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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 Anonymous Coward on Saturday May 24, 2014 @09:02PM (#47085249)

    Costs more than the laptop and tablet it is supposed to replace and not actually better than having seperate units.

    I give it credit for the improvements that is has made, but the price is too damn high!

    • Re: (Score:2, Insightful)

      by Frosty Piss (770223) *

      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.

      • 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.

        • 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 ShieldW0lf (601553) on Sunday May 25, 2014 @10:11AM (#47087049) Journal

            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' ...

            That really doesn't matter. It's not about liking or not liking Windows. It's about holding myself responsible for the part I play in empowering companies by giving them my business. Business decisions are the only meaningful political decisions left. I'll travel three times as far and pay twice as much to avoid doing business with people I don't like, and I'll stop at the businesses that I don't like, show them my money, tell them explicitly why they can't have it and leave, just out of spite. That's how I roll.

            It's not about efficiency. It's not about who does the job the best. It's not about price. It's about supporting the decent, civic minded people and diminishing the selfish, decadent and exploitative ones.

          • by countach (534280)

            Good to know that touch works with Ubuntu, but I doubt it has a touch friendly set of apps like Metro.

      • Microsoft missed their calling as a hardware-only company.

        They always made very nice mice and keyboards.

        Surface looks like nice hardware too; and if it had an unlocked bootloader, I'd buy one.

        Problem is the software they put on those things.

        • 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.

        • by bloodhawk (813939)

          It DOES have an unlocked bootloader, you can put anything you want on the surface pro.

    • by timeOday (582209)
      To me this seems fantastic for somebody who travels often for work. You have all your data and applications one compact device, but when you wind up on a full flight without the room to really fold out a laptop, it's also a tablet.

      It seems like a great presentation device also, because you could run something like powerpoint, except more interactive, moving around a bit instead of stuck behind the podium, sketching formulae or annotations on the slides. I see there is Keynote for iPad, but with a number [apple.com]

    • 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 AmiMoJo (196126) *

      There are some advantages over a laptop, like being able to wake it up like a phone with a tap of the pen and scribble notes. If it cost about 1/3rd the asking price it would be a fantastic product, but at the current price it is a bit niche.

      For some reason Surface is really popular in Japan. I think it is business users driving sales, as companies seem to invest a lot in IT over there.

      • If it cost 1/3 the asking price, it'd be a generic Android tablet.

        You can't ask for the best specs in its class (tablets), some of the best in its other class (Ultrabooks) AND a low price.

        There's a reason your average 400 buck crap laptop from the likes of HP or Dell has a crappy 1366x768 screen and mechanical hard drive.

      • by bloodhawk (813939)

        The price, considering the specs, is actually pretty good. They come in cheaper than the X1 Carbons we currently use and have better screens and are lighter. We already have a few on order to trial them as a replacement for the Carbons for our next batch of machines for remote users.

  • by Anonymous Coward

    When you've driven a product name into the ground, it's probably time to pick a new name. And no, I don't mean "Surface Pro 3 GOLD" :-)

    I know how shitty the old ones were, I won't consider buying anything from Microsoft called "Surface" -- ever. Pick a new name if you want me to consider buying one.

    • by war4peace (1628283) on Saturday May 24, 2014 @09:22PM (#47085335)

      Wow. Is the NAME that important?
      I don't care if it's called Zhiang Zhun Chi or Apple iMcProAir. I care about whether it's solidly built, has good battery life and allows me to use the same software I use on my laptop. I also couldn't care less if the brand name has a history of unfortunate releases. Maybe they learned from their mistakes. if reviews are good and I like it during the 30 days I am allowed to return it, why not keep it?

      Shunning a product simply because you don't like the name is retarded.

    • Re: (Score:2, Informative)

      by jbolden (176878)

      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.

      • by symbolset (646467) *
        The discussion around the other two had raving fans as well. But the sales were not good.
        • by jbolden (176878)

          4Q2013 $893m
          3Q2013 $400m
          Surface 1 did about $1b total

          That's a pretty consistent 80-120% growth quarter over quarter. How are sales not good for a new product?

