Is the Microsoft Surface 3 the best tablet/laptop hybrid on the market? For the price, I truly think it is. Now, it's not exactly the newest device in the market. It's been on the market since May of this year. This right here is in fact, the LTE version, which is a little bit newer. It's only about a few months old so once again, it's not really old-- it's not exactly new either. But since we have the Surface Pro 4 on the market, the price of the Surface 3 continues to go down as it becomes an older device. Remember, older does not necessarily mean bad. It just means it's cheaper. In the world of technology, basically it means it's cheaper. And so, what makes the Surface 3 the best laptop/tablet hybrid on the market is the fact that it only costs $500 with no contract or anything like that. It costs about $630 with the TypeCover, which I would highly recommend you purchase.
But get this, you can actually get the Microsoft Surface 3 LTE for around$200 off until the end of the year; bringing the total price down to $400. So it's $500 with a two-year contract and then AT&T will take an additional $100 off for bundling which makes it a $200 savings since the Surface 3 LTE normally costs around $600.
For that price, the Surface 3 rivals devices like the Google Pixel C which was recently announced, the iPad Air 2 from Apple, or the Samsung Galaxy Tab S2 from Samsung. But those devices feature mobile operating systems which severely limit one's productivity. You can get stuff done with something like an iPad Air 2. But you won't be as efficient as you could be with a Microsoft Surface 3 because this device runs a full version of Windows 10, which basically allows you to multi-task with four different apps on the same screen at once and these apps are all full Windows apps. They are not mobile apps.
Some of you might now I actually picked up the Google Pixel C to review. And while it's buttery smooth, it doesn't feature any sort of multi-tasking features to maximize my productivity. It also costs around $500 or $650 with an optional Bluetooth keyboard. So it works great as a tablet but as a laptop, it just doesn't quite cut it.
The Surface 3 also has some very necessary ports to help it sort of mix in to a laptop category. It features a mini display port, a full sized USB port, a micro USB charging port and a 3.5mm headphone jack with a built-in kickstand that has three varying angles to view content. The keyboard itself is attached via magnet so if you like it, you just snap it on like so. If you don't want to use the keyboard, just remove it and you can use it as a tablet. It's totally up to you.
A very important feature of a tablet is of course its portability, it kind of goes without saying. But I would consider the Surface 3 a very portable device as it only measures in at about 8.7mm thick or about 14mm thick with the TypeCover. So without the TypeCover, it's about as thick as a smartphone. With the TypeCover, it's still very thin especially for a “laptop.”
While the 10.8-inch 1080p display is great and all, it can be a little bit larger. However, it is a pretty good size for a tablet even though it is a bit small for a laptop. Performance is just very enough to support a full version of Windows 10. It features an Intel Atom mobile processor with 2GB of RAM, which you can upgrade depending on the configuration. Windows 10 runs pretty well in the device but don't expect to run a lot of graphic-intensive apps like Photoshop or Premiere Pro for editing. I would say it's really only sufficient for browsing the web and just very minimal graphic-intensive apps.
If you like to take handwritten notes or if you are a graphic artist, you might also like to check out the Surface Pen which is sold separately alongside the Surface 3. I didn't mention the Pen in my full review but since then, I have spent more time with it. I really like how well built the Pen is first of all. I like how it feels on the hand. It's cased in aluminum and requires two Triple A batteries which will give it up to 18 months of battery life so you're not going to need to charge it in some obscure fashion. It has around 1024 levels of pressure sensitivity which makes it very versatile. I'm not a graphic designer. I've been using it mostly for writing notes but it should be great for graphic designers especially. I really have enjoyed the digital erase on the top of the pen and the fact that it's only around $60.
Overall, I think it's safe to say the Surface 3 LTE is definitely one of the best tablet/laptop hybrids on the market. Remember, if you want something more powerful, you can of course spend the extra money and purchase something like the Surface Pro 4 or even the Surface Pro 3 if you want. But if you are at all interested in a Surface 3 or a Surface 3 LTE, definitely take advantage of AT&T's offer. You really can't beat it. $200 off till the end of the year.