Alright, so this isn’t energy related, but I can get pretty psyched about new tech stuff, and I just got a new Microsoft Surface Pro 3 so… review! Here goes:
1. Ordering. Er, every time I add something to my basket the online Microsoft store doubles it and I have to manually change it. I’m not paying $2500 for tablets+keyboard!
2. Shipping. Holy smokes fast. Even if you just select the standard shipping. I ordered my Pro3 on June 29 and received it by early afternoon July 1.
3. What I got. So for those of you who aren’t familiar, the Pro 3 is Microsoft’s answer to the unspoken dilemma (not really a dilemma?) of hauling around both a laptop and tablet. So it is a full-powered laptop and a tablet in one, and comes with a sweeeet pen. I got the 128GB, Intel i5, 4GB RAM version, plus a purple keyboard. I was almost going to get the 256GB version because it comes with 8GB RAM and I feel like 8GB RAM will become the standard. However, 8GB RAM is presently mostly needed for video/sound/graphics editing stuff, which granted I do, but I already have a laptop that has 8GB and quite honestly I didn’t want to spend the extra $$.
4. Opening up the box. Ok I absolutely delight in opening up luxury tech boxes. This experience didn’t disappoint – it was lovely!
5. Setup. Pretty smooth. Turn it on and fill out your Hotmail/Microsoft account info. Hotmail is that inbox where I banish my spam/unread newsletters/phone bill so I barely use it. My go-to email is Gmail, but now that the Pro 3 has OneNote I may be using it (at least its cloud) more often, on my Pro 3 anyway.
6. Pen. The pen writes awesome. Just like a pen, only the ink is strong and smooth all the time. Fantastic integration with the OneNote app. However, when I click my pen to open OneNote from a black screen it sometimes doesn’t work.
7. OneNote. So be able to write and draw accurately on a computer is a huge reason why I got the Pro 3. But after you write/draw, you often want to share as well. OneNote wasn’t attaching my notes in emails for some reason. I had to spend over an hour chatting with tech support to fix it. Basically when you get your Pro 3 none of the apps are updated. You have to go to the Microsoft store, click on find updates, and update everything. Then it works.
8. Tech support. Alright, Microsoft’s online contact page is rather dysfunctional and needs to be fixed. It took me on an endless circular route when I said my issue was Office apps, OneNote, and I couldn’t get on a chat box for the longest time. Fix this, Microsoft. So there is a trick to finally get on a chat – regardless of your issue, select ‘Performance/Maintenance’ as your category and ‘Maintenance’ as your issue. Then it shows you the ‘Start a chat’ option.
9. Keyboard. I had heard reviewers go, ‘Oh, it’s a flimsy keyboard, cannot match up to a clamshell keyboard’ so I was prepared for the worst/not good. But I was pleasantly surprised – it seems reasonably sturdy and roomy! I enjoy typing with the soft clap clap clap of the shallow keys, with are backlit. The trackpad also worked pretty well until this morning, when it wouldn’t scroll for whatever reason. I opened/closed some programs/switched between start screen and desktop and back, and now it works again. Hope it’s not a recurring issue!
10. Pen loop. Ok Microsoft. This is basically a sticker. It doesn’t stick to my felt keyboard, where all the pictures instruct me to put it. So I stuck it to the smooth magnesium frame of the tablet, which works better. But seriously. A sticker?
11. Kickstand. Works like it’s supposed to! Only thing is it’s a little awkward when I want to switch between laptop and tablet style – I have to close the kickstand before folding back the keyboard (which turns off automatically when folded back) – just a step that feels extra and not smooth.
12. Applications. Haven’t tried all the ones that come installed, but Mail, Internet Explorer (which I pretty much never use as a browser, but this one’s pretty sleek and formatted specifically for the Pro 3), OneNote, Weather, Help+Tips, all look and work great so far.
13. Functions and overall experience. The main thing about using the Pro 3 is the totally new user experience – the different swiping actions, the hidden windows that you can draw out, putting windows side by side – there are so many new actions to explore and discover when using the Pro 3 for the first time. I really like exploring and trying out new stuff, so this makes my experience/day despite the glitches with apps/contacting support/updating. I imagine someone who just likes an easy, straightforward computer use case may find this confusing. But I find it intuitive and delightful. This is what I want with new tech.
14. Screen. Before I forget, the screen! Super resolution, clear, beautiful.
Setup 5/10 – had to hunt down tech support, update everything manually. Wasn’t good to go out of the box.
Hardware tablet 9.5/10 – the body is GORGEOUS. Light, sleek, brushed. Half a point off for the awkwardness switching from kickstand mode to tablet.
Hardware keyboard 7.5/10 – points off for the trackpad not scrolling this morning, and the sticker pen loop
Pen 9/10 – great, accurate pen. point off for the clicking of the pen to open OneNote from a black screen not working flawlessly. Otherwise totally what I wanted.
User experience, practicality 7/10 – lots of new stuff to learn, and some actions so far seem to require a few too many steps, unless if I am missing shortcuts. Still learning though.
User experience, delight 10/10 – FUN. Microsoft has been viewed as an old, stodgy bastion of tech. But with this newest product, it’s leapfrogged over others in what a laptop experience can be. People will complain, because they’re not used to it and it’s different. I invest in a laptop choice as a bet on the future – and I think Microsoft, with the Surface Pro 3, is at the vanguard of where the laptop experience is headed.