back to article Microsoft Surface 3 Pro: Flip me over, fondle me up

The touchscreen Surface Pro 3, unveiled on Tuesday, is Microsoft's latest attempt to bridge the gap between laptops and tablets. Panos Panay claims Surface Pro 3 is one device to rule them all Panos Panay claims Surface Pro 3 is one device to rule them all "It starts with dreaming the impossible," gushed Microsoft CEO …

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Anonymous Coward

Re: Screen too small?

"users found 13" too small"

But that was at 1080p or less - this has far greater than full HD resolution. All you need to do is engage zoom mode and move your head nearer the screen...

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Re: Screen too small?

Among tablet pc users the 12-13'' size is generally considered the "right" one since it is close to the useable real estate of a DIN A4 college block. The 10-11'' range was a "if nothing better is around" (Sony Duo 11) or "combined with an Atom it's acceptable"

Bigger tablet pc (Acer R7-572 i.e) are mostly "Artist tool" where portability is a nice add on but not the main job. A 12''/below 1kg/6+h of endurance unit is often seen as the "sweet spot" for units with inductive digitizers.

The switch to NTrig will be debated. DuoSense2 is up to WACOM in most areas, better in some (edge accuracy) and worse in others (needs battery) but still better than Atmel (HP) or the DELL abomination

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Re: "Among tablet pc users"

Sort of misses the point though, Intels research suggested smaller screen sizes as a major cause of potential ultrabook users *not actually buying them*. I think the Surface in an ultrabook competitor role will suffer the same lack of interest.

Maybe the current minority constituting 'tablet pc users' is worth targeting but it doesn't seem a good way to noticeably increase sales! It certainly doesn't seem to be the market MS think they're targeting.

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Re: "Among tablet pc users"

Actually that is EXACTLY the market MS is targeting. Price, capabilities, presence of MS in tablet pc oriented discussion groups/forums etc. all show that. The S/P3 screams "affordable alternative to Q704" and "more power than similar priced/equiped Baytrails".

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Windows

Nice!

I'll take two. This is exactly what MS should have done - the 10 inch screens are too small for the tiny MS Office menus.

Just send the bill to someone else please.

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Surface ***3***. i.e. this is our 3rd attempt after 2 dismal failures.

I think my confidence is dented enough to say no thanks, even if it made tea, washed the car and predicted the lottery results

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"Surface ***3***. i.e. this is our 3rd attempt after 2 dismal failures"

Oh?

And which was the first version of Windows to start selling in large numbers?

Oh, right: it was Windows 3.1.

Microsoft are very good at iterating. They don't give up after just one go; if they think the concept has legs, they'll keep trying and trying until they get it right.

And it's not just Microsoft either; the Mac was Apple's *second* attempt at producing a GUI-based desktop computer. Similarly, the iPhone and iPad were predated by Apple's own Newton by some years.

It's extremely rare to get it right first time.

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Holmes

Re: "Surface ***3***. i.e. this is our 3rd attempt after 2 dismal failures"

Yup. Xbox too. They just keep grinding along until they have a winning product.

Except don't say the word "Zune". Bad word in Redmond, apparently.

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Re: "Surface ***3***. i.e. this is our 3rd attempt after 2 dismal failures"

Yeah, kinda surprising. MS usually starts getting things right by the third go round, but they sure cratered with this one. I mean, it sounds like a decent device spec-wise but there's too many compromises for them high prices.

Microsoft? Yeah, I remember them. Didn't they do something with IBM once?

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Re: "Surface ***3***. i.e. this is our 3rd attempt after 2 dismal failures"

> It's extremely rare to get it right first time.

Keep telling yourself that.

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Third attempt???

For all those that think this is going to be "third time's a charm " for MS,...

MS have been trying to sell tablets since the 1990s. It has always been BillG's pet form factor. BillG was always waving around tablets at Comdex.

They started with Windows 3.1 for Pen Computing 1.0 in 1992. Since then they've served up at least 8 different flavours - none of which has gone anywhere useful.

