Surface Pro 3 - Are you using it? Would you recommend it?

Brain-DBrain-D Member Posts: 134
I'm in the market for a new device and I was wondering if many of you were using the Surface Pro 3 as your primary study device?

If you are, would you recommend it?

Any suggestions or recommendations are welcome!


  • kriscamaro68kriscamaro68 A+, Net+, Server+, Security+, Win7 MCP, Server 2012 Virtualization Specialist, MCSA 2012 Member Posts: 1,186 ■■■■■■■□□□
    My boss bought one for the owner of the company here. For the most part it works ok but the wireless has major issues. If you plan to use it with a second monitor it also is extremely annoying as you will likely have an oversized desktop. Sometimes Bluetooth doesn't work. I think that it was released a little to early and is still in beta stage in my opinion. If I were you I would look at a ultrabook.
  • apr911apr911 Member Posts: 380 ■■■■□□□□□□
    I found installing a clean image of Windows 8 and often resolves the wireless and bluetooth issues.

    One of my buddies who picked up the Surface Pro 2 found the Windows 8 install that ships with the Pro2 and the drivers embedded just seem to have "issues" for lack of a better word and when I was complaining about the wireless performing like crap on the Pro 3, he recommended trying that.

    I did and since then the wireless issues have largely gone away.

    Two things to note... This is a clean install of Windows 8, not a restore from the embedded restore partition (though your embedded key will work) and doing this means the "quick on, open to onenote" button press on the pen will no longer function (all other functions with the pen work fine once you get the driver pack). Im sure the quick on feature is probably a mapped setting somewhere that I just havent found but I dont use the feature often enough to bother trying to find it.

    As for the device itself, I like it but I had a hard time switching to it as my primary device. This was largely due to an extreme distaste for windows 8 (though I did recently find the classic shell app which noticeably increased my usage of the device), the high res screen making many apps appear either really small or really blurry and my own laziness in porting files and applications from my primary laptop to the device.

    Originally, I purchased the device because I wanted to replace my behemoth of a laptop (Inspiron 7520 weighing in at 6.5 pounds) with something more portable, less power hungry/better battery life and easier to tote around. I got tired of being in airports/airplanes and having to pull out my full sized laptop bag to take out/put back my charger, laptop, etc while watching people with iPads barely have to do anything but I needed a fully functioning machine not the iOS run on iPads or Windows RT from the original Surface and I found the Pro 2 to be too heavy to justify the expense.

    At less than 2pounds, a nice long battery life and only 13 inches... The Pro 3 meets those needs and I look forward to my next trip when I can leave the Inspiron behind (while I struggled to switch from the nice big screen, fully configured laptop I had, I know I certainly wont miss it when I travel) especially as I am now on the in California while most of my family are in Pennsylvania, a long 6 hour plane ride during which my Inspiron could maybe hope to cover 1/3-1/4 without charging or extra batteries (and thus weight).

    I really only have 5 complaints, only 3 of which are specific to the device:
    1. the USB port is underpowered. I know its primarily a mobile tablet device and most dont even have a single USB port but the one it does have doesnt provide enough power to power my low power, green 5400 rpm external drive off one port (all my other devices can) or for a Samsung 840 SSD and Ive also had mixed results charging my iPhone 5 via the onboard USB. The external drive will just click as it has enough to power for the heads but not enough for the spindles motor, the SSD will at least function but it frequently disconnects/reconnects due to the power draw and my iPhone 5 has experienced everything from normal charging, to no charging, to trickle charging. The charger does have a USB port on it so Im at least able to charge my iPhone and get my external drives working (when plugged in only) via a two-headed usb cable. It would have been really cool if Microsoft had given a full powered usb port on the charger that could transfer data to the device.

    Ultimately, I understand this is a power savings measure to increase battery life but there is no way to configure the power on the port and the power does not change when the device is plugged in. I would have preferred a setting to vary the power of the USB knowing it would decrease my batter life over a severley (in my opinion anyway) under powered USB port.

    2. The lack of 4G or mobile broadband. Again, I understand this wasnt included for power related reasons but the lack of 4G almost made me not buy the device. Microsoft advertises the device as a laptop/tablet replacement and while nearly all laptops and most tablets dont have 4G, the Pro 3 cannot replace a 4G enabled tablet in my opinion. I watched the live coverage of the Pro 3 release and was really annoyed with the way they advertised the always on, always connected device when it doesnt have 4G. Certain features such as cloud sync would be really really cool if the device was 4G.

    Being able to instantly coloborate anywhere would be awesome but alas it doesnt have 4G. Somewhat of a frivolous implementation but a cool concept for a 4G cloudsync enabled device that I came up with was the ability to have a grocery list shared between multiple people... While Im out at the grocery store, the significant other could be at home updating things we need and Id instantly have it... But I guess that's what text messaging is for.

