Microsoft Surface 3: first impressions…


Some time ago I got a Windows Surface tablet computer thingy. I used it to take note in class and work on things while in college. It was nice, light weight and compact, fitted in my bag and could be easily pulled it out pretty much anywhere, the USB allowed for any peripheral to be plugged in, etc… But it had limitations, it was the RT version of the Windows 8 operating system which meant that, despite looking almost identical and functioning the same way as the full version, there was a lot of things that I couldn’t do. The only web browser was Internet explorer, no program other than the few office programs could be used on the desktop mode, it had trouble with some websites and was generally a slow computer, among other things.

But not any longer because I went and got myself the latest model (and got $100 off for trading in my old one). Here are some of my thoughts so far:

  • The keyboard is nicer than the old one, as it is now back-lit. The clicks of the keys is more satisfying as well. The trackpad is also much nicer and responsive.
  • The home button was moved to the short side rather than the long side. Not sure why. Probably to be “more like Apple”.
  • The screen is bigger, but not in diagonals. Instead it is taller than the first gen model it used to have. so the aspect ratio feels strange as it feels wider than 4:3 and taller than 16:9. Just like the home button, it is probably to mimic what Apple does with the iPad.
  • The on thing that bugs me is the charging port. On the old one it was a proprietary magnetic port (kinda like on the Macbook pro and air), which was symmetric, you could plug it with the cable in either orientation. The new port is now a Mini USB port, which means it can be be charged with a great variety of cables. Convenient but the cable now only plugs in one way…
  • The power/sleep button went from the to right to the top left side of the tablet, along with the volume control, which is a bit confusing. All the ports were also relocated to the right side of the device as well. This makes it more convenient in the vertical position, as all the ports are at the bottom side of the tablet.
  • It runs full windows 8! Which means I can use Firefox and other program I really wanted to run on my old tablet. (You can also install steam and stream games from your gaming computer to the tablet now)
  • The kick stand can be adjusted to three positions now which is nice. The first angle is more for a desk seating position, the second is great when you want the tablet or your lap and the third is… I am not sure what for.

So far, I am really happy of it. A lot of Apple inspired changes, but the new hardware definitely is what makes this one much better. It sure works much better than the stupid Fitbit…


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