back to article PC makers! You, between Microsoft and the tablet market! Get DOWN!

So, the new Surface Pro is here – number three. According to Microsoft folklore Redmond gets things right by version number three of a new product, it then kills off the competition and history is written. But it seems unlikely that the Surface Pro 3 will be remembered as the iPad Air or Android killer of Microsoft's tablet …

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  1. jb99

    Probably good

    I got a surface pro 1 recently at a bargain price because it's obsolete and to be honest was way more impressed than I expected to be. I'm taking this a lot more seriously than I would have done and might be tempted to upgrade to one.

    1. JDX Gold badge

      Re: Probably good

      Someone I know who does MS stuff got the same model for testing stuff out and was similarly impressed.

      Technically it sounds pretty slick - especially getting the weight and thickness down - and at 12" I think is a viable ultrabook in its own right. But it's clearly not going to be a mass-market product like the iPad because it's way over-powered and overpriced for the mass-market (not overpriced for what it is, but overpriced for what people want to spend). Ultrabooks are not mass-market as they are so pricey but I could certainly see this being the go-to executive toy. However as the article says that's at the expense of other ultrabooks, MS are stealing existing Windows customers.

      1. Danny 14 Silver badge

        Re: Probably good

        I have a dell venue 7 and 5x venue 10s, we got them as evaluation models. The 7 is a bit meh but the 10 is pretty good. If the fold up keyboard had USB ports (and a network port) it would have been really good.

        We have a docking station for the 10 which basically turns them into desktop machines. They can be imaged successfully too (the bios needs a few settings changed first). Runs all our apps nicely.

        if the pro 3s are as good then i'll certainly get a few.

        1. mmeier

          Re: Probably good

          Depending on use case the S/Ps are better since they have a working stylus (Wacom, NTrig)

  2. Gotno iShit Wantno iShit

    2160x1440 12"

    3:2 screen ratio - hallelujah! Someone at last understands that business users don't watch DVDs all day so a 16:9 screen would be inappropriate. Bravo Microsoft.

    Now, can we have that on a proper laptop please?

    1. Robert Matiuk

      Re: 2160x1440 12"

      Damn straight, just don't understand this infatuation with widescreen beyond TVs. 16:10 seems to be the best you can do on laptops...

  3. moiety

    The form factor is OK, but at the end of the day it's got Win8 on it.

    1. Flatpackhamster

      Win8 is fine for small form factor and touch. It sucks donkey cock when it's on a big-screen non-touchy environment.

      1. Hellcatm

        I'm using Windows 8.1 update 1 on a dual monitor PC and it works fine for me. I don't see where you're having issues except for maybe just looking at it and not giving it a fair try.

        1. Tom 35 Silver badge

          So am I

          I am one of the lucky people who get to test stuff on Windows 8.1, what ever they call the current version.

          Once I kill as much of not-Metro as possible, it's not bad. But if they took not-Metro out back and put a bullet in it's head it would only be better.

          One of the problems with Windows has always been the way settings seem to be scattered at random, Win8 made that twice as bad.

          Don't much want IE, and now I have two of them.

        2. VinceH Silver badge

          "I'm using Windows 8.1 update 1 on a dual monitor PC and it works fine for me. I don't see where you're having issues except for maybe just looking at it and not giving it a fair try."

          I find Windows 8 is absolutely fine if I'm only doing basic 'user' type stuff - and my most regularly used applications are pinned to the task bar or on the desktop, so I rarely have to put up with the jarring UI change just to launch something. By basic user type stuff I mean loading documents into office type software, running accounts software, etc.

          Sometimes, though, Windows 8 decides to be an utter, utter prick. And here are a couple of examples which are barely above basic user type stuff:

          Example 1: I usually edit my websites on a different computer, but sometimes I might need to on the laptop when I'm not at home, so they are in a folder on the Windows 8 laptop which is shared across the network. One of those sites has four directories of images, and within each of those is a directory of thumbnails. Each of those directories of thumbnails is completely invisible to any computer on the network. Only the Windows 8 computer can see them. Probably a UAC issue, but I've yet to resolve it - mainly because, so far, I haven't needed to access those folders across the network; it's just something I've noticed. But Windows 8 is a prick.

