Surface Pro 3 - Torn!

Ryan0751

macrumors regular
Original poster
Nov 4, 2013
141
109
I've recently been looking for something between my iPad and my Macbook Pro... I tried a couple of keyboards for my iPad, but found the experience to feel very hacky.

I had seen the MS Surface Pro 3 in the store a number of times, and decided to pick one up.

I have to say I'm very torn on this device. On one hand, it's a beautiful piece of hardware, but having not used a windows tablet before the software is just kind of weird.

I'm not sure if I should keep it or return it. Some aspects of the device are wonderful like the pen input.

Anyone else using one of these?
 

spinedoc77

macrumors G3
Jun 11, 2009
9,356
3,375
I've recently been looking for something between my iPad and my Macbook Pro... I tried a couple of keyboards for my iPad, but found the experience to feel very hacky.

I had seen the MS Surface Pro 3 in the store a number of times, and decided to pick one up.

I have to say I'm very torn on this device. On one hand, it's a beautiful piece of hardware, but having not used a windows tablet before the software is just kind of weird.

I'm not sure if I should keep it or return it. Some aspects of the device are wonderful like the pen input.

Anyone else using one of these?
You will get used to the software, honestly it's not that much of a learning curve. Also Windows 10 is very near and that is supposed to be an incredible leap in merging desktop and tablet functionality, and it's a free upgrade.
 

MasterRyu2011

macrumors 65816
Aug 22, 2014
1,065
359
You will get used to the software, honestly it's not that much of a learning curve. Also Windows 10 is very near and that is supposed to be an incredible leap in merging desktop and tablet functionality, and it's a free upgrade.
Tell us why the software is kind of weird? Have you always been a Mac user?
 

rowspaxe

macrumors 68020
Jan 29, 2010
2,082
876
Not sure if you are referring to the os or modern apps. Anyway--I have owned a number of windows and apple computers and the learning curve going between them is not great--although sometimes irritating. I found I greatly prefer windows. Windows 8 has a couple of quirks but I found it quite usable. I tend to use only desktop apps. The taskbar is your friend--pinningapps there is the best way to simplify navigation.

My strong suggestion is to learn oneNote. It is pretty simple--but it helps to know how and where
it stores notebooks on oneDrive

Good luck. The sp 3 is great tool
 

thering1975

macrumors regular
Jun 5, 2014
202
129
If you prefer the desktop approach with Modern Ui in the background a great little app called Classic Shell is your friend. It will give you back your start button with either Xp or Win 7 menu types. Yet all the Win 8 functions are still there, they are just pushed to the background. I install this app for many people who just could not get on with full blown modern ui. Best and safest place to download it is ninite.com
 

maflynn

Moderator
Staff member
May 3, 2009
63,843
30,363
Boston
I hide the Metro (or as they now call it Modern) interface, I use a utility called Start8. It brings back the traditional Start menu.

Ive said this before, I'm very happy with my SP3, my RMBP doesn't get used much because of the usefulness of the SP3.
 

sracer

macrumors G3
Apr 9, 2010
8,354
8,709
Prescott Valley, AZ
I find there to be a bit too much whitespace and touch points a bit too large in Modern UI apps. That results in more navigating within the app than I'm accustomed to (compared to their iOS and Android counterparts).
 

AFEPPL

macrumors 68030
Sep 30, 2014
2,646
1,564
England
I'm really tempted by the SP3 too - its a much more complete offering vs the iPad in my opinion and it would mean i only need to carry one device when traveling.
 

Altis

macrumors 68030
Sep 10, 2013
2,987
4,421
Are you looking for something in between your MBP and iPad, or something to replace both? I think it could replace them but I'm not sure you'll want all three.

If you're in no rush, I'd advise waiting for the Broadwell update as its doing wonders for mobile devices. Windows 10 is shaping up to be very good and address most of 8.1's shortcomings, and will be a free upgrade later this year.

It's definitely a really compelling catch-all device.
 

soulreaver99

macrumors 68030
Aug 15, 2010
2,640
1,783
Southern California
I'd like to think of it this way...

If you are looking for a specific tablet or notebook:

  • It's the next best thing to the iPad Air/2
  • It's the next best thing to the MacBook Air 13-inch

If you are looking for the best hybrid device, there really isn't anything that compares at this point. I've been teetering back and forth between using a Surface Pro 3 or an iPad and MacBook Air combo and so far the Surface has been the best travel companion for business trips. I do all my heavy work on my 27-inch iMac.
 

xraydoc

macrumors demi-god
Oct 9, 2005
7,233
1,513
192.168.1.1
I have an SP3 as well, and while I find it great for getting significant work done in Microsoft Office (heavy Word and PowerPoint use), and the pen is great for OneNote and Drawboard, I find myself always reaching for my iPad if I'm just surfing the WWW from the sofa. The iPad is lighter, better sized for couch surfing, and I think the iPad's Safari is better than the "Modern/Metro" Touch IE equivalent.
 

