Surface Pro 3 marketing woes and review round up

Discussion in 'Alternatives to iOS and iOS Devices' started by maflynn, Jun 20, 2014.

  1. maflynn Moderator

    maflynn

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    #1
    I stumbled upon this article on zdnet a little while ago
    How Microsoft's Surface Pro 3 marketing push backfired
    This kind of sums up what I've been seeing from those people who were lucky enough to get an SP3 - presumably to write glowing reviews. Some did, others felt that the SP3 was a decent laptop replacement and a mediocre tablet. Microsoft wanted people to compare it directly to a MBA and they did and many saw that it came up lacking. That's where MS I think messed up a bit.

    That story had a link for The Ultimate Surface Pro 3 Reviews Roundup

    All in all, there was a lot of positive remarks but some telling negatives.

    I've been on the for this for so long but given the cost, I'm hesitant to spend money.

    I think its a great product but I'm less convinced it can be a laptop replacement for some (many) people unless you full flesh out what it can do very well and its short comings.
     
  2. spinedoc77 macrumors G3

    spinedoc77

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    #2
    It's an awesome tablet, I don't get why people say differently, but that's just my opinion. I bought mine as a 75% tablet, 25% laptop device.

    As a laptop, it's quite simple and virtually all of these reviews can be summed up into one sentence: The SP3 keyboard isn't as good as a laptop keyboard. That's it, and it is the truth. MS should have released a hard keyboard attachment.

    But it all depends what you want. I have options, I can detach it and use it as a tablet. I can use it as a laptop. heck I can even ditch the Type keyboard and buy a slim/small bluetooth keyboard to use, Logitech has a never nice one, so does Apple.
     
  3. maflynn thread starter Moderator

    maflynn

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    #3
    If I were to get it, I'd opt for a wireless keyboard for my non mobile needs and even then a small wireless keyboard for when I travel.

    I can use the type cover when I'm on the plane or sitting in my recliner.

    Its not a bad device, and I think that's what makes it a hard decision.
     
  4. spinedoc77 macrumors G3

    spinedoc77

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    #4
    Yep, it's really quite a simple solution if you need a keyboard. IMO it's not like the macbook Air's keyboard is *that* much better anyway. I understand the argument though and agree with it, if you need the keyboard then I can't fault you for not choosing the SP3.
     
  5. sracer macrumors 604

    sracer

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    #5
    I bolded what I've been saying all along. Since Sept 2013 I've been trying to use the Surface as a tablet (RT/2, Modern UI only as that is what is preferable for touch usage).

    I seriously tried to make it work well for me, and I wanted it to. It didn't. Reviewers don't have the time nor the inclination to invest that amount of time and energy into making it work for them. They shouldn't have to.
     
  6. maflynn thread starter Moderator

    maflynn

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    #6
    No arguments.

    For me its two fold, if I give my MBP,I'll be giving up OSX - I'm not all that jazzed up about it. I like Win8 and it has its advantages, but still. I like using OSX :)

    As for the replacement piece of the SP3. It has its weaknesses and that's where I'm struggling.

    Back to the linked articles, and we see MS pushing the idea that its better then an MBA and I think that was a risky move that backfired.

    I like what it has to offer, and I agree with a lot of the positives the reviewers stated. I agree with some of the negative, not all, but the short comings of the type cover is the most pronounced.

    I was so close to getting it, and it was MS that stopped me. I went to my local Ms store to pre-order and they said at this point they're only back ordering the units. I was going to get it with the EDU discount. I can buy it w/o the EDU discount at best buy, but to be honest I'm having hard time over-paying for this as it is with the EDU discount.
     
  7. spinedoc77 macrumors G3

    spinedoc77

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    #7
    RT makes for an awful tablet experience, it's no wonder you are unsatisfied. If Microsoft was smart they would completely axe the entire RT concept as soon as possible.

    The SP3, on the other hand, is a pretty incredible tablet IMO.
     