          Example 2: Someone updated a manual for me and put it on their own website, sending me a direct link by email to download it. I read my email on the Windows 8 laptop, so I downloaded it on that machine, and put the zip file in another shared directory. I can open access that zip file from Windows - so I know it's fine. When attempting to move, copy or open that zip from another computer I get an access violation. Again, probably a UAC issue, and one I've yet to resolve. Instead, after spending a huge amount of time trying, and failing, I ended up using a memory stick to transfer the file between two networked computers. Windows 8 is a prick.

          Just to summarise: You know that Windows 8? It's a prick.

    2. P. Lee

      Since when is a 12" screen a killer feature for business?

      Great for selecting your next track on spotify perhaps, but colour me and my visio diagramme "unimpressed."

      1. chekri

        Because heaps of suits are doing network diagrams in Visio?

        I think you are confused.

        1. Paul Crawford Silver badge

          "heaps of suits are doing network diagrams in Visio"

          No, probably spreadsheets. But same applies, having a 3x2 screen is much less sucky than 16:9

        2. Pookietoo

          Re: heaps of suits are doing network diagrams

          Who said anything about network diagrams? Visio does a whole load of organisational and business process diagrams, project management and other stuff too, you know?

      2. JDX Gold badge

        re:Since when is a 12" screen a killer feature for business?

        Since when is a laptop the best tool for "proper computing work" either? This is designed for being portable - meetings and presentations and travelling. Of course, you can no doubt plug it into a proper monitor and keyboard/mouse like you can any other laptop... anyone know if there are fancy-ass docking stations for Surface Pro?

    3. SisterClamp
      Linux

      Not so fast

      If it's anything like the Surface 2 PRO, you can disable Smart Boot and install Linux on it. I'm waiting to see how much these slabs get discounted by, and when it's nice and low, that'll be what I'll be doing.

      1. mmeier

        Re: Not so fast

        Okay so you wipe the OS that can actually use the 100€+ inductive digitizer for one that can not use it (NTRIG support is even worse than WACOM support), has no support software for it and you do this because???

        There are cheaper tablets around to run that DIY OS.

        1. Trevor_Pott Gold badge

          Re: Not so fast

          Stop and think for one moment: maybe other people don't give a flying donkey fuck about the stylus.

          In fact, given the fact that the first tablets to really take off (iPad) weren't the stylus type, and a decade of Microsoft Stylus tablets failed to make a splash before that, I'm going to with "most people don't give a flying donkey fuck about the stylus".

          --Handwritten on my Samsung Galaxy Note 2, using my stylus.

          1. mmeier

            Re: Not so fast

            Stop and try to READ for a moment. If I do not care for a stylus - why pay the extra MONEY for a stylus equiped unit. There are quite a few Haswell equiped non WACOM/NTrig units that are all cheaper than an SP.

            THAT was the question, nothing else

            1. Trevor_Pott Gold badge

              Re: Not so fast

              Why don't you stop and read for a moment? If the fellow - like most people - doesn't give any fucks about the stylus then it simply won't factor into his decision-making one way or another. All things being equal, a stylus-equipped unit would be more expensive, but you'd have to be a deficient to believe that this actually held true in the real world for all cases.

              The fellow was talking quite explicitly about getting a previous generation device at a substantial discount. Generally getting a device a discount requires that devices be made available at discount pricing, not be sold out, and other such things. Thus the requirement here is "cheap" and "available." It has fuck all to do with the stylus, or the theoretical relative pricing of stylus versus non-stylus.

              I do, however, not that you seem to bring up the stylus in every single bloody thread where a Surface is mentioned. This leads me to believe that you're the one with the stylus fetish (I suspect viewing your browser history would elicit a mind-bleach requirement) and the rest of the world will just go with "cheap" and "available", eschewing any considerations whatsoever about the enstylused nature of their fondlefappery.

              1. This post has been deleted by its author

  4. Anonymous Coward
    Anonymous Coward

    Why can't they simply produce the "Surface Landfill". :-)

    1. Slap

      They've already done that. It just wasn't branded that way.

    2. Dan 55 Silver badge
      Trollface

      They already have, RT stands for Rubbish Tip.

  5. Anonymous Coward
    Anonymous Coward

    If it won't run

    a proper operating system, have a proper keyboard (you know, for those business users that have to type a lot...) and allow two external screens to be used to extend the desktop - oh, wait. Doesn't have a desktop, does it? Just those totally-useless-in-a-productivity-environment "tiles."

