back to article Testing Windows 10 on Surface 3: Perfect combo or buggy embuggerance?

Microsoft's new Surface 3 tablet should be the perfect hardware for Windows 10, set to be released on 29 July. We put it to the test. Microsoft's Surface experiment is significant on several levels. When the initial Surface device (running Windows on ARM, also known as Windows RT) was released in October 2012, it was the first …

  1. Tromos

    Weather chart

    Don't drink the yellow rain!

    1. This post has been deleted by its author

      1. AMBxx Silver badge
        Flame

        Re: Weather chart

        Cortana on my WP often warns me about Yellow Wind - it just gets scarier

      2. Dr Patrick J R Harkin

        Re: Weather chart

        I am adopting the phrase "Amber alert" to mean "Management have just made a decision which will drive us all to drink". I expect it to get a lot of use.

    2. ISYS

      Re: Weather chart

      Yellow rain means it will be pissing it down.

    3. Dan 55 Silver badge
      Coat

      Re: Weather chart

      "Cortana, what colour will the showers be tomorrow?"

    4. Fungus Bob Silver badge
      Coat

      Re: Weather chart

      Yellow rain means urine trouble, big trouble...

      Mine's the one with 'The Yellow River' by I. P. Daly in the pocket.

      1. Anonymous Coward
        Anonymous Coward

        @ Fungus Bob Re: Weather chart

        "Yellow rain means urine trouble..."

        You're in trouble too - just you wait and see!

        1. Fungus Bob Silver badge

          Re: @ Fungus Bob Weather chart

          "You're in trouble too - just you wait and see!"

          Nope, doc says my prostate is OK.

  2. Small Wee Jobbie

    Win 8 love it or hate it....

    well actually 8.1, did work really well IF you had a touch screen. If you didn't then adding classic start seems to make it a very usable OS. I tried the early win 10 previews on a duel boot and was impressed with what MS have done, then it went and crashed my system to the point I had to rebuild, so will be waiting for a stable version before I go back for another look.

    1. AMBxx Silver badge
      Joke

      Duel Boot

      Win 8 vs Win 10 in a fight to the death - was it swords or pistols?

      1. Fungus Bob Silver badge

        Re: Duel Boot

        handbags

      2. cortland

        Re: Duel Boot

        Pistils, and we'll see which has the most "stamena."

  3. Bob Vistakin
    Linux

    I almost feel sorry for Microsoft

    Windows 8 - no one wants because its too radical

    Widows 10 - no one wants because its not radical enough

    1. keithpeter
      Windows

      Re: I almost feel sorry for Microsoft

      Quote from OA

      "Windows 10 feels rougher, not only because of bugs in the preview, but also because restoring a desktop focus has made the tablet experience worse in some respects."

      Hopefully UI designers (everywhere) will draw the obvious conclusion from this expensively won experience: design one UI for touch and a different one for Desktop. Don't compromise.

      1. Dave 126 Silver badge

        Re: I almost feel sorry for Microsoft

        >Hopefully UI designers (everywhere) will draw the obvious conclusion from this expensively won experience: design one UI for touch and a different one for Desktop. Don't compromise.

        Yeah, well.... I'm currently using a UI that is designed for mouse and keyboard. It seems to be a compromise, because I need mouse AND keyboard to use it efficiently.

        1. AMBxx Silver badge
          Facepalm

          Re: I almost feel sorry for Microsoft

          Shouldn't make any difference whether mouse or keyboard - that's not why Windows 8.1 is so horrid.

          Basic tenets of HCI:

          Visibility (don't hide the buttons)

          Affordability (make the buttons look like buttons)

          Feedback (let me know I've hit the button)

          Fails on all 3 counts, mouse or keyboard.

          1. dajames Silver badge

            Re: I almost feel sorry for Microsoft

            Yes, exactly, and ...

            Visibility (don't hide the buttons)

            ... or the menus, or the keyboard shortcuts.

            Affordability (make the buttons look like buttons)

            ... make sure that the keyboard shortcuts are obvious (mnemonic).

            Hiding the keyboard shortcuts is excusable only when there is no keyboard.

          2. LDS Silver badge

            Re: I almost feel sorry for Microsoft

            That's what happened when web garphic designers were allowed to design UI - no clue about proper user interaction, and now we got all those flat grey elements, and you can't never tell what's an interactive element and what is not... Google also pioneered this kind of silly UIs.

            1. Anonymous Coward
              FAIL

              Re: I almost feel sorry for Microsoft

              Don't single out designers on this. Developers have decades of experience wrapping craptastic UI's around what would be otherwise impressive software. This is what you get when the developers and/or designers don't go on-site with people who going to be using it. Before delivery is nice but a week or three is good. (Listening, learning, and especially doing minor tweaks fosters adoption.)

          3. h3

            Re: I almost feel sorry for Microsoft

            Any of that is completely offset by how good powershell is (And the way that pretty much everything can be done via it in a very short amount of time even if nobody has written about it yet.)