  8. sracer macrumors 604

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    #8
    I think that Microsoft, hardware-wise, is very, very close to being above criticism. Do something to secure the pen and create an alternative mechanism for attaching the keyboard cover. (something like Asus and Acer do with their tablets)

    If they can lure developers, that'll address the software angle.

    Having spent so much time with the Surface RT/2 and now marathon sessions over the past 3 days getting my 11.6" MBA set up, I agree that Microsoft messed up a bit trying to cast the SP3 against the MBA.


    I don't think you're getting my point. There is no difference in the touch experience between the Surface RT/2 and the Surface Pro. They both depend upon the same Modern UI apps. I'm not talking about desktop apps which are NOT optimized for touch and don't offer the same experience as Modern UI apps.
     
  9. spinedoc77 macrumors G3

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    #9
    You don't like the Modern apps experience? I've found the UI to be about the same as iOS in functionality, I mean there is only so much you can do with fat finger input.

    Also you should try programs which scale well to the desktop interface. Office is a great example, it scales well and works very well with touch input. The menus and ribbons are very well made towards touch input. OneNote is nice like this as well. You can also get heavyweights like Adobe Photoshop CC, and I believe their entire line up as well with scaled up features meant for touch tablets. I can't wait to get home and install Photoshop CC.

    Just because it's a desktop program doesn't mean it automatically sucks, quite the contrary in many cases. Programs can be made to function well in a touch environment. Even if they don't you always have the option to hook up a mouse which I do when I need to get work done, you don't have that option with iOS. Those programs you don't like because you can't use touch UI well suddenly become an asset.
     
  10. sracer macrumors 604

    sracer

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    #10
    We've been through this subject multiple times. My previous attempts to help you understand what I'm talking about were unsuccessful. I don't think another attempt would have a different result. :)


    My point in this thread was to highlight the fact that the new reviews stating that the SP3 is a decent notebook replacement but a mediocre tablet have been shared before by those with a vested interest in having the Surface be a successful replacement for both notebook and tablet.

    "decent notebook replacement but mediocre tablet" will be repeated as people, particularly those coming from an MBA/iPad combo, receive their SP3 devices.
     
  11. spinedoc77 macrumors G3

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    #11
    Mediocre tablet... Why, because of the weight? If you look at the difference in screen size, resolution, functionality, etc versus the ipad air it makes sense, and if anything is pretty sick they fit all of this into such a thin, light package. I don't think all the weight of what makes a good tablet should be just on how light it is, there are other factors to weigh (pun intended), which of course are user independent. As for the app debate I think our exploration into which apps are represented has been eye opening for some as they realize that's not as strong of an argument as they thought.
     
  12. sracer macrumors 604

    sracer

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    #12
    I've already, repeatedly explained why I believe that the Surface line in general makes mediocre tablets. It looks like I'm not alone in this assessment.

    IMO, Microsoft needs to rethink some of their design decisions and marketing approaches with the Surface. People sympathetic to Microsoft will give them a pass for this reboot of the Surface line. Influencers will not.

    Microsoft cannot position the SP3 as an alternative to an MBA and not include the keyboard for that base price. That's just dumb. Out of the box the SP3 cannot replace the MBA. (there has to be, at least a temporary concession of the situation)

    Then there are little things: The glued-on loop for the pen is goofy. A premium device and that's the best they could come up with?

    It appeared to me that Microsoft "rushed" the SP3 out. (7 months after the SP2) I have a few suspicions... one is that Microsoft wanted to take advantage of the lull in Apple's release cycle to get the spotlight without having to share it with the new generation of iPads/MBAs.

    That has resulted in some attention.. that's good and they'll grab a few who didn't want or couldn't wait to see what Apple's new offerings will be. But unless Apple stumbles this Fall, any traction Microsoft gained will be halted.
     
  13. spinedoc77 macrumors G3

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    #13
    I think that's just a fundamental point we disagree on, and it's predicated on how we use our devices. I think the SP3 is an awesome tablet and a much better tablet than the ipad air, once again just opinion. Unless you or I change how we use our devices it's unlikely we will change our opinions.

