For the past 2 years (almost to the day) I’ve been happy with my Samsung Galaxy Note 8.0 as my tablet. Thus far I haven’t typically had much of a use for a tablet except for the occasional sketch or Netflix episode. When I initially purchased the tablet I had high hopes of using it to offset some of the tasks I did on my smartphone every day in order to provide longer battery life for my smartphone. Things didn’t turn out quite like I had hoped, as it turned out; my tablet wasn’t as convenient to use for e-mail, web browsing, and organizing as my phone was for me. I was still happy with it because it was affordable and, as I mentioned, really good for sketching (being a Note and all).
I wasn’t really in the market for a new tablet until I saw the news today of the new Microsoft Surface 3, which is just a less extravagant version of the Microsoft Surface Pro 3. Oh, and this time Windows RT isn’t part of the package – now you have a full-blown Windows 8.1 computer, which will be upgradeable to Windows 10 for free once it’s released.
Honestly, the affordability of the new Surface 3 (starting at $499) combined with Windows 8.1 is a pretty solid selling point for me. Aside from realizing that I never use my current tablet for more than a couple of things (and very seldom at that) I’ve also realized that my actual laptop is not quite as portable as I might like. As a “gaming” laptop – or at least something that can run most games decently – my Lenovo Y510P is quite hefty and not exactly optimal for travel, comfort, or battery life. I’ve been on the lookout for a secondary, smaller laptop.
Given that I’m not impressed with certain factors of both my tablet and my laptop, it would seem like the Surface 3 would be my perfect solution. The tablet/laptop hybrid is affordable, functional, and has the Surface stylus, known as the Surface Pen, and keyboard are available separately for an additional $49 and $129, respectively.
It’s also important to consider, however, that if a user decides to purchase the additional stylus and keyboard the Surface 3 will run you about $677, which is about $120 less than the Surface Pro 3, which features more powerful specs and is a larger, heavier device (10.8-inch display on the Surface 3, 12-inch display on the Surface Pro 3). For many, the $120 price difference isn’t all that great and may prefer the power that the Surface Pro 3 offers compared to the portability that the Surface 3 offers. The Surface Pro 3 also comes with the Pen, which might be handy to know for people who are interested in a stylus.
Even though the Surface 3 might be less in terms of specs (and price and weight!) it also has certain other features it can offer over and alongside the Surface Pro 3. The Surface 3 comes with a free year of Office 365. If you’re on the monthly subscription plan for Office 365 like I am for $9.99 a month, this will save you $119.88 over the next year. The Surface 3 is also charged by microUSB, so finding a charger for your new portable tablet/laptop (Tabletop? Lablet?) won’t be an issue. According to Microsoft’s website, the Surface 3 also has an hour more of battery life than the Surface Pro 3, lasting 10 hours as opposed to the Surface Pro 3’s 9-hour battery life. The Surface 3 also features a USB port and a microSD card slot for additional storage alongside the device’s 64GB of internal storage.
I’m looking at a lot of positives to come from this purchase. I won’t have to pay for Office for an entire year, which makes the $677 price tag more like $560 for the Surface 3, the Surface Pen, and the keyboard; I will have an extremely versatile and portable gadget that can be either a tablet or a laptop; finally, I will have access to all of my favorite Windows programs like Photoshop, iTunes, and browsers like Google Chrome or Mozilla Firefox. In my opinion, there are just too many positives of the Surface 3 for me to not pick one up.
My most informed opinion will come after I have used the device for myself, but I have high hopes that I won’t be let down by the Surface 3. I’m excited for this purchase and look forward to using it whenever it arrives on my doorstep sometime after May 5.
Pre-orders for the Surface 3 are currently open.