I'm a tablet gal as I am always on the go, so am pretty authoritative on them. While it is usually our policy to only blog about stuff we recommend, in this case we decided to warn readers not to waste their hard earned cash on a product. Today, Microsoft's Surface Pro 3, a rehash of last year’s failed attempt at a tablet both hit stores and became available for pre-order. With the initial effort losing over $900 million for the company, there is little that suggests that this new one will do much better.
The specs are impressive enough. It's got a 12 inch screen, weighs less than comparable products, and has an Intel Core. It's the thinnest Intel product but still thicker than an iPad Air. You can also get a nice chunk of ram at 8GB and memory of up to 512GB.
But there is one very big problem – the price vs. the features. If I want to spend between $799 and $1949 pre-tax for a tablet, I want the gold standard - Apple's iPad Air – especially since there are so few apps available for the Microsoft options. There are a million #Apple apps versus 100,000 for #Microsoft. And no matter how you slice it, Apple will always have the advantage in the tablet department (although Samsung is fast on their heels!).
In addition, not enough is included in the box to justify your costs. The Type Cover sets you back another $130 and the stylus an extra $50 on an already way overpriced device. If I want an expensive laptop or a mock one, better to have either an actual laptop or an iPad with a keyboard. Sure, the PR company can give these devices away at launch events to press, both legit and illegit, who will then say great things about them. But no savvy tech consumer in their right mind, with $1999 in his or her pocket, should or will buy one. Especially not with new and more affordable models coming out twice a year from Microsoft competitors.
At the launch event, #PanosPanay, the Head of Microsoft's Surface Division, enthusiastically claimed that "This is the tablet that will replace your laptop!" Microsoft is also running this as their ad tagline. But for me, Microsoft is missing the point of a tablet. I use my laptop as a laptop, I want my tablet to be, well, a tablet! The whole point of a tablet is for it to be a smaller size and have greater portability than a laptop. The Surface Pro 3 weighs in at a clunky 2 lbs with the keyboard. Who wants to travel with an additional two pounds? You might as well bring your more functional laptop.
The claim was also ill-advised since the Surface Pro 3 has a short battery life, just seven hours and the kickstand, while improved, still makes it awkward for typing on your lap. In addition, Windows 8.1 is just not as user friendly as Mac OS. I use both operating systems but find Windows unwieldy. The Surface Pro 3 also only has one USB 3.0 port and a micro SD slot instead of a full size SD, which makes it barely usable with a camera. Gaming is also not possible on the Surface Pro 3 and I find it difficult on Windows in general. I am not sure why Microsoft didn't choose smarter wording and simply call this what it is - their lighter and thinner attempt at a Mac Book Air.
The only way for Microsoft to actually compete with Apple's iPad is to create a tablet that is comparable at a much lower price. Companies, like Samsung, Acer and Amazon, were far smarter in creating affordable and lightweight options that appeal to the budget conscious tech addict. I live for my iPad Retina Display for working (and playing), both in and outside, the office. I always have my Kindle Fire HDX on me for reading in trains, planes, and automobiles and rcently, Acer gave me their new Iconia One, which looks promising for the budget friendly. Especially since it has Google Play with almost 600,000 apps.
And finally, last week Samsung announced the Galaxy Tab S, the tablet to beat all tablets which also includes a keyboard option and is a quarter of the price, making the Surface Pro 3 instantly obsolete! (I will be reviewing both the Acer and the Samsung options, in the coming weeks.)
Thus my advice, is skip the overpriced #SurfacePro3 and go #iPadAir if you can afford it or #GalaxyTabS and #KindleFireHDX for more affordable models. And if you really need a laptop, just buy a laptop!
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