    I agree that the keyboard needs to be included, although I would adjust the price, you are still getting a hell of a lot of increased functionality over a MBA, not to mention the resolution, etc. But I agree, it was a dumb move to not somehow include the keyboard. Additionally there should have been a hard keyboard dock, this is something that they actually anticipated when Panoy said they had one, but decided not to release it. So they actually knew it was important.

    The glued on pen loop is horrendous, obviously an afterthought. I would have opted for a pen silo, but the pen is thicker than the tablet. Getting rid of Wacom was a mistake, although this did allow them a thinner tablet.

    I don't think they rushed it out, but they do have some poor marketing decisions as you rightly point out. From what I understand the new MBA's are just refreshes so it will be the same battle. The ipad air's are also just refreshes so I don't see much changing.

    One thing I'd like to be clear on, I don't think Microsoft will surpass Apple's juggernaut products, I'm a realist. They don't have much of a chance on the ipad front, regardless if it's a clearly superior device/tablet. They have a much better chance on the ultrabook front, but as you mention marketing and hardware mistakes will haunt them. Look how badly RT has haunted them.
     
  14. maflynn thread starter Moderator

    maflynn

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    #14
    You two seem to be going around and around over the same arguments :p

    Here's my assessment, many of the reviewers are vocalizing what consumers will. As a tablet, 12" can be considered too big, especially in portrait mode and will cause hand fatigue. As a laptop replacement, its a great machine but the type cover is inferior to a laptop keyboard - no argument.

    I think the point that the zdnet article was making is that asking reviewers who rely on typing to use the SP3 over their MBA, was doomed to fail because they're focusing on the SP3 weak point.

    I don't have an answer on how MS could have marketed the SP3, but they erred in trying to unseat the MBA.

    One reason I want a SP3, is I'm taking a couple of trips in September and November and I think the prospect of the SP3 over my MBP3 is quite tempting. Additionally, using it in situations that I wouldn't normally take my MBP for note taking is a plus.

    As for the modern apps, I'm not sold on them, probably because I have the Metro UI hidden in win8, and I use the traditional windows start button
     
  15. spinedoc77 macrumors G3

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    #15
    Yeah, I definitely agree with this.
     
  16. MozMan68 macrumors 68000

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    #16
    For many companies, the SP3 has now reached the level of a laptop replacement.

    One of my biggest competitors is going 100% SP3 (a few thousand employees).

    They will provide a docking station if requested for use at work as well as provide them for touch down areas around the office. At the same time, I'm imagining they will do away with any tablet reimbursement program.

    For many companies, basic cloud access and having Office/Outlook covers more than 90% of what their workers need on a day to day basis. I know it is all I need. The only issue with my company right now is that they have not made the switch to Windows 8 yet.

    I imagine they are doing this through another department that markets to their corporate customers, but I don't blame them for trying to get as much "retail" business as they can. I just would have focused more on the productivity side that they are so good at...and even a run at more higher ed support.
     
  17. sracer macrumors 604

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    #17
    It was premature of them to go head-to-head with the MBA. If the rumors of a 12" rMBA for later this year are true, then that certainly helps to explain Microsoft's timing of the SP3 release.

    The Surface kickstand is great when using it as a tablet for watching movies or one-one-presentations. I've use it quite a few times for presentations and it was terrific. The kickstand on the SP3, is not conducive for using it as an inclined keyboard. It is still a bit steep an angle for that. (but that depends upon the user's hand size, height, etc.)

    The folding magnetic hinge on the TypeCover3 took a step to help with rigidity, but there needs to be a physical locking connector (similar to what Asus or Acer use in their hybrid devices) to obtain the level of stability one would expect from a notebook.

    For Microsoft to position the SP3 against the MBA and NOT include the keyboard cover simply makes Microsoft look foolish. But that is easy enough to address. And it is an ironic twist... they don't bundle a clearly necessary accessory with the Surface and yet bundled a clearly unnecessary accessory with the Xbox One.