    Pffffffffffffffffft - no sale.

    1. Timmy B Silver badge

      Re: If it won't run

      It has a desktop and a proper operating system. The type keyboards can be used by people that type all day - unless you don't include writing code all day. And it will allow external screens - not sure how many for sure but I have had two on a Surface 2 pro.

      Obviously won't be sold to you as you have no clue

      1. Anonymous Coward
        Anonymous Coward

        @Timmy B- Re: If it won't run

        A desktop ? Where ? And why are they hiding it ?

        1. Timmy B Silver badge

          Re: @Timmy B- If it won't run

          Desktop tile. Press or click it and ta-flipping-da. there it is...

  6. chuckufarley

    There is but one god...

    ...and Scott Adams is his prophet:

    http://www.dilbert.com/strips/comic/2012-11-06/

  7. Slap

    I can see where MS are going with this

    The consumer tablet space is saturated. MS was way too late to the party to make any impact in that space, so they've done the obvious thing and gone for the business space. I'll admit if you're a serious business user looking to use a tablet as your primary compute device then it looks good, but...

    ...How many serious business users would really consider a tablet as a good solution. Ok you can get full MS office on it, but the thing weighs in close to ultrabook weights and the pricing is getting well into mid range to premium laptops the higher the spec you choose.

    I think most people, myself included, think that tablets in business are a partner to a main productivity system - not the productivity system itself. I really don't see this as a laptop killer for those who actually have business needs, I see it as a very competent sidekick, but the pricing possibly puts it outside of a convincingly realistic sidekick compute device.

    I'm sure it will be popular amongst upper managers and bosses, but that's a small market segment.

    It's a tough one, on the one hand it certainly appears to be a very useable device in business, and I know people who swear by the surface 2. On the other hand I think the market segment is way too small for MS to really have a success with this tablet.

    1. Charles Manning

      Late to the party?

      This is a lame excuse that does not work.

      Microsoft have been doing tablets since 1992 Windows for Pen Computing. This is at least their 8th go at it.

      They were pretty much the first and they gave the space away. While MS can't find its ass with both hands, Apple and Google slid into the space and took it from them.

      1. mmeier

        Re: Late to the party?

        When it comes to tablet pc that integrated seamlessly into the typical business environment than Windows units with inductive stylus have been and are still the only choice. Thy stylus allows usage of all Windows software and the OS allows sharing of all those VB(A), .NET, SWING UI and other "does not run on Android or iOS" solutions

        That is where the S/Ps are aimed and that is where you find them. They are NOT designed to kill an iThingy or Fragmentdroid in the same way a combat boot is not designed to crush an ant.

  8. roger stillick
    Go

    Surface Pro no different than Palm Pilot...

    Palm Pilot was really the manager's friend, everyone used them at meetings n field trips...

    ANY smart phone killed them...

    Surface Pro could be the manager's friend, it just needs to do similar stuff...

    Desk top PC's today are more like work stations with Unix style 8 processor Cpu's n sub TB SSD's w/ two monitors 17in or larger running database drilling software for metrics on health of corporation...(MS does none of this)...

    Q= what happened to any smart phone (unsafe ? not sexy ?) for this use ??

    IMHO= Surface Pro tablet makes an excellent ADJUNCT to the manager's office work station but will never replace it...RS.

    1. LDS Silver badge

      Re: Surface Pro no different than Palm Pilot...

      Palm Pilot was after all the mother of the smartphone. The first really usable smartphones came with PalmOS - which meant a lot of available apps -, and were from ex Palm employees. Palm was never able to capitalized on it, especially when they decided to replace PalmOS with WebOS - because people didn't understand what the latter was going to be. They killed an established brand just to put a "web" somewhere.

      Sure, Surfaces - like tablets - are devices you use together something else. I usually work on a workstation and two monitors. I also have a 15.4" laptop but that's when I need to fully work away from the office. For meetings, presentations, travels, etc. etc. the Surface Pro is small enough yet powerful enough to perform almost all I need. Being Windows, I do not need to use different applications than those I use on the workstation and laptop - it's the same software everywhere.

      Anyway I see many executive nowadays preferring very small and light laptops whenever they can, especially with a docking station in the office (and the Surface has a docking station too...), to use a bigger monitor and a full size keyboard when needed.

