Hands- On Review of Surface Pro 3

I have had several opportunities to set up Surface Pros for clients since the first Surface was released 3 years ago. I have finally been able to get my hands on my very own, and I have to say I am just as impressed with this one as I was with the ones I set up. The Surface Pro 3 runs Windows 8.1 which for many is a turn off, but I love it. Once I got used to a few navigational quirks I was off to the races. But getting started was easy — all my apps where presented to me on the start screen and I was able to quickly move between the desktop interface and the Modern UI of Windows 8.1. I highly recommend Windows 8.1 for your next Windows device (desktop, laptop, or tablet). This is not a Windows 8.1 review even though much of the tablet’s functionality is due to the operating system.

The first thing I did when I turned on the Surface was to complete the set up wizard which was simple and straight forward. I was asked to choose a language and to join my wireless network. Towards the end of the process I was asked to supply my Microsoft ID and password. This is an important step because your Microsoft ID is what links your device to the world of Microsoft cloud services, much like an Apple ID for iPad. If you don’t have an ID you can create one, they are free. You also have the option of creating a local account though I don’t recommend this option.

Once I finished the setup wizard I logged into my Office 365 account and installed Office 2013. My favorite Office application has quickly become OneNote. With the stylus I can take natural handwritten notes, sketch out ideas, and convert handwritten notes to typed text automatically. The stylus works perfectly with the palm blocking technology allowing me to lay my hand on the screen as if I were writing on paper. OneNote comes with the Surface, so even if you don’t have office you can enjoy this powerful application.

I have played video from services like YouTube and Netflix as well as run some graphics editing software on the tablet and it has performed flawlessly, so far. I have not experienced any lag or lockups. As for Office, I am writing this article on the Surface in Office 2013 saving directly to my OneDrive, and the experience has been great. I take that backā€¦ one thing would truly make this tablet a laptop replacement and that is a type cover. I have been using the onscreen keyboard; however, in writing this article just like when one I wrote on the iPad a few months ago an external keyboard is needed for prolonged typing tasks.

The Surface Pro 3 offers the best of both worlds — a full Windows 8 Pro experience in a light portable tablet form factor. The smooth response and large crisp display are a joy to use, and I would recommend this device to anyone who is looking to upgrade or replace the laptop they carry today with a sleek modern tablet. Be prepared for a slight learning curve with Windows 8.1, but don’t be afraid of it. Microsoft provides plenty of short 2-5 minute video tutorials to help you get started quickly.

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