      • by plover (150551)

        As good as the Surface Pro 1 was, the Surface Pro 2 is even better. I'd love to swap up my Pro 2 for a Pro 3, but not without a good trade in deal.

    • I know how shitty the old ones were, I won't consider buying anything from Microsoft called "Surface" -- ever.

      Most of the reviews for the Surface Pro have been good. See this for example [penny-arcade.com]. The primary drawback that I've always seen mentioned is price.

      For $400 a lot of people would like this tablet, but at $800 for the cheapest [microsoftstore.com], it becomes less interesting. On the supply and demand curve, they just pushed demand down by increasing the price.

      • For 400 bucks, you can't even buy the processor, screen, battery, SSD and RAM.

        Seriously, you have to be realistic.

    • How about (Score:5, Funny)

      by justthinkit (954982) <floyd@just-think-it.com> on Sunday May 25, 2014 @01:17AM (#47085951) Homepage Journal
      How about Surface Pro 3 Update 1?
  • by Anonymous Coward

    Stop it, Microsoft. It's sad.

  • Tilt Support? (Score:4, Insightful)

    by Anonymous Coward on Saturday May 24, 2014 @09:14PM (#47085303)

    From TFA:

    "The pen doesn't include the tilt/orientation support that the high-end Wacom pens support. In this regard, it's no different from the previous Surface Pros, as they didn't appear to have tilt support either. If this is a feature you want in a tablet, you'll have to fork out for one of Wacom's extraordinarily expensive Cintiq devices."

    Anyone expected pressure-senility and tilt support for under $2k?

    • Re: (Score:2, Interesting)

      by QuasiSteve (2042606)

      Well, to be honest.... yes?

      Maybe there's patents at play when it comes to 'a hand-held input device as used on a rectangular surface', but tilting things is pretty commonplace ever since the smartphone. Hell, my flashlight has tilt support via a 3-axis accelerometer.

      Though there are more fundamental issues for those who would use it for drawing, though - check out the short opinion piece on the Surface Pro 3 at Penny Arcade [penny-arcade.com]. tl;dr: The new main (windows logo) button tends to get bumped into fairly easily

      • 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 guises (2423402)
          No kidding. Wacom's patents and their resulting monopoly are the only reason why they can charge two freaking thousand dollars for something that might go for six hundred in a competitive market.
          • Re: (Score:2, Interesting)

            by Anonymous Coward

            No kidding. Wacom's patents and their resulting monopoly are the only reason why they can charge two freaking thousand dollars for something that might go for six hundred in a competitive market.

            Your $600 estimate is interesting, because it's pretty close. There are actually some decent non-wacom pen displays around now, usually in the $600 to $1000 range, and one outlier at $400. They mostly use UC-logic tech for the pressure input, and are largely differentiated by the other hardware used, like TN or IPS displays, screen size, resolution, etc.

            I have the $400 one from monoprice, and while it's nowhere near the quality of a cintiq, it's affordable and still extremely nice to use once you get arou

            • by guises (2423402)
              Huh. Good to know, thanks. Last time I checked there weren't any other alternatives at all, other than tablets.
              • by Anonymous Coward

                Huh. Good to know, thanks. Last time I checked there weren't any other alternatives at all, other than tablets.

                There still aren't many alternatives, but it's improving. I try to keep up because I've been drooling over the cintiqs for a very long time, but never could justify the cost. I know of three alternatives currently:

                * Yiynova [yiynova.com] is the first (I think), and has been branching out. They mostly use UC-Logic digitisers, price range of $600+ for the decent ones. The 18" is TN for ~$600. The 22" is the only 1920x1080 I know about, and is IPS, but costs closer to $900.

                Only way to get them seems to be through Amazo

          • To be fair, the wacom pen in the SP2 doesn't support tilt either. To get that you need to go with their pro line of pens like the Intuos or Cintiq.

        • Yes, and what I'm saying is, they don't necessarily need to use that same technology - but perhaps the patents cover the general use case. If not - make it a powered pen, tech's come far enough that that shouldn't be an issue other than a negative review point of "pen's a bit heavier than I'd like", but with the positive review point of "has tilt support".

      • Your reading comprehension needs serious work before you try to be a smartass.