      They don't like to carry "big" laptops around, and "big" means anything bigger than 14". Those are for people needing screen estate to work with different complex applications, usually executive and upper managers don't. A 12" Surface with a good docking station could appeal to many of them.

    2. mmeier

      Re: Surface Pro no different than Palm Pilot...

      "Manager" desktops are often notebook + dock + 1 or two external Monitors. With the same ULV series CPU as used in the S/Ps

      Easily done with an S/P. With 8GB/256GB SSD it also has the needed storage for company use. Actually a lot more for many jobs outside programming since for "document work" the network storage is a better place

  9. Kev99

    What purpose does a tablet serve?

    The 20 something geeks weren't around when the first Compaq came out. The pundits complained then about the small screen and slow performance compared to desktops. A friend of mine got a Dell tablet to replace her laptop. The screen is so small she can't see half of the information on the screen. Plus, it won't run the ERP app we need. And using a touch screen is ridiculous unless you have hands steadier than a robots.

    I'm quite comfortable with my Toshiba laptop with its 17" screen, 8GB RAM and 650GB HD. And extra storage I need I drop onto my NAS.

    Until tablet reach the speed and capabilities the original Star Trek implied, they'll be nothing but a toy for those who don't want to use a real computer.

    1. LDS Silver badge

      Re: What purpose does a tablet serve?

      Usually a 17" laptop is not a portable computer, is a self-propelled one, once I was given one and I really hated it. That's size is OK only if you carry it around seldom, and mostly in the rear of a car. It's a terrible size if you have to use it on an airplane, for example, unless you can always fly business class in a large plane.

      Today tablets like the Surface are very close to your laptop specs (although at an expensive price). An i7 + 8GB RAM + 512GB SSD doesn't looks to me "slow performance" compared to a desktop. Sure, my overclocked i7 Extreme + 32GB RAM desktop beats my i5 8GB Surface Pro, but I guess it also beats most - if not all - laptops around - while driving 2560x1440 screens, but the Surface Pro runs most software, even demanding ones like Lightroom or Photoshop, without issues - and without water cooling and a 900W PSU ... the screen may be small - but that's a price I have no problem to pay to portability.

      Don't know what Dell tablet you're speaking about, but if an ERP can't work on a Windows tablet, maybe it's an ERP fault (coded for XP + IE6 only?), not the tablet. Using a touch screen requires some time to get used to, exactly like a smartphone. But you can always use a mouse or a digitizer, if the tablet supports it.

      1. Vic

        Re: What purpose does a tablet serve?

        if an ERP can't work on a Windows tablet, maybe it's an ERP fault

        Doesn't matter.

        If the ERP system is the application that needs to be run, then it's irrelevant where the fault lies - the Surface is no use for that task.

        Vic.

        1. Robert Grant

          Re: What purpose does a tablet serve?

          Any argument that can equally argue for only ever using IE6 on Windows is being unfairly applied.

      2. JEDIDIAH
        Linux

        Re: What purpose does a tablet serve?

        > Today tablets like the Surface are very close to your laptop specs

        Not my laptop. Then again, I use my machine for more than playing Candy Crush.

        Contrary to popular opinion, work machines still need to have some computational muscle. You can't just throw some anemic junk in a thin-and-pretty form factor and declare things done. Many people need more power than that.

        Doesn't matter if it's an Ultrabook or a tablet.

        1. mmeier

          Re: What purpose does a tablet serve?

          8GB/256GB SSD and an i5 series ULV are not the "top end" but pretty close. May I ask what notebook you are using?

    2. mmeier

      Re: What purpose does a tablet serve?

      "Small DELL" is either the Latitude 10 or the newer Venue. The Lat10 had a 1280x800 screen so there is a chance the ERP screen does not work on that. 2GB/CTrail Atom add more problems.

      The S/Ps have at least an i3 (i5 in the available versions), 4GB and 1920x1080. If the ERP does not run on that - it is NOT designed for a notebook but for a dual screen WS / a notebook + dock. S/P2 can do that as well.

      And if that is not enough - tablet pc with 16GB, i7 and 13'' have existed / do exist for some years now. Fujitsu T902 will do the job.

      As for the "touch" strawman - roll up tight and inject where the sun does not shine. x86 tablet pc like the S/P have a extremly precise stylus and accept mouse/keyboard for tasks that require them

  10. Vector

    ...it tramples the toes of PC makers busy churning out Windows 8 laptops...

