The Surface 3 was launched in May 2015 by Microsoft and is the successor for the Surface 2.  It is a 2-in-1 tablet still designed for portability. It does well with lightweight work but its not really something to consider if you need to do graphics intensive work on it. It is smaller and less powerful than its Surface Pro brothers but still marketed by Microsoft as a tablet that can replace your laptop. So the big question is it a worthy alternative to many other tablet choices out in the market such as the iPad? Or even in general laptops for that matter?

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For this review, we’ll be using the full experience available for the Surface 3 minus the dock, which is using the type cover and Surface 3 Pen. The Surface 3 we received is running Windows 10 which was upgraded from Windows 8.1. This marks that Microsoft is giving priority to the desktop experience while maintaining the mobile features available. This is reflected in Windows 10’s Continuum, where Tablet Mode is the replacement for Windows 8.1’s mobile style of user interface design.

We would like to thank Microsoft Malaysia for loaning us this Surface 3 to make this review possible!

Sections

  1. Intro, Design and Display
  2. Accessories, Hardware
  3. Software
  4. Performance & Pricing
  5. Verdict

1. Design and Display

The Surface 3 is definitely lightweight but quite large in the tablet department. It weighs 622 grams and has dimensions of 267mm x 187mm x 8.7mm which means it is less convenient bring it around with you everywhere. It will not be a problem if you are used to carrying tablets around though, the extra visual room makes it a great experience for reading too. It has a 10.8-inch screen with a resolution of 1920 x 1280 Full HD Plus. It looks very pleasing to the eye and a lot of details can be seen with the HD display. It has a magnesium alloy body which makes it feels solidly built and substantial in hand. Even with a lack of cover, the device looks great but try not to knock it too hard, dents are sure to occur.

One of the many things I really love about the design is the very sturdy kickstand engraved with the silver Microsoft logo. Although it is not every angle adjustable, the 3 options available are good enough for everyday usage. Because it opens and closes with a hinge and not a foldable cover like many covers out there, it is very reliable and does not make you worry whether it will collapse at any moment. Unfortunately, this also means that it will not be easy to replace if it gets broken. For the most part, it does feel very strong and is very unlikely to cause problems.

All the ports on the Surface 3 are located on the right-hand side in landscape orientation. A USB 3.0, USB Micro, 3.5 mm audio jack and Mini DisplayPort are available for use. Interestingly, Microsoft decided to use the Mini DisplayPort as the video output port. I strongly feel they should have used the HDMI port as most display devices support HDMI. Nonetheless, you can use a converter for your display needs.

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