Ryan0751

macrumors regular
Original poster
Nov 4, 2013
141
109
I think as I'm getting more and more comfortable with the SP3, I'm liking it more.

The odd parts of the SW are just how it switches in and out of Metro. You really just have to get used to it.

Now that I have more touch apps, and figured out how to get Chrome to run in Metro mode, it's much nicer.

I am a little dissapointed with a few things, like how the Windows Calendar doesn't support Google Calendars, but they do support Google Mail in the Mail app.

I'm not new to Windows by any means, but Mac's have been my primary machine for quite a while, particularly since the introduction of Windows 8.
 

Natzoo

macrumors 65816
Sep 16, 2014
1,199
84
Not sure where i am
I am looking to get a mobile laptop and i thought the iPad pro would have it, but thinking about it, it just seems a bigger iPad and i want a computer on the go. Of course i have a 15" retina mac but i want something like my iPad air, so I may get the surface 3 with i5 and keep the iPad.
 

Ryan0751

macrumors regular
Original poster
Nov 4, 2013
141
109
I have an SP3 as well, and while I find it great for getting significant work done in Microsoft Office (heavy Word and PowerPoint use), and the pen is great for OneNote and Drawboard, I find myself always reaching for my iPad if I'm just surfing the WWW from the sofa. The iPad is lighter, better sized for couch surfing, and I think the iPad's Safari is better than the "Modern/Metro" Touch IE equivalent.
I can see this too (for simple browsing). You also don't have that "this thing cost $1500" feeling when you're using it.

I will be keeping my 15" Macbook Pro as well. It's incredibly powerful, and there are tasks I need to do where I really want the bigger screen (running Traktor Pro for DJ'ing) or power (running VM's). But, it's sadly now my least used Mac (I also have a work issued MBP Retina that gets used a ton of course).
 

maflynn

Moderator
Staff member
May 3, 2009
63,843
30,363
Boston
I also have an SP3 and I don't use it in tablet mode as much as I use it as a laptop, i.e., the keyboard attached. Its a great product but I can't see using it solely as a tablet for extended periods.
 

zhenya

macrumors 603
Jan 6, 2005
6,358
2,823
I think as I'm getting more and more comfortable with the SP3, I'm liking it more.

The odd parts of the SW are just how it switches in and out of Metro. You really just have to get used to it.

Now that I have more touch apps, and figured out how to get Chrome to run in Metro mode, it's much nicer.

I am a little dissapointed with a few things, like how the Windows Calendar doesn't support Google Calendars, but they do support Google Mail in the Mail app.

I'm not new to Windows by any means, but Mac's have been my primary machine for quite a while, particularly since the introduction of Windows 8.
I have had a similar experience as yourself. It has taken me a while to warm up to this device, and while I am using it more and more in tablet form, I really miss the quality apps of iOS.

Just a few examples

- no decent weather app that I've found. I've been using both the stock one and the Weather Channel, but neither gives me any real localized forecast.

- Evernote touch - no search capability!

- Facebook/Twitter - both just a shell of their iOS counterparts which are distinctly better in ways than their websites. These apps are ripe for split-screen capability, but they obviously aren't any priority in their development plans.

- No Spotify, Pandora, Beats music, etc. These are apps that really shine on a tablet where they can sip power when freed from a web browser. But they aren't available at all.

- PressReader, which I use to read newspapers - no hyperlinking at headlines or ends of articles - both essential features the app has on iOS.

So while Microsoft claims to continue pushing developers to build better touch apps, I think unless they fundamentally change their software to force developers to build better apps, the situation may be hopeless.

----------

I also have an SP3 and I don't use it in tablet mode as much as I use it as a laptop, i.e., the keyboard attached. Its a great product but I can't see using it solely as a tablet for extended periods.
I have long gathered that for many of the most ardent owners here, this is the case. And I can't really understand it. The Surface is a decidedly average laptop, so what's the appeal if you rarely use the tablet functionality?
 

Ryan0751

macrumors regular
Original poster
Nov 4, 2013
141
109
So while Microsoft claims to continue pushing developers to build better touch apps, I think unless they fundamentally change their software to force developers to build better apps, the situation may be hopeless.
I think it's tough to convince developers to build new versions of their apps (hugely expensive) where there is an alternative for the platform - use the web or desktop version instead.

Hopefully Windows 10 will bring more onto the platform.