    Not at those prices it don't!

  11. Dave Stevens
    Holmes

    #3rd time's the charm

    Well, that didn't work for Xbox either.

  12. LDS Silver badge

    From an MS perspective, it could be the right move

    What MS has to ensure is that business keep on using its software stack - operating system, server software, client software. They have to offer an highly portable device able to run the same Windows software the customer use on his systems, to counter the iOS/Android devices.

    From a system administrator point of view, devices you know how to manage, and fully integrated into the network security architecture are far better than devices you have very little control over, and which add a whole new stack of software to procure, maintain, and integrate with. If those devices start to be also appealing, both in design and performance, it will be less hard to have them used.

    Trying to fight in the low-end "landfill tablet" market probably won't bring any real advantage to Microsoft. They would be devices underpowered but for the simplest business use, and would require different, lighter applications.

    PC makers are paying the price of having designed mostly "landfill laptops" in the past year that barely met the needs of business people. Many Dell and HP I had to work with, for example, were - and are - really ugly devices. If they didn't want to invest much in R&D and now found MS developed better devices (although expensive) well, they just should ask themselves why they didn't make something alike before...

  13. Davie Dee

    whats this...

    All very lovely but perhaps a bit of meat on the opinion piece would have been better?

    1. Destroy All Monsters Silver badge

      Re: whats this...

      Why do you want to flog a dead horse?

  14. Hellcatm

    "Worse, it’s a call to war by Microsoft on PC makers because Microsoft actually sees the Surface Pro 3 as a laptop killer. Panay on Tuesday called Surface Pro 3 “the tablet that can replace the laptop.”"

    OEM's are making these hybrid tablet/laptops too. Microsoft isn't saying they can't. OEM's are important to Microsoft, the Surface is there to push them to innovate. So they're not pushing away the PC makers, they aren't treating them like the competition, they still work with them. So I think your comment is flawed and wrong.

    1. P. Lee

      I had a look at an old surface system. I was surprised at how good it was for replacing a laptop.

      That isn't what it first looks like. The truth is that most laptops I see spend their days docked, to accommodate a 2nd large screen, an external mouse and possibly a keyboard. If you do all that through one USB/TB connection, a tablet which is only occasionally used without those devices could well be an option. The one I saw was atom-based but a better CPU might make it more usable.

      Many companies have hotdesks with the peripherals supplied so just taking a tablet to and from work and occasionally on the road is an option. It might even get MS back into the home (ok, I'm kidding there).

      What MS have missed though is that the tablet is cool precisely because it isn't under corporate control - it is an expression of self. Take that away and its no longer desirable.

      What will be interesting is to see if ARM can approach this scenario from the other end by giving people an over-powered phone which docks to a KVM. Phone graphics are already up there. Let's see if big.LITTLE / 64bit ARM can give us a single bit of silicon which can double up as a phone and PC. It should start at home with USB screen / bluetooth keyboard/mouse or a screen with a charging/docking station built in. I suspect this is what MS are desperately trying to avoid.

      1. LDS Silver badge

        There are no Atom-based Surfaces. It was a Windows tablet, but not a Surface. Intel-based Surfaces run on i5 CPUs, and are as powerful as mid-range laptops. The new model iss also available with i7 CPUs, thereby processing power is not an issue. Probably it deserves a really good docking station to make it a nice desktop replacement when docked.

    2. mmeier

      Actually at least one OEM (Fujitsu) already sells a compareable unit with the Q704. Lenovo has proven it can (and is regularly pestered to build a Helix with a current gen CPU and the TP Yogas screen). The new Baytrail units from Lenovo, Fujitsu and HP with 4GB and 1920x1080 (or better) screens look interesting as well.

      The S/P3 is a not to the DIN A4 fans that prefer a 12-13'' unit as their "one and only" unit and disliked the S/P so far for the too small screen. I would not be surprised if both S/P2 and S/P3 remain available.

  15. Eric Hood

    Dare I say differentiation

    The feature that is different to everyone else is the built in Wacom technology. The 13" Wacom screen is $1300AU this makes the surface quite interesting if you are an artist for example. You can load your Creative Cloud apps and work wherever you are.

    1. Anonymous Coward
      Anonymous Coward

      Re: Dare I say differentiation

      Work wherever you are with the cloud?

      What planet are you on sunshine?

      Where I am now is in the eastern side of UTAH, USA doing some field work.

