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Quick Surface Pro 3 Review

Summary: mostly good.

I was able to trade in an old MacBook Air for about $600 and use it toward an i5/8 GB/256 GB Surface Pro 3 about a month ago.  After having used it for a month, and after having used MBAs for 3 years or so (running Windows mainly on them), I have a few comments.

I realize that Retina MBAs are coming in the fall (supposedly), so it is a bit of an unfair comparison at this point, but the “pixel free” (or however the hell Microsoft describes it) ultra dense display is really quite fantastic.  I looked at a Retina MacBook Pro in an Apple store a couple of years ago and didn’t immediately notice a difference, but you really can tell the difference with this sort of display.  There is the occasional app that can’t quite look right in Windows, and since I’m old (and slow and stupid) I have to blow things up a bit more than others might, I love it.

I use it as my main dev laptop, and I can’t really complain about anything in that regard.  I don’t run VMs, but my equivalent is still the 100+ browser tabs I have open (I’m currently using Chrome Canary and Waterfox) and I almost always have 3-5 Visual Studio instances open at one time, and everything seems peppy.

There are a few quirks.  Despite the fixes that have been pushed out, I still have to manually disconnect and reconnect my home wireless connection when I come home at the end of the day (otherwise, I don’t have internet access).  The keyboard itself is okay, I’ve gotten used to the actual tactile feel of it, but I will still have an issue where the side charms will activate for unknown and unintended reasons (update: if you swipe on the trackpad as if you were swiping the screen, this happens.  However, it is a little sensitive for my tastes, as the trackpad is a bit small and so it is happening accidentally more than I’d like.  But, at least I know why now.  Duh.).  Also, within the last week or so, I have trouble putting the sucker to sleep unless the keyboard is attached (it wants to shut it down instead when the power button is pressed).  The world would be a better place if these annoyances didn’t exist, but I can live with them fine.

And I like reading online magazines and other things while riding the train into work and all that stuff.  It is a bit large for a tablet, but that doesn’t really bother me either.

So, overall, I like the thing, quite a bit.  Kinda interested in the new Retina MBAs, but still…..

Oh, and about battery life, I have almost nothing useful to say.  My entirely unscientific results from riding the train suggests I use between 10-15% an hour, but I don’t really know what I’m doing with my power settings, by which I mean I have the thing to use high performance, but set those settings to be more like battery saver (or whatever it is called) when it is unplugged.  But until I have a transatlantic flight, I can’t really say how it is.

posted on Thursday, July 24, 2014 7:31 PM Print
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