Surface 2 vs Surface 3: Should you upgrade?

Discussion in 'Surface 3 (Atom)' started by GreyFox7, Apr 4, 2015.

  1. GreyFox7

    GreyFox7 Super Moderator Staff Member

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    Ref: http://www.windowscentral.com/surface-2-vs-surface-3-should-you-upgrade

    The Surface 3 will be on store shelves in early May. But is it worth upgrading to if you're already the owner of a Surface 2?

    Note: It's been reported that Best Buy has the Surface 3 on display NOW!

    There are a few key points worth considering before making any final decisions. Let's break it down.

    The operating system:
    The new Surface 3 is the first that doesn't carry the 'Pro' title to come with the full version of Windows 8.1. And that's a big deal, because it gives it a longer lifespan than the Surface 2, regardless of how long you may have owned one.

    We're talking about Windows 10. The Surface 3 will get the free upgrade to Windows 10 later this year. The Surface 2 will not. Or at least, not the full version

    Besides future software upgrades, there's another huge benefit to the Surface 3 over the Surface 2. Like its bigger brother, the Surface Pro 3, the Surface 3 can be a full Windows workstation at home and on the go. It can be a laptop, it can equally be a desktop PC in conjunction with the optional Docking Station. It can run Windows desktop apps not just modern apps, and for many, that's a huge deal.

    However, if you bought a Surface 2, presumably you're fine with running just Modern apps. If that hasn't changed, then getting a Surface 3 may not be necessary. But if you want to future-proof yourself a little better, it's worth considering.

    No more ARM chips: (technically not true, or technically true for devices this size)
    While we wouldn't say the general performance of the Surface 2 was bad, there have been critics of Windows running on ARM chips like the Tegra 4 inside it. Microsoft, at least for now, appears to have given up on ARM powered Windows devices. They were exclusive to Windows RT and with that exiting stage left, there's no longer a need.

    Instead, the new Surface 3 packs Intel's latest quad-core Atom CPU. It's an unknown quantity still, but performance in the Modern apps you're used to as a Surface 2 owner isn't likely to be any worse. These apps run well on even low power Windows tablets so you're going to be in for a good ride.

    A change in form:
    The Surface 2 was very much to be used in landscape mode. The Surface 3 follows the 3:2 aspect ratio of the Surface Pro 3 and that makes a difference to how you use it. In landscape it's taller, in portrait it's wider. It makes for a more comfortable experience as a tablet. As a laptop-esque device, the Surface 2 was just fine. Propped up with the kickstand with its keyboard docked. But 16:9 tablets like this aren't as fun to use as a tablet.

    The Surface Pro 3 is actually pretty great to use in portrait orientation for reading, despite having a large 12.2-inch display. The Surface 3 is a little smaller and should be even better to use this way.

    A few other points to note:
    • The Surface 3 has the same support for a digital pen that the Pro tablet has. Albeit the pen is an optional purchase at $50.
    • The kickstand on the Surface 3 has an extra position when compared to the Surface 2. 3 vs 2.
    • The Surface 3 charges using microUSB. Something no other Surface tablet has to date. If you own any phone but an iPhone you'll likely have plenty of microUSB cables lying around.
    • Like the Surface 2, the Surface 3 will eventually be available in cellular form with LTE data support.
    • If you're into taking photos with your Surface for whatever reason, the rear camera in the Surface 3 should be much better. It could even better that in the Surface Pro 3.
    • The Surface 3 has a larger display but is still lighter than the Surface 2.
    • The Surface 3 comes with one free year of Office 365.
    The bottom line
    No-one can decide whether you should upgrade but you. We can help you with that, but ultimately it's your money and your decision. If you're perfectly happy with the Surface 2 and how it works right now, then you might be fine hanging on to it for a while longer. If you use primarily Modern apps and have no desire to venture into the desktop, the Surface 2 will continue being the device you've enjoyed thus far. Unless you're looking, longingly, at Windows 10.

