Is the Surface Pro 3 Worth Revisiting in 2023?
With the rapid advancements in technology, it’s easy to overlook devices that were once revolutionary. However, there are some hidden gems that are still worth revisiting even years after their release. One such device is the Surface Pro 3, a convertible that came out in 2014. Let’s take a closer look at how it stacks up in 2023.
A Forward-Thinking Form Factor
The Surface Pro 3 was one of the first devices that truly cracked the code on the modern surface form factor. It introduced a 3×4 aspect ratio screen, which allowed users to see more at a glance and reduced the need for constant scrolling. This form factor resembled a book, making it more immersive and user-friendly.
Powerful and Lightweight
Compared to its predecessor, the Surface Pro 2, the Surface Pro 3 offered significant improvements. It was not only lighter, weighing in at 1.7 pounds compared to 2 pounds, but also more powerful. With a sharper 2K display, it provided a visually enhanced experience for users.
One of the major advantages of considering the Surface Pro 3 in 2023 is its affordability. As the device is almost nine years old, its price has significantly dropped. It is now available for under a hundred dollars, and sometimes even as low as $80. In comparison, the next-generation Surface Pro 4 can be found for around $150 to $200.
Choosing the Right Configuration
When considering a Surface product, there are various configurations to choose from. The base model comes with a core i3 processor, but it can also be upgraded to a core i7. In terms of RAM, there are options for four or eight gigabytes. If you’re buying it today, I would recommend looking at the i5 model with eight gigabytes of RAM as a baseline. This will provide a more responsive experience, especially for multitasking. Four gigabytes of RAM is just a little too low for Windows these days.
Surface products offer storage options of 64, 128, or 256 gigabytes. It’s important to note that the storage is not replaceable. I would strongly urge you to consider the 128 or even 256 gigabyte versions, as Windows and software, in general, take up more room nowadays. The 64 gigabyte option is simply too low.
The Convertible Form Factor
Surface products are well-known for their convertible form factor. This means you can easily detach the device from the type cover, which is sold separately. The benefit is that the type covers are all backwards compatible with each other, including some of the original generation type covers and the ones used on the Surface Pro 4, which are significantly better with a Glass touchpad. I would recommend picking up the type cover used on the Surface Pro 4 for the best experience.
One slight downside of Surface products compared to conventional laptops is their reliance on a kickstand. The kickstand is used to prop up the device, and while it offers a cool form factor and easy adjustability in terms of angles, some may find it less stable than a traditional laptop design. However, starting with the Surface Pro 3, the kickstand offers almost unlimited degrees of movement, allowing for versatility in positioning the device.
Introducing the Benefits of a Two-in-One Tablet: The Surface Laptop
Lightweight and Well-Constructed
The Surface Laptop, like most Microsoft products, is well-constructed and built to last. Made out of magnesium alloy, it is surprisingly lightweight for its size. While it may not have the cold feel of aluminum, it still has a premium and solid feel to it. The lightweight design makes it convenient to use and carry around, especially for those who are always on the go.
On the side of the Surface Laptop, you will find various features that add to its convenience. The volume rocker, 3.5 millimeter headphone jack, and a 5-megapixel camera are easily accessible. The microphones and cooling vents are well-placed on the edges to ensure efficient performance. The top of the device houses the power key for easy access, allowing you to turn the unit on and off with ease. On the left-hand side, you will find a mini display port, enabling you to connect the device to external monitors with up to 4K resolution. Additionally, there is a full-sized USB type-A port and a magnetic surface charging port.
Enhanced Functionality in Tablet Form
The Surface Laptop shines when it comes to its ability to be used in multiple ways. If you value a tablet form, this two-in-one device is the perfect choice. With a deeper and larger table space, it offers a stronger and sturdier experience compared to using a laptop on your lap. The tablet form allows for greater flexibility and versatility in how you use the device. Whether it’s for creative work, watching movies, or reading, the Surface Laptop excels in providing an optimal tablet experience.
In addition to its functionality, the Surface Laptop boasts an aesthetically pleasing design. It’s not just about its lightweight construction and solid build; the device also features an inviting paint finish. Microsoft has put thought into creating a device that not only performs well but looks great too. The Surface Laptop’s design is modern and sleek, making it a stylish choice for users who care about both form and function.