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Gimp

Re: "Surface ***3***. i.e. this is our 3rd attempt after 2 dismal failures"

@Kris - "> It's extremely rare to get it right first time.

Keep telling yourself that."

Yeah - we all know Apple never got anything wrong.

I mean besides the Apple III.

And Lisa.

And Puck mouse.

And the ROKR iTunes phone (what you didn't know Apple tried to sell a screwed up piece of garbage phone in 2005 before they figured out the iPhone?)

And Newton.

And Pippin (what? You didn't know Apple tried to sell a PlayStation competitor that flopped so bad it never sold 100,000 units?)

And eMate.

And QuickTake digital camera. (and Quicktime for that matter).

And iPod HiFi.

And MobileMe.

Should I continue?

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Re: "Surface ***3***. i.e. this is our 3rd attempt after 2 dismal failures"

>Should I continue?

No one cares.

Apple's failures are irrelevant to the failure of the Surface - which is a failure because it does absolutely nothing new or interesting in a market already crowded with form factors of all kinds, all of which score higher on affordability, desirability, and/or innovation.

The real problem continues to be Microsoft's inability to understand what customers want or to make stuff that appears cool.

'Hey look we made a small thin computer thingy' is not an interesting USP in 2014.

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Re: "Surface ***3***. i.e. this is our 3rd attempt after 2 dismal failures"

Since when did this become about Apple? The story's about a different company.

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Linux

Re: "Surface ***3***. i.e. this is our 3rd attempt after 2 dismal failures"

"Microsoft are very good at iterating. They don't give up after just one go; if they think the concept has legs, they'll keep trying and trying until they get it right."

That's why I'm looking forward to Windows Phone 42.

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Re: "Surface ***3***. i.e. this is our 3rd attempt after 2 dismal failures"

Apple TV took how many attempts before it was usable out of the box?

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Where the initial to PRO series Surface really failures? Any concrete numbers on that? The RT flopped as expected given the CTrail ATOM based units that where out at similar price/endurance and better capabilities.

But x86 tablet pc/convertibles, while never a big market, have been build by at least two of the big names (IBM and later Lenovo, Fujitsu) since 2003 at least. And others have been/are also present in the market (HP, DELL, ASUS, ACER,...). Niche market but hey, so is MacOS

As for "cool" - why? Computers are tools so they must be functional. In that way they are like rifles. A HK G36 has all the "cool" toys (Aimpoint, integrated scope, lightweight) but if the weather is to hot/cold/wet/dry it fails. The HK G3 has none of that, it is ugly and primitive. But is does work at -30 degrees, in the rain or even after taking a drop in the mud.

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Silver badge

Re: "Surface ***3***. i.e. this is our 3rd attempt after 2 dismal failures"

The phrase "Bing it on my Zune" still raises a smile from me. It just sums up perfectly the quality of Microsoftness, like the kid who is trying so very hard to be cool.

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Re: "Surface ***3***. i.e. this is our 3rd attempt after 2 dismal failures"

The phrase "Bing it on my Zune" still raises a smile from me. It just sums up perfectly the quality of Microsoftness, like the kid who is trying so very hard to be cool.

Or more like the politician who's trying so very to be cool, or down with the masses, or whoever they're targetting today who isn't a political donor.

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Shame really...

I got a Surface - ARM, version 1 - for a work project and it has (along with the Pro series) two killer punches nothing else has:

Full sized USB port and a proper charging socket

Okay, my Asus T100 has a port on the keyboard and everyone bar Apple has micro-USB... which usually does double-duty as a charging socket. Fine, for considerate, technical people but you can't give most tablets to numpties: you can't trust 'em with micro to full USB adapter leads. You also can't charge and plug in an external device at the same time. *And* you can only shove 2 amps over micro USB... it's an embuggerance!