    Ultimately that could be the deal breaker. The Surface 2 will not get Windows 10 in the same way that the Surface 3 will. So if you want to start using your Surface for more, getting into the desktop and even using it as a laptop, it's absolutely worth moving up. There's so much added value with the Surface 3 such as the digital pen, the updated hardware, the change in form factor and even the year of Office 365 Microsoft will give you for free.

    Sadly the future is a little bleak for the Surface 2. The future is brighter for the Surface 3. If it's a future you want to be part of, definitely think about upgrading.

    Are you making the upgrade or sticking with what you already have? Let us know in the comments below!
     
  2. GreyFox7

    GreyFox7 Super Moderator Staff Member

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    Well I'm waiting for someone to publish a performance comparison between the Surface 2 and 3 and or benchmarks of the Surface 3.

    Hmm, maybe I can sneak one in over at Best Buy on the display unit. :)
     
    Last edited: Apr 4, 2015
  3. malberttoo

    malberttoo Super Moderator Staff Member

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    I would do it for the 3:2 alone....
     
  4. kundas1

    kundas1 Super Moderator Staff Member

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    as am I... if it does perform better then I wouldn't hesitate to sell my S2 to fund getting the S3! also I went to BB in Canada yesterday and they don't have any demo models yet!
     
  5. netuser

    netuser Member

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    If you bought the Surface 2 because you didn't want to deal with "full blown Windows" and malware, then there is no reason to upgrade to the Surface 3.
    If you really wanted the Surface Pro, but only got the Surface 2 because it was cheaper, then now you can get the Surface 3 and still save money vs a Pro.
     
  6. GreyFox7

    GreyFox7 Super Moderator Staff Member

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    Set up an Application Whitelist, whatever isn't on the list wont run.
     
  7. netuser

    netuser Member

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    Obviously, it is not that simple or else way more people would be doing that and the major malware issues would have gone away years ago. No RSA hack, no Sony hack etc. from one person or a few people clicking on malicious emails and people landing on hacked websites with exploits that their antivirus didn't recognize.
     
  8. AZ Cowboy

    AZ Cowboy New Member

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    I'm going to upgrade - then I can download Chrome. The web browser on the Surface 2 is dreadful. There are so many sites that won't work correctly. Some see the Surface 2 as a mobile device and an unusable web page is loaded. I've been basically quite happy with the S2. It's great for watching Netflix. But it really needs a much better browser.
     
  9. kundas1

    kundas1 Super Moderator Staff Member

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    sorry but I disagree with you, IE is the best browser out there and uses the least amount of resources out of all of them, and there hasn't been any sites that didn't work for me accept maybe one and that was because it was badly coded or NOT CODED for TOUCH devices... dunno why YOU'RE having trouble...
     
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  10. GreyFox7

    GreyFox7 Super Moderator Staff Member

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    I have seen a few early reports and early benchmark results that indicate the Surface 3 appears to be a worthy upgrade to the Surface 2. Now to decide on accessories... I think maybe a Red cover this time with Black Pen. Sorry, I use a USB docking station for compatibility with other devices so the Surface Dock is going to remain in port sitting on the dock of the bay, everything remains the same :)
     
  11. FFX

    FFX Active Member

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    I would love to upgrade, but the price jump from my Surface 2 to the Surface 3 really seem to be huge. Its almost double the price without any of the accessories included.
     
  12. GreyFox7

    GreyFox7 Super Moderator Staff Member

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    Maybe true when you bought it but the initial price on the Surface 2 was 449/549 IIRC. The covers are the same price and there was no Pen for the Surface 2 so that is either the same price for the same functionality or $50 more with the Pen. A fully outfitted S3 is $100 more than the original Surface 2 price.

    With that in mind I doubt the rumors of SP4 being cheaper, there's nowhere to go with the SP4 price with S3 sitting where it is. I think we will see a Skylake Core-M SP4 at $799 as the lowest price model and up from there.

    Maybe there will be a 10.8 Surface 3 Skylake Core-M (low end 5y10c equivalent.. 6y10c?) at $699/799. However to be fanless it would likely run at 3.5w SDP.
     

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