      Mobile Phone signal? you have to drive 30+ miles to the nearest Interstate/town to get even one us network, usally AT&T who rape you when it comes to data packages. Satellite is slow and expensive.

      Thankfully we head to a town every 3-4 days to get a shower and some non BBQ food. That is the only way I get any time on the internet.

      This situation is exactly why the cloud is IMHO a POS.

      One of the team bought her Daughter along. She is slowly driving everyone insane with her constant nagging about not being able to Facebook/Instagram/Tweet her friends.

      Little does she know that was the reason for her being on the trip in the first place. She'd become and internet junkie. Finding some cool fossils may help the daughter get a life outside the connected world.

      1. Eric Hood

        Re: Dare I say differentiation

        I will take it slowly and use small words for you.

        Creative Cloud lets you put apps on your surface as it runs Win 8.1. It is a full PC. CC only needs to phone home once per month.

        We would agree about online storage issues. It is a different thing to an app phoning home.

        1. Anonymous Coward
          Anonymous Coward

          @Eric Hood - Re: Dare I say differentiation

          And if you just happen to miss that once a month phone home opportunity ?

          1. chekri

            Re: @Eric Hood - Dare I say differentiation

            "And if you just happen to miss that once a month phone home opportunity ?"

            What if a unicorn shits on your tablet?

          2. Eric Hood

            Re: @Eric Hood - Dare I say differentiation

            If these apps are your bread and butter and you work in an area with no internet connectivity you fall back to plan B.

            Plan B is get ripped off with outrageous prices by scalpers for one of the remaining disk copies of CS6.

        2. LDS Silver badge

          Re: Dare I say differentiation

          It looks the recent outage let a lot of people not being able to work. Maybe it calls once per month, but what if it happens when you have no connection?

          Sure, there are people who never travel outside their bedroom wifi range, there are other who happens to travel to some remote places of this world and still needing to be able to work on with their software.

          1. Robert Grant

            Re: Dare I say differentiation

            Maybe it calls once per month, but what if it happens when you have no connection?

            Exactly - all I want to do is go into the wilderness and create Adobe files. It's bad enough I have to connect to the internet to send them to someone.

            AND, did you know this tablet can't even run a full month without being recharged with electricity? This thing is so impractical, I'm surprised anyone is tricked into using it.

            1. JEDIDIAH

              Re: Dare I say differentiation

              > Exactly - all I want to do is go into the wilderness

              In many places, that's called suburbia.

              I am sure that even England isn't one long stretch of high rises from one coast to the other like Tokyo or something out of Judge Dredd.

              1. Robert Grant

                Re: Dare I say differentiation

                Not really, no. The UK's infrastructure is very strong, internationally speaking, but I'm currently working in South Africa, and having monthly access to the internet is pretty normal here as well.

                Pro tip: you don't need a long stretch of high rises to lay phone cables or set up cell towers.

    2. mmeier

      Re: Dare I say differentiation

      NTrig :) The S/P3 is using NTrig Duosense 2 instead of Wacom. The two "old ones" are close in quality (2nd gen Atmel seems to shape up nicely) and have both their pros and cons but the big "problem" (Support in CS) for NTrig has been solved recently

  16. Abacus

    Good for travel

    My daily workhorse is a HP 2170p, an 11.6 inch ultrabook. Its docked when I'm at home or in the office.

    Even at that small size the keyboard makes use on economy air transport awkward.

    I don't drive, so elsewhere I'm using buses and trains. Unless I'm lucky viz a viz seating the same limitations apply.

    I usually just resort to my Cyanogenmodded Nook tablet and do what I can with that.

    I was pretty sure that my next machine would be a HP 810 convertable, but the screen size, weight and cost advantages of the Surface Pro are swaying me.

    I must check out the docking options. If there is something workable MS may have won me over.

    1. LDS Silver badge

      Re: Good for travel

      http://www.microsoft.com/surface/en-us/support/hardware-and-drivers/docking-station

      The Surface 3 will come with a docking station able to run a 4K monitor.

      1. Abacus

        Re: Good for travel

        @LDS

        Thanks for that. I do believe I will be the owner if a Surface Pro 3 later this year.

  17. Anonymous Coward
    Anonymous Coward

    Good luck with trying to get support for one...

    Can you imagine SMB's trying to get support for this from Microsoft?

