By ZEYNAB DAY
After a semester of using Microsoft’s new Surface Pro 3 tablet PC I can honestly say it’s become an important part of my daily life. Its integrated pen, touch screen, light weight and battery life made it ideal for college life, but like any love affair, the Surface Pro 3 is not without its flaws.
The Surface Pro 3 was designed to be both a tablet and a laptop and had the full capabilities of any PC, running full Windows 8.1. The Surface Pro 3 is not a tablet in a traditional sense, but rather is a full computer with the portability of a tablet and is geared not only for entertainment but for productivity as well. The Surface Pro 3 runs on Intel i3, i5 or i7 processors, dependent on the model, and offer 4 or 8GB of RAM. It also includes one Terabyte of free cloud storage on Microsoft’ Sky Drive, which is a great place to store notes that can be accesses on other devise such as smartphones as well.
Microsoft’s Surface Pro 3 is the newest in the line of Surface products. It includes a USB 3.0 port, micro HDMI port and a microSD card slot. The Surface Pro 3 also operates on a 64-bit system and has one of the best screen resolutions in the market at 2160 x 1440. The colors are vibrant, the speakers are also louder than many other tablets or laptops I have demoed in the past.
The Surface Pro 3 is less than half an inch thick. Despite the larger screen size the Surface Pro 3 weighs less than two pounds with the type cover attached. As a student this meant I could bring my laptop to class without turning my backpack into a dumbbell.
Not only did the weight of the Surface Pro 3 lighten my load but the N-Tirg digitizer pen, which is included with the surface, allowed me to take hand written notes in class through Microsoft One Note and create note books very similar to the paper note books and binders that used to fill my backpack.
Also, in Microsoft One Note the notes were set to sync with the cloud automatically, so I could pull them up on any computer that has One Note installed. The pen is particularly useful in classes where notes cannot be typed, such as math classes. Documents such a PDF’s and Microsoft Word documents can be printed to One Note and can be highlighted or written on, right on the screen.
The Surface Pro 3 has a longer battery life than previous models at nine hours when running regular programs or surfing the web, however, can be shorter when running intensive programs such a Photoshop. I found that the battery would take me through a typical day of classes, but that I need to charge the device in the evenings.
The problems of the past Surface products were addressed with the Surface Pro 3. The kickstand on the Surface Pro 3 operates on a hinge and can be maneuvered from stand straight up to lying almost flat and anywhere in between.
Although mostly positive, my experience with the Surface Pro 3 has not been without its problems. In true Microsoft form, I have had to install numerous updates to Microsoft 8.1 as well as firmware updates for devices such as the N-Tirg pen. Although the product will work following setup, the first batch of updates can take a while. Also sometimes when running intensive programs, gaming or running updates the device can become warm to the touch and the typically quiet fan will make a noticeable fan, which I have been advised by Microsoft is normal when doing any heavy computing. Also, unlike many laptops on the market, the Surface Pro 3 does not come preinstalled with Microsoft Office 365.
Microsoft also offers a student discount, which is generally set at 10 percent.
Despite some small issues, the purchase was worth it. I download digital books when I can and only carry around a small emergency paper notebook and pen. Everything I need is now in one place and I feel I am much more productive.