Surface Pro 3: Microsoft’s iPad Rival That’s not an iPad Rival

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Surface Pro 3

Yesterday Microsoft unveiled their new Surface Pro 3 tablet. Or tablet / laptop hybrid. Or, in the words of their early ad strapline, ‘The tablet that can replace your laptop’.

I didn’t get a chance to see the Surface 3 announcement event live, but I’ve read quite a few of the reports from those who did attend and some of those who got hands-on time with the new device.Here are some quick thoughts on this from the perspective of the Surface as a (in theory) iPad rival and just from the perspective of a mobile devices junkie:

— It sounds like at this event Microsoft focused much more on presenting the Surface as a laptop replacement rather than a straight-up iPad rival. That’s probably a good call, since they’ve made just about zero impact in the tablet space despite massive marketing campaigns, many of them bashing the iPad.

— It’s priced much more like a laptop – starting at $799 and moving up if you go for a better processor or more storage – even though they still refer to it as a tablet. That’s likely going to make them even more of a non-factor in the tablet market.

— The new stylus pen with OneNote integration sounds slick, but it would be far more impressive if that sort of feature was available for Evernote or some of the other more successful mobile apps.

— The built-in kickstand now offers multiple angles. That’s a very good change.

— Microsoft still seems to be hell-bent on making a tablet / laptop hybrid device, and I think it still looks like they’re making a hybrid device that doesn’t excel at being either thing. But they want it to replace an iPad AND a laptop.

— It runs Windows 8.1. That may be a slight improvement over Windows 8, but it’s still a schizophrenic awkward beast of an OS to work with. I’d say that’s a big drawback right off the bat.

I really want to try the Surface Pro 3 out, and I may well grab one once all the models pricing is available. I currently use a Windows laptop at work and a Nexus 7 and iPad as well. So I’d be interested to see if this sort of hybrid device is a viable option for me.

What do you all think of the Surface Pro 3?

Patrick Jordan

Founder and Editor in Chief of iPad Insight. Husband, father to a lovely daughter, Commander of the Armies of the North, dog lover (especially Labs), Austinite, former Londoner, IT consultant, huge sports nut, iPad and mobile tech blogger, mobile apps junkie.

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