    It's bad enough when you have a problem with licensing/Win {a-Z}*

    Why would I buy a product that is obviously less value for money and has a much shorter life span than an android or ipad?

    The fact that HALF the 32GB of RAM is taken up by the operating system means that I have much less room to store my stuff.

    Also 1 year down the line after a few hundred updates the surface tablet will be at a crawling pace.

    1. LDS Silver badge

      Re: Good luck with trying to get support for one...

      What Surface are you talking about, the RT? The Pro has no 32GB of RAM (it would be cool if it had!), nor the OS takes half the RAM.

      The Pro lifespan is the same of a laptop. Value for money? Depends what "value" means to you. Being able to run full Windows software and fully integrate with a Windows networtk? That's value for me. Having a digitizer for pen input? That's value for me. Having a full keyboard when I need it? That's value for me. Having a real USB 3.0 port? Being able to conneect a second monitor for presentations? That's value for me. Owning a "status-symbol" object and feel "cool"? That's no value for me. Flappy birds style apps? That's no value for me.

      It's not the updates that make a Windows PC become slower - usually it's all the crappy stuff people insist to install, often from "unreliable" sources (sometimes even from reliable ones, but still crappy like iTunes and others...)

    2. Hellcat

      Re: Good luck with trying to get support for one...

      There is so much wrong with your comment it's almost not worth commenting... almost.

      My experience as a lowly home user is the Surface support is good. Our gen1 scratched, bashed up RT was replaced for new at 10 months old for a battery charging issue. Turn around was a few days but could have been much quicker if we had opted for the express service.

      You compare the Surface 3 Pro with an iPad or Droid tablet? I don't believe an iPad can install OSx or come with an i7 processor and upto 512GB of FLASH storage (not SSD).

      RAM =/= storage. Even on the RT versions you can add more local storage via SD card or USB stick or making use of cloud storage like dropbox/googledocs/onedrive.

      After a year of ownership, the fully patched gen1 RT is still quick and perfectly usable. I have no reason to believe versions with faster hardware will run slower.

      But don't let facts get in the way of a dig at Microsoft 'cause that's what all the cool kids do!

    3. Matt_payne666

      Re: Good luck with trying to get support for one...

      Well this story is all about the Surface 3 - so no 32GB storage options there... but, while we are talking RT I have my real world useage... I bought mine last summer, so almost a year old, its had all the updates and is still fast. Storage? well, yes the OS takes up some of the disk, but you can reduce the OS footprint to sub 10GB after backing up the recovery partition... pop in a 64GB micro SD card and mount it into your home directory you suddenly have 80+ GB of local storage, add the (£30) 120GB of skydrive for cold data (that's transparent to use) there is almost 200GB of space...

      For web based applications the RT is as good as any other tablet... it does some things better than iOS and Android devices, sometimes its not quite as good... all have their quirks...

      There are less apps in the store, yes, but for work I can map network drives, use USB devices, print to normal network printers, open and edit office docs and use a decent builtin keyboard (and so-so mouse) for RDP sessions...

      All in - the RT tablet is a nice little companion device...

      The Surface 3 with its dock on the other hand is priced 'Ok' the build quality is good, has good looking specs and I really want one...

  18. Jim84

    Ultrabooks are the future of business computing

    Pretty much the Macbook pro and the Macbook air, and competing devices from Dell and Lenovo etc.

    They have a proper keyboard, and a screen on a hinge. Until Microsoft or someone else's hybrid matches these hybrids will be neither fish nor fowl.

    I've always thought the kickstand was a stupid idea, why not have a bit of plastic (or metal) that extends out horizontally from the back of the detachable keyboard so that you can balance the whole thing on your lap? Then you could just use a regular hinge mechanism to adjust the angle of the screen.

    1. mmeier

      Re: Ultrabooks are the future of business computing

      Screen on a hinge = fixed distance between keyboard and screen = bad

      Screen on a hinge = fixed choice of keyboard = bad

      Balancing on the lap = unneeded since in cramped condition i use the stylus

    2. Abacus

      Re: Ultrabooks are the future of business computing

      I disagree with everything you say - see my post above "Good for travel"

      When I am on-site with my ultrabook I never use the integrated keyboard. I always have an external wireless full-size keyboard and mouse in my luggage.

      The only time I ever use the integrated keyboard is when I am in transit - and as I explain above, in that situation the tablet is usually a better bet.