        • Could you 1. explain what part of GP's question I failed to comprehend and 2. explain what part of my reply came across as trying to be a smartass?

          • 1) You talk about tilt support from accelerometers, which has nothing at all to do with what you're replying to.

            2) "Well, to be honest... yes?" No device has ever had it at these prices, so there's nothing to expect.

            • Are you saying that accelerometers have nothing to do with calculating the tilting angle of a device, or that the tilting referred to in a pen+tablet combination such as the Wacoms is a wholly different type of tilting?

              Point 2 may hinge on the above.

              • That detecting the tilt of a Wacom pen has nothing to do with accelerometers. It would be far too inaccurate, most likely (see Wiimote) without a gyroscope and frequent calibration (again, see Wiimote).

                • So the question wasn't:

                  Anyone expected pressure-senility [sic] and tilt support for under $2k?

                  But rather:

                  Anyone expected pressure-sensitivity and tilt support on the level of a Wacom using Wacom's technology for under $2k?

                  You're right, I must brush up on my reading comprehension.

                  The answer is still 'yes'. Be that through alternative techniques (accelerometer/gyroscope/magnetometer all in one handy little monolithic package / detecting the magnetic field off of a magnet at the other end of the pen / whateve

                  • The i7 processor in the 2k version costs 700 bucks. You underestimate the cost of good hardware and engineering.

                    The Cintiq alone weighs 50% more than the Surface Pro 3 and has no battery or meaningful internals beyond the screen and digitizer.

                    Fitting an accelerometer, a gyroscope and a magnetometer in a pen isn't a trivial task.

                    Most importantly, Wacom doesn't want a Surface Pro that supports all their high-end features - their profit margins would go down the drain.

                    • I agree with everything you said except fitting an IMU in the pen. I think it wouldn't be that hard or expensive to fit one of these in a pen: http://www.invensense.com/mems... [invensense.com]
                    • The sensors themselves are only part of the issue. You then need a basic SoC, power for it and a Bluetooth radio.

                      Then you have to synchronize the tilt information with the digitizer input. It's a nightmare scenario.

  • 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.

    • by PopeRatzo (965947) on Saturday May 24, 2014 @10:40PM (#47085589) Homepage Journal

      It's great for not only art. I've got the SP2 and use it extensively in music production and performance.

      There is no other tablet that can run a full version of DAW software. There's nothing like using a pen to edit a waveform or to write a effect control curve.

      I don't really care how many of them they sell as long as they keep making 'em. I'm not the average business user but I love mine. I do not understand why there is no Mac tablet with Intel inside.

      • by gman003 (1693318) on Sunday May 25, 2014 @01:34AM (#47085979)

        I might have to try that, then - I'd never considered using it for that, but now that I think about it, all I'd need is a USB hub and audio adapter. If I ever get to the point of doing shows, I might have to get one.

        Does anybody else find it a bit ironic that Microsoft's tablets seem to be fitting into the niche Apple's desktops once did? Being used most prominently for art and audio production? That seems to be the niche Surface fits into, while Apple and Google are making more general-purpose, lower-cost devices.

        • But it's not the case.

          Microsoft isn't overtaking Apple in this niche.

          • by gman003 (1693318)

            Perhaps, perhaps not. But the key thing is that Apple's tablets are generalist - while they can be used for "artistic" work, they are most commonly used for casual or business use, much like Microsoft's offerings in the desktop arena.

            And that gives it a certain reputation - a reputation Apple is still slightly coasting on (they've done nothing to deserve the "creative person's product" reputation for many years now, yet it's still part of their marketing). If Microsoft is smart (for once), they'll build tha

          • by metrix007 (200091)

            They did, ever since Adobe made x86 versions of their software the priority.

            Sorry kiddo.

        • by AmiMoJo (196126) *

          I'm surprised Apple has not released a pen for the iPad. They go on about how wonderful the touch screen is but then make you operate it with your giant blunt fingertip. I think it must be an ideological thing - Jobs rejected pens early on in the iPad and iPhone development cycles.

    • by markimusk (669429)

      I literally stopped reading when he used "sick" in a "professional" review...

