January 18, 2018

Tech In Short: Surface 3



I want to start a Tech-In-Short series. Not really a series, but from time to time, I want to put some would-be long content into a short one. It serves the same purpose as long ones, but for people who are interested answers not explanations, back stories, this could be useful. For example, I heard of Surface 3, is it any good? Should I buy it? There are long answers and short ones, under this title, I will try to give short ones.

I own a Surface 3 (4G/128G) for 2 weeks now. I haven’t done an all-around test, benchmarking or things like that, and I will never do. But I can share the experience as a user. I am a developer, I run Visual Studio. A couple of million lines of code project opens fast and smooth. Compile time is comparable to my work machine in the office. I run Photoshop, no stutters or anything. And Minecraft runs just fine. Performance vice, I think anyone who is not hardcore gamer would be satisfied. Regardless you are student or professionals. But if you are running AutoCAD or Solidworks that do a lot of 3D, you might want to check with something else. I am not so sure. You get the impression that Atom processor is no longer netbook level anymore.

Battery life? I have no idea. I have never run out of battery. Honestly, I don’t get all the battery life obsession. I don’t see anyone would use any computer away from the power plug for 8 hours. Maybe there are cases, that’s got be rare.

The screen is 10.8″, a bit larger than Surface 2, noticeably smaller than Surface Pro 3. So it is small for non-mobile uses. So I bought a display port to HDMI cable, and HDMI to a larger monitor. If I am on the go, Surface 3 is a go to machine.

I got the type cover too. The type cover is not the best keyboard around. My complain is not the travel distance, which is good enough. My complain is there is a bit delay in response. It’s barely noticeable, but if you put it side by side with a regular keyboard, you can feel it.

Is the pen necessary? Not really. Many people like it, but my suggestion is you don’t have to buy it at first. You may not need it at all.

What I like the most? It’s a workstation when I put it on my desk, it’s a mobile device when I put in my bag. It is a high quality computer comparing to anything in the market. I did say anything. In my opinion, it makes 90% of the $1000+ laptops laughable.

If you are buying a computer, I don’t see any reason you are not buying this one, unless you have money for a Surface Pro 3. My honest opinion: Surface 3 should be your next computer regardless you are a elementary, high school or college student, an engineer, a layer, a doctor, or an executive. Remember 2G/64G is for students, 4G/128G is for everyone else.


Developer’s Collection: Build 2015 Recorded Sessions



Review of Surface 3 Reviews, and My Thoughts




Surface 3 was released  a few days ago, and will be on store shelves on May 5. Only thing surprised me is they didn’t make it 12″. Otherwise, all accessories can be shared with Surface Pro 3. Speaking of reviews, most of them are not out yet, but a few of are out. They are very important ones. If you like to read those pointless long, detailed reviews, you have to wait a couple more days. If you like to read the short but right to the point ones. I think we have got enough: enough to make a judgment on the product, enough to make the purchase decision. I will pick two of them, my reasoning is: those two are usually very careful in praising Microsoft products, but if they say Surface 3 is good, then it must be good. If they say otherwise, I will add more reviews. Lets say how it goes.

First is  from Yahoo. His review title is: Microsoft’s New Surface 3 Hybrid Tablet: It’s a Terrific Value. This is his deciding sentence at the very end of the review:

Microsoft’s hardware divisions have been firing on all cylinders lately. The non-Pro Surface is another winner and deserves to become a hit.

I probably no need to say more.

The second is David Goldman from CNN. His title is Surface 3: A tiny PC that gets the job done. On the conclusion lines, he wrote,

There is nothing else available on the market with the Surface 3’s combination of price, design quality and size. If you must have all three, then the Surface 3 is for you.

So, I rest my case.

Developers: Get Yourself Ready for HoloLens

I am not really surprised by what they had to say. As I wrote when Surface 3 was still in rumor state: Surface 3 Will Be the Surface for the Mass. I said if Surface 3 will be hot sale if they get to the price point of $500 including the type cover. As it turns out, you have to spend $630 to get Surface 3 base model with type cover. Another $50 with Surface Pen. Reports say you can get Surface 3 + Type Cover + Pen for $600 from Costco. Lets see what we get for $600.

The best way to describe Surface 3 is: It’s a light version of Surface Pro 3. Most people know about SP3, so a comparison between the two makes prefect sense.

Surface 3 is smaller, thinner, lighter, slower, cheaper with better cameras.

Surface 3 is 10.8″ diagonal, SP3 is 12″. Surface 3 is 0.34″ thin, SP3 is 0.35″.  Surface 3 weighs 1.37 lbs, while SP3 weighs 1.49 lbs. Surface 3 runs Intel Cherry Trail CPU, SP3 runs Intel Core i3~i7. Surface 3 sells for $600, SP3 about $1000 and up. Everything else is almost the same.

Surface 3 is for everyone who wants a SP3 but don’t have enough money.

For $600, I think it has reached the mass point considering all factors.

My final thought: Surface 3 might be slower in loading apps comparing with SP3. Main reason is its SSD drives are different from the ones in SP3.


How HoloLens Will Change Windows UI – (2) Another Dimension

How HoloLens Will Change Windows UI – (1) Break of Screens