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Surface Pro 3 experience by SP2 owners


Staff member
This thread discusses Surface Pro 3 topics, specifically by former or current Surface Pro 2 owners.
By sharing good and bad experiences, this dialogue may help SP2 owners in making the decision as to whether the expensive upgrade is worthwhile.

Former and current Surface Pro 2 owners, please post your experiences or opinions regarding the Surface Pro 3 here.

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I'll admit, I do not have my SP3 i7 512 yet (on pre-order), but I spent a few hours at a Microsoft Store in a mall today. Because I am a heavy user / power user of the Surface Pro 2, and am very happy with it, I wanted to get my hands on a Surface Pro 3. My Surface Pro 2 has traveled around the world with me a few times, and saved my butt more than once with some urgent earth science data processing and presentation needs. Devices like that earn my loyalty. Why change, and spend so much money? I have seen so many reviews of the Surface Pro 3 online, but needed to get my mitts on the bits.

I am very happy to be making the switch. As soon as I picked up the SP3, I was hooked. The size seems just right. The device feels much lighter than I would have expected, and is iPad-like in friendliness. The kick stand seems well engineered. The response is great. I snapped the keyboard (a red Surface Pro Type Cover) onto the device, and started browsing web pages. Then I pulled the keyboard off, and held the device in portrait and landscape mode, tried out the pen, sent out a Webmail document, and navigated through some menus. I tried typing while standing, then sitting, to judge my comfort, typing accuracy, and ease of use. I have faith that the short-term introductory software bugs are being worked out, and units are being quality controlled more diligently. The Microsoft Store associates were willing to speak about this frankly. That's a good thing, since it gives me more confidence that I will be satisfied.

NOTE: I've seen some complaints by users regarding the Metro Interface of Windows 8 Pro, especially by Galaxy users and non-iPad users. These comments often are associated with complaints about one of the Surface devices, for which an OS with tablet features was created in the first place. I have learned to like tablet computing, and Windows 8 Pro, because I have also learned how to configure it to my liking. (How's that for circular logic.) I am not a Galaxy user, but I am an Apple developer, and also have been a Windows programmer since the term 'windows' had nothing to do with electronics. I think the combination of tablet OS, Surface devices, the in-Store experience, and the Xbox line will sustain MS for a long time.

On the Store table behind me was a beautiful display of Surface Pro 2 devices, which I still like. I picked up one, and became even more convinced that the Surface Pro 3 is worth the money. My SP2 at home will be sold, or inherited by someone soon. I still love my MacBook Pro Retina, and my iPad too, but if they had souls, they would start getting a bit nervous.

With the Surface Pro 3, I have found the computing companion I've needed for a long time.
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Active Member
I used my SP2 exclusively for my business, but I did long for a better, more tablet-like experience as I always felt that when using the SP2 for anything other than on desk/table work, it always felt a bit unwieldy. So, when the SP3 was introduced, I knew that I would be far happier with it. I did spend some time thinking about whether or not I should hold off and wait for the i7 version, but given what I felt about the actual limitations of the machine, I didn't think that the price premium of the i7 would pay off for me in terms of actual usable performance. So, I went ahead and put in the order for the identical configuration to my current SP2 (i5/256GB). I'm satisfied personally. I find the size, aspect ratio, and pen input change to be to my liking greatly. I also hold out hope that the bugs will be worked out. The issues with wireless, sleep state changes, (I've had a few Bluetooth "quirkiness" issues), etc. I think can mostly be solved through software. One of my biggest personal issues surround getting the wireless to work with our corporate EAP-FAST secured network, but at this point I'm not certain that it's a SP3-specific issue, so I'm withholding judgment on that one.

The final statement I can say is that this device is certainly the closest yet to my ideal iPad/MacBook combo replacement that I've ever seen and I have and do enjoy using it on a daily basis.


Staff member
I owned both the Surface 2 and SP2 and outside of some business uses the S2 was my go to machine and my SP2 wasn't used as much, I missed having a stylus on the S2 but weight and hand feel were much more important...

The SP3 has successfully replaced both and I have the best of both worlds with the added bonus of a 3:2 12" screen....


