off immediately. The firmware update actually tells the computer that there is no battery installed.
BUT THERE IS! Wait a minute! I was using it unplugged just a few minutes ago! Where did it go? Oh… I get it! The pesky firmware is what screwed me up. Let’s check to see if there is ANOTHER firmware update. Plug it in, connect to the Internet, run Windows Update… By Jove, there it is! Install it, and presto changeo, there’s my battery!
…and what a battery it is! My original Surface Pro probably gave me 3 hours of battery (with Hyper-V and a bunch of other things draining it). The Surface Pro 2 was probably closer to 5. The Pro 3? I haven’t had it run dry on me yet… for the first time in my laptop-owning life I am not afraid to leave the house in the morning without the charger.
THE SCREEN BOSS, THE SCREEN!
(Imagine the voice of Hervé Villechaize if you would…)
Yes, there are a lot of improvements over the Surface Pro 2, but wow I never would have imaginged that the 1.4″ difference in screen size (12″ over 10.6″) would make that much of a difference. As I told you recently I have an external 16″ screen that I keep in the trunk of my car so that I can have the dual screen experience on the go. I don’t know that I have pulled it out once since I got the Pro 3… the combination of the slightly bigger screen and the much improved screen resolution make the extra screen redundant… at least when I am on the go.
Don’t get me wrong… the day the Pro 3 docking station is available I am buying it – I have pre-ordered it from the Microsoft Store, and I have the voucher for it (from something else I returned). All I need is the e-mail saying it is in… and I expect that to be around the same time the remaining Surface Pro 3 models (with the Intel i3 and i7 CPUs) are released, sometime in August. When I am at home (or an office) I will still want the multi-screen experience. On the go? Not necessary anymore.
A lot of people are saying I should have waited for the Intel i7 version, but the reality is I have not found myself lacking. The Surface Pro 3 runs everything I need it to with 8GB of RAM and the Intel Core i5 CPU, and frankly I don’t want to spend the extra money (the i7 version will come in two models – 256GB storage for $1,599, and the 512GB model for $1,999. Too rich for my blood, but thanks!
I am asked pretty often (including 3 minutes ago, as I sit at the Microsoft Store in Square One Mall blogging) whether the Surface Pro 3 is really a laptop replacement. The answer, as with everything, is that it depends. I would think that for the vast majority of people the answer is yes. If you are a true hard-core gamer? Maybe not; there are some gamers who need more than 8gb of RAM. If you are a coder? I have a friend who is a programmer who needs to run virtual machines running more than 8gb of RAM at all times. (Did I mention that I LOVE the fact that it runs Hyper-V? Well I do…). Aside from them? I don’t know too many users – even power users – who need more than 8gb of RAM ever, not even occasionally. For them (like myself) I would say that this is the device for you.
If you are in the Greater Toronto Area come down to the Microsoft Store at Square One or Yorkdale Malls to check it out! :)