Microsoft Surface Pro 3 Pros and Cons – Windows 8 Tablets

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In the previous page I listed many compelling reasons to buy a Microsoft Surface Pro 3 Windows 8 Tablet.  If you missed the pros of the Surface Pro 3, see them by clicking here.  On this page, I cover the Surface Pro 3 cons.

I own the SP3 and I think it’s a great device. It exceeds the previous Microsoft Tablets in that its screen size is comparable to that of a conventional laptop.  Thus, I am able to us my SP3 for work.  This was a struggle for the 10″ SP and SP2.

If you are considering a Windows Tablet that can fulfill both your productivity needs, consumption needs, and entertainment needs, the SP3 will definitely fit the bill.

Please note however that the Microsoft Surface Pro 3 isn’t without its share of negatives.  In the section below, I detail some of the disadvantages and drawbacks of the Surface Pro 3.

Microsoft Surface Pro 3 Cons

Below are some of the disadvantages and drawbacks of the Microsoft Surface Pro 3:

  • It’s perhaps a tad too big: At 12 inches, the Microsoft Surface Pro 3 is both a small laptop and a humongous tablet.  You will definitely have trouble using it with one hand comfortably.  While I would consider the SP3 light for what it is, at 1.76 pounds, the Sp3 may cause some fatigue if held for long periods of time.
  • No dedicated graphics:  If you planned to use the Microsoft Surface Pro 3 as a gaming machine, you will be disappointed.  The SP3 lacks dedicated graphics so it will struggle at supporting graphics intensive games.  Note that some popular games may be playable on the Surface Pro 3 if you lower the game’s graphics settings.
  • Keyboard accessory is “required” but costs extra: If you are thinking about buying the Microsoft Surface Pro 3 without the keyboard accessory, don’t do it. Much of the advantage in buying a Surface Pro 3 is the ability to use it as a laptop.  Without the keyboard, the SP3 is an expensive, big tablet that doesn’t have the tablet app ecosystem found on much cheaper iPads and Android tablets.  I wish Microsoft would just include the keyboard or heavily discount the bundle to allow people to choose the keyboard they want.
  • Keyboard accessory not as good as a real keyboard: While I think the Type Cover keyboard accessory is a nifty bit of tech, it’s not as good as a good laptop keyboard.  The keyboard itself feels a little flimsy.  The keys are smushed together and are smooth.  This make touch typing on the Touch Cover a bit of a chore.  The touch pad is improved over previous versions but is still not 100% accurate.  Adding insult to injury, the Type Cover costs an extra $130!
  • Still doesn’t work well on your lap: Not every uses a laptop on their lap.  If you plan to do so, know that using the Microsoft Surface Pro 3 with the Touch Cover keyboard will not reliably rest comfortably on your lap like a laptop does.
  • Quality problems:  When the Surface Pro 3 originally shipped, many users reported WiFi disconnect issues, heating issues, and lock up issues.  Even after a few firmware updates were released to resolve these problems, some SP3 owners are still experiencing problems.
  • Developer support for tablet centric apps is still lacking: One of the biggest drawbacks to the Windows 8 platform is that its tablet centric app ecosystem is still behind that of iOS and Android.  Yes, there are over 400,000 apps in the app store.  However, many are low quality apps and knock offs of brand name apps.  Ultimately, choosing a Windows Tablet today means giving up some of the popular apps that are available for iOS and Android.
  • Windows 8 is not yet ready for prime time: Many people (including me) find Windows 8 a chore to use.  The removal of the original start menu is maddening (although it’s expected to make a come back). Alternating between desktop apps and modern UI apps (i.e. Metro Apps) is just not a great experience at the moment.  Swiping from the edge of the screen is not intuitive for new users of the platform.  Hopefully some of these usability issues will be addressed in Windows 9.  I think the success of the platform largely depends on Microsoft making improvements to its OS.
  • Costs as much as a good laptop: The cheapest Surface Pro 3 with the keyboard accessory will cost over $900.  My guess is that many laptops in the price range will be better than the SP3 at being an actual laptop.  I can’t argue that the SP3 should be cheaper.  I’m just saying that the same money can be used to buy something that’s better, depending on how the buyer plans to use the device.

That’s a lot of cons.  Are these drawbacks enough to prevent me from recommending the Microsoft Surface Pro 3?  See the section below to find out.

Read: Top Windows 10 Tablets

Do I recommend the Microsoft Surface Pro 3?

After considering all of the pros and cons, I do recommend the Microsoft Surface Pro 3. I really love its versatility.  I use it as a tablet when I’m surfing the web from my couch.  I use it as a TV when I’m working out on my elliptical.  I use it as a laptop computer when I’m traveling. I use it as a presentation tool during meetings at work. With the Surface Pro 3, I have replaced several devices with one device.  Being able to use one device for so many different use cases makes the SP3 a surprisingly good value, even with it’s relatively high price.

The SP3 is the first Surface Pro tablet I can recommend to regular consumers, not to just professionals and enthusiasts.  This is mostly due to the increased screen size and more usable aspect ratio.  To me these changes make the Surface Pro 3 more usable as both a tablet and a laptop.  With the previous Microsoft tablets, I found the 10″ screen prohibitive for laptop use.  With the Surface Pro 3, I think Microsoft has achieved the best balance between tablet and laptop we’ve seen so far.

The Microsoft Surface Pro 3 is not a laptop replacement.

If you are in the market for a laptop, do not consider the SP3.  It is not a replacement for a laptop.  Instead, it’s something totally different, much like a crossover vehicle is not exactly a sedan or a full size SUV.

Just like a crossover often drives like a car while providing some SUV-like capabilities, the SP3 succeeds mostly at being a tablet while providing capabilities of a laptop.  Consumers that want this combination of capabilities will be very happy with the Surface Pro 3. For those that primarily want a tablet, or primarily want a laptop, they should choose a device other than the Microsoft Surface Pro 3.

Ready to buy the Microsoft Surface Pro 3?

Buy the Surface Pro 3 and the Touch Cover Keyboard now!

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Sources: Microsoft Store, Wikipedia

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3 Comments

  1. Celesta says

    I really liked reading your article!

  2. Cam says

    This has helped me a lot, I do have one question. I have a Surface RT and I am not sure if I should get the Surface Pro 3 to replace it. What are the differences between the 2?

  3. Kenneth Tong says

    Thanks for a fine review. I’ve been reading as much as I can about the SP3 and am almost…almost about to buy one. Perhaps I just need a little nudge. In addition to the daily web browsing and using Office, I will also use the SP3 to stream online videos regularly. Therefore, I’m still concerned with ‘dropped’ wifi connections and overheating. There seem to be conflicting write ups about whether this issue has been resolved with updates. Also, have you tired the docking station yet?

    Thanks for reading

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