        2. LDS Silver badge

          Re: I almost feel sorry for Microsoft

          That's, for example, a common issue with web applications. Most of them are utterly unusable without a mouse, amplified by the fact that the damned browser can't easily tell what is something the user needs to interact with, and what not.

          But also many desktop applications are designed with too many mice running around the developers head, and without a proper design of keyboard-only input.

    2. Anonymous Coward
      Anonymous Coward

      Re: I almost feel sorry for Microsoft

      A poem:

      With Windows 8, there's lots to hate

      And 8.1's not much more fun

      Windows 10, we can only hope

      Will come good, in the long run

      The Windows 10 release schedule seems rushed, like Vista-level rushed, but a lot of the issues are fixable with a bit of polishing. Roll on 10.1.

  4. Jimmy2Cows Silver badge
    WTF?

    Leave you longing for Windows 8...

    Never ever thought I'd hear that said.

    1. LDS Silver badge

      Re: Leave you longing for Windows 8...

      Because you never used a Surface or the like, maybe. W8 *does* work well on touch input devices if you use them with well designed "modern" apps. The problem was forcing that on desktop users and desktop applications, where it does't work well at all.

      Now going back and forcing a more desktop like UI to tablet users is another mistake - it's incredible they can't understand different modes of use needs different UI paradigms, there's no one-size-fits-all.

  5. Jason Hindle

    This is getting silly

    Do Microsoft really not get that the Start Screen (tablet) and the Start Menu (desktop) do not have to be mutually exclusive? It might work well enough, at least on my Surface 3, but I'm guessing those who've bought 8" tablets will find Windows 10 a pain in the arse.

    1. dogged

      Re: This is getting silly

      > Do Microsoft really not get that the Start Screen (tablet) and the Start Menu (desktop) do not have to be mutually exclusive?

      Of course they do, hence the Continuum thing.

      It just needs kicking into shape.

    2. Steve Gill

      Re: This is getting silly

      Yeah, I'm seriously wondering how I'll find Win 10 on a 7" tab where Win 8 works exceptionally well right now.

      1. dogged

        Re: This is getting silly

        I tried it on an 8" tablet a few releases (and three months) ago and it was dreadful, as in monumentally crappy. Reinstalled 8.1 pretty quickly and I haven't tried the later releases.

        I think July 29th is early enough for my tablet. Or possibly July 28th 2016 (since it's free until then). Call me nervous but it was a terrible experience whereas Win8.1 is absolutely fine.

        Lenovo Yoga Tablet 2, btw.

        1. Anonymous Custard Silver badge

          Re: This is getting silly

          As the saying goes, "if it ain't broke, don't fix it..."

        2. Timmy B Silver badge

          Re: This is getting silly

          Handy. I have the same tablet and was wondering about 10 too. I'll install a virtual on another PC and see what it's like via remote desktop perhaps. Thanks.

          1. dogged

            Re: This is getting silly

            @Timmy 8 -

            As stated, this was a couple of months back. It may be better now. I just don't feel like betting the time to install, test and rollback on it.

  6. TheFinn

    Has anyone noticed the Windows Linx tablet-with-snap-on-keyboard is never mentioned in Surface reviews? I've got one. It seems to have all the pluses and minuses of the Surface, and it was basically free

  7. wolfetone Silver badge

    "Graphics and gaming is the weak point. Surface 3 can manage about 20 FPS with 20 fish in Microsoft’s FishGL demo, whereas Surface Pro 1 does 43 FPS. Nevertheless, Surface 3 is a long way ahead of the Surface 2 (ARM Tegra 4), which it replaces: 2360 on Octane 2.0 and nearer 17 FPS on FishGL even with fewer effects enabled."

    Does this mean it won't run Crysis?

    1. keith_w

      Crysis? What Crysis?

      1. John Sanders
        Devil

        Never let..

        A good Crysis go to waste

  8. 0laf Silver badge
    Windows

    When I used Win8.1 on a tablet the Metro interface actually worked really well with touch. It was the schizophrenic nature of the tablet which couldn't quite makes it's mind up whether to use a metro app or a desktop app that was a PITA. Sometimes ending up with two versions of IE running with different pages because it all got a little confusing.

    Turning win8 off an on was hardly a hardship. It took about 15sec to boot. I never switch off my Android Nexus 7 tablet because it takes nearly 3min to get going, not because the battery life is good.

    With Win 8 I felt like there was a really good OS in there somewhere trying to break through the layers of shite put in by the marketing men.

  9. Anonymous Custard Silver badge
    Joke

    As it turned out, Microsoft's success was limited

    As it turned out, Microsoft's success was limited

    Have you ever thought about a career in diplomacy?

    1. Craig 2 Silver badge
      Trollface

      Re: As it turned out, Microsoft's success was limited

      "Have you ever thought about a career in diplomacy?"

      They (The Reg) don't want to lose any chance of getting Microsoft review units in the same way the don't get Apple gear.

      1. dogged

        Re: As it turned out, Microsoft's success was limited

        "They (The Reg) don't want to lose any chance of getting Hololens in the same way they don't get Apple gear."

        Fixed.