  • I beg to differ (Score:4, Insightful)

    by Anonymous Coward on Saturday May 24, 2014 @09:20PM (#47085325)

    It's an improvement upon the SP2, and we have not one, but TWO developers using them here as their primary desktop.

    8GB ram, Core i5, reasonable (if limited in variety) connectivity options. These guys are developing significant C++ code (~1.4mil lines of code over 30 or so projects with a total build time for ~3 hours from scratch, ironically they're compiling everything from scratch in closer to 2 hours, SSD in the SP vs SAS RAID5 our normal workstations use I guess) without any productivity loss, same desktop monitors as their old PCs, same keyboard/mouse, just running on a small tablet.

    The only real issue is lack of storage (we do machine learning / computer vision, our test sets are about 3TB worth of video/images/annotations) which can't be stored on these tablets for obvious reasons.

    These are plenty usable as replacements for laptops, and in some cases even desktops - if you don't have the need for a high powered GPU.

    • Re:I beg to differ (Score:5, Insightful)

      by Arkh89 (2870391) on Saturday May 24, 2014 @10:18PM (#47085523)

      I beg to differ too. For the same (top of the line) price you can get a laptop with a Core I7, 16GB of RAM (if not 32GB), 1TB HDD + MSATA SSD (expandable to a RAID0) and a REAL DEDICATED GPU.

      Where is the advantage in having a tablet if they are just leaving it on their desks?

      • by Anonymous Coward

        As the guy stated in reply to the previous comment, at a whim hallway testing, productivity improvements being able to test real world use cases on your dev machine (which require front/back cameras - laptops have front only in almost all cases) 'without' having to recompile, re-test, and install on a dev tablet.

        and how many office environments do you know that need a dedicated GPU to do their day to day work?

        next up, how many laptops do you know handle integrated/dedicated GPU switching effectively enough

        • by choseph (1024971)
          why don't you use the 64 bit compilers and linkers? Linking is usually where I see the 2GB memory hit with insane numbers of static libs, and I have seen people go well beyond this with the 64 bit linker instead of using the x86_amd64 cross compiler/linker tools. I think you have to install them separately so you may have missed them. way back in vs 2010 here is a thread about it: http://social.msdn.microsoft.c... [microsoft.com] but you should be able to find the 64 bit toolset and info elsewhere.
      • For 2 000 bucks, you'd better get more than *that*.

        For 1 300 bucks (same as mentioned Surface Pro 2), you get about that, but without the SSD, with Wi-Fi so bad you'll cringe when you figure out it's a signle-stream Broadcom and insane weight.

        For a better GPU? That's what my desktop is for.

  • Surface Pro if you have a boatload of Wintel apps that you need to take w/ you; Air if you don't and OS-X is better than the Metro UI on Windows 8.x. (Not to overlook that the latter's underpinnings are FreeBSD/XNU)
    • by SpryGuy (206254)

      OSX has no touch screen, no touch capabilities at all, and no direct pen-on-screen support either. For artists that want to sketch on the go, or for students who want to take notes in classes like math where hand-writing is far superior to keyboard, the Mac Air just isn't nearly as good as the SP3. SP3 is lighter and thinner with extra capabilities, and costs about the same. The main drawbacks are the "lapability" (ugh) and keyboard quality... Air definitely wins there. I'd say a writer/blogger would be

  • by Anonymous Coward

    Not logging in since I got a security certificate warning ...

    My wife's Surface Pro is an odd beast. It's fast. Well made. (Largely) free of bloatware (and what little there was, like the Expedia app, was easily defenestrated).

    But she rarely uses it as a tablet (says she likes Metro, but doesn't like Windows' habit of bouncing her between Work and Play UIs [Office user], so in went Start8 and ModernMix so she can do her thing exclusively in Work mode). Refuses to use the stylus. If she wants to randomly surf

    • by SpryGuy (206254)

      How did the metro interface get in the way? With Windows 8.1.1, desktop stays in desktop. Did your wife only ever use 8.0? (if so that would explain a lot).

      I find Win8.1.1 to be quite functional, usable, stable, and productive. I freely admit that 8.0 was kind of annoying unless you wanted to spend a fair amount of time tweaking and climbing a learning curve. But Win8.1.1 (without any Start8 crutches required) works pretty well.