    In the meantime, Im able to get mobile broadband via tethering my phone. Certainly not something quick and easy to do when out at the grocery store but still enough for when Im in a more fixed location and need to get online

    3. The lack of Linux support. One of the less advertised features of the device that Microsoft claimed they would support/allow on the device was to dual boot or even single boot Linux. Most distro's however are lacking significant support for the device. OpenSuse, my preferred distro, doesnt recognize the touch screen or the Type cover keyboard/mouse (though it will recognize a standard USB keyboard/mouse) which makes instaling and/or using the device impossible without a USB mouse/keyboard. It is strange though as the GRUB bootloader recongizes all 3.

    The furtherest advanced distro, Ubuntu (which I personally dislike almost as much as I dislike Windows 8/Server 2012), will recognize the touch screen and I believe it also recognizes the Touch/Type cover mouse but not the keyboard.

    As a network admin, I use Linux regularly for work but use windows more in my everyday life so I really wanted to dual boot the device but it seems Microsoft, for all their recent open-source initiatives, stil hasnt released driver/functional information on the covers and their connectors which effectively destroys my ability to use the device in a dual boot capacity so I continue to run a single boot windows box while continuing to monitor support forums for the major linux distros to see if someone is able to resolve the issues... Although not indicated, I may try installing OpenSuse 13.2 when its released in a few days to see if they resolved any of the issues 13.1 has with the Pro3.

    4. This one isnt specific to the Pro 3. It applies to all devices (even desktops) with ultra high-res monitors and small screens as the graphics and screen size are hard to adjust to. Ive gotten used to larger screens and/or multiple monitors so switching to a small single 13" screen has been a serious adjustment. Throw in the fact that support, especially in legacy apps, for ultra-high res screens isnt the greatest and its made that much worse. I assume the high res issue will resolve itself in time as ultra-high res monitors start becoming more normal and Microsoft is better able to adjust legacy apps and developers retool their apps for High-res.

    5. Again, not really specific to the Pro 3 but it runs Windows 8 and as much as I try to use Windows 8/Server 2012, I still am unable to understand just WTF Microsoft was thinking/trying to accomplish with Win8...

    Tallying up my physical systems (not including various VMs I run on them, I have 6 peronal devices at current:
    1+2. A Dell D630 Latitude and a Dell 760 Optiplex that I run OpenSuse Linux in desktop mode on
    3. A self-built quad-core desktop with 16 GB of ram and highend graphics
    4. A C1100 Dual Quad-core procs, 48 GB of ram and 1 TB of SSD storage and 4 TB of other storage
    5. An Inspiron 7520 Laptop - i7 3632QM CPU with 8GB of memory with switchable Intel HD4000/Radeon HD7730M graphics (which is really annoying when the "switching" screws up and leaves you with a blank screen but I digress)
    6. A Surface Pro 3 i5 4300U with 8GB of memory and the Intel HD4400 graphcis

    I went with the middle of the 5 Surface Pro 3 models (1x i3, 2x i5 and 2x i7) because based on my research even being a Gen3 vs Gen4 processor and having a slower listed clock speed of 2.2 Ghz vs 2.9 Ghz (i5) and 3.3 Ghz (i7) the i7 in my laptop is said to out perform both processors in the Pro 3 so while I wanted a device with 8GB of ram, I couldnt justify the cost of going to the i7 version of the Pro.

    The day I am able to fully dual boot my Surface is the day I can get rid of devices 1 & 2 but I dont see the other 4 devices going away anytime soon. My Pro is now my go-to for most day to day tasks, my laptop remains my go-to computer when I need quick and or mobile access to CPU resources and/or gaming platform while my desktop is my go-to computer for video editing, gaming, etc and anything that needs raw CPU/Memory resources (video encoding) goes to my server.
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  • Rocket ImpossibleRocket Impossible Member Posts: 104
    I haven't had any of those problems. I've never been a fan of tablets, but I love mine.
  • jibbajabbajibbajabba Member Posts: 4,317 ■■■■■■■■□□
    Can't talk about the 3, but got the surface Pro 2 with 8GB of RAM and use it as my main PC. I have two 24" screens attached to it and it is just working. I never reinstalled the stock Win 8 and don't see any wireless issues. I use Bluetooth only for the keyboard/mouse combo and never had any issues either.
    My own knowledge base made public: :p
  • stryder144stryder144 Senior Member Member Posts: 1,684 ■■■■■■■■□□
    The main issue with the wireless stems from a bug in Windows 8.x. The easiest way to resolve it is to go to Control Panel>Network and Internet>Network and Sharing Center>Change Adapter Settings - right click on the wifi adapter, click on Properties. The box that comes up will have the wifi adapter model with a change settings button below the name on the right (if I remember correctly), click on the button. Click on the power management tab and deselect any box that is checked. What is happening, apparently, is that Windows 8.x isn't smart enough to turn on the power management for the card when the device is idle, so you'll have connectivity issues.

    So far, out of the hundred or more computers that I've made the adjustment on, no one has had the issue come back. Naturally, your mileage may vary.
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