Microsoft Surface Pro 3… A student’s perspective.

I had been looking to upgrade my Google Nexus 10 for a while, yearning for a tablet with a pen so that I could take notes in lectures and seminars, straight into OneNote. I’d looked at the Samsung offerings and not been satisfied, and I’d flirted with the idea of getting an Nvidia Shield. And then the Shield was withdrawn from stock…

But then the Surface Pro 4 was announced, and the price of the Surface Pro 3 was dropped! The perfect excuse for me to spend the bursary that had just arrived in my bank account.

So what do I think?

It’s great.

After some umming and erring over which model to buy – the i3 or the i5 with the bigger SSD – I settled for the bottom model, with the i3 and a 64gb SSD. After a gazillion updates, which took well over an hour over the University WiFi, and the upgrade to Windows 10, I was ready to play.

I say play, I haven’t played any games on it yet. Well, I had a brief play of agar.io and the device’s fan got pretty loud. I touched the back of the device and was pretty warm. The screen itself is really nice, and is able to play 1440p video beautifully… It does get a bit warm though!

I’ve changed a few settings: set the pen to left-handed, the version of OneNote that opens when the purple button on the pen is pressed. Perhaps the most interesting setting that I’ve changed is the location of the taskbar. I’d previously not seen the point in moving it before, but I kept accidentally bringing it up and opening programs while writing. That doesn’t mean that the Pro’s palm rejection tech is bad at all. When writing, it has yet to accidentally draw where my arm is. Since moving the taskbar to the right of the screen, I haven’t accidentally opened any programs – yay! The one slightly annoying thing about this, is that the location of the taskbar has changed on my desktop too. This is because I have logged into Windows using a Microsoft Account. This means that all my personalisation settings are transferred from one computer to another. It’s nice, but I’m still getting used to having the taskbar in a different place on my desktop, and am beginning to look into solutions so that I can have it at the bottom on my desktop, and at the side on my tablet, but still use my Microsoft account. Know a way? Let me know in the comments!

Surface Pro 3 on a desk
Nom, potato quality photo!

In terms of device performance, I’ve got nothing to complain about. The i3 is fine for what I’m using it for, and even 64GB SSD is big enough for my needs. I’m using OneDrive a lot more than I was before, storing the documents (mainly those related to my PGCE) in the cloud, so that I can access them from anywhere. Also, thanks to the SSD, programs open nice and fast.

I got the black type cover with the device, and it’s great to type on. However, my cover seems a little “warped”, in that it doesn’t lie flat. I’m going to be taking it back to the retailer to exchange it.

Overall? Well worth the money.