  10. Spiracle

    It's changed already

    Windows 10 technical preview build 10074 installed smoothly

    Build 10130, currently on the fast update loop, changes the menu and 'Metro' interfaces quite significantly from the one illustrated and is much more 8.1-like. Whether or not it's representative of the final release is anyone's guess though.

  11. Ian 7

    Write about your subject

    For an article supposedly about Win10 on Surface 3, almost two and a half of the three pages in the article were about previous hardware and/or software. I wasn't expecting to read "A history of Surface with a footnote on what's around the corner" (a much more accurate title, IMHO)

    1. Tim Anderson

      Re: Write about your subject

      Fair point, the rationale is that Surface was created to work properly with Windows 8 and I wanted to bring out that context.

      Tim

      1. Ian 7

        Re: Write about your subject

        Thanks for the reply Tim, much appreciated.

  12. Vimes

    How does Windows 10 perform on a Surface Pro 3?

    Mine currently seems to overheat extremely easily. I do use it occasionally as a tablet but would be happy to compromise a little on this if I got a tablet that didn't get uncomfortably warm and noisy just from playing Microsoft's own Solitaire.

    1. Boothy

      A tablet shouldn't be able to get noisy (other than via speakers), as it shouldn't have any moving components.

      If it needs cooling fans, it's not really a tablet, it's a cut down laptop masquerade as a tablet.

      1. John Sanders
        Holmes

        My good man.

        Details, details...

  13. Paul Crawford Silver badge

    Decent screen for once

    OK, the MS product is not very cheap, but the 2160 x 1440 screen is a damn sight better than even the majority of ultrabooks at more than the ~£600 range of these.

    1. DrXym Silver badge

      Re: Decent screen for once

      Windows applications traditionally work at a DPI of around 96 and these super density screens are are 250+. Desktop apps are too small to use so the OS ends up upscaling window surfaces by 1.5-2x to compensate. There are some hidpi aware applications but not as many as there should be and many of them don't render big enough even with hidpi support. A user would also tend to sit further away from the device than they might a tablet or phone.

      The upshot is a high resolution on a small screen doesn't really do much for a desktop. There isn't much screen real estate, the upscaling makes the windows look blurry, more memory is used by the display and the GPU has 4x the pixels plus upscaling work to do. It probably works better in a tablet mode where the device is held closer and apps tend to be DPI-aware.

      1. Vimes

        Re: Decent screen for once

        Perhaps I just have better eyesight than most (or just sit closer to the screen) but applications where no resizing appears to be happening - Blender for example - still seem to be readable if a little on the small size. Nevertheless I've never personally had a problem with that on my own Surface Pro 3.

  14. Lyndon Hills 1

    Pen use

    <re keyboard connector> This is a compromise though, since in this position you cannot easily tap icons on the taskbar.

    This is mostly what I use the pen for

  15. Anonymous Coward
    Anonymous Coward

    power woes continue

    this:

    You could turn your Surface “off” in the approved way, and later find it heating your bag, which is

    frustrating when battery life is precious. This is fixed, apparently, in Windows 10.

    on my Surface 3 Pro running the current Insider build still happens

    Drives me insane. I have done all the suggested things yet every night my trusty magnesium slab goes flat. I don't know if it's the OS or the cover/keyboard, but something wakes it up and doesn't let it get it's much needed slumber. Sad when I've taken to carrying a Mac Book Air running W10 in Fusion to meetings because I can't rely on the Surface...

    1. GitMeMyShootinIrons

      Re: power woes continue

      I do think this is more of a Surface issue than a Windows issue. My Linx tablet (on Windows 8.1) has no such issue and I rarely shut it down fully (leaving it in the standby mode for the most part). Even leaving applications open etc rarely causes issue.

  16. SVV Silver badge

    Work in progress?

    OIK, the battery life wasn't so good, so let's put in a bigger battery.....

    OK, the interface was horrible for users of traditional apps, let's go back to a "traditional" desktop design.....

    OK, one USB port isn't so good, lets add in some more....

    OK, the keyboard is a bit crappy, let's improve it, and maybe add in a trackpad.....

    Ladies and Gentlemen, we give you the brand new Microsoft (tm) Laptop (tm).....

  17. frielster

    Surface 3

    S3 is not a bad piece of kit, although in my experience it is not stable. I have had 2 both experiencing the same issue - mini display port crashing when connected to an external monitor. Have returned both to retailer for a refund. Check link below for info.

    http://www.surfaceforums.net/threads/surface-3-mini-display-port-crash.15370/

    1. cortland

      Re: Surface 3

      Freen screezes! Ah, screen freezes. Power button pressed, pressed again upswipe and back in action. Only annoying.

      WHY? I dunno. Getting updates, maybe.

  18. Dave Horn

    You could turn your Surface “off” in the approved way, and later find it heating your bag, which is frustrating when battery life is precious. This is fixed, apparently, in Windows 10.

    Oh no it isn't...

  19. DryBones

    Surface 3 vs Pro...

    If you do the maths, by the time you add the pen and the keyboard that the Surface 3 Pro includes but the Surface 3 doesn't, you're practically at the cost of a Pro with less to show for it.

    Rubbish.

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