In conclusion, the Surface Laptop offers a great balance between form and function. With its lightweight construction, convenient accessibility, enhanced functionality in tablet form, and attractive design, this two-in-one device is a valuable addition to any tech enthusiast’s collection. Whether you need a reliable laptop or a flexible tablet, the Surface Laptop caters to your needs with its versatile features and impressive performance.
Why the Microsoft Surface Tablet is a Solid Choice for Students
When it comes to finding the perfect tablet for students, the Microsoft Surface tablet is a top contender. With its sleek design, versatile features, and reliable performance, it offers everything students need to excel in their academic endeavors.
Impressive Hardware and I/O
One of the standout features of the Microsoft Surface tablet is its impressive hardware and extensive input/output options. With a sturdy kickstand and a Micro SD slot for expandable storage, this tablet is designed to withstand daily use. Additionally, the tablet is compatible with the popular Surface pen, allowing users to annotate and draw with pressure sensitivity on the touchscreen.
The Microsoft Surface tablet boasts a high-quality display with wide viewing angles, excellent brightness, and sharpness. The resolution is still considered top-notch even in 2023, as all Surface tablets continue to use IPS LCD screens. While OLED options are not available, the display on the Surface tablet is more than sufficient for students, particularly for note-taking purposes.
Another advantage of the Microsoft Surface tablet is its user-friendly interface. The tablet features a Windows key that allows easy navigation and access to the program store. This feature, although later removed in newer models, remains highly useful for students who want quick and convenient access to their programs and applications.
Enhanced Security Features
The Microsoft Surface tablet also prioritizes user security with the inclusion of Windows Hello facial recognition technology. The next-generation models are equipped with face unlock functionality, ensuring that only authorized users can access the device. This added security feature provides peace of mind for students who store sensitive information on their tablets.
The Versatility of Surface Tablets
A Natural Inking Experience
The Surface tablet offers users a seamless and natural inking experience. With the ability to lightly press for a light line or press harder for a firmer line, it provides flexibility and precision. While some e-ink based note-taking devices may offer competition in this area, the Surface tablet holds its own, especially when it comes to its powerful computer capabilities and color display. It is particularly well-suited for creative work such as sketching, doodling, and drawing.
Power and Battery Life
When considering power and battery life, it is important to keep in mind that older models of the Surface tablet may experience some degree of battery degradation. The original 42 watt hour cell offered nearly 10 hours of usage, but a used model now typically provides around four to five hours of moderate usage. While it may not have the longest battery life compared to other devices, it can still be a reliable option if you have easy access to a power source, such as an outlet or a power bank.
Repairability and Portability
Repairability is a factor to consider when purchasing a Surface tablet. Compared to conventional laptops where components can be easily replaced, Surface tablets can be more challenging to repair, especially with their soldered-in components and glued-together design. However, this trade-off comes with the benefit of a lighter and more aesthetically pleasing device. Surface tablets are designed to be portable and beautiful to carry, making them a popular choice for users on the go.
In conclusion, the Surface tablet offers a versatile and user-friendly experience, particularly for those engaged in creative work or in need of a powerful computer with a color display. While battery life may not be the longest, it can still be a reliable option for moderate usage with easy access to a power source. It is important to consider repairability when purchasing a Surface tablet, as they may be harder to repair compared to conventional laptops. However, the trade-off is a lightweight and aesthetically pleasing device that is perfect for users looking for portability and style.
Is the Decade-Old Laptop Still Worth It?
When it comes to technology, newer is often touted as better, but what about those older devices that have stood the test of time? One such device that we will be looking at today is a laptop that is almost a decade old. Surprisingly, it still holds up quite well in certain areas and can be considered still worth using for lighter tasks.
Battery Optimization Mode vs Turbo Mode
One of the first things to consider when using this older laptop is the choice between battery optimization mode and turbo mode. Battery optimization mode allows for longer battery life, while turbo mode cranks up the CPU, providing faster speeds but drawing more power. Both options have their pros and cons, but overall, the laptop is still quite serviceable, even in battery optimization mode.
