Thinking of getting one of these as the love for Apple is rapidly disappearing. Looking at the basic i5 model, I can get a couple of hundred quid as trade in for my Macbook Air and educational discount meaning i’ll only have to pay around £500. Like the idea of having the usb port and card reader which the iPads don’t have.
Anyone had any long term experience of them? Plan on getting the pen if I do order it.Posted 2 years ago
I had one as a work computer. I hardly ever used the pen and the keyboard was a bit of a compromise. Lots of folk I worked with loved them, but I preferred the Lenovo x1 that it replaced. As a home web surfing machine it’d probably be ok, if a little overpriced.Posted 2 years ago
I have one, I like it as an ultraportable. It’s not quite the same as a dedicated tablet, because many apps aren’t designed for tablet (although many are). But on the other hand, you can have your pick of Windows apps.
They are ok on your lap, but not as good as a full laptop. But better than a tablet if you suddenly need to write a load of text – just flip the keyboard out (as long as you bought it). The keyboard makes it heavy for a tablet (but still light for a laptop) but you can just pull it off whenever you feel like it, and then it’s pretty light.
The pen works pretty well, and the handwriting recognition is amazing, except you soon realise that most of us can type much more quickly than we can write and it quickly becomes a ballache to write lots of text. The pen is good in certain situations like art, writing formulae, taking free-form notes, annotating stuff, or sometimes in cramped situations like on a plane. You can move the handwriting input box to the top of the screen if you want.
Hardware wise it’s top notch with a great screen. I don’t find the type cover a compromise at all. It’s a lovely keyboard. It’s not the most solid in the raised position on a desk, but if you pop the magnet and have it flat on the desk it’s as solid as your desktop is.
I’d get another if I needed a lightweight machine no question. If I had the money lying around….!Posted 2 years ago
Totally agree with what Molgrips said. I’ve used one as my work laptop for two years now. Replacing a MAHOOSIVE dell inspiron 4300 & saving me kilos of weight to lug around.
One thing I will say is that the battery is staring to show signs of stress, but will happily just about deliver 5hrs of life. If it dies then the PSU isn’t good enough to run it and charge the battery from 0, cue lots of reboots and swearing. PSU’s built-in usb charging port is great for my iphone, but not quite powerful to charge a samsung s7. The battery is integrated and the case is glued together, a bit like an ipad so very difficult to replace.
The 128gb of space is good enough (I Dropbox / onedrive everything and selective sync back to save space), as is the performance from the i5, but I’d have preferred 8gb of ram over the 4 that it ships with. There’s an integrated miniSD slot under the kickstand. I use that for occasional big file dumps, or if i need a load of stuff to hand from a customer.
Graphics are awesome for what it is & it’ll happily run two displayport monitors, as well as its own display, so long as they can be daisy chained, or you use a surface dock with the two outputs. The type cover is very good. All the peripherals are expensive however & the stupid AAAA batteries for the pen are practically unobtainable on the high street. The arch mouse is brilliant. Touchscreen windows interface is also stupendously good. Touchscreen keyboard not so good & is generally in the way.
Win10 works great on it & sleep is finally fixed as it used to not sleep properly & kill batteries. The lack of a slidy switch on the power button is a pita though and there’s been many occasions where I’ve lifted it out of the case & been greeted by a still running, very, very warm and soon to be out of power surface. This usually happens on flights.
I’d buy one again if it came to it.Posted 2 years ago
Pretty much agree with all the above.
Have a £3k laptop and iPad for work and was recently given a mint SP3 Pro i5 W10 Pro with the SP4 keyboard and SP4 pen.
The SP was on my radar for some time (even though I couldn’t see how MS could build a device truly capable of being a laptop and tablet) as I wanted a portable 11-13” device for personal use Shortlisted many and then suddenly this little beast rocked up.
In short it’s bloody brilliant. Fast (for everything I need it to do);
Light and easy to port around.
Perfectly usable as a tablet as the screen is very responsive.
SP4 pen is very good – works great with a lot of design apps (Bamboo, Mischief, Sketchbook etc) and also things like OneNote. I brainstorm/mindmap using the pen and OneNote a lot as it feels very analogue, ie it takes me away from the mouse experience and gives me a sense of actually scribbling. SP3 has limited levels of pressure though, so if you were wanting to do higher grade design/art I would suggest SP4 or newer.
SP4 keyboard is improved over SP3. Firmer with a much better trackpad. Easy to use on lap or anywhere on the move. The kickstand is super versatile in this respect.
Battery is decent, more so when using 50-75% brightness – which is adequate for most things. Not as good as other portables though.
Sleep (W10 Pro) doesn’t seem to drain any battery – if it does, it’s absolutely minimal.
All in all I love it. So much so that I use it everyday (with the pen) for work stuff and sync it up. Previously I was a naysayer about MS’ attempts to compete with similar devices, especially those from Apple, but that was my ignorance. It’s not perfect but as above, it is bloody good at a lot of things and I would highly recommend.Posted 2 years ago
I’ve been using one all year for uni
I have the base model Surface 3 (non-pro) – with an Atom processor I think.
Also have the type cover, pen and a bluetooth wedge mouse
I like it – very portable for carting around (I cycle to uni so keeping weight down is good). I take it on trips here and abroad with me too and I travel very light – just a holdall normally.
Screen, keyboard, windows touch interface are all great. Mine has a normal USB charge port as opposed to anything proprietary. Lasts about 5 hours of use, but I use a phone power bank to get through a full work day. Makes it handy when travelling as I only need one charger/power bank for it, my phone and bluetooth speaker.
