My Surface Pro 3 Experience Post Mortem

Discussion in 'Microsoft Surface Pro 3' started by Geek.Verve, Feb 7, 2015.

  1. Geek.Verve

    Geek.Verve Member

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    First, please let me make this perfectly clear - I still believe the SP3 is a fantastic device of evolutionary design, and I would not hesitate to recommend it to others. I just thought I would provide a bit of feedback on why I decided it's not for me. This is purely meant as informational and perhaps discussion-worthy and not intended as any sort of attempt to sway anyone's opinions one way or the other.

    That said (and please refer back to it as necessary as you read this), following is my experience with the SP3:

    The fact of the matter is the SP3 does everything I need it to and more. I probably didn't take advantage of some of the most useful and unique features it offers. Take inking for example. I see others use it very effectively, but it's just not something I ever really felt a need to do. It's just not a tool I personally can find a lot of use for in the way that I communicate.

    Tablet use. This is another area that I thought was going to be pretty beneficial for me. However, I find I don't often choose to use it that way. I pretty much always want that keyboard available, and on those rare occasions when I'm fine with a simple tablet experience (watching videos or browsing the web), I found the SP3 a bit heavy. Also, no matter the activity, the i7 would sometimes run pretty warm, causing the active cooling to kick in - not constantly by any means, but often enough to be a distraction. I just found I had a better experience with my wife's Kindle Fire HD in these cases. Again though, I just really don't find that I have a need for a tablet as often as I thought I might, but when I do, I prefer something more lightweight for my particular needs.

    When docked at my desk and attached to a full-sized keyboard and my new Asus PB278Q 2560x1440 monitor, the SP3 was a rock star. This and the portability of the SP3 was what drew me to it in the first place. I was able to work in Visual Studio, Blender 3D, Gimp - pretty much all of my development apps fluidly and comfortably with just one minor issue. The performance from the SP3's processor just didn't meet my expectations. I know the ULV Haswell processors aren't performance-equivalent to their desktop counterparts, but my workstation at the office with a Core2 Quad processor (4-generations older than Haswell in Intel's Core lineage) seems significantly faster. For example, spinning up an instance of the local web server service in Visual Studio and displaying a web page took slightly over half the time that it did on my SP3. This was not from a high-activity or hot-running state on the SP3, so throttling was not a factor.

    The portability of the SP3 is second to none, where serious productivity computing is concerned. Nothing else even comes close. When I had that thing in my computer bag, it was lighter than the padfolio I carried with it. However, when away from my desk with it, I had to scale the desktop environment to a minimum of 150% to be able to effectively use it, thereby giving up a good deal of desktop real estate - and I still needed to wear my "cheaters" (that's reading glasses for you young-uns) at that.

    Lastly, and perhaps more significant that I'd like to admit, when using the SP3 in a mobile scenario, I had to have a desktop or table to do so. I'm not the most...ahem..."fit" person, and I just do not have enough lap to comfortably use the SP3 as a "laptop". This is more a deficiency of mine than the SP3, but in either case it presented a problem in my particular case. Take it for what it's worth.

    I'll wrap this up be repeating that I think the SP3 is a fine device. I will certainly consider future versions with a better understanding of their applications for my particular needs. I understand that with Broadwell, Intel has closed the gap between the performance levels of the ULV and desktop processors. That is certainly a step in the right direction, and I look forward to seeing what the folks in Redmond can do with them. At this point I was pleased to find an enthusiastic buyer who was able to purchase my SP3 kit at a price that was fair for both of us, so that I can find a more conventional laptop better suited to my particular needs and usage patterns.
     
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  2. ctitanic

    ctitanic Well-Known Member

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    Nobody is perfect. For me it's the best Tablet PC I have ever owned but I have been using TabletPCs for longtime. Long enough to be using the pen as my main input method.
     
  3. Nuspieds

    Nuspieds Active Member

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    No matter how many people may rant and rave about a device and its features, at the end of the day, if the device and features do not meet your requirements, then the device simply isn't for you.

    As you mentioned with the pen, many people here and elsewhere rave about the pen and OneNote but, like you, I don't have a need for it--even though I also love and use OneNote. In my case, I turn to the pen when I'm in cramped space--like on an airplane--where desktop space is lacking, so I turn to the pen. Apart from that, I do not markup, take notes, etc., so I'm perfectly fine with touch, keyboard, and mouse as my main modes of input.

    The bottom line is that what's good and works for me is not necessarily what's good and will work for you--and vice-versa. It's clear from your post that this is also your point-of-view, as you see the value and benefits of the SP3 and will recommend it if and when you see it can meet the needs of others.

    For you, though, I certainly understand the disappointment (and possible frustration). Whether it be this device or any other type of product, it can be so extremely disappointing and frustrating when you thought you finally found the product that meets your needs but after some real-time use, you realize the opposite. Trust me, I've also been there. ;)

    Hope you find something that works out well for you!
     
  4. ctitanic

    ctitanic Well-Known Member

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    That's the bottom line. You have to find your match.
     
  5. mitchellvii

    mitchellvii Well-Known Member

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    I was reading a rumor about SP4 that they will do away with the kickstand and go with a detachable hard keyboard. If this can also flip like the Yoga I believe this would be an excellent improvement for lapability.
     
  6. jnjroach

    jnjroach Administrator Staff Member

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    God, I hope not.... that would ruin the device.... it also flies in the face of the Panos commitment on supporting the same peripherals as the SP3. I'll never understand all the people who desire the destruction of the best hybrid on the market.
     
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  7. sharpuser

    sharpuser Super Moderator Staff Member

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    The two most widely popular market draws for the Surface Pro were featured recently:

    1 - "What is that, is it a kickstand?
    2 - "You can write with a pen?"

    Don't take those away.
     
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  8. malberttoo

    malberttoo Super Moderator Staff Member

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    1,000 times agree with you.
     
  9. GreyFox7

    GreyFox7 Super Moderator Staff Member

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    Since the Yoga sucks big time there's no doubt this rumor was started by someone who likes the idea of the Yoga just not the execution.
     
  10. Spider

    Spider Super Moderator Staff Member

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    At present, any device that purports to do everything usually isn't the best at anything. I have a desktop, laptop and tablet. (For me) each is the best at doing something I need to do, while being the worst at something else I need to do. Maybe someday that will change, but not yet.:(
     
  11. Geek.Verve

    Geek.Verve Member

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    Thanks. I'm sure I will. I certainly wouldn't say I was frustrated with the SP3, and to be honest my disappointments were few. They were merely in a couple of key areas with regard to my own portable computing needs. It was absolutely a worthwhile experiment for me. I do look forward to seeing what the next iteration offers. I agree with others in that I also feel doing away with the pen and/or the kickstand would be a big mistake. Surely MS wouldn't do that.
     
  12. mitchellvii

    mitchellvii Well-Known Member

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    Well keep in mind the Surface Pro 4 has been rumored to be coming in 3 flavors - 12, 13 and 14 inch. They would likely keep the same keyboard design for the 12 but 13 and 14 inch models are getting a little large for the kickstand concept. To have something that large be "lapable" you almost have to have a solid (removable) keyboard.

    Who knows?
     

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