Why oh why, Microsoft, make a true business-class tablet for peanuts (ARM version) and then say you can't use it for business?! Store apps only :( That might float for the phone, but the ARM tablet is a failure due to a *policy decision* and jeez, no one would actually care to figs for the processor. Five minute recompile job in Visual Studio.

Microsoft, you had 2 years head-start over the competition (for Windows tablets) and you pissed it up the wall.

Tablet that sits happily on lap? Asus T100

Tablet with separate charging socket? HP Omni 10

Tablet cheap as chips with no need to go through Store? Toshiba Encore

I might not get my full-sized USB port on-tablet any time soon but hey, give it another year for Asus, HP, Tosh, Dell, Acer, et al to shamble towards some better designs 'cos it's not like Microsoft are gonna press their advantage :(

/rant:off

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Silver badge

Re: Shame really...

> two killer punches nothing else has: Full sized USB port and a proper charging socket

I have a 10" tablet that has a charging port plus _two_ USB ports, one is host, the other client. Plus I use a bluetooth keyboard/cover/stand. Using bluetooth means that I can have the tablet in portrait and/or have the keyboard (or a full sized one) on my knee while the screen is, say, on the airline tray.

> numpties: you can't trust 'em with micro to full USB adapter leads.

Why ? Do they try to use the wrong end ? Do they have difficulty knowing which way to use a pencil ?

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Re: Shame really...

@Richard Plinston

A 10" Windows tablet with charging and two USB ports?! Sign me up, I really, really *need* one of those. Do tell :)

Bluetooth keyboards? Another device to charge or supply batteries? No thanks, we have enough :P

Numpties: don't let them mess with micro-USB ffs... I've know ppl break full-size USB ports forcing them in upside-down, micro doesn't stand a chance. Resilience is not the design's selling point :(

@Shane Sturrock

I feel your pain, buddy. My laptop is Windows 8.1 with that stupid Secure Boot feature and I have to boot up VirtualBox just to write a boot sector on a USB memory stick! "Soz, bootsect not safe for you buddy!" If it wasn't for 100% of my clients being on Windows I'd take Linux and even OS10.x as my main system any day.

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Meh

Where is the laptop

The Surface 3 has decent specs - at least on paper.

Why doesn't anyone make a decent Windows laptop with this kind of spec?

256 GB SSD, 8/16GB RAM, 9 hr battery - not very far from this tablet/laplet (what a silly name)

Wouldn't mind if it was twice as thick and heavy as the S3.

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Anonymous Coward

Re: Where is the laptop

"Why doesn't anyone make a decent Windows laptop with this kind of spec?"

Sounds like the HP Envy range to me...

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This hybrid laptop/tablet approach still doesn't work

I just replaced my three year old MacBook Air with a new Retina MacBook Pro 13" and bumped the specs to 16GB RAM and 500GB SSD. That's a serious little laptop right there. I can run VMWare Fusion with multiple OS's each with plenty of RAM to do real testing, and the speed of the SSD is amazing. A huge step up from my old MBA. Add my trusty iPad and iPhone and I'm all set. I've got the perfect laptop, along with a phone and tablet which have oodles of great apps and work really nicely together. Nailing all that functionality into a single device is the dumbest idea ever. I see people on planes struggling to use their Surface Pro, especially the front seat guys with the wobbly tables that come out of the arm rest and I'm happily able to pull my iPad out of my bag and kick back. If I need to do some work, the MacBook Pro is there too and it is small enough that I barely notice the extra bulk over the Air it replaced.

I know we all know this, and I know we all told MS what we thought long before Windows 8 hit the shelves but they persisted anyway. Their app store is terribly weak, the OS feels like the front of a ford cortina welded onto the back of a tractor the fit and finish is so bad and then they stick out this wobbly piece of kit which just has to have a stable desk to use in which case, why not just get a laptop? The next round I may even forget the iPad and just get a bigger phone as I've had a play with a few of the modern Android phablets and they're really getting there. I don't think there's much to touch the Mac laptop for the moment, especially not with Windows on.