Storage is a little low, but I keep almost everything on OneDrive.
The screen is a little small for doing larger spreadsheets, but you can hook them up to a monitor though I’ve never tried.
Mine can be a little slow to open programmes, but it is a low power processor…
I only really do emails, web browsing and MS Office which it handles fine. The most resource intensive thing I’ve done is import/edit/export RAW files from my camera, which it dealt with, just slowly.
The pen is OK, occasionally quite handy (annotating a diagram or writing out an equation), but I probably wouldn’t buy it again.Posted 2 years ago
Might be of interest to you but I recently found out you can use apples magic keyboard with the iPad which is much better for typing than the keyboard cover. Although I think those MS things are more powerful by some margin.Posted 2 years ago
Colleague has one as work machine and it seems very nice. Well made too. I’ve just been upgraded to a Lenovo Miix which seems good on first acquaintance. Very good keyboard.
Still an Apple fanboy at home though.Posted 2 years ago
Had one for work for 2 years – had 2 suffer terminal hardware failure and regularly needed specialist IT support to fix bugs – saw it more as a compromised laptop that a decent tablet. Use a Macbook Pro and iPad at home which have needed minimum support.Posted 2 years ago
I had a Surface Pro 3 i5 512GB for work but couldn’t recommend it. Although lightweight and portable the machine was unreliable and our IS department had to re-image it a couple of times but this didn’t really make much difference. It often would often take ages to boot up and would regularly freeze while working. I found that handwriting recognition wasn’t good enough to use for reliably converting notes to text. If you connected to a different display the scaling would go really small.
Several colleagues experienced similar issues and in the end they were replaced with HP Elitebooks which have been brilliant in all respects.Posted 2 years ago
I’m currently using a Surface Pro i5 Model 1796 which I’m very pleased with. I use it for general email/ office365/ lugging round to other’s offices etc. It seems fast enough, definitely light enough and it has just enough graphics to show complex 3D pdf of designs which my previous Samsung NP9003XA had run out of the grunt to do.
I see quite a few of them appearing at meetings now rather than more traditional PC laptops,Posted 2 years ago
I use the Lenovo equivalent as it’s possible to open it up and replace things like the SSD if you need. The surface is a sealed device. If it’s your only device it’s worth getting a dock as well so you can use a bigger screen and keyboard
Brill device thoughPosted 2 years ago
Pro 4 was a definite step up from the Pro 3. Current model is confusingly just called a Surface Pro (rather than Pro 5).
I had a old Pro 3 as a temporary device when I joined work, until the Pro 4s became available internally. It’s a perfect device for me as I travel around a fair bit (car, training, walking, bike) and I don’t need huge amounts of power or a large screen.
The pen experience is excellent – I tend to take off the keyboard in meetings and write notes by hand, it also looks better as people don’t think you’re doing email or idly browsing the internet.
I’ve never had any issue with the kickstand, I can happily use it sitting/lying on the sofa like a normal laptop. Just be careful pushing it to the edge of a table.
Windows Hello face recognition is brilliant too, it’s got to the point where I can have the SP on the floor and glance down at it from the sofa and it unlocks.Posted 2 years ago
I have one sat in a box I’m selling if anyone is interested 400 quid its an sp4 with the core i7 , not good for engineering work though .Posted 2 years ago
I have a non-Pro Surface 3. Not really a big fan to be honest – you cannot balance it on your knee like a proper laptop and Windows 10 is a crap OS for tablets.
I got it really cheap (£200) from my old workplace and use it for sofa surfing when my Chromebook is out of juice.
I would hate a Surface Pro as a main laptop.Posted 2 years ago
Thanks for the replies 🙂Posted 2 years ago
Can you send me some more details on yours please MickmcdPosted 2 years ago
Pro 3 here, had it a few years now – probably falling behind a bit but I’m very happy with it as a one and only machine.
It gets docked at work and drives two screens fine and for me is just big enough to be able to do proper work while traveling.
It seems well built – travels in by backpack without complaint. Saying that had to disable the touchscreen recently as it was giving phantom touches but I don’t really miss that.
Endless faff in the early days with failed boots but that seems to be fixed long ago and hopefully will not apply to later models.
In short I would have another in a heartbeat, the portability is a big win – I will probably have to fight for this as seems like Dell is the PC du jour at work now and I don’t think they have an equivalent in their range?Posted 2 years ago
you cannot balance it on your knee like a proper laptop
I do exactly this with it.
There were a lot of faults with firmware early on, but they seem fixed now. I can’t find fault with mine except a couple of minor niggles:
1) The battery life is good, unless it needs to do something. Each time you wake it up it takes a chunk out of the battery. So you might get 6 hours if you were using it all day to surf, but you won’t be able to do 12 half hour sessions. Or so it seems – haven’t timed it. This also seems to have improved a lot with firmware updates though.
2) The cursor that appears under the pen isn’t always exactly under the pen tip – sometimes a few pixels out, but consistently so not random variations. This could be an issue with parallax when calibrating it, not sure.
As above though the portability is amazing. Usually I’m carrying in much heavier luggage, but when I do go out with just the laptop I have a really small TNF satchel and you hardly notice it’s there, it’s brilliant. And processing photos in Lightroom in tablet mode whilst sat on a sofa or reclining in a comfy chair is great. Although that’s more a benefit of Adobe and Windows 10 tablets rather than MS in particular. But theirs is the best one.
Although having said that – there’s a Samsung Windows 10 tablet which is a smidge cheaper AFAIK. Looks pretty good too.Posted 2 years ago
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