Speedy Reception and Connectivity
Despite its age, this laptop offers impressive reception speeds with dual-band 2.4 and 5G connectivity. It may not support Wi-Fi 6, and there is no cellular model available, but the reception remains surprisingly snappy. Whether you need to browse the web or stream videos, this laptop can keep up without any noticeable choppiness.
Performance on Complex Pages
As expected, the hardware of this older laptop may struggle when dealing with more complex web pages that include multiple videos and ads. However, for general usage and lighter tasks such as browsing and research document editing, it holds up quite well. Loading speeds remain fast, although it may slow down slightly when opening more than six tabs at once. Nevertheless, for everyday use, it proves to be reasonable and reliable.
Decent Speaker Quality
While many older devices tend to have subpar speaker quality, this laptop surprises with its audio capabilities. The front-facing stereo speakers located on the left and right sides of the panel provide a decent listening experience. Whether you’re watching YouTube videos or enjoying some music, the speaker quality does not disappoint.
It’s essential to acknowledge that the Intel HD graphics on this laptop are not powerful by any means. If you’re looking to run graphics-intensive tasks or play demanding games, you may need to reassess your options. However, for everyday use and basic tasks, the graphics capabilities are sufficient.
Comparing the Performance of the MacBook Pro
When it comes to video consumption, the MacBook Pro performs surprisingly well, even when putting it under a heavier load. The loading time for streaming videos is quite fast, with minimal waiting. Even when streaming at Full HD resolution, the video playback is smooth without any noticeable lag. However, when pushing it to 2K resolution, there may be occasional moments of choppiness during loading, although it is still manageable. So far, there have been no dropped frames, which is impressive considering it is not even in the fastest performance mode.
Optimal Performance for Streaming
If your main intention for purchasing the MacBook Pro is to watch YouTube videos and Netflix, you will be pleased with its performance. The fan may kick in slightly after a continuous streaming session of around 20 minutes, but it is not a major issue. There is no noticeable thermal throttling, which ensures that the device maintains a stable temperature even during extended usage. Although synthetic benchmarks don’t provide the complete picture, the MacBook Pro performs well in real-time usage.
Comparison with Other Models
It’s important to consider how the MacBook Pro compares to other models in the market. In terms of processors, the mid-range model with the core i5 is the most popular choice. However, there is also an i3 model available, as well as a core M3 option in the Surface Pro 4. When shopping around, you are likely to come across the mid-range core i5 option more frequently. This dual-core processor offers a good balance between performance and affordability.
In conclusion, the MacBook Pro delivers satisfactory performance for video consumption, with smooth playback and minimal delay. It handles Full HD resolution effortlessly and can handle 2K resolution with some occasional moments of choppiness. For streaming YouTube videos and Netflix, it is more than capable, with a slight fan noise after extended usage. When compared to other models, the mid-range core i5 option is a popular choice and offers a good balance of performance and price. Overall, the MacBook Pro is a reliable option for those looking for a high-quality video streaming experience.
Exploring the Evolution of Surface Pro Processors
In the ever-evolving world of technology, the Microsoft Surface Pro has become a household name among consumers. With each new generation, the company strives to improve the performance and efficiency of its processors. Let’s delve into the journey of Surface Pro processors and understand their significance in the realm of tablets.
The Early Days: Entry Level Intel Chips
When the Surface Pro first debuted in 2013, it came equipped with a quad-thread architecture and scored around 2500 on the PassMark benchmark. Admittedly, this wasn’t a particularly powerful chip compared to other options available at the time. In fact, it was only marginally stronger than some of the entry-level Intel Celerons and Pentiums that were on the market in 2023. However, Microsoft made a conscious decision to opt for a more energy-efficient processor, keeping in mind the tablet form factor.
The Journey Continues: Similarities in Raw Horsepower
As we move forward in time and explore subsequent generations of the Surface Pro, it becomes evident that there isn’t a significant gap in terms of raw horsepower between them. Take, for instance, the Surface Pro 4, which introduced a slightly higher clock speed with the I5 6300u dual-core architecture. Similarly, the Surface Pro 5 also featured a dual-core chip, the I5 7300u, which scored around 3600 on the PassMark benchmark. While these scores may not appear astonishing on paper, it’s crucial to understand the role of optimization in the overall performance of these devices.