I will echo what everyone else has stated - this device is almost ideal, it is scary. I have had many devices and computers - and many of them while very nice (rMBP 15", Surface Pro 2), just were not devices I felt like being with all the time. The Surface Pro 3 is just so good - I want to use it all the time. "Lapability" is so greatly improved I am using it for doing coding and Sunday School prep on my lap - I would always dock my SP2 into my hub at home and use it like that for those sorts of activities. Not so with the SP3.

Microsoft has a real winner here - I hope people take note. This is an incredible device. Sure it has its niggles but what doesn't? Other than battery life - I really have no major qualms for my workflow.

Love it.
Not sure what all the negativity is all about on online reviews but they seem like they're just nitpicking things so there is something bad to say about the Pro 3. I had the Surface Pro 2 and it took me awhile to decide on the 3 due to the pen technology and the 2 being nearly perfect. After much thought I finally bought the 3 and never looked back. The extra screen real estate and the lighter form factor makes it so much easier and enjoyable to carry around. All the issues about what? The pen loop easily coming off, not fast enough for games, overheating, wife. problems.. . well, safe to say I didn't have any problems with that. To complain about not having a place to place the pen is just finding a way to trash talk. Get your surface, enjoy it and don't look back. BTW, I wrote this entire post using my pen.


Active Member
I agree with all the positives, but I took back my SP3 for the following reasons:

* fan comes on much too often, even while I'm just using Outlook. SP2 fan only ever came on when I was driving two external monitors. and it is quieter.

* my SP3 had lots of software and hardware glitches - screen not responding, keyboard detaching, etc. not that SP2 was perfect but I was rebooting SP3 every couple days. maybe it was a bad item, dunno.

* not a fan of the pen loop. looks terribly flapping around and got pulled off in my bag. unstable. plus, you want the pen connected to the chassis not the keyboard. SP2 is great with magnetic connector + pen loop attached.

* for me, battery life was pretty bad. 5-6 hours max vs. promised 9 and usual 7-8 on SP2. most reviews agree. I wish they would stop overpromising on this.

aside from those, it's a fabulous device and I miss many aspects of it. I'm hoping that Broadwell will solve a couple of these issues.


New Member
when browsing at night in landscape mode, I found myself tapping the bottom part for the windows logo and waiting and finally remembering its new position.


Active Member
I'm using my Surface Pro 3 a lot more than I did my Surface Pro 2. My Surface Pro 2 is a nice device, but I still found myself still using my MacBook Pro a lot. After getting the Surface Pro 3, I don't use my MacBook as much now. The larger screen size makes a huge difference, and the decreased weight is a major plus as well. I never transported my Surface Pro 2 with the pen magnetically attached, because the pen brushed up against me a few times and fell off. Therefore, I always kept the pen inside the front pouch of my case sleeve. I only attached it to the side if I was going back and forth between the pen while in use. I can still attach the pen magnetically to the side of my Surface Pro 3 while using it. It's not as sturdy as the Pro 2, but it still works. I actually like transporting it inside the pen loop. I've noticed that the fan comes on when the Pro 2 fan rarely ever came on. It seems to only happen when I'm using a certain app. Other than that, it hardly ever comes on. Battery life seemed to be a tad better on the Pro 2. I'm assuming this is due in part to the Pro 2 having a smaller screen and less pixels to push.
I'm not having the wifi issues because I don't have a wireless ac router. Hopefully Microsoft will release an update for those that are having problems. Every now and then my Type Cover will stop responding. I wasn't alarmed as much, because it does the same thing on my Pro 2. Disconnecting the keyboard, then reconnecting it always work for me.
So far I'm truly enjoying the Pro 3, and feel as though my money was well spent.
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New Member
I had a 256GB SP2 for about 2 months so I don't have as much experience as other people but from the 2 months I had with my Sp2, the SP3 is better in every way.

Note that I didn't game on my SP2 much and don't game on my SP3 at all in a matter of speaking. I do however use the Steam in home streaming along with a DS4 controller via Bluetooth and it is absolutely amazing. Using the power off my SLI GTX 780 gaming PC to stream BF4 and all other games at a constant 60FPS (I think game FPS is capped because of WiFi bandwidth but don't quote me on that.) I know that matters for some people though and obviously the SP3 suffers when using the hardware to play games. It has yet to be determined if a software update will fix the throttling issues but IMO I think it's a hardware design flaw and not software related.