  19. Arachnoid

    Microsoft gets things right by version number three of a new product

    Hmmm XP Service pack 3 was the final edition before dumping it [just sayin]

  20. Sil

    Couldn't disagree more

    I couldn't disagree more with you.

    Small tablets is a price-oriented market with low margins and Microsoft has nothing to win there.

    Better leave the market to partners that don't even have to pay for the OS.

    On the other hand, with the Surface 3 Pro, Microsoft is continuing its innovation and is gambling on new form factors that at the very least offer more choices to the customer.

    I can't fathom why you are so quick to dismiss its many hardware achievements. If it is as good as it is presented to be, it could make a killing in many markets: business managers, creative people, IT people, architects, doctors and what have you.

    To this day there are no laptops that can be used as a pad for any reasonable period of time.

    On the tablet side of things, the iPad is too small for many usages and iOS too limited. The iPad is for crApps, not apps like Photoshop or Autodesk or VS.

    So yes, assuming Microsoft did find the right compromise between size, power and battery life, it could make a killing. And if it does I'm sure notebook makers (remember, the same that gave you 1366x768 15" TN crappy screens for 10 years - and now insist a 4" smartphone must have a 4K screen, the same that procured the worst trackpads, the slowest hard drives and the least amount of RAM for decades, talk about putting off a whole generation of computer users, will follow suit.

    If not Microsoft will be back to the drawing board and offer another alternative. But I'm sure it won't be a me-too iPad, because nobody has to gain from me-too in the long term.

    I for one am extremely anxious to test the Surface 3 Pro. I am absolutely OK with not having a laptop anymore if the tablet is enough for my working needs and leisure. I would love to replace my Intuos tablet with a tablet that works well with stylus and a Phototshop that doesn't suck at high dpi.

    Is 12" 3:2 the right size? No idea but it is a reasonable guess and customers will decide.

    I've tested a Surface 2 but I was so impressed by it that I kept it, despite WinRT and coming from someone used to 15,6 screen for years. Because although WinRT = Windows--, WinRT=+++++++++iOS/Android.

    I didn't think it was possible, but yes it is not far from a laptop replacement for many tasks, such as Office Work / web / communication. And yes, just ask any Surface user, the kickstand does the difference. As does Full USB 3 support. As does the remarkable body, ultra strong, cool to the touch and very rarely in need of cleaning. To me, the backlighted type cover is amazingly efficient considering the size and the depth.

    Let's look at the market candidly. There are only 2 innovators in tablets: Apple and Microsoft.

    Samsung is bringing the same crappy bodies tablet after tablet. it's just plastic crap. Does Samsung bring anything software of service-wise? Don't think so. And the same could be said for 99% of Android tablet makers.

    If a kickstand was so easy to do, it would have been copied already.

    If the fan is as good as Microsoft says it is, then there is another welcome innovation.

    And great pen support means the pen is coming back. There is a reason why many creative people, most of whom are heavy Apple customers, are using the Surface Pro 2 in spite of its limitations / thickness.

    One day or another, the other tablet makers will face the same challenges as Microsoft is facing now, such as finding ways to dissipate higher heat levels, to have an enterprise and productive Platform, true multitasking, multi-user, parental rights management, peripherals support and on an on.

    I could be wrong, but I think tablet users will soon want more than basic browsing, Candy crush and Facebook.

    Are Surface tablets perfect? Surely not. Does Microsoft underperform sales wise? Absolutely. Would I prefer that it announces products only when they are available, Apple-wise. You bet.

    Does it means Microsoft makes bad products? Far from it.

    In the same way that Windows Phone is an excellent smartphone platform, and in spite of very good low price alternatives in the Android Camp, there are many Nokias that are great bargains for those willing to give it a chance, the Surfaces are outstanding products that at the very least offer an alternative to the iPad and the Nexus/Galaxy/Whatever.

    1. Pez92

      Re: Couldn't disagree more

      For the record, the kickstand IS extremely easy to do. You can get a case for most major tablets for $15 that will give it protection equal to the surface and a kickstand. It's a piece of metal/plastic that folds out, not rocket science.

  21. Ida

    I purchased a Surface RT a while ago and am very impressed with it. I no longer use the iPad it is far less functional.

    I would say that Microsoft's biggest problem is marketing, they simply do not know how to market their products, something that Apple excel at.

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