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TechCrunch and Others On the Microsoft Surface Pro 3 136

Posted by timothy
from the it's-a-thing-you'll-like-or-you-won't dept.
TechCrunch's video introduction (not intended as a full review) to the recently introduced Microsoft Surface Pro 3 has mostly good things to say about the device. Reviewer Alex Wilhelm compares it to his MacBook Air, and though he's not sure that the Surface is a better fit for all-day typing than the 11" Air (slightly larger, slightly heavier than the Surface), he says the Surface does a good job of integrating input options (both finger and stylus input) that the Air -- and most laptops -- just don't have. The Washington Post's Hayley Tsukayama also compares the Surface to the Air, rather than to an Android or Apple tablet, writing, "It's heavy for a tablet, sure, but light for a laptop at 1.7 pounds. And while it doesn't have the array of ports that laptops do, you can make do with the two that it does have, a mini-display port that's good for presentations and a USB 3.0 that's good for, well, everything else. You will probably need a hub to get everything you want of this, though. (Or you could go to using Bluetooth accessories, which the Surface Pro 3 will also support.)" Ars Technica has an informative hands-on review as well, but one which parts from these by emphatically describing the Surface as a tablet, not a laptop; Ars reviewer Peter Bright gives high marks for many aspects of the design and materials, though he says his experience with the included pressure-sensitive pen was "problematic." (His initial sample pen had to be replaced, and even when it did work, it lacks tilt sensing.) Troubling for anyone who would prefer to use it as a laptop, Bright says the Surface 3 is better than its forebears but still an awkward fit for using on an actual lap, and that despite the improvements Microsoft's made it therefore isn't quite the system he's looking for.
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TechCrunch and Others On the Microsoft Surface Pro 3

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  • by SuperKendall (25149) on Saturday May 24, 2014 @09:20PM (#47085323)

    Don't miss the Penny Arcade Surface Pro 3 feedback [penny-arcade.com], as it gives some good solid thoughts on usability hiccups - which it sounds like Microsoft is going to great lengths to address quickly.

    His take is especially interesting because he uses it heavily for art.

  • Re:But... (Score:4, Informative)

    by Michalson (638911) on Saturday May 24, 2014 @09:37PM (#47085405)
    Yes, all 3 generations of Pro can have security turned off in the BIOS to allow a Linux install. But running Linux and actually doing anything aren't the same, there aren't properly configured drivers for a lot of things (as can be common for laptops). Even on the Windows side drivers initially held back the SP1 because Wacom hadn't released a compatible binary. The SP3 uses N-trig for the pen so it might be easier to get working but the Wifi, Bluetooth and even the advanced touch covers have all proven difficult to get working drivers on the SP2 and the hardware seems to be mostly the same in the SP3. You may find yourself with a screen and a USB port and not much else.
  • by jbolden (176878) on Saturday May 24, 2014 @09:56PM (#47085451) Homepage

    The Surface Pro 1 was excellent. Read the reviews and discussion here even at the time it came out or the comparisons of Windows 8 laptops where it was right in there with the best (example Lenovo). The Surface wasn't very good and pairing the name was frankly confusing to customers since the Surface Pro and the Surface didn't have much in common, as your post shows.

  • Re:Tilt Support? (Score:5, Informative)

    by wiredlogic (135348) on Saturday May 24, 2014 @10:25PM (#47085547)

    The GP is talking about Wacom's support for detecting the tilt angle (and other parameters) of the pen on their more sophisticated tablets. This isn't done with accelerometers but through extra signal processing in the sensor array which permits a battery-less pen. Wacom has all the relevant patents on this. They just don't want competition for Cintiq.

  • by bondsbw (888959) on Sunday May 25, 2014 @02:12AM (#47086033)

    Costs more than the laptop OR tablet it is supposed to replace

    FTFY. It costs less than buying both separately. And that's the point.

    And it integrates with itself better than two devices that are separate. It is usable as both a tablet and a laptop. It is among the more powerful laptops while being the thinnest/lightest x86 tablet. And it runs all Windows desktop apps.

    I'm sorry you don't find value in such a device. As for me, it sounds like pretty much what I've been waiting for (and promised by Microsoft) for years.

  • by Anonymous Coward on Sunday May 25, 2014 @03:14AM (#47086167)

    Let's just get this out of the way:

    QUOTE

    It's Microsoft, it suxers. It jus sux. in every way it suxxx. it's microsoft, right? it sux right? it sux. Suxxxxeeeerrrr. Sux, right?

    OK.

    It looks like a nice piece of hardware. I'd be tempted to get one. But, like you say, it's Microsoft. Once trust is gone, no argument can bring it back.

    It is trivial to install Ubuntu on these, everything (including touch support and the pen) 'just works'. So no worries about committing to Windows with these ...
    I've owned a Surface Pro 2 for a couple of years, and been very satisfied with the hardware. I've played with a Surface Pro 3, and the hardware feels even better - thinner and lighter (CPU/GPU are identical to the Pro2).

    Price is an issue, but as noted endlessly, these are 'tweeners' - much more powerful than any tablet, not quite a full laptop replacement. The 12" screen helps, 10" was definitely not 'laptop-like' ...

  • by Anonymous Coward on Sunday May 25, 2014 @05:23AM (#47086409)
    AC because mod points. Only the ARM RT version has a locked bootloader. All the pro models are unlocked, it's part of Microsoft's own specification for x86 devices, which you can read here [microsoft.com]

    The exact words (my emphasis) go:

    All x86-based Certified For Windows 8 PCs must meet several requirements related to Secure Boot:

    They must have Secure Boot enabled by default.

    They must trust Microsoft’s certificate (and thus any bootloader Microsoft has signed).

    They must allow the user to configure Secure Boot to trust other bootloaders.

    They must allow the user to completely disable Secure Boot.

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