The SP3 is a joy to use now as a tablet when before it was awkward holding such a large thick device such as the SP2. Granted the Sp3 is still fairly large the thinness of the Sp3 is VERY welcome. I love the larger and higher resolution screen. Definitely less cramped and the new aspect ratio is awesome as well.

The new SP3 kickstand is amazing. Microsoft really perfected it on the SP3. You can literally use it at almost any angle now.

I also really like the larger type cover. The mouse pad on the SP2 Type Cover was a PITA to use. The SP3 Type Cover is still a little cramped but much more usable than the Sp2 Type Cover. The secondary magnetic strip on the keyboard when it clips onto the front of the SP3 makes the device a LOT more rigid when using it on say your lap or something. Definitely not as lappable as traditional laptop but Microsoft is getting there.

The ONLY things that have been bothering me as of now is that the back of the Sp3 can get crazy hot. To the point that it gets uncomfortable if rested against the bare skin. For some reason playing Microsoft Mahjong (sp?) can really heat the device up to give you an example.

The other thing that annoys me which may or may not be the fault of the SP3 is my 128GB SanDisk Micro SD card sometimes disappears and I have to take it out and put it back in. Apparently SanDisk has been known to make their cards slightly thinner than everyone else and this can cause the dismount. I will be testing the card on some demo units at Best Buy to see if the card of the Surface.


Well-Known Member
Yes, that would be very helpful, actually. I am also planning to install a 128GB Micro SD card. I also noticed that when I slide the current Micro SD card that I have (64GB, SanDisk), it does not lock/ unlock into place with a click as it used to on the Surface 2 (RT) that I used to use earlier. But then some people on some of the forums also confirmed that there is no such satisfying click when sliding in a Micro SD card into their SP3s.

Shawn Alfenito

New Member
I just want to throw this out for anyone reading this forum and still trying to decide on purchasing a Surface Pro 3. A lot of the "issues" people seem to be having almost scared me off from getting what is now my favorite device... and I am an Apple guy!
I upgraded from the SP2 to SP3. I hate to be that guy that says everything is perfect when people seem to have legitimate issues, but...

I am a digital artist and I really wanted a tablet that I could use to paint/sketch/sculpt on that would run the same programs I use in my studio. I quickly became addicted to my Surface, but couldn't help wishing it were thinner and I disliked the aspect ratio. It always felt cramped when painting but the performance was never a problem. I read this forum and every other thing I could about peoples experiences with the SP3 before buying mine. I was pretty skeptical because so many users seem to be having so many issues. I figured I would give it a go and just return it if they turned out to be true for me. I have to say, I just don't see them.

I use my surface with Photoshop CC, Painter X3, Magna Studio, and Zbrush. These and Office are the deal breakers for me. I use my SP3 about 6-8 hours a day. The performance is amazing for such a thin machine. Obviously it can not replace the power of my desktop workstation, but I don't believe that's what it was designed to do. I used it constantly to take notes in OneNote with clients. I sketch whenever I have an idea. I paint high resolution paintings in Photoshop and Magna Studio and I do speed sculpts in Zbrush, and the fan really never comes on. I heard it faintly spin up during Zbrush session when I got into a super high polycount, but it did not impact performance. It did spin up loudly when I first booted and setup all the updates, installing software, drivers, etc. I had one wake from sleep issue with WiFi, but it has never happened since. I had one time the keyboard did not respond. I just pulled it off and reconnected and it was fine. I play some games using steam in home streaming in bed and it works flawlessly! That has caused the fan to kick on, but nothing to be bothered by. My pen has never given me a single issue other than the top button not always waking the device from deep sleep. I was very nervous about the switch to Ntrig, most digital artists live and die by Wacom tablets. I have been pleasantly surprised. The pressure level difference is not really noticeable. The pen has a strange delay in the cursor but it only took me a day or so to get used to it and now I don't really notice. The pressure response in Magna studio, PS, and Zbrush works very well and I never get missed strokes, or broken lines. Believe me, this would be an absolute deal breaker for me and I would have to return it if the pen could not be effective for drawing and painting. I did a complete painting the other day which took about 4 hours and ended up being a 3,000 x 2,300 file and the fan never came on.

I am not sure what folks are doing, or what their expectations are for a device this portable, but that is certainly more than I could hope for! I hope that anyone with a legitimate need for this type of device would try one for a week and not be scared off by all the complaints in this forum.