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LDS
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Re: This hybrid laptop/tablet approach still doesn't work

You have to carry both the laptop and the tablet. With a Surface, you carry with you one device only. At the beginning of May I spent four days in the marshes taking photos of birds, flowers and butterflies. A Surface 2 Pro in my photo backup was what all I needed to import photos in Lightroom for a quick check on a bigger screen, control the camera remotely in Live View via a 5m USB cable (Canon WFT-E7 WiFi adapter has a crazy price, costs as much as in iPad) and whatever else I needed, all in a single device small and powerful enough...

And sorry, the "Metro" app store can be "weak" but who cares - I'm running the full EOS software on it, Lightroom and Photoshop... really, who cares about RT apps?

BTW: never found an issue using the Surface on an airplane, train, bus... often its small size makes it a very good device to use when there's no much space.

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Anonymous Coward

Re: This hybrid laptop/tablet approach still doesn't work

Is it waterproof? Or were you careful not to drop it?

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WTF?

Re: This hybrid laptop/tablet approach still doesn't work

How many other mainstream tablets are if you are asking?

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Re: This hybrid laptop/tablet approach still doesn't work

Two "mainstream" (Fujitsu Q704 and Q584 in some versions) and the "Toughbook" series of specialist devices are at least proofed against rain / splashes. Not for divers

The fanless Atom units should be resonably splash proof (say spilled drink) and with a book sleeve so should be the i-series ones (Vents in the EP121+book are about 1cm above the table)

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LDS
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Re: This hybrid laptop/tablet approach still doesn't work

My backpack is waterproof... :)

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Silver badge

Re: This hybrid laptop/tablet approach still doesn't work

>>"Is it waterproof?"

Honestly Microsoft! Have you really not found a way to combine cooling vents in a device with making something fully waterproof? Or invented a portable way of dissipating substantial heat without vents? Crikey! Talk about Fail!

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My 2013 Air is probably my fav techy thing I've ever owned, and my first apple product. There's a slickness to the hardware and OS which is hard to grasp if you haven't used one for a few weeks. I skimmed this article and didn't think much of the hardware, then saw that it was running windows 8. Really, are people masochists?

The hardware is far from the biggest problem here. I don't think it was just the dodgy stand stopping people buying the surface 2.

We got a couple dumb win8.1 laptops for test stations at my company, and to say that I regretted not paying the extra for bottom of the line apple laptops would be an understatement. Unfortunately, by the time it had finished updating itself over and over again and oem-installed nagware had been uninstalled and dismissed, I'd missed by opportunity to return them. I didn't want to go over to the dark side, but who has time for this nonsense?

Btw, does any PC manufacturer deliver a totally working, secure, pleasant and non-bloated PC that I can take out of the box and actually work/create on without drama and security or trial-offer dialogues? Seriously, take my money... well, if you're priced somewhere between the crapo ones I bought last month and an Air.

Anyway, back to the surface. As much as I love (and I almost mean love) my Air... laptop screens are too low. They're not ergonomic for extended sessions. You neck aches and it spoils your evening.

Kris

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Anonymous Coward

YMMV but

I was able to get my hands on a Dell Latitude 6530 and the only crapware installed was an invitation to buy MS-Office each time I double-click on an office document.

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Thanks guys- first time I ever mention that I like/own a single apple product, and my first ever downvotes. I see how this works ;)

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Downvotes

I wouldn't worry about it. 4 downvotes seems par for the course on this topic if you're even slightly critical. Surface has its fanbois, too.

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JDX
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Re: Downvotes

You can't be critical or complimentary of MS or Apple in this thread. If you want free upvotes just mention how MS can go **** themselves, the laptop you rescued from a skip and installed Pretentious-Linux on is perfect for your needs.

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Re: Downvotes

How can you be so pathetic as to whine about downvotes.

Dudes, get a life!

