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Microsoft Surface Pro 3 (Updated Thoughts)

Updated: Jun 2, 2019

The Surface Pro 3 makes a great first impression – which is what we’ve come to expect from most Microsoft hardware. The clean, minimal design gives a very high-end and 'premium' look, and the light grey metal that reaches all around the back and along the tapered edges, gives the tablet a very pleasing finish.

Note: This is an updated review after being asked by a number of people if I still rate the Surface Pro 3.

*The Surface Pro 3 was reviewed using hardware provided and sent to us by Microsoft.

The Surface Pro 3 is substantially wider and taller than previous models, but Microsoft has used the extra surface area to spread the components more thinly and also drop the weight – the chassis now measures a dainty 9.1mm thick and weighs 800g.

As a digital artist, any tablet that offers stylus integration is of great interest to me, and simply put, drawing on the Surface is an absolute joy. Pair it with the 'made for Surface' Leonardo app, it then turns into a genuinely excellent experience.

Whilst this review is mostly for the overall hardware/software, I will include that since having the Surface Pro 3, I'll often include it as part of any design work, as it's small and portable enough to take on the road, rather than bringing an entire rig with me.

One of the biggest perks of the Surface being a fully fledged Windows 10 machine, is you're able to install any program you can on your desktop or laptop, and whilst you can, it's obviously not going to be running Overwatch at any form of playable resolution (the excellent SurfaceBook Pro may do a better job of this however). 

But, it will run Photoshop and the like with relevant ease, just remember there's only 4-6gb of ram (depending on the version you get) and pushing it too much will result in some serious slowdown.

The screen is crisp and vibrant, and working on it at such close range for drawing doesn't show any degradation in pixels, whilst watching movies and YouTube videos is a very good experience. Storming in with a 12in, 2,160 x 1,440 screen (protected by a glossy panel of Gorilla Glass 3) is a great upgrade from the Surface 2's 10.6in, 1,920 x 1,080 display.

Speakers are loud, and no real distortion is heard when at full volume, although I'd hardly call them media center worthy, they do a good job, and there's also a headphone jack for a more suited sound.

Port wise there's the aforementioned headphone jack, a micro usb for charging (the included cable has a handy LED light that tells you when it's charging), a full size USB port, and a display port for sending your screen to a monitor.

The tablet has, which is one of my favorite parts, a 3 point kickstand, that's handy for standing your tablet up, watching movies, and for me, pushing it all the way to have it slightly elevated for drawing. The stand has its limits, and it would have been nice to see the stand go a little lower, but it's a great addition. Underneath the kickstand is also a Micro SD slot to expand your storage.

The look and feel of the Surface is a premium, albeit slightly safe design.

Metal chassis body, with a glossy black front, with a camera on the front, and a camera and Windows logo on the rear.

I've yet to use the cameras, as I feel that any photos I'm taking will be taken with my smartphone over any tablet, but you never know!

The optional smart cover keyboard does an excellent job of turning the tablet into a laptop-lite alternative, and whilst the keys aren't the most comfortable, it's not too long before you're able to write out a long thorough draft.


Review Overview

Surface Pro 3

Summary : Overall, the Surface 3 is an excellent device, and whilst it's now outdated by the Surface 4 and the big daddy Surface book Pro, I feel if you're delving into the world of Surface Tablets, the Surface Pro 3 is an excellent place to start, and, if you look hard enough, you can grab yourself the tablet, keyboard and pen for a steal, and it's absolutely worth it.

The Surface Pro 3 was reviewed using hardware provided and sent to us by Microsoft.


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