Best Surface Tablet Model?

Discussion in 'Alternatives to iOS and iOS Devices' started by nviz22, May 26, 2017.

  1. nviz22 macrumors 603


    Jun 24, 2013
    Assuming I sell my iPad Mini 4 and keyboard case for about $300 or so, what model is the best one for me?

    I am looking at the Pro i3 model w/ 64gb storage and 4gb RAM, Surface 3 with an Atom processor/128gb storage/4gb RAM, or waiting for the Pro 4 to drop in price and getting the Core M model w/ 4gb RAM and 128gb storage.

    I need to take notes, watch videos, read PDFs and e-texts, check email, web browse, see Netflix shows, and do other basic computing stuff.

    I can spend an additional $100-150 on top off what I make from iPad sale.
  2. msavic, May 26, 2017
    Last edited: May 26, 2017

    msavic macrumors 6502

    Sep 19, 2014
    In your shoes I would suggest either the Surface Pro 3 i3 or the Surface Pro 4 m3.

    The reason why I wouldn't suggest the Surface 3 is because the Atom processor is sluggish and the device charges horrifically slow using micro USB. For comparison sake, my Surface Pro 3 fully charges in an hour or so but that's because the charger is 60 Watts, the Surface 3 is vastly slower.

    Getting to your actual usage of the device, all of that stuff can be easily done on an i3/m3 Surface Pro. The horsepower is there but if I am being honest, the tablet experience is not that great.

    As a whole the software lets down the experience vastly, there is limited "tablet" apps and frankly the user interface isn't that optimized for use as a tablet. The iPad is a much better tablet and media consumption device than the Surface Pro 3/4 and it also boasts better battery life and better standby behaviour. On the other hand from a productivity standpoint, the Surface Pro is vastly superior.

    As an example of my use cases, I own an iPad Air 2 and a Surface Pro 3 i5. When it comes to doing real work and taking notes in classes, the Surface Pro 3 is my go to device. When I come home and want to relax for a bit and maybe watch some Netflix or browse the web, I use the iPad as the experience is much better than using the Surface. In my eyes these are two different devices designed for two different purposes, both can attempt to do the others job but the experience isn't the same.

    For me as a student there really isn't a better device than a Surface Pro 3 but that's due to the Surface Pen being extremely valuable for note taking and school work in general. In my eyes I view the Surface Pro as a thin and light laptop with pen capability, I rarely if ever view it as a tablet. Even Microsoft themselves have shifted away from the "best of both worlds" marketing and the new Surface Pro is solely marketed as a laptop.

    My main point being that you should only really pick up a Surface Pro if you need access to full windows programs and also need the pen capabilities daily. Otherwise for general content consumption an iPad or Android tablet would do a more satisfying job.

    Also keep in mind a Surface Pro 3 will arguably have better battery life than a Pro 4 as the battery capacity was decreased in the Pro 4. Regardless of the device, you should expect to get between 3-6 hours of actual usage depending on the usage. Also if you do get the Pro 3, invest in the Pro 4 type cover as it is vastly superior to the Pro 3 type cover.
  3. nviz22, May 27, 2017
    Last edited: May 27, 2017

    nviz22 thread starter macrumors 603


    Jun 24, 2013
    The one with the FP sensor on it? Have that one. I can't seem to find the Pro 3 brand new either. It is all refurbs. Core M model seems like the one that might be the front runner because I can wait and want to get a device with a warranty.
  4. spinedoc77 macrumors G3


    Jun 11, 2009
    Don't listen to the "surface is an inferior consumption device" cries, it's not. I would say the only caveat with that is battery life, but things like watching video get very decent battery life. I believe AnandTech clocked the SP4 at about 9 or so hours of video, and that was at release when it still had a lot of issues with the Intel proc and battery life.

    But pretty much anything you can consume on an ipad you can consume on the surface, and arguably in a better fashion because of the file system and the choice of having apps or legacy programs. What do you want to consume? Video? Netflix? HBO? Pictures? Music? Books? Audiobooks? WhatsApp? News? Weather? It's all in there, there is nothing you will miss out on you just have to get used to a different system.
  5. nviz22 thread starter macrumors 603


    Jun 24, 2013
    Netflix, live sports streams, Amazon Prime Video, Spotify, Reddit, Facebook, Gmail, Sports, Slickdeals, PDFs, Microsoft Office. I have the keyboard w/ the FP sensor on it, so I am just one SP4 away from getting a productivity experience. iOS is fine and all, but I want more!

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4 May 26, 2017