It has been one month since Microsoft pulled the curtain off their latest Surface-branded tablet, and now the shiny new device is officially on sale for people to buy. And there shouldn't be any doubt at all that there is going to be plenty of people out there that find their way into a store, or even just order one online. Microsoft will have already gotten a good sense of anticipation for the device based on pre-sales, but from here on out they'll really get a glimpse of how badly people want "the tablet that can replace your laptop."
Or they'll see the complete opposite. Either way, only time will tell.
In truth, there's a lot that Microsoft improved in the Surface Pro 3 from the Surface Pro 2. The new tablet-with-a-keyboard-attachment is lighter, thinner, features a bigger (and more beautiful) display, and has a kickstand that actually makes the device usable in more than just two situations. Indeed, Microsoft listened to the Surface Pro 2's criticisms and took them to heart, only to come back with the third-generation device as a response to those complaints.
If you need a refresher, here's what you'll get if you do pick up a Surface Pro 3: A 12-inch ClearType Full HD display, with a resolution of 2160x1440 and a aspect ratio of 3:2. There are multiple variants, and you'll get to choose either an Intel Core i3, i5 or i7 processor under the hood, as well as either 4GB or 8GB of RAM. There's a 5-megapixel camera on the back. You can choose between 64GB, 128GB, 256GB or 512GB of built-in storage, and there's a microSD card slot if any of those options aren't enough for you. There are front-facing speakers, and it's running Microsoft's Windows 8.1 Pro right out of the box.
You'll get Microsoft's new stylus, too, which allows you to click the top of the digital pen to activate Microsoft's note taking app, OneNote. The stylus will also let you upload the information you put into OneNote directly to Microsoft's cloud service, OneDrive. There's also a new Type Cover, which has been improved, can now magnetically attach itself now to the bottom of the Surface Pro 3 when it's attached for a better typing angle, and has a larger trackpad than previous generations.
Simply put, the Surface tablets are devices that I keep trying, but ultimately don't keep for one simple reason: the keyboard. Considering I type words for a living, I need a keyboard that can keep up with me, and that's comfortable to use for a long period of time. From what I've used with both the Type Cover and the Touch Cover from Microsoft, they don't fit the bill. And what drives me crazy is that I have to actually buy the keyboards separately, which only adds to the high cost of the tablet itself.
So, what would I change about the Surface Pro 3 (and any other Surface Pro model, both past and future)? Stop selling the keyboard separately, and include it in the box. Yes, you're selling it as a tablet, and that won't change if you include the keyboard -- it's still just an accessory. But, more than that, do whatever it takes to make the keyboard better. And the trackpad. I'd very much like the Surface Pro 3 to replace my laptop -- it's just not possible. Not yet, anyway. Maybe next time.
But I want to hear from you. What would you change about Microsoft's newest Surface Pro tablet to get you to consider buying one? Maybe make it smaller? Did you already buy one, or do you plan on picking one up soon? Let me know!