    Xbox One consumer outcry caused them to decouple the Kinect from the Xbox One, I suspect that reviewer criticism will cause them to include the TypeCover with the SP3. But with the XBox One, that decision (and a few others) to bundle cost them marketshare in this new generation of gaming consoles.


    I expect that Microsoft will realize and acknowledge that the Surface Pro is primarily an ultrabook that can in a pinch be used as a tablet. I also expect that they'll address those issues when they release the SP4, or mid-generation update to the SP3.


    Having owned an MBA for a few days, I can see myself taking both my MBA and iPad on my next trip. I'm not some olympic downhill skier that must rely on shaving off every fraction of an ounce of weight. The weight of the 2 devices combined are still significantly less than other devices I took on previous trips.

    I'm sold on Modern UI apps. There simply isn't enough of the right ones available.
     
  18. roadbloc macrumors G3

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    #18
    Its undoubtedly a fantastic product but I have 0 use for any sort of tablet regretfully.
     
  19. AppleScruff1 macrumors G3

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    #19


    I agree. They need to include the keyboard cover and not raise the price. The device needs the keyboard, it's not an accessory and it has been designed for use with the cover. They should have taken the hit on the bottom line and included a cover to get some sales. They are famous for throwing billions in the trash to get something off the ground, yet here is one of their best ideas yet and they leave it hanging.

    Quick story. When they original Surface Pro was released, it came in 64GB and 128GB models. Initially Microsoft sold the 128GB version with a touch cover only. You couldn't buy it with no cover and you couldn't substitute for the type cover. But they sold the 64GB model with no cover so you could chose either one. I remember asking an actual Microsoft rep why I didn't have the option to buy it with no cover or change to the type cover and pay the $10 price difference. His answer was, "That's the way we are doing it."

    Now if that wasn't idiotic, I don't know what was. I think it was a few months before they finally made the 128GB model available without a cover. I walked away shaking my head. Sometimes Microsoft marketing makes no sense at all.

    I personally think the Pro 3 is an outstanding product, but if you're trying to convince me it's a laptop and tablet replacement, including the keyboard cover and not charging extra for it is mandatory.
     
  20. Cnasty macrumors 68030

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    #20
    I was just in the market for one but 2 things swayed me to the MBA.

    The keyboard/trackpad of the SP3 is terrible IMO and the fact you have to buy it separately was funny.

    Then the price. I understand it is priced competitively against actual laptops with its specs but when they had the MBA sale at BB it made my decision for me for a better product at a fraction of the cost.

    I still think it has a lot of potential but after owning my MBA for about 5 days I am kicking myself for ever buying ipads and not getting one of these from the get go. The battery life is fantastic, the keyboard and track pad are the best in the business, and then a true operating system and not a mobile one for an ipad means I can be more productive. The portability cant be beat.

    I am curious to see how the SP3 sales and actual reviews turn out once more people get it. But for me, I definitely made the right choice in the MBA.
     
  21. Cod3rror macrumors 68000

    Cod3rror

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    #21
  22. m98custom1212 macrumors 6502

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    #22
    Selling the Surface Pro for a surface pro 3..

    I need to pony up get the 256gb model
     
  23. AppleScruff1 macrumors G3

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    #23
    IMO, the Microsoft docking station is the way to go for $199.00. I've seen the setup at the Microsoft store and it is very nice.
     
  24. sviato macrumors 68020

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    #24
    I get the impression that MS really wants people to stick to laptops so they're making their tablets as laptop-y as possible, hence why it may seem that they're mediocre as tablets. It's like MS is dipping into the market to try to bring is back.
     
  25. ob81 macrumors 65816

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    #25
    The sad thing is that had Microsoft included the keyboard, they probably would be selling a ton more SP3's. I was very close to getting one, but the marketing killed it. Every picture is showing the SP3 with the keyboard attached, a bestbuy salesman told me that I needed the keyboard if I was getting the SP3. If I need the keyboard, why isn't it simply included?

    The true price of the SP3 starts at $930.
    I only have an iPad mini at the moment and no laptop. I still can't get myself to drop the money. I think they did a great job on it though.
     

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