Surface Pro 3 Review Roundup: Does This Device Come Close To Replacing Your Laptop? [VIDEO]

By Matthew Buzzi , Updated May 23, 2014 12:35 PM EDT
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Microsoft unveiled its new Surface tablet computer at an event in NYC earlier this week, showing off the advanced features and thin form of the Surface Pro 3.

Surface Pro 3 Revealed, See Device Details Here

The first two Surface models aimed to replace laptops, but (although good products) never really achieved that goal. Reviews are in on the Surface Pro 3, which seems to come as close to that objective as anything before it.

The Verge, 8/10: "The Surface Pro 3's hardware is undoubtedly impressive. Although Microsoft calls it a tablet, it's better to think of this Surface as a full-fledged PC that can work as a large tablet in a pinch. More than anything else, the Surface Pro 3 is the ideal physical form for Windows 8.1. Both the OS and the hardware feel like a computer with some (occasionally great) tablet features tacked on top. It's as though the bits that make up Windows prayed really hard and created a physical version of themselves."

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"It took three iterations for the hardware to live up to Microsoft's original vision for the Surface, but now it finally does. If you believe that Windows 8.1 hasn't taken off because the hardware hasn't been good enough, the Surface Pro 3 removes that argument from the table. It's simply hard to identify areas where it can get radically better. If the Surface Pro 3 can't get consumers on board with Windows, Microsoft is going to need to seriously rethink its software strategy at a fundamental level."

CNET, 4/5: "Does the Surface Pro 3 really do something so different than its predecessors that it will replace the sea of glowing MacBook Airs seen in the audience during Microsoft's NYC launch event? No, it's still the same basic concept: a Core i-series slate, coupled with a very good keyboard accessory.

In the hand (or lap) shortcomings stood out, including some ergonomic difficulty actually balancing the thing on your lap, and a touchpad that still doesn't work effortlessly, but it's certainly different enough from the Surface Pro 2 that I can call this a very substantial generation-over-generation leap.

Putting on-paper specs aside, it's already become my go-to coffee shop companion over the past few days, and I'd feel confident taking it on a plane ride or day full of on-the-go meetings. But I'm not quite ready to trade in my laptop just yet."

PCMag, 3.5/5: "So did Microsoft finally create the ultimate single-device replacement for both your tablet and your laptop? Not really. As a laptop, the Microsoft Surface Pro 3 works well, with a sturdier keyboard cover, but it's still not as comfortable to use in your lap as a traditional clamshell laptop, and you still have to purchase the keyboard cover separately, adding $130 to the overall price of the system."

The fact that the Core-i5 Surface Pro 2 returned almost the same performance on our benchmark tests and is $300 less expensive is a major mark against the Surface Pro 3. You could buy a premium ultraportable, like the 11-inch Apple MacBook Air, and still have enough left over for an Apple iPad mini for the same amount of money as the Surface Pro 3 we tested."

Yahoo Tech, No Score Given: "If all you need is a tablet, get a tablet; you'll save money, weight, and thickness. If all you need is a laptop, get a laptop; you'll save money, you'll probably have more storage, and your machine will be more rigid and secure when it's in your lap. And, of course, if you prefer Apple's unified, attractive universe of machines that work wirelessly together, well, then a Windows machine isn't for you.

But if you own or carry around both a tablet and a laptop, then the Surface is calling out your name. There's nothing like it. It's so much better than the sales figures would indicate. We, the buying public, are not giving it a fair shake.

If this marvel of engineering doesn't lift the Microsoft hardware curse, I don't know what its designers are supposed to do."

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