Do you have the Complete protection plan? I am thinking of getting it for the two years accidental coverage. I'm concerned about the kickstand mostly.
 

maflynn

Moderator
Staff member
May 3, 2009
63,843
30,363
Boston
I have long gathered that for many of the most ardent owners here, this is the case. And I can't really understand it. The Surface is a decidedly average laptop, so what's the appeal if you rarely use the tablet functionality?
What's the appeal?
For me, is a much lighter and thinner laptop. While I may not really use it as a tablet, its mobility cannot be understand. You basically have a tablet that is a laptop, it takes less room in my bag, its easier to walk around with. I can use it much longer on my lap without my knees baking. Its running office, and other desktop apps that I need.

Its overall a great computer that can be used as a tablet, though as I mentioned, that's not something I'll do for long periods of time.
 

Ryan0751

macrumors regular
Original poster
Nov 4, 2013
141
109
What's the appeal?
For me, is a much lighter and thinner laptop. While I may not really use it as a tablet, its mobility cannot be understand. You basically have a tablet that is a laptop, it takes less room in my bag, its easier to walk around with. I can use it much longer on my lap without my knees baking. Its running office, and other desktop apps that I need.

Its overall a great computer that can be used as a tablet, though as I mentioned, that's not something I'll do for long periods of time.
One thing I often find with my iPad, is that I'll see an email come in or what not, but then to respond to it, I have to get up and grab my laptop. This isn't the case with the SP3.

I do find the touch pad on the type cover to be particularly lacking. For scrolling you are really better off using the touch screen itself.
 

Billy95Tech

Suspended
Apr 18, 2014
540
61
Surface Pro 3 is a great Windows 8 tablet, but it is very expensive.

There are lots of Windows 8 tablets(with keyboard docks) like Dell Venue Pro 11, Lenovo Miix 2 11, Acer Aspire Switch 11 they are less expensive than SP3 and they have I3/I5 Core CPU so they are as powerful and as good as the Surface Pro 3. :)


And keep the Ipad.

----------

I've recently been looking for something between my iPad and my Macbook Pro... I tried a couple of keyboards for my iPad, but found the experience to feel very hacky.

I had seen the MS Surface Pro 3 in the store a number of times, and decided to pick one up.

I have to say I'm very torn on this device. On one hand, it's a beautiful piece of hardware, but having not used a windows tablet before the software is just kind of weird.

I'm not sure if I should keep it or return it. Some aspects of the device are wonderful like the pen input.

Anyone else using one of these?

I am looking to get a mobile laptop and i thought the iPad pro would have it, but thinking about it, it just seems a bigger iPad and i want a computer on the go. Of course i have a 15" retina mac but i want something like my iPad air, so I may get the surface 3 with i5 and keep the iPad.

Surface Pro 3 is a great Windows 8 tablet, but it is very expensive.

There are lots of Windows 8 tablets(with keyboard docks) like Dell Venue Pro 11, Lenovo Miix 2 11, Acer Aspire Switch 11 they are less expensive than SP3 and they have I3/I5 Core CPU so they are as powerful and as good as the Surface Pro 3. :)

----------

I also have an SP3 and I don't use it in tablet mode as much as I use it as a laptop, i.e., the keyboard attached. Its a great product but I can't see using it solely as a tablet for extended periods.

I use my Windows 8 tablet Acer Iconia W700(I5 Core) in tablet mode but it is a bit too heavy(2 pounds) to use in tablet mode.

Hopefully when i get Acer Aspire Switch 11 in the next few months it should be more comfortable to hold in tablet mode. :)
 

zhenya

macrumors 603
Jan 6, 2005
6,358
2,823
What's the appeal?
For me, is a much lighter and thinner laptop. While I may not really use it as a tablet, its mobility cannot be understand. You basically have a tablet that is a laptop, it takes less room in my bag, its easier to walk around with. I can use it much longer on my lap without my knees baking. Its running office, and other desktop apps that I need.

Its overall a great computer that can be used as a tablet, though as I mentioned, that's not something I'll do for long periods of time.
But there are certainly laptops that are similar in size and weight to the SP, yet have better keyboards and touchpads which are essential tools in a laptop, no?
 

maflynn

Moderator
Staff member
May 3, 2009
63,843
30,363
Boston
But there are certainly laptops that are similar in size and weight to the SP, yet have better keyboards and touchpads which are essential tools in a laptop, no?
Perhaps, I like what the SP3 has to offer, so for me it's been a great choice.

I obsessed over the purchase decision since the SP3 was announced. Basically about 9 months of research, obsessing and I finally came to decision that its a great product that fits my needs
 

joshwithachance

macrumors 68000
Dec 11, 2009
1,705
354
I've been wanting to get a SP3 since the moment it was announced, but for some reason I kept putting it off. Recently I got the opportunity to purchase the i3 model for $550, and I couldn't resist any longer. I LOVE this thing, and am honestly thinking of upgrading to the i5 and replacing my 2014 Mac mini with it as well.