Surface Pro 3

Surface Pro 3

My first impression of the Surface Pro 3 was that Microsoft had produced a tablet/laptop that was really tempting. The choice of which model to buy is obviously dependent on how you want to use it, but will more than likely be heavily influenced by price. As you step up the model specification it is important to note that as well as processor/memory changes there is also an associated graphics change.

Surface Pro 3 – 64 GB / Intel Core i3-4020Y HD 4200 / 4GB RAM £639.00 incl. VAT
Surface Pro 3 – 128 GB / Intel Core i5-4300U HD 4400 / 4GB RAM £749.00 incl. VAT
Surface Pro 3 – 256 GB / Intel Core i5-4300U HD 4400 / 8GB RAM £849.00 incl. VAT
Surface Pro 3 – 256 GB / Intel Core i7-4650U HD 5000 / 8GB RAM £1,239.00 incl. VAT
Surface Pro 3 – 512 GB / Intel Core i7-4650U HD 5000 / 8GB RAM £1,549.00 incl. VAT
http://www.microsoft.com/surface/en-gb/products/surface-pro-3
http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Microsoft_Surface_Pro_3

Now I went for i5 128GB, as I was looking for a mid range spend for the purchase. However luckily for me I purchased it for around £670 as I got a returned unit from a retail store.

Issues

Storage:

The one thing that infuriates me most about this device is storage. Take for example the premium i7 models, for an additional £310 you can have a 512GB SSD. Ouch.. really?

I am not for one moment suggesting that this device is alone in creative pricing for hardware upgrades, but what is annoying is that this one is aimed to be a laptop replacement. A device with the same zero upgrade possibilities as other tablets.

Now if you could open the Surface easily then the internal mSATA drive could be replaced, however this is practically impossible to all but the very very determined. I am not even sure anyone has successfully done this with a Surface Pro 3, as the only detailed documented attempt resulted in damage.

https://www.ifixit.com/Teardown/Microsoft+Surface+Pro+3+Teardown/26595

http://uk.crucial.com/gbr/en/ssd/series/M550
Crucial M550 512GB mSATA Internal SSD £191.99 inc. VAT
Crucial M550 256GB mSATA Internal SSD £110.39 inc. VAT
Crucial M550 128GB mSATA Internal SSD £65.99 inc. VAT

USB:

Another issue with the device is that it has only one USB 3.0, which is not a major point but does limit options of what can be plugged in without adding an additional hub device (or dock).

The problem I came across was that the USB port did not provide enough power to keep my blu ray player or external hard dive connected. It kept dropping out which I knew was more than likely a power issue, and a quick search found that many others had encountered this. Now on a plus side the actual power brick for the device has a USB port for power. A quick search again and I found the cable I needed “USB 3.0 Y-CABLE 2x TYPE A Male to TYPE A Female”

Fan:

The fan does occasionally become a little noisy, but on the whole is fine.

Additional purchases

A must have purchase is the the type cover and it is strange not to see this bundled.

Surface Pro Type Cover

Two other items worth considering are a decent mouse and a dock for additional ports.
Surface Pro 3 Docking Station
Sculpt Comfort Mouse

My final thoughts

Now I know I bashed the Surface Pro 3 on a few points it is however a very good tablet/laptop replacement. I have in the past purchased several different IPADs, Nexus 10/7 devices and I can say that by far the most productive device for me is the Surface. It can do all the things my laptop did as well as providing similar functionality to my IPAD. I would like to see the mSATA drive accessible in future versions of the hardware, and it may also be good if Microsoft put a note in the box about potential power issues with a high power USB devices.

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