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LDS
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Re: Downvotes

Well, it looks there are a number of people who jump in any thread they can bash MS and downvote everything just barely positive about MS. Frankly, if I see an article about an iPad or another Android tablet I skip it because I'm not interested. A lot of people here are "not interested" but feel the need to repeat it over and over....

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It's the price that's putting me off a Windows Tablet.

I'm very happy with my Win8 smartphone, but there's no way I'm paying that kind of money for a Windows Tablet. If Microsoft want to carve themselves a market in the tablet industry they're going to have to sell at cost, or a loss, to do it.

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JDX
Gold badge

Re: It's the price that's putting me off a Windows Tablet.

It's not really a tablet though, it's a tablet/ultrabook and as such is in the ultrabook price bracket. This is total overkill for watching Netflix, checking Facebook and playing Angry Birds.

Maybe MS are not interested in the consumer tablet market since RT seems to be on the way out. Or maybe WP8 will expand to fill that gap the way iOS moved to support iPad. Phones and tablets are becoming blurred somewhat already.

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Anonymous Coward

Version 3

It used to be said that you should wait for a Microsoft product to reach version 3 before buying it.

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A tablet with a FAN?

Microsoft still has no idea what people want. Another flop. Maybe they'll get it right with Surface 4...

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JDX
Gold badge

Re: A tablet with a FAN?

You think someone buying a tablet is interested if there's a fan or not? You realise the MacBook Air has a fan, and that that's more what this is competing with? It's a fully specced PC with detachable keyboard, not a toy for playing Flappy Bird on.

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Re: A tablet with a FAN?

If you don't want a fan - use a Baytrail tablet pc. Where is the problem? There are choices from 8-15'', WACOM/NTRIG/ATMEL, Baytrail or i-Series. Just by what suits your needs.

And if that is as "loud" as the S/P2 - it is almost silent.

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The on-lap "problem"

Surely even as is it works at least as well as when people put any other tablet and bluetooth keyboard into a 3rd party case?

However I think there is a better solution. If its detachable then why don't they make a second style of keyboard? Something thicker and more substantial of more netbook depth. That should allow room to include a slide out tray to support the kickstand (even better if it locked to it somehow) or perhaps a hinged support for the screen without using the kickstand. Either way there also ought to be room in such a keyboard for a large second battery.

If they did this it would both increase the flexibilty of the Surface while mitigating the compomises a little. Want to the sort of work you'd normally take a laptop for - use the proposed chunky keyboard. Need to slim down a little but want a cover during transport - use one of the existing keyboards, not really any chunkier than the covers for other tablets. Need to travel really light or just browsing in bed - leave both keyboards out of it.

True it still might not be as good a laptop as a dedicated one, but it'd be getting closer. It'd also push the price higher to buy two keyboards, but not compulsary to do so and you'd need to balance against not buying both a laptop and tablet.

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Anonymous Coward

Re: The on-lap "problem"

"However I think there is a better solution. If its detachable then why don't they make a second style of keyboard?"

You mean like the Surface 'Type' keyboard that they already make as well as the 'Touch' keyboard?

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Re: The on-lap "problem"

No, not like the type keyboards. Something chunkier which can help produce a more rigid unit for lap use.

Of course you'd know thats what I meant if you'd read further than the part you quoted.

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ARMed and ready?

How many units have ARM ordered?

http://www.theregister.co.uk/2013/06/25/microsoft_spins_arm_story/

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Anonymous Coward

Re: ARMed and ready?

That story is a year old. BMW, Coca Cola and LVMH have already made orders for the Surface 3 though:

http://www.ubergizmo.com/2014/05/microsoft-surface-pro-3-heads-to-bmw-coca-cola/

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Silver badge
Facepalm

My knee top computer is a

Two year old lenovo idea pad s205 called "Dobby" cos he's the house elf pc and sits on one knee easily. 11" screen 1368*whatever, 4Gb of Ram, 500Gb of disk. A good keyboard wifi bluetooth webcam etc . 3 hour batt life.

The real killer is it's windows 7

Now if MS did a win7 Surface...

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