Optimization: Unveiling the Full Potential
Despite seemingly modest scores, the Surface Pro processors prove to be sufficient for light computing tasks, such as web browsing. Thanks to effective optimization strategies by Microsoft, the devices deliver a speedy performance. The fast Wi-Fi reception coupled with the usage of a high-speed SSD ensures that read and write operations are swift. As a result, users can experience a smooth and efficient workflow while using their Surface Pro tablets.
Looking Forward: The Future of Surface Pro Processors
As technology progresses, we can anticipate more advancements in the realm of Surface Pro processors. With each generation, their performance will likely be boosted to keep up with the increasing demands of consumers. Whether it’s higher clock speeds, improved core architecture, or enhanced optimization techniques, Microsoft will undoubtedly continue to prioritize the evolution of its processors.
In conclusion, the journey of Surface Pro processors has been an intriguing one. From the early days when they were on par with entry-level Intel chips to the present, where optimization reigns supreme, these processors have come a long way. The Surface Pro’s ability to deliver a satisfactory computing experience, despite not boasting top-of-the-line specifications, speaks volumes about the overall design and functionality of these tablets.
Is the Surface Pro 3 Still Relevant in 2023?
Performance for Everyday Tasks
The Surface Pro 3 may be an older machine, but it still holds up surprisingly well for everyday tasks. Opening apps, files, and navigating the user interface are smooth and efficient. Tasks like word and document editing, as well as handling emails, are a breeze on this device. However, when it comes to gaming, the integrated Intel Graphics of the older machine may not provide the best experience. It can still handle older titles like Rocket League and Counter-Strike, as well as retro emulators, but for a more powerful gaming experience, services like xCloud and Amazon’s Luna, which utilize cloud-based powerful hardware, would be a better option. A good internet connection is essential for smooth gameplay.
Creative Work and Multimedia
Surprisingly, the Surface Pro 3 can handle some creative work as well. Photoshop, in particular, can be used on this device with relative ease, thanks to the convenience of the touchscreen. However, when it comes to video editing, the Surface Pro 3 falls short. Exporting full HD clips can take quite some time, with a five-minute clip taking around six to seven minutes to export. 4K clips or higher resolutions will be a challenge for this device, and it may struggle to handle them efficiently. If video editing is a priority for you, it may be worth considering a more powerful device.
Taking into account our retro review of the Surface Pro 3 in 2023, it is safe to say that this device has held up better than expected. If you are in the market for a two-in-one detachable form factor device, rather than a conventional laptop or a very lightweight device for basic office tasks and browsing, the Surface Pro 3 still offers a relevant option. Its performance in everyday tasks and creative work is commendable, considering its age. However, for intensive gaming and heavy video editing, it may not be the best choice. Ultimately, your specific needs and preferences should guide your decision when considering the Surface Pro 3 in 2023.
While the Surface Pro 3 may not have the latest features or the fastest performance, it still holds its ground as a reliable and affordable option. Its forward-thinking form factor, combined with its lightweight design and lower price point, make it a tempting choice for those in search of a budget-friendly tablet. So, if you’re considering purchasing a tablet in 2023, don’t overlook the Surface Pro 3. It just might surprise you with its capabilities.
Overall, the Microsoft Surface tablet is an excellent choice for students. Its durable and sleek design, extensive input/output options, high-quality display, user-friendly interface, and enhanced security features make it a reliable companion for academic pursuits. Whether it’s note-taking, researching, or collaborating with classmates, the Microsoft Surface tablet has all the necessary features to support student success.
In the world of technology, it’s easy to get caught up in the latest and greatest gadgets. However, this decade-old laptop proves that older devices can still hold their own. With its reasonable performance, speedy reception, and surprising speaker quality, it can serve as a reliable companion for lighter tasks and general usage. While it may not be suitable for intensive graphics or heavy multitasking, it’s worth considering if you’re looking for a budget-friendly option that can still get the job done.