Usually I don’t talk about Microsoft products, but after falling in love with my new Surface 3, I have to explain why is the coolest tablet ever
With the launch of Windows 8, almost 3 years ago, I got a free Surface RT. Unfortunately the whole concept “RT” was a fail. “RT” meant that while it looked like a regular windows 8 computer, you couldn’t install any desktop applications. Considering the App Store catalogue at the moment and the price tag I’m not surprised it didn’t succeed. Mine has been sitting in a drawer since then.
This year I got one of the new basic Surface 3 (600 €) for testing purposes. This time it IS like a regular computer, you can install whatever desktop applications you want + there are a lot more apps in the store.
At home, when I’m not working, the iPad is with me most of the time. I don’t use a lot of apps, mostly: Flipboard, Mitele, Atresmedia, TV online, Youtube and Chrome. I use it to watch TV, flipboard and browsing the internet.
This summer I was planning to take my iPad with me on holidays. However, as I had been playing with it to test Windows 10, I thought, why not? Let’s take the surface to the beach. It’s pretty much the same size, slightly heavier, BUT it has an amazing keyboard and Office 2016 in case I need to work. And all the apps I need are also available in the Windows Store, so I won’t miss anything. And for the first time in a long time, I fell in love. I developed this type of bond you get with those gadgets you can’t live without, you get me right?
I have to say it doesn’t replace my work laptop. My surface is the basic version, with an Atom x7 processor, even though you can use it for Photoshop, you need to be aware it’s not a super powerful processor, and I usually have tons of tabs open at the same time, excel, visual studio… Even though it performs great for “average” workload, I don’t see you editing video or launching rockets with it. My iPad would start to scream as soon as I open several tabs in Chrome, there would be no way it could handle the same hassle.
Surface 3 vs iPad Air 2 specs
Killer Surface features
One of the biggest reasons why it has overun my iPad, is the keyboard. Most people complain it sells separately at 150 € and I understand, but it is really worth it. The keyboard has real keys (you don’t type against something flat) and is a breeze to use.
The surface 3 has 1 USB 3 + Mini Display Port + microSD + standard microUSB port for charging. You don’t get any of those in an iPad, and this is where it gets tricky. When you use your Surface with the keyboard, you somehow forget it’s a tablet, and compare it with a laptop, like the Macbook Air, and of course that’s a battle where Surface won’t win, but we’ll leave that to the Surface Pro.
However, I see the basic Surface 3 doing an outstanding job and perfoming perfectly for most tablet and laptop users.
If you are a person who loves taking notes by hand, or drawing, or doodling while meetings, you will enjoy Surface. With an outstanding system to detect your hand and the pen strokes, artists and students around the world are raving about it.
Yes, the pen is also sold separately (50€) but it’s one of the best stylus out there.
Office 365 for free
The basic surface comes with a preview of Office 2016 + 365 yr subscription. Combine the note taking capabilities with OneNote super powers (another of my favorite products) and you get a killer notebook: easily take notes, record a meeting or class in video, share notes with other people and have it all sync with Dropbox or Onedrive, which means you can have it available in your mobile or other computer within seconds.
Of course if you are a professional who needs to edit spreadsheets, send word documents, generate PDFs… this is definitely your device.
If you plan to use it as your desktop computer, you can easily do that by plugging an external screen to the mini Display Port. This is also handy if you make presentations as you can plug it to a projector.
Of course you can update to Windows 10 for free. I always hated the win 8 “metro” screen (the screen with tiles) I am a desktop person. Windows 10 gets rid of that screen and gives you the “regular” start button we have always loved. One more reason to update is you will not lose any of your installed apps, documents, settings… the upgrade is the easiest and smoothest ever. I didn’t even backup (my important stuff is in Dropbox, so in case anything is lost, I don’t care. I strongly recommend you backup if you have important stuff and you don’t have a copy.
Another reason is booting time. When the Surface is asleep and you click the button, you have it ready almost instantly. Of course if you need to restart or you have shut down the computer, it will take a few seconds to load.
Of course if you need more power or a bigger screen, you may want to have a look at the Pro version. However if this is going to be your secondary device or you don’t need a super powerful machine, the basic version will do the job.
Let me tell you that one of the things I love the most is the size and weight. I can carry it on my bag (yes it is 600g) but it saves my life wherever I am.
On the down side, and even though some charts give it 10 hours battery life, for me, watching videos, browsing the internet, flipboard, etc I’d say it’s more around 8. Still I think it’s more than enough for most people and definitely beats my work laptop with hardly a couple of hours battery life.