      • I agree. I think a lot of people tried 8 (or read about it) early on and have made up their mind much like happened with Vista. The latest release of win8.1 is really quite good.

  • So a netbook with a touchscreen?
    (In Orson Wells voice) ASUS transformers assemble!
  • Certainly this will fill a niche market, but it's too bulky to replace tablets and too restricted to replace laptops. It seems like one of those products trying to cater to multiple consumer markets but ends up not being satisfactory in any of them.
  • by lazybratsche (947030) on Sunday May 25, 2014 @03:46AM (#47086237)
    The Surface Pro 3 could be the best tablet I've seen so far to actually substitute for a paper notepad and stack of printed reading material. As a biology graduate student, I can envision several use cases that aren't well served by any other devices:

    1) It could be the electronic lab notebook that so many scientists have been waiting for. Even though I use a desktop to write protocols and analyze data, I always end up using paper at the bench. If I write up a protocol, I print a copy so that I can carry it to the bench and scribble notes as I go. Similarly, for small and medium scale data collection, I record the data on a notepad and only later transcribe it to the computer. With OneNote, a good stylus, and a good aspect ratio for portrait, this could conceivably replace the binder full of papers I keep at my lab bench. (Difficulty: is it water and solvent resistant? Can it be covered in plastic without overheating or blocking the touch screen?)

    2) This could be the best tablet for reading big stacks of 8.5x11 inch PDFs. It's got the right display size, aspect ratio, pixel density, and again the styles could be pretty handy. A 10" tablet is too small, particularly with a low resolution screen. Fingertips or capacitive styluses are too imprecise for highlighting and note taking. On the other hand, I find reading it tedious to read much on a desktop, even with a good monitor. At 800g, the Surface Pro 3 isn't even that heavy by paper standards: the textbooks I have next to me are 1-3 kg, and I have many stacks of journal articles that weigh more than 1 kg.

    3) Finally, it could be a good tablet for the sorts of image manipulation I do. If it's good enough for Gabe at Penny Arcade, it should be more than good enough for my modest needs. I spend a lot of time with Inkscape and Paint.net making figures for presentation and publication. (I even, I am ashamed to admit, use PowerPoint vector graphics more than anyone ever should.) It's never anything fancy, but I bet a good screen and stylus would be faster than doing everything by keyboard and mouse. Plus, I can use all of my usual scientific image processing software, and directly transfer processed images to other programs for further manipulation.

    All of these uses are purely as a tablet or desktop replacement. I can't even see much use for the type cover to be honest, I'd rather just use the dock so I can plug in a real keyboard and mouse along with an external monitor.

    However, it's way out of my grad-student budget. I'll be waiting for price drops (and other competitors) as I save up enough money. Or perhaps my research advisor has money budgeted for lab computers.
    • If that's what your're looking for, check out the Samsung Ativ Tab 3. It runs full Windows 8 (x86), it has a touchscreen and Wacom stylus, and it's great for reading PDFs. You can find it for well under $400 if you look around, and even better, it's *lighter* than the Surface Pro.

      • by johneee (626549)

        I just wonder how Windows 8 works with only 2GB of memory. I have to think it'd be pretty poky.

    • by pz (113803)

      Paper. I have lab notebooks from my undergraduate years (through the present) that I refer to, because it's easy to do so. If I need to find something, and don't recall exactly where it is, a simple flipping of the pages, and I've found it in a matter of seconds.

      Call me a luddite, but electronic lab books don't have sufficient usability yet. My post-doc uses one, and he's far less efficient with it (and writes much less as a result) than I am with pen and paper. Importantly, human memory is at least par

  • Carry on. Don't forget about the numerous /. forks.
  • Sweet mother of pearl - that thing is exposed? That'll teach'em to hire the guys who made the GoT opening credits...

  • For many years, I've resisted the laptop-only paradigm... laptops have only in the last couple of years been powerful enough to function as my primary PC, so I still have my desktop at home where I do most of my real work, and I also have a laptop where I can continue that work on-the-go, though at a slightly reduced rate. But, of course, that means synchronization issues (which I get around 99% of the time by keeping everything in Subversion).

    So, for me, a SINGLE device that can do everything I want is wh

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